(Photo: Community Christian Church via The Christian Post)
When Rebecca Black’s “Friday” became a YouTube sensation overnight, it was a given what would follow – “Sunday” of course.
Creating their own rendition of the “wannabe weekend-party anthem,” as Yahoo’s Lyndsey Parker put it in her music blog, and giving it a holy twist, the Creative Arts Staff at Community Christian Church quickly got to work.
“Parody has been a really important part of what we do as a church creatively,” said Eric Bramlett, who helped develop the “Sunday” lyrics with his brother Elic, the Associate Creative Director better known as “Master E,” and one of the rappers seen in the video. “It’s just one of things we’re always looking at, [trying to see] what we can draw from it.”
Bramlett, who joined the Creative Arts team in 1996, has helped spin everything from “Modern Family” to the classic Mac vs. PC debates.
Taking on 13-year-old Black this time, Bramlett told The Christian Post, “We wanted to make this thing as close to the original as we could, while trying to invite people to the Easter weekend service. We thought we could use this to spread the love and spread the fun so our attendees could invite their friends to our church too.”
With oddly addicting lyrics just like the original, “It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday ” is replaced by “It’s Sunday, Sunday, head to church on Sunday.”
It’s all about worshippin’ and looking forward to the Easter weekend for Sadie B., the main girl in the music video who happens to also be Bramlett’s 12-year-old daughter.
Speaking of his daughter’s involvement, Bramlett mentioned, “She’s just really happy to be able to be a part of something like that having grown up as a preacher’s kid so to speak [and] she’s excited about the prospect of her friends coming to church.”
While Rebecca Black ponders things like which seat to take in her friend’s car, Sadie B. has more, or rather equally, important things to think about like … front pew or back?
As “Sunday’s” popularity is quickly rising on YouTube – it was only released this past Wednesday but already has over 108,000 views to date and its own handful of dislikes and likes – will Sadie and the church undergo the same ridicule and criticism that Black’s “Friday” has been receiving?
(Many have called Black’s original “a whole new level of bad,” “a mind-meltingly horrific song,” and “super-trite songwriting.”)
Asking Bramlett what he thought in regards to using comedy as a way to represent the church and wondering if he might be offending any believers with his parody, he told CP, “I think comedy is probably the most underutilized of God’s gifts in the church.”
“I think we’re really afraid of it because we’re afraid we’re going to offend people. It’s probably a bigger risk because you know when it doesn’t work – if people don’t laugh.”
Stating that there wasn’t much room for laughter at the pulpit, he observed that oftentimes people had made the serious, sacred. He desired to be able to tell the full story of comedy and tragedy.
“There are plenty of places in the Bible where God displays a sense of humor and almost all of them were contextual, based on the time in which they were living,” Bramlett relayed to CP.
“If we’re going to try and reach out to the next generation, we’ve got a lot of work to do. There’s an embracing of pop culture that people are a bit afraid of,” he expressed. “One of the things we believe is true is about our opportunity in church. You only get one hour with someone who may be brand new or far from God or never been to church.”
“Anytime we can align what we’re doing with the world around us, with pop culture, to be in the world but not of it, those are opportunities where the story can live beyond an hour on Sunday.”
Hoping to use pop culture for the benefit of the Gospel, Bramlett set up popculturepulpit.com, where he tries “to connect the pop culture dots for pastors and church attendees alike.”
“I’m passionate about keeping pastors in the know when it comes to being salt and light in the world – and I want to have some fun with it along the way,” he wrote on his website.
His many podcasts include topics like popular television series, movies, techy gadgets, and controversial pop stars like Chris Brown and Lady Gaga.
Asserting that the key to maintaining a good balance, where pop culture did not overtake a believer’s life, is a constant relationship with Jesus, Bramlett stated, “You’re constantly asking [yourself] where is this going? Is this too far? Is this too shallow? Am I reaching out to my neighbors? Am I being a person who is following Jesus? Am I doing the things he actually asked me to do?”
“Like anything, you can get lost in the legalism. There’s much potential danger as well to get lost in the legalism of pop culture worship just like there can be a danger of seeking the rules like the Israelites did. I think balance and community is key.”
We have a responsibility to be in tune with God vertically and horizontally through community, Bramlett shared with CP.
So what’s next for the Bramlett brothers? He’s not exactly sure yet.
Maybe a Scream 4 spoof? Whatever it is, we know they’ll always be on top of things.
Community Christian Church is based in Chicago and has multiple locations across the area. Over 5,500 people attend the services weekly. Dave Ferguson is the lead pastor of the church.