Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Amusing Ourselves on Sunday...

I'm still taking a break from Blogging, but I can cut'n'paste, can't I?

I'm preaching on Sunday at Church on 1 Corinthians 3. In that Chapter, Paul warns those who like to pursue preachers for their sophistry and wise-sounding words:
V18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise.
I wonder whether our 'age' is not about sounding 'wise' but it is about being entertaining and 'holding attention' (maybe we aren't into sophistry) . If that were the case -- and I don't yet assume it is -- could we rephrase V18 thus? --
V18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is entertaining by the standards of this age, he should become "un-entertaining" so that he may become compelling.
I wonder if this is a possible application. And I wonder how we would actually do it (some of us wouldn't have to try too hard). I wonder how Paul expected leaders in Corinth to become a 'fool' (which is as odd as my rephrasing, let's face it).

All this comes because I read both Chapter 3 at the same time as THIS helpful article from CT. The writer assumes that Narrative (the narrative of the Gospel) is the antidote to preaching in an age of entertainment. Here is a quote:
To be sure, the church ministers in the entertainment culture, so it must find ways of arresting attention, engaging, inspiring, and motivating audiences immersed in this culture. It must also resist the insidious nature of entertainment discourse, which demands fragmentation, while having confidence that it offers something more engaging than entertainment: narrative. (...)

Let's not fill the church with collaborators. Let's join the resistance, a resistance that, if successful, will allow people to cohere and flourish in ways our culture can hardly imagine.
Do you wish to join the resistance?

________________

2 comments:

mandy m said...

"...some of us wouldn't have to try too hard..."

lol

thanks justin. I read the article...it was interesting (not entertaining though!)

I have a couple of questions -- (I guess they're mostly about 'up-the-front' ministries as such...I'm thinking but have come to no conclusions what this would mean for 'on-the-ground' stuff)

--Is this 'entertainment' mentality more prevelant/at a critical stage in the US compared to Aus?
-- (If so), how could it be avoided here?

-- How can you reconcile not wanting to be entertaining with wanting to make the message accessible? (In some ways, maybe this is where entertaining can't exactly fit as a substitution for wise???)

Justin said...

--Is this 'entertainment' mentality more prevelant/at a critical stage in the US compared to Aus?

Maybe, but its a danger for everyone.

-- (If so), how could it be avoided here?

The article suggested a reclaiming of 'narrative'. I found that interesting as a possibility.

How can you reconcile not wanting to be entertaining with wanting to make the message accessible?

Not sure yet. I worry that we make things accessible and then lose the power of the gospel.