I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: I am not a fan of so-called “hell houses” or “Christian haunted houses.”
I’m not interested in scaring people into heaven, if that’s even possible.
So when the guy in this video says “Most people think we’re crazy for putting on The Nightmare…..Then again most people don’t think they can change the world,” I’ve got to take issue with what he’s implying.
He is right that people are capable of world changing action even if they don’t realize it. However, “scaring the hell out of people” doesn’t change the world.
Forcing people to watch graphic scenes of rape, murder, drunk driving deaths, and gang violence isn’t evangelism. It’s pornography.
Obviously, it’s not the sexual stuff we usually associate with porn, but as Merriam-Webster’s defines it, pornography is “the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction.”
Jesus calls his follower t0 “go and make disciples”, not pander to their baser instincts in order to a) scare them into an emotionally charged, unreflected decision and then b) get them coming back for more.
What this church, and countless other churches, evoke is really no different than the reaction somebody gets from watching “regular porn.” It’s exciting, it’s stimulating, it gets your emotions revved up…..and then its over.
Just like “regular porn” this sort of thing gets people addicted, but once the high runs out and the things that once got them stimulated finally go stale, then Jesus gets boring, the faith becomes irrelevant, and people move on to the next high.
Hell houses don’t change the world.
Neither do scare tactics.
If you really want to change the world, and you should because there are plenty of people in desperate need of help, then befriend the widow who lives next door who’s too frail to mow her lawn or drive to a doctor’s appointment. Reach out to your co-worker that’s going through crisis and doesn’t know where to turn. Donate your money to one of the countless charities trying to end the famines which claim tens of thousands of children every month. Donate your time to your local soup kitchen or food pantry, they always need volunteers. Next time don’t ignore the beggar on the street, but instead find a way to offer them hope and healing. Or simply learn to love and care for your neighbor, even your enemy, as if the fate of the world depended on it…..because it does.
Loving people changes the world. Hell houses don’t.
The church doesn’t need evangelism porn to win people to Jesus. It needs people bold enough to embody love, grace, forgiveness, and hope to a world that would rather have porn.
Grace and peace,