Yo, Suckah! Jesus don’t need no stinkin’ 3D!

kinnon —  December 21, 2010 — 10 Comments

Just what one needs. The week of Christmas, no less. And a 55 year old, Canadian white guy attempts to write a blog title, gansta-style.

Epic Fail as my adult children might say.

But.

The ridiculousness of the title just seems to fit the topic.

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Last week I posted Narnia & the Evil Penguins – A Holiday Special Event! It was an intentionally over-the-top look at what might be the next "big thing" in over-produced Christmas church events.

I should have known that Junior Ed Young, he of hating sheep stealing, jet-hiding, jewellery-taking, bank account wanting & hip-hop stylin' fame, would fulfil my "prophecy" right before our very eyes.

My buddy, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, DM'd me with this Dallas Morning News story on Fellowship Church's 3D Christmas Extravaganza. From Fellowship Church's website,

This Christmas at Fellowship Church, we’re taking our celebration to another level! We’re going to discover something beyond special. We’re going to uncover something more than spectacular. This year, we’re going to experience something supernatural!

I'm not really sure that 3D technology is supernatural, but if Junior Ed says so, perhaps it is. (And yes, they really used the hackneyed "to another level" line.)

Now according to the Dallas Morning News, brother Young acknowledges that "It's a little cheesy, but cheese works." Ed would know, eh.

In an interview last week, Young said he learned that the Church by the Glades in Coral Springs, Fla., would be using 3-D for Christmas services this year, and decided Fellowship should follow suit.

Young is known for attention-grabbing strategies, including challenging Fellowship's married couples to have sex each night for a week to strengthen relationships.

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I'm surprised that Ed didn't offer people the chance to win a 3D package like Church by the Glades. How cool is that!

Come to one of C-by-the-G's 20 services and you could win a 46" Samsung 3DTV, a 3D Blu-ray player and 2 pairs of 3D glasses. (And not the cheesoid paper glasses that Jr. Ed was handing out.)

I can't believe that Bestis MegaChurch, Evah, Indianna hadn't thought of this – come to church and YOU COULD WIN!!!. Of course, there's always Easter.

Now, Young Ed wants everyone to know that they didn't waste too much money on the 3D production. No way, man. Frugal is the Fellowship Church word. Especially when there are megachurch expenses to be taken care of – including paying for the care and feeding of the 8.4 million dollar Falcon jet which Ed needs for his "ministry".

According to the DMN article,

Fellowship bought 28,000 pairs of 3-D glasses, but rented cameras for the videos, and spent about $8,000 overall to create the special effect.

8 grand. Really? An illusionist would call that misdirection, an erudite individual – prevarication, but let me call it what I know it to be – the end product of a bull's bowel movement.

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Imbi and I do have some experience with 3D production. One of our clients builds the technology for a complete 3D production facility, not including cameras. And last year, in Las Vegas, we shot with a Panasonic prototype of their new 3D camera, the AG-3DA1.

It's quite possible the camera rentals were 8 grand, but the increase in production setup and shooting time, the increase in editing time and software upgrades (the Cineform 3D plug-in – most probably what was used by the FC editors, is $2,995 alone) and the upgraded/replaced video projectors would be substantially more.

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But, hey, at least they got to produce really cool 3D dog videos,

The third (video) re-created a real-life episode from last Christmas, in which Young's dogs got into the living room and tore up gift packages.

And dogs ripping open Christmas presents in 3D is just such a powerful metaphor for the reason we celebrate the season, eh,

To Young, taking advantage of the latest 3-D craze is just another way to reach people who might not otherwise come to church.

"Christmas is the best time of the year for people to give God a shot," he said.

Especially if you can give God a shot in 3D. Ed puts it all in perspective,

"What a great opportunity for the church," he said. "3-D is so hot."

I can only imagine how people left the service and rushed out to the nearest Best Buy.

</snark>

Would someone please tell me how, when the Saviour of the world chose to arrive in the humblest of manner and location, Christians think technological extravaganzas provide the best representation of the birth of Christ?

In case you've forgotten, Luke says Jesus was born in a place where animals were kept and our Lord's first bed was a feeding trough for said animals.

Yet, this week, in hundreds of churches across North America, thousands of person-hours and millions of dollars will have been spent to tell a story that bears little resemblance to the event that changed history.

