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February 22, 2010 11:12 AM   Subscribe

ChurchRater - like Yelp!, but for churches.
posted by jtron (33 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Looks like a good place for this guy to get involved.
posted by kosem at 11:15 AM on February 22, 2010


Seems like a recipe for disaster the second someone posts a bad review.
posted by smackfu at 11:15 AM on February 22, 2010


It's like they're deliberately laying out hot platters of troll bait. The desire to screw with random congregations in an absolutely horrible fashion is almost... overwhelming.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:16 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's just like Jesus said: Wherever 4 or 5 star reviews gather together, there I am.
posted by DU at 11:18 AM on February 22, 2010 [20 favorites]


Jesus Christ (no pun intended). I really don't want to be all LOLchristiansamirite? but sometimes they are just asking for it.

That aside, I only attend churches that have Son Bucks.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:18 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought this was all going to be about flying buttresses, transepts; shaded graveyards and smoking your pipe in the vestry.

Bah! Religious architecture is wasted on the religious.
posted by Jofus at 11:19 AM on February 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


2 Roman Catholic churches in Illinois....yeah...this thing is just some dude's pet project in his basement, isn't it?
posted by hal_c_on at 11:21 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The grandure [sic] of the building did not fit in the community, in that it was like a brand BMW parked in a seedy used car lot. The singing was very unimpressive and nonsensical. The words were many and the meaning never came through. (Boy they tried hard to sound good and look good). They'll never be on my I-Pod. Then came the speaker. (I'll vote for him) He came across like he was really trying to be perfect. Blond wife, three perfect boys, a nice car, home and life.

It's only a matter of time before churches start selling tickets.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:21 AM on February 22, 2010


Lutoslawski, the site was put together by a Christian and an Atheist, and this article says that the four people running it are a Catholic, a Jew, an Atheist, and an Evangelical, so it prolly goes beyond lolxians.
posted by jtron at 11:22 AM on February 22, 2010


Catholic, a Jew, an Atheist, and an Evangelical...

I've heard that one.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:24 AM on February 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


Suprisingly, no reviews for Westboro Baptist...
posted by PenDevil at 11:28 AM on February 22, 2010


Lutoslawski, the site was put together by a Christian and an Atheist, and this article says that the four people running it are a Catholic, a Jew, an Atheist, and an Evangelical, so it prolly goes beyond lolxians.

Apologies. Though it does appear that the overwhelming majority of the reviews are for protestant denominations.

I just find it troublesome that - in my experience - the protestant sorts often put undue emphasis on the shallowest factors of their church experience, in a way that can be a bit antithetical, and many of these reviews echo this observation. As someone who grew up in an E-Free church, I do know that tremendous time, resources and thought went into things like how the band sounded, the lighting, the video projections, the carpet, etc. Kinda seemed to miss the point, or at least I thought so.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:31 AM on February 22, 2010


This site is useless.

Having looked at few dozen "ratings," I've yet to find much that couldn't be found on the respective church websites. Most of the time the "review" doesn't even tell you how big the thing is, which is one of the first and most important considerations for most people looking for a church.

There's also precious little about what a given church's services are like. Words like "spiritual," "energetic," and "uplifting" don't actually communicate anything worth knowing. Let's get down to brass tacks: are we talking high liturgy with acapella chants, late-nineteenth-century calliope music, 1970s-80s CCM, acoustic emo-types, or wannabe top-40 rockers? Are we even speaking English? This stuff makes a difference, and the reviews don't help with that at all.

What about theology? Unless you already know something about a given denomination's particular schtick, "This church believes the Bible" isn't actually all that helpful. I mean, most organizations who say they don't believe the Bible don't bother to describe themselves as "churches." There's a world of difference between the Mars Hill in Grand Rapids and the Mars Hill in Seattle, but you really can't tell that without doing outside research.

The introduction of a basic information form to be used in ratings might make this more useful. Things like how many people attend, how long the service is, who preaches most of the time, what the basic demographics are. As it is, I can't see this being of any value at all.
posted by valkyryn at 11:32 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that this is a good idea. Despite my atheistic leanings, I would love to find a church with a strong social justice message and a wide offering of charity programs. Because I rarely attend church or mix with open believers, though, It's hard to find congregations that meet these criteria without making a serious time investment. This site could do all the legwork for me and help identify nearby churches with strong social justice missions.

And for all you LOLXTIANites, think about the netgoing demographic that would use a site like ChurchRater. Go ahead, form an image. Not seeing a whole lot of Fred Phelps devotees, are you? I have a feeling that a lot of the users are going to be pretty progressive folks in the same boat as I am-- people who want to find a community and try to do a little good on the weekends.
posted by The White Hat at 11:34 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


That aside, I only attend churches that have Son Bucks.

He took bread and gave each of them some and then said, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19b). And He took wine and shared with them. He said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you" (Luke 22:20).

