Church: The Ultimate Spectator Sport

Spring is getting close. I can feel it. My bones are getting stirred with the vibrations of new life, sunshine, and spring training baseball.BeimelJersey

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ve probably picked up the fact that I’m somewhat of a baseball nut. I love the sport. If I wasn’t old and decrepit, I might still be playing some version of it. I can no longer play, so I watch. I even bought the MLB package so I could see my beloved Pittsburgh Pirates every evening during the summer. I know, I know…I’m a hopeless case.

It’s worse than that, though. I’m not relegated to the major leagues alone. I enjoy baseball at any level. I’ve been know to stop and enjoy a couple innings of Little League games as well. I’m hooked on watching people hit a little round ball with a long stick. What can I tell you?

There’s no shame in being a spectator.

I’m not alone, of course. And baseball isn’t the only spectator sport rivaling for peoples’ time. By way of explanation, you may want to listen to the song, ESPN. Even the most athletic among us seem to spend a lot of time as spectators.

Being a spectator of sporting events is no shame in and of itself (at least, I don’t think so). Those games, matches, and meets were, seemingly, created to be viewed. The real problem, however, arises when spectator-ism bleeds over into other areas of life. This is particularly true when it happens in the church.

The church now has a raft of television networks. People watch their favorite TV preachers ad nauseam. It doesn’t matter if half of them spew heresies and shallow theologies; they’re entertaining (at least many folks find them to be so). What’s worse, Sunday morning worship has often been reduced to the same entertaining production we see on TV.

Front Row

People gather in “houses of worship” to be entertained, thrilled, and to have “feel good” experiences. This would not be at all bad if what happened next was kosher. Unfortunately, what happens next is that many people leave the confines of the sanctuary, never to process what just happened, what was just said, or what the inspiration should lead them to do. We end up with the false confidence that what we did for an hour on Sunday suffices for a life of following Jesus.

Does Jesus live outside our santuary walls?

Please allow me to remind you that Jesus lives outside your sanctuary as well as in it. If we’re going to follow him, it has to be out the church door and into the world. It’s not a once a week deal. It’s 24/7/365 (this year it’s 366).

If we’re living our Christian lives vicariously through our pastors, priests, Sunday School teachers, or even our televangelists, the church is in deep do-do. We’re called to BE disciples and to MAKE disciples. Is that what you’re doing every day? I can tell you this: none of us is getting it done in an hour on Sunday.

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