A few days ago, Randy at “The Highlander” published a post called “The Show Must Go On“. Randy compares preparing for the typical Sunday morning church meeting to an actor preparing to play a part. He begins with a story about Dustin Hoffman:
It was interesting to listen to him [Dustin Hoffman] talk about his early days and the methods he used when preparing for a role. He talked about how he looks for models in real life, from whom he learns about his particular character, and weaves that model into the role he is playing. He is simply playing a role, and acting in front of a camera, in order to produce a certain response from the audience, and to convince them that he IS that character.
He compares Hoffman’s preparation to play a role to an individual believers’ and the church’s preparation for the typical Sunday morning meeting:
A great deal of planning goes in to the Sunday morning show. What is the sermon topic? What do we want to see happen in the lives of the people? What kind of music will support the message? How about dramas and film clips? Gotta make sure the power point is just right. Is there a testimony that we can use to â€œmoveâ€ the people? How about the lighting and sound? Are the chairs spaced out just right? Oh yes, the parking. Are there enough spots to cover the visitors we may have? Did we advertise enough on radio and television? Now, when I finish praying, ___you move right in to sing, then, letâ€™s transition right in to the clipâ€¦Yada, yada, yada! Then when Sunday morning is over, you breathe a big sigh of relief, and then meet to â€œevaluateâ€ the show (you know check your ratings), on Monday with the whole cast and crew, before you launch into preparing for the next episode.
Oh yes. Donâ€™t forget that the bigger the auditorium/stage/church building/campus, the more you can afford to pay your leading actors, thus getting them from the A list, as well as getting more of a quality supporting cast and crew. Not to mention getting more of the â€œcream of the cropâ€ financially from your local community to help pay for all the production costs. After all, who does not want to be a member of a top notch, successful film company? Thereâ€™s lots of prestige that goes with that!
Does any of this sound remotely spiritual, or does it sound more like a Hollywood production? Again, I know of what I speak, because I did all of this! Trust me; I have long since repented of my actions.
Next, Randy asks, “How does this compare to what we see in Scripture?”
May I ask, â€œIs this what you see when you read the Book of Acts?â€ Do these look like the gatherings Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians? Can you imagine Jesus going through all of the above to get ready for the Sermon on the Mount? Is this the way we live within our families? Do we make grand productions and â€œdoâ€ family, or are we just â€œbeingâ€ family, and learning how to walk with one another in love, enjoy each others company, and growing in the process? Do we have special voices we use when we talk to each other as family (you know certain inflections, and tones that are canned), or are we relaxed and real with each other with out the need for show and pretense?
I think we have to admit that we do not see the typical, modern church meeting in Scripture. Perhaps there are good reasons for doing things the way that we do. Do we know what those reasons are? Do we know why we’ve changed things? Do we know that God’s desire is for us to operate the way that we do?
There are good things that happen during the typical Sunday church meeting. The question is, are these good things our things, or God’s things? Please take the time to read Randy’s article. You may not agree with everything that he says. But, perhaps the article will help you consider how you think about the Sunday church meeting, when you are gathering together with your family.
(HT: Bill at “The Thin Edge of the Wedge“)