Then at the end of the meal he poured them each a hot goat milk latté, and said, "This is the fire of my righteousness, go forth and raise massive ugly tilt up architecture in my name." (lost passage from book of Luke)

posted by BrotherCaine at 11:41 AM on February 22, 2010


Not seeing a whole lot of Fred Phelps devotees, are you? I have a feeling that a lot of the users are going to be pretty progressive folks in the same boat as I am-- people who want to find a community and try to do a little good on the weekends.

I don't disagree with you, White Hat, but I would point out that there many tech savvy folks in the god hates fags crowd too.

Despite my atheistic leanings, I would love to find a church with a strong social justice message and a wide offering of charity programs.


Have you ever attended a Unitarian church? They can be kind of hokey and all, but they do a lot of social justice/charity kind of work without being dogmatic about a belief structure.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:44 AM on February 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Mystery Worshipper has been doing this for years, and much better.
posted by verstegan at 11:44 AM on February 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


This would be useful only if the focus was narrowed a bit. What a nondenominational calvinist charismatic like me would look for is a bit different from what a regular Southern Baptist would look for, and both totally different from what a Catholic or an Episcopalian or a PCA presbyterian would look for. Not to mention what one person might find stellar, another might find cringeworthy.

OTOH a church wikipedia might be awesome. Instead of ratings, a church would be described in categories such as theology, outreach, congregation stats, stuff like that. I suppose one could include ratings a la Amazon.com, but again, as someone upthread alluded to, I can see where the accuracy thereof would be....questionable.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:45 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Was it on... Deutsche Welle? An Italian food and wine reviewer started doing serious, in-depth reviews of various churches he attended. I've struggled to find relevant links because "italian church critic" is basically like searching on "and the a of" in this particular scope.
posted by boo_radley at 11:46 AM on February 22, 2010


This post follows a post about cloning Neanderthals.

Oh, Metafilter. You are poetry.
posted by Pecinpah at 11:59 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


2 Roman Catholic churches in Illinois....yeah...this thing is just some dude's pet project in his basement, isn't it?

I looked at the review of one of those, and it was pointless. An atheist goes in and doesn't understand the ritual and complains about that while making random shots at the religion. Understanding a little about Catholicism is a prerequisite to meaningfully rating a catholic service. 60-second comparative religion is separate from "how good is this church at what it does".
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:01 PM on February 22, 2010


Rate not, lest ye be rated.
posted by mpbx at 12:06 PM on February 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Can't get much more objective than this. Please continue your important work.
posted by uaudio at 12:21 PM on February 22, 2010


verstegan's link is great and I wish I'd known about it when I posted this!
posted by jtron at 12:23 PM on February 22, 2010


The DC City Paper used to have a feature called "Service Industry" (example here) that functioned roughly as this linked site does. It listed vitals such as pastor name and average length of service, then rated various churches on such criteria as "Congregational Fervor," "Food for the Soul," and "Food for the Body." I'm not sure when they stopped.
posted by frecklefaerie at 12:52 PM on February 22, 2010


while some of the problems with the site are due to the poor quality of reviews, I think there's a lot the site administrators could do to improve the utility. Having required fields for things like size of congregation, demographics, number of worship leaders, and other concrete facts would make it easier to search for the kind of church you want AND would reduce the vague editorializing.
posted by KathrynT at 1:05 PM on February 22, 2010


Though it does appear that the overwhelming majority of the reviews are for protestant denominations.

The whole "shopping for a church" was pretty much invented by protestants. If you're a Roman Catholic, you're theoretically just supposed to attend the church that serves the diocese you live in.
posted by straight at 1:39 PM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The whole "shopping for a church" was pretty much invented by protestants. If you're a Roman Catholic, you're theoretically just supposed to attend the church that serves the diocese you live in.

Wow, that speaks VOLUMES about the differences between the two, and the reason why people go!!
posted by Melismata at 2:02 PM on February 22, 2010


you're theoretically just supposed to attend the church that serves the diocese you live in.

Parish, not diocese. And I don't even know where you would find the parish boundaries so "theoretically" is right.

But yes, Roman Catholicism is centrally managed, all the way to the top, so there won't be two churches fighting it out for parishioners.
posted by smackfu at 2:39 PM on February 22, 2010


valkyryn: "Most of the time the "review" doesn't even tell you how big the thing is, which is one of the first and most important considerations for most people looking for a church."

That's why I don't go to church: I can't find one that's big enough.
posted by sneebler at 3:41 PM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't find one that's big enough.

Paging Rick Warren.
posted by The White Hat at 5:08 PM on February 22, 2010


"This church believes the Bible" isn't actually all that helpful. I mean, most organizations who say they don't believe the Bible don't bother to describe themselves as "churches."

That's actually a dog whistle.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:07 PM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've heard that Neanderthals are pretty good at croquet.

And with the TIGER funds creating fancy new monorails, we're going to need someone to drive them.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 7:23 PM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


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