At my adult Sunday-school class yesterday my friend Lee referenced a man who had said he wanted to be a Christian, but was going to wait a few years and have some fun first. The man's statement reflected not only ignorance but deception. Ignorance because he obviously didn't know the truth about following Jesus, and deception because his foundational belief about a life of faith reflects a lie that has been told and re-told so often that it's accepted as fact by a majority - people not only of the secular world but people in the Christian world too.
Even church-goers often think that they have to get their "fun" elsewhere and then return to God for periodic forgiveness. But it's a LIE! The community of faith is authentic fun because it's the fun we were designed to experience; a life of faith offers far more pleasure and satisfaction than the counterfeit. The truth is I had a ball - all day long - yesterday, and it was all 100% directly related to being a committed part of the community of faith where I worship.
- Playing guitar with the Praise Band brings me genuine pleasure
- Singing great music with hundreds of enthusiastic people is a blast
- Rebekah's sermon was challenging, educational and full of inspiration; the church was full of laughter; it was a good time
- My Sunday-school class are a lot of fun to be around
- We gathered canned food and dollars for the "Souper-Bowl" hunger emphasis and then ate home-made chili for a youth fund-raiser
- Later we gathered with our "POGs" small group to eat dinner together, to care for one another, and to watch the Super Bowl. If you haven't watched stupid commercials with a group your best friends in the context of supportive, nurturing community... then your definition of "FUN" may well be too narrow.
So we're told that people of faith are fun-deprived, and we're also told that fun and pleasure are best defined in terms of excess. If a glass of wine is enjoyable, then drinking lots of alcohol is fun; If a nice house gives joy, then a much larger house equals more joy; If a $15,000 car brings me pleasure, then a $30,000 car is that much more pleasurable; if sex is enjoyable, then more sex with more people is even better...
Our culture has built an entire economy on the premise that more is always better and that we must have (much) more if we want to be happy. But it is a lie, and it's a part of the lie that keeps us constantly moving exactly away from the one direction where joy and fun and satisfaction and pleasure are realized on a day-by-day basis.
This is a theme I'll probably pick up again later. So much to think about; so much to consider in A Life Examined; so much promise and hope because this faith-life is always so vibrant and real.
Grace and Peace - DEREK