Church Is Boring

This is a refreshingly honest look at Sunday morning religious gatherings. You can read the whole thing at Patrolmag.com or click on the picture above.

I realize this isn’t true for everyone, but does this guy ever nail it. Someone sent me a link to this article today and I thought I’d like to share it with you. Don’t read it as church bashing. It isn’t. It’s an honest look at the dysfunctionality of looking at the church as theater instead of a real-life engagement with other people who are seeking to live loved and transformed in the life of Jesus.

And, yes, I do struggle with his terminology. The church is not boring! The church of Jesus in the world is the most wonderful of realities. Religion is boring. Religious services are boring. And I find it incredibly sad that this is all some people think of when they hear the word church.

But he does describe the church accurately in the article, those involved in incredible conversations with other fellow-travelers in a variety of venues. I just spent two weeks in South Africa with the church and came away inspired, encouraged and awed by the amazing work of God in the world. I just spent last night with part of the church around our dining room table, laughing, sharing and holding each other before Jesus. And that’s great stuff.

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28 Comments
  1. Sue November 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    I love, “Yet, we still structure our religion around one guy, and it’s not Jesus … The Body of Christ has an enormous head atop a weak, flabby body.”

    Haha!

  2. Sue November 17, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    I love, “Yet, we still structure our religion around one guy, and it’s not Jesus … The Body of Christ has an enormous head atop a weak, flabby body.”

    Haha!

  3. todd November 18, 2009 at 12:07 am

    ‘When we rely on the talents and titillating vision of one man instead of the slow, silent life of community, it’s easy for people to get hurt.’

    wow……..wow……does anyone feel that the the former problem (relying on the talents and titillating vision of one man, group, etc.) is somehow more attractive because it may seem easier than the latter reality of real body life (the slow, silent life of community)

    i mean, after all, what are we going to ‘do’ if we don’t have spectacular talent and titillating vision? i’m just sort of messily typing here….but what do we do when it feels like we ‘can’t go back?’…. 🙂

    i really enjoyed what the author had to share….thanks,

  4. todd November 18, 2009 at 3:07 am

    ‘When we rely on the talents and titillating vision of one man instead of the slow, silent life of community, it’s easy for people to get hurt.’

    wow……..wow……does anyone feel that the the former problem (relying on the talents and titillating vision of one man, group, etc.) is somehow more attractive because it may seem easier than the latter reality of real body life (the slow, silent life of community)

    i mean, after all, what are we going to ‘do’ if we don’t have spectacular talent and titillating vision? i’m just sort of messily typing here….but what do we do when it feels like we ‘can’t go back?’…. 🙂

    i really enjoyed what the author had to share….thanks,

  5. Bill Ooms November 18, 2009 at 7:41 am

    Thanks for the reference, Wayne.

    I just read the entire article, and I particularly liked the last paragraph where the author challenges us to join together with others to figure out for ourselves how to have meaningful “church” get-togethers:

    “No, I want to talk. I want to listen, but to a friend instead of a sermon. I want to be taught, but only if I can ask questions and participate in dialogue. Mostly, I just want to eat, drink, laugh, and enjoy other people. That’s where I find God.”

    I like that.

  6. Alan Swanson November 18, 2009 at 9:13 am

    I have been on this “journey” officially since last December ,and this article nailed it! Thanks for sharing it Wayne…

  7. Bill Ooms November 18, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Thanks for the reference, Wayne.

    I just read the entire article, and I particularly liked the last paragraph where the author challenges us to join together with others to figure out for ourselves how to have meaningful “church” get-togethers:

    “No, I want to talk. I want to listen, but to a friend instead of a sermon. I want to be taught, but only if I can ask questions and participate in dialogue. Mostly, I just want to eat, drink, laugh, and enjoy other people. That’s where I find God.”

    I like that.

  8. Alan Swanson November 18, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    I have been on this “journey” officially since last December ,and this article nailed it! Thanks for sharing it Wayne…

  9. Dewey November 18, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Have you ever served as an usher at your church?? Have you eer wondered why after the service starts there are still people standing in the entryway fellowshipping?? Why aren’t they rushing into the service?? Why don’t they feel compelled to enter the sanctuary before they miss something??

  10. Dewey November 18, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Have you ever served as an usher at your church?? Have you eer wondered why after the service starts there are still people standing in the entryway fellowshipping?? Why aren’t they rushing into the service?? Why don’t they feel compelled to enter the sanctuary before they miss something??

  11. Mike November 18, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    WOW! What a great article that helps me understand some things I’m going through. Thanks for the infomation, Wayne. Also, thank you for the insight Dewey. Your observation makes sense.

