Is entertainment the only cure for boredom?

Challenge_vs_skillWhen people say they find church boring, is it entertainment they’re lacking? Or challenge?

In his article, Amusing Ourselves To Death, Neil Postman said “I believe I am not mistaken in saying that Christianity is a demanding and serious religion. When it is delivered as easy and amusing, it is another kind of religion altogether.”

I find it interesting to consider this in light of what psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi found about flow, also known as the zone. Csíkszentmihályi defined flow as a mental state in which a person performing an activity were fully immersed in what they’re doing, with energized focus, to the point that they can lose their sense of space and time. Ever experienced it? I certainly have. Though rarely in a church service. Well, what Csíkszentmihályi found was that flow kicked in when both challenge and skill levels were high. To experience flow we need challenges that are commensurate with our skill levels. Making it easy can actually be counter productive to experiencing life to its fullest.

Jesus never set his expectations so low. Why should we?

A pillar of fire by night

fire devil
This photograph of a fire devil in Portugal reminds me of the account from the book of Exodus where it is said, “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” Are you open to the possibility that, in attuning ourselves to the ways of the elements, God can still guide us through them today?

How to hide Jesus

img_0414How to hide Jesus

There are people after Jesus.
They have seen the signs.
Quick, let’s hide Him.
Let’s think; carpenter,
fishermen’s friend,
disturber of religious comfort.
Let’s award Him a degree in theology,
a purple cassock
and a position of respect.
They’ll never think of looking here.
Let’s think;
His dialect may betray Him,
His tongue is of the masses.
Let’s teach Him Latin
and seventeenth century English,
they’ll never think of listening in.
Let’s think;
Man of Sorrows,
nowhere to lay His head.
We’ll build a house for Him,
somewhere away from the poor.
We’ll fill it with brass and silence.
It’s sure to throw them off.
There are people after Jesus.
Quick, let’s hide Him.

– Steve Turner