I didn’t expect an article from GQ magazine about a megachurch to get me choked up, but recently, it did.
In “What Would Cool Jesus Do?“, Taffy Brodesser-Akner tells the story behind Hillsong NYC, an 8,000-member megachurch that is thriving in the heart of New York.
The story begins with celebrity gossip about Justin Beiber’s bathtub baptism by Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz. Then Akner, who is Jewish, follows that story up with her frank description of the cool, Christian subculture of Hillsong NYC. She writes:
The music of Hillsong is a catalog of Selena Gomez-grade ballads, with melodies that all resemble one another, pleasingly, like spa music. … Tonally and tunefully, it’s a Jonas Brothers song. Lyrically, it’s a hymn, and yet the singing is hot-breathed and sexy-close into microphones. It made my body feel confused.
But it isn’t long before Akner’s article gets personal. After meeting Pastor Carl, she discovers that she’s actually drawn to the services at Hillsong NYC. She recalls waking up one Sunday morning and “felt a strange and unexpected bodily need to put my hands in the air, this need to be in a room where people frantically worried about the soul, to hear from Carl that he most definitely had answers to all the questions.”
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