  12. Mike November 18, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    WOW! What a great article that helps me understand some things I’m going through. Thanks for the infomation, Wayne. Also, thank you for the insight Dewey. Your observation makes sense.

  13. David Grant November 19, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    It’s incredible how hard leaving was. It wasn’t that I enjoyed where I had been but leaving was gut wrenching hard. Now, I know it was the unfamiliar that I didn’t know how to enjoy. Daily bread, a new budding friendships, helping someone in practical ways, that’s the stuff of the kingdom. The emotional roller coaster of hype and unfulfilled promise was crazeeeeeness and yet that was my daily bread. Now I’m having fun relationally, except with those trying to get me back in the fortress. I’m feeding orphans, helping AIDS patients provide a legacy for their children, giving a helping hand without making someone a beggar and making money doing it. I would never have been open to see this in the fortress days.
    This article nailed it from the borrrrring side of chruch life. On the other side there’s a friendship to made, a child to be helped and I can’t wait for whatever’s next.

  14. David Grant November 19, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    It’s incredible how hard leaving was. It wasn’t that I enjoyed where I had been but leaving was gut wrenching hard. Now, I know it was the unfamiliar that I didn’t know how to enjoy. Daily bread, a new budding friendships, helping someone in practical ways, that’s the stuff of the kingdom. The emotional roller coaster of hype and unfulfilled promise was crazeeeeeness and yet that was my daily bread. Now I’m having fun relationally, except with those trying to get me back in the fortress. I’m feeding orphans, helping AIDS patients provide a legacy for their children, giving a helping hand without making someone a beggar and making money doing it. I would never have been open to see this in the fortress days.
    This article nailed it from the borrrrring side of chruch life. On the other side there’s a friendship to made, a child to be helped and I can’t wait for whatever’s next.

  15. Laura November 20, 2009 at 7:23 am

    As someone who has never had the “gift of gab,” and in most social situations finds myself sitting alone feeling awkward while everyone else talks, I was always relieved when the “program” started and the talking stopped. Still am. It’s much less painful to be in that walled- off place of isolation when you’re not sticking out like a sore thumb. It’s easier and strangely comforting to be invisible, and that’s exactly what I was in the megachurch I used to attend. It was easier, but it wasn’t healthy. I feel blessed to now have a small group of people who I consider to be family, to be safe with, and learn how to be authentic with, for the first time in my life. I would never go back to the institution, even though I never considered it to be boring!

  16. Conservatories Surrey November 20, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Christ I thought was skinny, hhhmmmmm interesting.

  17. Dewey November 20, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Learning to be authentic can be a real chore. Breaking the muscle memory of self fulfillment seems risky at first but over time can bring the joy the Father intends. I too lack the “gift” of gab but when I approach others with the love of Christ in my heart, new foundations are built in even some of my longest termed relationships. Guess that is why it’s called a journey.

  18. Laura November 20, 2009 at 10:23 am

    As someone who has never had the “gift of gab,” and in most social situations finds myself sitting alone feeling awkward while everyone else talks, I was always relieved when the “program” started and the talking stopped. Still am. It’s much less painful to be in that walled- off place of isolation when you’re not sticking out like a sore thumb. It’s easier and strangely comforting to be invisible, and that’s exactly what I was in the megachurch I used to attend. It was easier, but it wasn’t healthy. I feel blessed to now have a small group of people who I consider to be family, to be safe with, and learn how to be authentic with, for the first time in my life. I would never go back to the institution, even though I never considered it to be boring!

  19. Conservatories Surrey November 20, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Christ I thought was skinny, hhhmmmmm interesting.

  20. Dewey November 20, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Learning to be authentic can be a real chore. Breaking the muscle memory of self fulfillment seems risky at first but over time can bring the joy the Father intends. I too lack the “gift” of gab but when I approach others with the love of Christ in my heart, new foundations are built in even some of my longest termed relationships. Guess that is why it’s called a journey.

  21. Ian Stapleton November 20, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    The fellowship I pastored before closing it down in June was always meant to be relational and participational, but after all is said and done it didn’t matter how much people were encouraged to participate they didn’t. It was a bit like whippng the horse to make the cart go faster, sometimes the horse just don’t want to. But as I look back I see that our life were meeting based not ‘life’ based, although Father did a great job in preparing Sharon and I for this journey we are now on during this time. Much of what He was revealing to us has led us here. The majority of the fellowship have formed their own group, but it is still based on having a meeting, they meet on Friday and Sunday and this is basically the only time they have anything to do with each other. These meetings can become as religious as IC, actually much of the house church meetings I have been involved in is as much IC as IC itself. I think that we can become religious about anything, even about not being religious.
    I personally don’t have an issue with IC or the fact the worship team plays great music or a man stands behind a pulpit from time to time to give a sermon. It is when our lives revolve around these meetings and only go as far as these meetings, I suppose this is the issue and we ourselves can be just as responsible for this as the system we have left.

