Is Christianity a spectator sport? The mega-Church phenomenon—what a sight! Tens of thousands of worshipers at a football stadium, or what could be a football stadium. It brings a smile to the face of anyone who wants to see the body of Christ continue to grow. But before every young pastor aspires to lead a mega-Church, it needs to be realized that there are some drawbacks to the mega-Church phenomenon. One such drawback is the tendency for Christians to be perfectly satisfied with being spectators at their worship services. They sit attentively not only to hear the preacher preach but also to watch music bands perform—with the performance being sometimes indistinguishable from what would be seen at a Rock concert. Each congregant would of necessity be watching them on one of the monitors that have to be employed, for anyone on stage is barely identifiable to the man or woman sitting on the stands. The effect is akin to the experience someone has while sitting at a stadium and watching a football game, a basketball game or a soccer match. The worship experience becomes a spectator sport. Continue reading
In the aftermath of the tragic mass murder in the Connecticut elementary school last year, Mike Huckabee made some comments in a television interview that incited considerable controversy and criticism. He was asked where God is in tragedies like this, and his response suggested that question is somewhat ironic, since “we’ve systematically removed God from our schools.” Huckabee was criticized for, among other things, being insensitive to the victims of the shooting and their families by offering that sort of commentary so close on the heels of the tragedy.
Several months have now passed, and it worth asking again whether Huckabee raised important issues even if the timing of his initial comments was questionable. I believe in fact that he did, and that that controversy reflects deeper issues and a profound incoherence at the heart of our culture.