But, at least Fellowship Church ended their service with Silent Night – because, as we all know, child birth and animal shelter are always quiet, n'est-ce pas?

UPDATE: The guys @ the BHT reminded me of Ross Douthat's column (which I read via the NYT Google Chrome app on the weekend).

Douthat's column title: A Tough Time for Believers. He says this (which fits the above so well),

…the once-a-year churchgoers crowding the pews beside them are a reminder of how many Americans regard religion as just another form of midwinter entertainment, wedged in between “The Nutcracker” and “Miracle on 34th Street.” [emphasis added]

Or perhaps comparing Tron in 3D with Ed Young's 3D dogs.

Posts that inform this one:
What is What – What you win them with is what you win them to.
For Some, The Gospel Really is Hollow, Gram!
Willow de Soleil, Cirque de Creek – Cirque de Soleil vs Christmas. Cirque wins.
Dave Fitch's When is a Story Not a Story – Willow Creek and Acrobats on Christmas Eve
Church of the Little Rascals

kinnon

Posts

A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

10 responses to Yo, Suckah! Jesus don’t need no stinkin’ 3D!

  1. Sad to say, but to my intuitive futurist sensibilities about a phenomenon’s trajectory, this kind of 3D fad falls 2D flat. And in the long-run/4D world in which I attempt to function in understanding the times and how/where cultural trends tend to lead us, I see “3D SeekerTainment”[TM] as yet another point of reference in the increasingly downward arc of conventional, Boomer-modern church trajectories.

    If only there were a way to hijack the churches back on track with discipleship … we do need something more stable. Hmmm … perhaps Someone in a stable?

  2. Maybe an interesting exercise would be to get the kids in the church to tell the story in their own words and see what they come up with – though it could be frightening in some cases to see exactly what they have absorbed!

    I’m very proud of some of my friends in little ol’ New Zealand who produced a delightful 4min video with the kids (with production help of course from the adults). Yes, poop gets a mention, and isn’t the star gorgeous?! Hope it helps brings down the blood pressure!

  3. Thanks, Richard. Will give it a look.

  4. You always provide much more to anything I write. Thanks, B-rad.

  5. Why do we always think we have to improve on God’s work?
    I had read about this foolishness and thought about blogging about it. You said it far better than I could have, so I just re-posted your blog. Thank you.

  6. J. Michael Matkin December 23, 2010 at 5:28 am

    With each passing day I grow more impressed with that glimmer of wisdom from Joseph Sorban:

    “It can be exalting to belong to a church that is five hundred years behind the times and sublimely indifferent to fashion; it is mortifying to belong to a church that is five minutes behind the times, huffing and puffing to catch up.”

  7. If Redeemer Pres. had a few capable people who desired to put on a 3D depiction of something biblical… and they were unleashed to do it, I don’t think we would have the same reaction. I don’t think the issue is 3D, or even spectacle from time to time. As humans, we need festivals and feasts. I’m not sure that, given access, David or Solomon wouldn’t have made use of insane technology to create the most over-the-top spectacles possible to glorify our great God.

    The issue is that humanity is separated from the God of the universe by its sin, and instead of proclaiming, submitting to, and living the gospel, we create a spectacle.

    A group of believes living and breathing the gospel who, from time to time, put on spectacles to point people toward our great God, is not the same thing as replacing the gospel with spectacle. And THAT is the problem.

  8. I’m not against art, or even spectacles when there is a reasonable motivation behind them. So, I appreciate what you’ve said, Rob, about when spectacle replaces gospel. Actually, each of us has a God-directed life that is a 3-D wonder, but perhaps the timeframe isn’t condensed enough to supply the espresso shot that “spectackletators” require. (Hey, that’s a great word!)

    Anyway, I recently shared the following description and link for a friend’s doctoral research on the topic of using arts to find and demonstrate our identity:

    “The Juggler of Our Lady” (1958, animated film). This short film was broadcast on TV the first time in 1958. It presents a medieval tale of a juggler who joins a monastery to enter into a deeper level of contemplation about God. But at Advent, there is a tradition of creating works of art to present to the Madonna. He has tried all the other art forms of his fellow monks, but simply is not gifted in the ways they are. What present can he give, but the one for which he was designed? This delightful film it is not available on DVD, but it is on the web at: link to cool-mo-dee.blogspot.com. (It’s on a sort of Boris Karloff tribute page, as Karloff was the narrator.)

What do you think?