  22. Ian Stapleton November 20, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    The fellowship I pastored before closing it down in June was always meant to be relational and participational, but after all is said and done it didn’t matter how much people were encouraged to participate they didn’t. It was a bit like whippng the horse to make the cart go faster, sometimes the horse just don’t want to. But as I look back I see that our life were meeting based not ‘life’ based, although Father did a great job in preparing Sharon and I for this journey we are now on during this time. Much of what He was revealing to us has led us here. The majority of the fellowship have formed their own group, but it is still based on having a meeting, they meet on Friday and Sunday and this is basically the only time they have anything to do with each other. These meetings can become as religious as IC, actually much of the house church meetings I have been involved in is as much IC as IC itself. I think that we can become religious about anything, even about not being religious.
    I personally don’t have an issue with IC or the fact the worship team plays great music or a man stands behind a pulpit from time to time to give a sermon. It is when our lives revolve around these meetings and only go as far as these meetings, I suppose this is the issue and we ourselves can be just as responsible for this as the system we have left.

  23. Miguel December 4, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Ian i just read yor comment and i expect to read this. I think that a word can help you is FRIENDSHIP. if we can focus on that instead meetings, we can go further. Learn to know each other walk closely each other, and im sure God will do the rest. My wife and I are in the same predicament, just now trying to open ourselves to new friends, meeting (ja ja) but unproposefully (aparently). We believe that in some point God is going to reveal somethng new. A great hug my friend. God inspire you

  24. Miguel December 4, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Ian i just read yor comment and i expect to read this. I think that a word can help you is FRIENDSHIP. if we can focus on that instead meetings, we can go further. Learn to know each other walk closely each other, and im sure God will do the rest. My wife and I are in the same predicament, just now trying to open ourselves to new friends, meeting (ja ja) but unproposefully (aparently). We believe that in some point God is going to reveal somethng new. A great hug my friend. God inspire you

  25. Nancy Fowler December 14, 2009 at 4:57 am

    This article so resonated with my heart. I too just want to be listened to and to listen.
    So many times during sermons I would think of things I wanted to respond with, but of course couldn’t at that point. And there never is another good time to start that, it seems. Sermons aren’t conversations… I wonder if boredom is the reason so many religious services have become so very contemporarily entertaining. Many services were so loud I found it difficult to communicate with Father while I was in that room. Right now I am out of IC but not yet in to any group. I do have, as Miguel puts it, friendships, but am hungry for more. Many friends from that time of IC still ask me when I am “coming back to church”. Sometimes I wonder if I should go back and somehow put up with the religious service in order to have connections with believers for the good stuff. That is to say, I’m wondering if Father is telling me that is what he wants me to do (since he can connect me with anybody at any time… yet he hasn’t so far). I don’t know yet!

  26. Nancy Fowler December 14, 2009 at 7:57 am

    This article so resonated with my heart. I too just want to be listened to and to listen.
    So many times during sermons I would think of things I wanted to respond with, but of course couldn’t at that point. And there never is another good time to start that, it seems. Sermons aren’t conversations… I wonder if boredom is the reason so many religious services have become so very contemporarily entertaining. Many services were so loud I found it difficult to communicate with Father while I was in that room. Right now I am out of IC but not yet in to any group. I do have, as Miguel puts it, friendships, but am hungry for more. Many friends from that time of IC still ask me when I am “coming back to church”. Sometimes I wonder if I should go back and somehow put up with the religious service in order to have connections with believers for the good stuff. That is to say, I’m wondering if Father is telling me that is what he wants me to do (since he can connect me with anybody at any time… yet he hasn’t so far). I don’t know yet!

  27. Locksmiths Milton Keynes August 5, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Christ is our saviour and I feel terrible that this post was created I look forward to going to church every single week to prey to my glorious lord, it brings me so much glory in my belly, Ohhhh feel the glory !!!

  28. Locksmiths Milton Keynes August 5, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Christ is our saviour and I feel terrible that this post was created I look forward to going to church every single week to prey to my glorious lord, it brings me so much glory in my belly, Ohhhh feel the glory !!!

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