Gen-X Gospel

Ecclesia beckons the young with a blend of Christianity and counterculture

To find Jesus in Black Sabbath is hardly heretical, Hartley would claim. His pastor, Seay, also recalls being profoundly moved by a secular narrative. "I don't know that I was always aware of it when I was a kid, but that's part of what we did every night, we'd sit down and we'd watch M*A*S*H and eat popcorn, and that was one of our nightly rituals," says Seay, whose grandfather was killed in the Korean War. "And I was watching it, really we were watching it, as if I-wish-I-knew-my-grandfather kind of thing.

"Part of the reason I'm really attracted to film, and I throw most of the shows in HBO into that category, 'cause they just defy other television stuff -- I think they do what Scripture actually does, but the church has failed to do in telling a story," he says. "Most of what Scripture is about is these totally, completely screwed up people that are dysfunctional, that hate each other, that are adulterers, murderers, thieves, and yet God really loves them.

"I think for most of us, we see ourselves in these broken characters."

The congregation worships in new, alternative ways.
Daniel Kramer
The congregation worships in new, alternative ways.

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