Why I have a strong distrust of megachurches who claim to care about social justice

I came across this Christian Century blog post about urban ministry in Chicago. Good stuff.

It features a few churches that I have attended, including Wicker Park Grace, an awesome presbymergent church.

The blog also talked about Willow Creek’s ventures from the rich-ass suburbs to the loop. This is why I have a bad feeling about megachurches–even if many now have adopted Bono-inspired pleas for “social justice.’

Given Willow’s effort to be city-savvy, I almost swallowed my gum when I heard where the one-year anniversary party would be held: the Congress Hotel. Workers have been on strike for four years at the Congress, seeking better wages and health benefits. Hotel owners have steadfastly refused to negotiate. Religious groups have been among those supporting the strike. Every Sunday, Creekers were crossing the picket line to enter the hotel, using it as a fellowship hall. (Willow Chicago has since stopped using the hotel, though Morehouse described the strike to me as “a pretty pathetic situation” and said, “These people need to either find better counsel to argue their case or move on to employment elsewhere.”) A church purporting to care about social justice and to be sensitive to the needs of the city might start with a willingness to stand up for workers.

Willow Creek is the second largest and most influential church in the country. By standing with these workers, they could of made a huge difference. Instead they crossed picket lines. Maybe these ‘creekers should read less Bill Hybels and more Martin Luther King.


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