Something that I find deeply troubling is how most mainstream churches in the US still operate as entertainment — some more blatantly than others. When you watch the problems of their leadership, it’s loaded with all of the exact same pitfalls as we see with big named secular entertainers. What keeps them afloat is their power to entertain, not their personal moral power over sin.
There’s nothing wrong with charisma. Most of us could stand to learn how to exercise however much of it God has given. The problem is confusing it with the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s blasphemy. Entertainment is just Lust of the Eyes, and it stands on Human Pride, and diverts too much effort into satisfying the Lust of the Flesh (1 John 2:16). I remind you that Paul was annoyed by his lack of personal charisma, but it never kept God from using him to great effect.
Over the years of my volunteer work with churches of all types and sizes, the one thing that always hindered my efforts was this focus on entertaining: keeping butts in the seats and money in the offering plates. There was plenty of good concern for helping people overcome their moral weaknesses, but it was always diluted by some one or more people pushing for the entertainment value. It seemed that, no matter what wonderful things we might do in the lives of hurting people, we still couldn’t consider the organization worthy unless it competed for entertainment value that drew in the bodies.
I’m glad to see that we are nearly at 800 subscribers on this blog. I’m pretty sure WordPress doesn’t track for me when people unsubscribe, so we’ll never be too sure of that number. And I’d be really surprised if even half of those receiving the email notices were actually reading them. I don’t take myself that seriously, and I don’t take the numbers too seriously. What matters is when someone tells me, either in comments, email or some other form of communication, that I’ve been a part of their spiritual journey.
You can share your worldly wealth with me if you feel moved, but the real treasure here is you and your changed life. I want you to join me in breaking down the idols that keep us from God’s promises. Most current religious activity keeps those promises locked away, and keeps people from noticing, or even knowing about that heritage.