In a recent release of Leadership Journal, there were several articles written to address entertainment and spiritual formation in our culture today. The titles and questions provoke some good thought: “What Does God Think of Entertainment? A tool. A gift. A trap. It’s all part of the world we minister in”, “The Red Bull Gospel: It takes more than pizza and video games to give young people a faith that endures”, “Taming the Image: People engage electronic media an average of 8 hours a day. Do they really need more at church?”, “Human Hands, God’s Fingerprints: Can you plan worship experiences that generate worshipful people rather than spoiled consumers?”, and “Breaking the Mold: Christian formation means not letting the world press us into its mold.”
In our entertainment- and consumer-driven culture, pastors and leaders get confused and distracted by entertaining people rather than pastoring and transforming them. “Paul was asking the Romans to consider the larger forces that formed people into Romans. Then he wanted them to consider how Jesus transformed Romans into Christians. For us, rather than simply asking how to make Americans Christian, we first need to ask what makes Americans American, and then decipher how Jesus can transform Americans into Christians. That allows us to see substantive progress in spiritual formation.”*
Consider the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 12, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you” (Romans 12:1-2 MSG).
Maybe the problem is that a solution is being offered to a culture that doesn’t see a problem. Do you see a problem with entertainment in our culture? Is there a line between entertainment being a tool or a trap? How do we lead well so Jesus can transform us into HIS image?