News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: The Religion Market: Shelf Life, Appeal, Image

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Religion Market: Shelf Life, Appeal, Image

What caught my eye on this religion article is the word "niche." With a business background and education, I know what it means to "capture market share," create "niche markets," and develop advertising campaigns for "target audiences." So religion is just another niche, huh? Now, I know that Dante's _this and the other world_ picture had many realms and circles and beyonds. But this idea of a this-world market for ideas--and spirituality--somehow tastes bitter in my rather jaded throat.

A football stadium isn't everyone's favorite place to worship.

As megachurches such as Joel Osteen's Houston, Texas, congregation capture headlines with their unprecedented size, a closer look shows that these are simply a part of a larger, quieter trend toward small groups.
Don't get me wrong, I think the idea of house churches is a good one. I have even thought of either starting one here in the great white north or joining one.

One writer describes the religion industry this way:
There are whole industries producing collars for priests, vestments, stoles, choir robes, yarmulkes, hijabs and other religious clothing - to say nothing of ``What Would Jesus Do'' bracelets, candles, pipe organs, greeting cards for religious holidays and business cards for everybody in the religion business, including managers of retreat and conference centers and church camps galore.


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