Colin Marshall published an article this week with a title that sounds strangely familiar, “Church Was Great! Let’s Not Talk About It.”
Here’s how Colin’s article begins:
We’ve just heard the Word read and proclaimed, sung the praises of our great God, and petitioned him for mercy in our time of need. And then we spend our time afterward talking about last night’s movie, the game, the hobby, the state of the nation, or whatever.Anything but the great truths of the gospel we’ve just heard and by which we’re saved. Why do we do this?
Then, he suggests a number of familiar reasons:
“Drive-thru church” doesn’t help. We have six other commitments on Sunday, so we aim to get through church as efficiently as possible on the way to the next thing. Some of us have just never thought about having conversations about the sermon (apart from pestering the preacher about something). Others know it’s crazy to talk about everything but God, yet they still feel uncomfortable striking up “spiritual” conversations. We’ve never been in a context where this is normal. Sometimes, perhaps too often, we leave the service with no sense of engaging with God by Word and Spirit, and so we have nothing to say to anyone.
For still more, the underlying problem is our consumer view of church—an unsurprising consequences of “what’s in it for me” contemporary Western culture. “Church is put on for me by the professionals and their teams,” we assume. With this mindset, engaging in spiritually encouraging conversations certainly won’t be on the agenda.
Ironically, those with a serving mindset—the antithesis of consumerism—can also find it difficult to get into “God talk” at church. The busyness of serving can keep us from stopping to encourage others and can let us feel we’ve done enough by helping to organize things.
At least one or two of these dynamics will ring true for any of us. Click here for some of Colin’s suggestions for how to think and talk about Sunday.
Then, looking forward to Sunday morning, read and talk about 1 Peter 1:13, the text for this Sunday’s sermon: “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”