Churchrater.com Helps Worshippers Find the Right Spot for Them
So far, it seems like Web-savvy worshipers have warmed up to the idea of peer-reviewed parishes, as both Churchrater and Yelp have compiled hundreds of reviews. Others, however, remain concerned over what they perceive as a trend that attempts to quantify the unquantifiable. Dwight Friesen, a theology teacher at Seattle's Mars Hill Graduate School, worries that sites like Churchrater implicitly reduce a church to being yet another commodified good. As he says, "The church, at the end of the day, is not a commodity -- it's more like a family."
A church, like any religious community, definitely means a lot more to certain people than any peer-reviewed dog groomer could ever mean to somebody else. That doesn't mean, however, that people can't apply economic principles of peer-review to a non-secular, non-economic setting. On a very fundamental level, the curious churchgoer is in very much the same situation as an agnostic consumer looking for the best baked ziti in town; both have to make a choice, and both want to make an informed decision.
People have always consulted other humans before making big decisions; but now, instead of chatting with someone over the backyard fence, we can hop online and flip through hundreds of opinions. There will always be controversy whenever religion starts to nudge up against business-oriented technology. In this case, though, it's a matter of humans using the Internet to participate in a very natural part of any decision-making process. It just so happens to be against a religious backdrop. [From: NPR]