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As a convert to Orthodoxy from Evangelicalism, I know the truth of your post all too well! Vigilance is needed in these dark hours lest the Enemy succeed in his efforts to tempt the Orthodox Church into the same traps.

Oh, bravo!

Certainly, Father. I immediately found it tacky at the very least. Even so, the empty niche is soon filled....

That is a fun site, certainly. But there is a distinct lack of concern for any doctrine or dogma aside from that moving target of pop-Christianity. Perhaps it's the British origin--the doctrinal state of ancestral religion in the isles is, er, "interesting," particularly the smorgasbord that is the established church. The lowest common denominator functions as the guarantor of association (one hesitates to say "communion"), and being serious (and therefore accurate) rather than earnest is a turn-off in such venues. Still, it's a fun read, though not as enjoyable as I once found it.

I have felt this way about all of the Barna/Alban Institute attempts to force the Church into a business model. The idea that the Church must be "marketed" is blasphemous. That said, it was only a matter of time before the idea of "consultants" who know more (and cost more) than the local priest/pastor/parish council came to prey on local parishes. These consultants capitalize on the weaknesses and fears of the parish (from we're not growing to we're dying, etc.). And to paraphrase your excellent comments, they are rearranging the deck chairs of the Titanic.

Steven, yes, solipsism has taken on a doctrinal force these days.
And Kevin: the Ship of Fools is a fun site to be sure. As you'd expect, my issue is not so much with them, but with the people who charge money for what they do as a lark.

Yet I wonder about a critique that neglects doctrine entirely for the sake of judging experience.

I'm sure they'd say, "Where's the fun in that?!"

If you have no dogma all that is left is solipsistic experience, but I suppose even solipsism is a dogma... :)

Yes, Kevin, I've been to that site in the past. The comments are trenchant, besides comical, and many are valid. Yet I wonder about a critique that neglects doctrine entirely for the sake of judging experience.

Father, the "Mystery Worshipper" title hearkens back to a feature of the "Ship of Fools" website. Anonymous unpaid people leave accounts of their worship experiences in parishes they've visited, organized via a standard format. The site is so popular that there are accounts from all over the world.

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