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“spiritually meaningful fun.”


About half way down in the article, in a discussion about  Wednesday night church in the Baptist/Evangelical tradition.

Matheny said its congregation of retirees weren’t as interested in an anchored Wednesday night service as they were having spiritually meaningful fun.

So they have a variety of activities — ranging from movie and game nights to guest lectures – on different days or nights of the week.

That model could work on Wednesday nights, too, Matheny said.

“The local churches, at least the ones I see, are dying on the vine, and one reason they’re dying is they are not keeping up with the needs of their parishioners,” she said.


There we have it.  One of the clearest articulations of what’s really happening in the American church.  The perceived need of parishioners is “more fun.”  Churches need to provide more fun or risk dying on the vine.   I might be willing to concede that there exist some Americans that perhaps don’t have as much fun as they should.  I might be one of them, or so says my wife.  But my perspective is more along the lines of Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death.   Such an important idea, it rates it’s own Wikipedia entry.

Maybe, just maybe, that which has replaced “church” isn’t really “church” but is in fact something else.  In replacing the content of Wednesday night church with “spiritually meaningful fun” is there any indication that what was on the vine is alive?  My point is the organization may still exist but the mission and message is different.  Churches can serve a significant need for “community” and even “fun” for their members.  To be sure, community and fun are gifts from God,  But when the church ceases to that which is proper to it, that is, ceases to do that which no one else can do (proclaim God’s Word and administer the Sacraments), it ceases to be, properly, “church” and has become something else.

Don’t think this just has to do with Weds nights in Baptist churches either.  Of course all is not lost.  In some churches:

“Our Wednesday service looks nothing like what we do in our real lives,” he said. “We sit in a circle, sing old hymns and say corporate prayers.”


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