I’m bored with church

JP: I searched online for a picture that represents boredom and realized I had cat photos and they always look bored.

Article below is from Dan Miller of Eden Baptist. See my additional comments below the quote:

Bored with Church


This counsel from the “boredom-killers” had a thread of truth woven into it. Many churches can be justifiably criticized for rendering boredom an art form. Bereft of spiritual vitality, sedated by dead ritual, and shackled by meaningless traditions, many churches have proven utterly bankrupt of all interest to even the most forgiving visitor. In this sense the warning sirens should be heeded.

But pull that single thread from the message of the “boredom killers” and the fabric unravels. Their message is fatally flawed on numerous counts. To focus here on just one deficiency, it unconscionably drops the heavy load of responsibility for boredom at the feet of the local church while entirely ignoring the role of individuals in the equation. Churches are chided for their bad performance while individuals are viewed as little more than morally neutral responders to group stimuli.

The error in this approach is that a church attender’s relationship with God is viewed as inconsequential to the equation, while at the same time his or her opinion about what should happen in a church service is given near canonical authority.

Perhaps two vignettes may open a window to a more balanced approach. There was a brief period of time when children from the neighborhood used to wander into my church office to say hello. The only motivation I can divine for young children visiting a middle-aged man working at a desk in the middle of the afternoon is a profound case of boredom on their part. Busy about my work, I was not usually the greatest company, but now and then I would stop to chat.

On one such day, a young boy found me typing out the words to Charles Wesley’s great hymn, “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing.” My young visitor inquired as to my intentions. I explained the song would be sung in our church on Sunday morning.

I read the words to him: “O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise, the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace.” I asked if he understood what I had read. He assured me he had no idea what those words meant or why anyone would find such an old hymn particularly interesting. He hated church and to suffer through such a song would, he explained, add new meaning to the word “boring.” That was a challenge I could not resist.

“What would happen,” I queried, “if you went to a Twins game—not just any Twins game but the seventh game of the World Series. The game is tied in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, two strikes, and no one on base, your favorite player hits a towering home run and wins the series! Would you cheer? The roar of the crowd would be deafening, yet you would add your voice to the thousands of fans screaming at the top of their lungs. And tell me, when you got home that night, would you tell anyone about your experience? Of course you would. You couldn’t wait to tell your friends all about the game.”

I continued: “That’s kind of why I want to sing ‘O For a Thousand Tongues’ in church on Sunday. One day, Jesus washed my sins away and made me his child. He redeemed me, rescuing me from hell and giving me a home in heaven. And there are times I wish I had a thousand tongues to sing praises to such an awesome Savior! I don’t find this song boring because it helps me express my heart’s passion and love for God.”

My speech failed to persuade my young friend who looked at me as if I had been speaking Latin for the last few minutes. Come to think of it, perhaps his expression mirrored that of many church visitors during the singing of Wesley’s great hymn—a look of confusion that betrays an inability to “relate” to such an outdated mode of expression.

Comments: If the Bible is open, I am not bored. The Scriptures and its truths are unfathomable in riches. Calvin called the doctrine of predestination a “labyrinth” for the mind. Likewise doctrines of the Trinity or salvation, or last things draw my attention! Kathee and I are now reading the Gospels (after a long season in the Old Testament! Good to be here!). We find the stories of our Savior so pleasingly wealthy with glorious truth!

Where Christians are, I am not bored. I love being with members of God’s family!

A story from my childhood: Before 1960 we lived in Fort Wayne Indiana. I had a real Bible-believing male Sunday school teacher back then. One day I announced to him, the young fool that I was!, that “the Bible was boring!”. He asked me if I had ever read it. His simple answer humbled me as I had not and I was ignorant of it!