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suit-business-man-business-man-37547I’ve heard time and time again that people want to be entertained in churches.

I’ll be honest: I do not feel like it’s my call to entertain people.  My call as a faith leader is to educate and engage people.  My call as a faith leader is to help people see God in every step of their lives, to see every person as made in God’s image, and to help people grow closer to God and neighbor.

Now, sometimes I’ll throw elements of entertainment into the worship services I plan.  But on the most part, I want people to feel like they are a part of the service and they are growing closer to God.

My main goal on a Sunday morning is not to entertain.

There are churches out there whose business it is to entertain people.  Good for them.  I’m saddened that more people would rather choose a church that is all about style rather than helping to transform churches of substance into something new for the twenty-first century.  I’m saddened that our smaller churches are compared to megachurches providing entertainment with a hefty budget and a charismatic leader.

This is a symptom of something larger going on in our world.  People always want to be entertained.  Sure, there has always been forms of entertainment.  And some has been more dangerous than others (see Roman Colosseum).  Yet in the past two decades, the desire to be entertained at all costs has risen greatly, and the want of style not exceeds substance.

Instead of being satisfied with 30-minute sitcoms, one-hour dramas, or two hour movies, our society became infatuated with reality TV shows.  Survivor.  Big Brother.

The Apprentice.

Love has been hijacked by whatever is found on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.  Friendship has been replaced by the Real Housewives of Whatevercityorcounty.  The Kardashians have become like family as we keep up with them each week.

And now it’s spilled over into our government.  The people would rather have an entertainer who places self, drama, and entertainment over seriously wanting what is best for our country.

Our country would rather have a charismatic entertainer who will do anything possible to keep people wanting more foolishness and drama than a serious politician who was probably the most qualified person for president ever.  The consequence is this: our siblings on this planet who are people of color, women, transgender, gender non-conforming, Muslim, disabled, chronically ill, and refugees/immigrants feel threatened because people want to keep the Entertainer-in-Chief.

Each day is like a new episode of a reality show nightmare.  From the hirings and firings to the speeches that would make my grandparents roll over in their graves, there is a train wreck happening, and somewhere in our minds, we can’t look away.  We are driven to continue to check in on our phones and tablets and laptops and 24-hour news channels to see what next mess has popped up.

We choose frivolity over seriousness.

I’m tired of having this communal addiction to entertainment.  If we really want to be entertained, let’s place our resources in fictional stories.  Binge-watch Netflix or Hulu for a few hours or days.  But let’s continue to keep drama and entertainment as part of our fiction.  Our church and our state should still be places which house wisdom instead of folly and substance over style.

Over and over again in the book of Proverbs, folly and foolishness are mentioned.  I’ll leave this one with you today.

“The mind of one who has understanding seeks knowledge,
but the mouths of fools feed on folly.”

Proverbs 15:14

May we rediscover the value of entertainment in it’s healthiest place.  May we value substance, and may wisdom be something holy that we seek.  Amen.