Pray and Party? Conway church Easter publicity stunt raises unintended discussions

Flickr user doublexavier
One of those "only in Myrtle Beach" type things.

A local church sends out an offensive Easter postcard to prompt a discussion about the commercial versus spiritual aspects of the holiday. They missed their mark and a recent opinion piece from Charleston City Paper sparked by the event has me thinking about something completely different.

The Conway-based Rock Church and their lead pastor Kevin Childs have been known to push the boundaries of traditional Christian evangelism and bucking the conservative, reserved image that most churches maintain.

This past Easter holiday, the Rock sent out postcards with a photograph of a actual dead rabbit surrounded by smashed Easter eggs and basket with a headline that reads, "Bunnies stay dead, Jesus didn't." It offended many people and it quickly spread over numerous media outlets. I didn't bother reporting it because the discussion seemed inflammatory and unproductive with a focus on the dead rabbit image. Since the stir up, Childs admits on his personal blog that he didn't believe it would get this out of hand and he goes on to say that he believes the goal of the campaign was not achieved. Read more here.

I had really forgotten about the whole thing until this week when Charleston City Paper published an opinion piece by Will Moredock, author of "Banana Republic: A Year in the Heart of Myrtle Beach." He starts off talking about the Rock Easter Bunny postcard but quickly moves into the bigger discussion about the strange mix of devout religious expression in our area– a place that is typically known as the destination to party hard for many people along the Eastern seaboard. Moredock recalls the bizarre scene of Living Faith Church's crucifixion reenactments on Ocean Boulevard. Read more here. The Passion play on Ocean Boulevard image is intriguing and it truly embodies the paradox of being a wild party town in the heart of the conservative South. 

(This conjures up an even bigger discussion of the Myrtle Beach area's schizophrenic struggles that sparked in the late 1980's as the hospitality magnates began seeing bigger profits in middle and upper class families compared to the weekend high school revelers that put the town on the map. But that's a little too tangential, so I'll save that one for another day.)

For me personally, the discussion quickly moves away from offensive imagery or the trend of modern churches' punk rock approach to outreach. While I may not agree or support the Rock postcard stunt, I can appreciate the underlying attempt to prompt discussion and shake things up. Then this week I learned about some Conway folks yarn-bombing downtown and I can't help but wonder...

When did Conway become more exciting than Myrtle Beach?