I'm of the opinion that life in 2005 has become merely a spectator sport. It's a cosmic NASCAR race where 140,000 watch 40 go around in circles for hours. It's great entertainment while it lasts and you can watch it from the side, maybe with a hotdog and a coke. When that's over there's always someone doing something else that you can watch. There's xtreme sports and xtreme games and any of a dozen xtreme makeovers. Instead of encouraging people to live life outside of the box, they've simply become another market to attract those many who watch those few live life to it's fullest. Reality television. It's the ultimate oxymoron. We now watch job interviews, trips around the world, boring blind dates, idiot celebrities behaving badly, and questionable cuisine choices. These events all used to take place only in the private lives of the participants involved, but we became so depsperate for more things to watch that we had to dig for more. Bruce Springsteen once had a song "57 channels and nothin on". I guess that was before digital and satellite. Now there is no limit to the channels with nothing on. We ought to just get rid of the television and try some "reality life". I know, I know, if you had no television how would you be able to (watch) the news and find out what is going on. How about making some news of your own. Take this blog for example, if anyone is in fact reading it. Blogs have become one of the fastest growing segments of communication media. The wierdness though is that they were meant to be interactive. Do you notice the place for comments at the end. I read many, many, many peoples blogs and rarely do I see where anyone has responded to them.
I have a rock in Seattle where I view life from. (Notice I said view) I sit down at the Starbucks on Alki beach, not far from my home, nearly every Monday morning. It is interesting that in a place created to be gathering space, what it gathers most of is other individuals who are watching. The individuals many times far outnumber the groups who are interacting. And we watch. Our church has developed a tag line recently that reads "Share a real life experience here". I realized the other day that this is indeed coming to pass in our church as it has in many across our culture. It's coming to pass if a real life experience is now watching life go by. So many people are more interested in entertainment than they are in encounter. They want to watch faith and avoid experiencing it. Or they want to experience it and can't find out how by observing other spectators. The problem with entertainment faith is that you only experience it if nothing better is available. If your life offers nothing more entertaining that church you have a problem. We are entertaining ourselves to death. Faith was meant to be experienced, to be encountered, to be lived out. You don't get to be one of the great cloud of witnesses until you are dead. I'm at a loss as to how to encourage encountering faith over entertaining faith. I'd ask for your input, but then again, I realize that you'd have to respond. And then you wouldn't be watching anymore would you?