I hope that y’all can understand where I’m coming from when I post this article:
It’s utterly brilliant, and it finally gives a name to the frustration I’ve felt for years and years over the direction of worship in so many places. By blurring the line between R&R-type fun and worship of the Triune God, we do both a grave disservice.
“Making church fun” is making it like everything else in our lives: consumer-driven. Market-driven. It leaves no room for us to confront and engage with the dark sides of life. And that means it leaves no room for us to be truth-tellers about the dark sides of life, and about the glimmers of hope that persist in spite of the darkness.
Most of the people I talk with don’t come to church to have fun, but are looking for Jesus. For the divine. That doesn’t mean that some parts of the morning WON’T be fun – but it also doesn’t mean that some parts won’t be painful, or sad, or introspective, or thoughtful, or really really uncomfortable.
When worship can incorporate and encompass ALL of human experience, then it is most authentic. Different seasons, days, times, events – all will call for a particular combination of those aspects of the human experience. But worship that sits only in one place or another, blinds its participants to the assurance that God walks with us in the suffering just as much as in the joy. It perpetuates our society’s utter refusal to deal with death in any healthy way. And it robs our people of knowing that this church is acutely aware of the roads we walk, and is committed to honest and respectful accompaniment on those roads – not pretending they don’t exist.
No, I’m not here to have fun. I’m here to meet Jesus. But I don’t think that’s a either/or – I think it’s a both/and. Maybe it’ll be fun today, or maybe not. But what I do know is: it will be full, because our encounter with the risen Christ is full. Embracing the breadth of human experience together with others in worship has the potential to shape us all for service in the world – the real world, not a fake one.
In these difficult times, that is good news indeed.