The Not So Funny Reality of ‘Virtual Reality Church’
"Tired of having to get dressed and drive across town? Introducing Virtual Reality Church!" Choose your own denomination, worship leader and sermon topic, all from the comfort of your couch! Written, directed and produced by comedian John Crist. For more videos, bio and live tour dates, visit http://www.johncristcomedy.com
In perhaps his most hilarious video to date, John Crist spoofed a virtual reality church experience and I couldn’t stop laughing! It is can’t miss comedy, for sure! As believers, we often fall short in our attempts to laugh at ourselves, but John Crist is here to save us from our otherwise stoic selves! I even commented on the video: “it’s like he knows our hearts!” In reality (no pun intended), he does. Since the inception of the church, believers have grappled with coming together to worship, for numerous reasons and have done so with a bevy of excuses.
“Tired of having to wake up, get dressed and drive across town just to attend your favorite service?”
In the spoof, Crist’s fictitious virtual reality allows you to choose your church building, your outfit, level of human interaction, performance level of the worship leader, sermon style (conviction level), and one of the most ‘impressive features, a kickoff notification. Never shying away from the natural comedy derived from a church service, Crist’s virtual reality church even provides guidance for coming up to prayer at the virtual altar at a Pentecostal church advising virtual attendees to “always stand in front of a mattress”.
The virtual reality church exists with one purpose, to “make Sunday all about you”! The fictional experience is billed as “the future of church attendance” but is sadly the continuation of a problem that has dogged the church from the beginning.
Read the Gallup report on church attendance this year, here.
No need for an exit poll, these are exactly the issues churchgoers bring up when asked about church attendance. The desire to attend a service tailor made for such a broad audience keeps church leadership teams on the edge as they seek to please God and appease the critical congregants.
There’s no denying the side-splitting comedy of Crist’s video, but with it comes a sobering reality. While many believers claim to love Jesus and profess to be a follower, many want to do so from the comfort of their own home or simply from their comfort. This is not following Christ at all, instead those believers have made an idol of their time, their desires, their money and even their desire to not fellowship.
The Apostle Paul addressed this in the 10th chapter of Hebrews saying: “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;). And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23-25)
In his commentary on the Apostle Paul’s words, Matthew Henry said: “Christians ought to have a tender consideration and concern for one another. A good example given to others is the best and most effectual provocation to love and good works. Even in those times there were some who forsook these assemblies. The communion of saints is a great help and privilege, and a good means of steadiness and perseverance.”
John Crist seldom misses the comedic mark, and a few of his videos have been judged as mildly controversial. More often, the videos are cause for introspection for the many viewers whose normalcy is spoofed as dysfunction. In most cases, this is the cause of said controversy. John Crist’s comedy doesn’t make the church look ugly, it makes the church look at its ugliness!