Actually, that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that the top half of the church sign reads, "We live by faith, not by sight." So, can you imagine it? A bunch of people who emphatically don’t live by sight trying to dance together?
But seriously, folks, this church sign got me to thinking – to what extent should the church offer non-religious, "secular" activities such as dancing, aerobics, bridge or Oprah book clubs? Do these activities need to be splashed with a certain amount of religious content or prayer to be rightfully considered a church activity? Or is it simply natural that church folk gather together to do non-church things, too?
I’m not a believer that in order for some act to be religious or faith-filled it must be "religious" – ie, prayer, Bible study, devotion, etc.. I thoroughly and ardently believe that the stuff of our daily lives is God-given and God-blessed, and that ordinary, daily life is the primary avenue for faith activity, whether it is peppered with prayer or not.
That being said, such an awareness of faith-in-daily-life is developed over a period of living and reflecting, prayer and worship, growth and learning. Whereas we don’t want to straight-jacket our lives with rigid idols of prayer and spiritual discipline, we can’t deny that living a life of faith – even or especially in the ordinary moments of life – requires faithful reflection and formation in the community of faith.
So, where am I going with this? I guess I’d like to see our churches do two things:
1) recover prayer, Bible study, meditation and other "religious" activities from the realm of spiritual excess/perfection and return them to ordinary Christians to use in their daily lives; and
2) recover ordinary, daily life as the primary place of Christian living. Let’s lift up the vocations of the accountant, the engineer, the lawyer (etc.) as God-blessed avenues for faithful living, rather than lament some fake divide between Sunday faith and real life. (I wrote more about this here).
And sure, if churches want to host some bridge clubs or line dancing nights, that’s fine too.