As an addendum to the previous post, (read that first if you haven’t yet), I submit this for your consideration:
If people use entertainment primarily as a means to dull the pain and drudgery of their meaningless, empty lives, – to forget about how ultimately futile their existence is for an hour or two or ten – why do church leaders remain convinced that the way to get people to see the true meaning of their lives is by using entertainment? Does that not send a mixed message?
For example, here is how the L.A. Times reported last weekend’s big evangelistic events in Southern California:
Sumo wrestling for Jesus, religious motocross stunts and a dose of Christian testosterone.
That’s a sampling of the lineup this weekend as a trio of large-scale Christian events descends upon Anaheim and Los Angeles. …
At Saturday’s Latino-oriented Festival Bajo el Sol, teens and young
adults can enter break-dancing contests, fling themselves against a
Velcro wall, wrestle with friends wearing inflatable sumo costumes and
respond to an altar call profession of faith led by a minister named
Meanwhile, in Orange County, the 16th annual Harvest Crusade kicks off
with Christian concerts and motorcycle daredevils as the lead-in to
Riverside Pastor Greg Laurie’s 25-minute sermons and altar calls.
The reporter notes that
The gatherings … highlight a gnawing problem for modern evangelists:
how to keep things fresh and relevant in the face of shrinking
attention spans and competition from secular entertainment. …
John Collins, director of planning for the Harvest Crusade, said his
team is constantly tinkering with formats, technology and staging to
keep the crusades from getting stale.
"It’s a challenge," he said. "We attempt to mix it up every year."
First of all, if the proclaiming the truth of the gospel is "stale", you aren’t preaching the right gospel. And secondly, secular entertainment is not the "competition" for the gospel; its widespread use is a symptom of the void in people’s lives that the gospel is intended to fill.
If people understood the true meaning of their lives, they wouldn’t bother with wasting so much of their time on entertainment. They would be out striving to be good soldiers and athletes for Christ (1 Cor. 9, Phil. 3, 2 Tim 4). If a revival broke out and everyone truly accepted the gospel and became followers of Christ, the entertainment industry would cease to exist as we know it. (Authentic Christians have fun in their lives, but they don’t waste precious time and money on the frivolity (and often immorality) that is the norm for entertainment these days.)
By using "entertainment" as a calling card for evangelism, these ministers are unwittingly endorsing the very worldview that is, in fact, the competition for the gospel.