If you were in Jackson Hole, Wyoming this past Sunday, you could have attended a worship service on top of a ski mountain. While enjoying snacks and coffee, you could have been enlightened by a sermon entitled, “Spiritual Lessons in Skiing and Snowboarding.”
No doubt, there was some pretty hefty theology going on there.
I actually don’t mind using an activity to illustrate spiritual truth, Jesus did it all the time. However, a couple points:
1) Parables kept people from seeing the truth. When you look at Jesus’ explanation of why He taught in parables, He didn’t do it so people would understand, He did it because they couldn’t understand. Jesus was talking to a group of hardened people, so He shared stories, but only the disciples got the interpretation–only those who could see and hear for real got true teaching. When people have to use stories to keep your attention on spiritual things, it’s not a good sign. However, it might be a good introduction and hopefully will spur further questions to find truth.
2) Why do cheesy events replace church? There are 24 hours of 6 other days of the week to cheapen biblical teaching in such ways, why does church have to be cancelled to go have fun on a ski mountain? I’m all for fun on a ski mountain, but seriously, there is no other time to do this besides Sunday morning during church? It’s like people who cancel church to do service projects in the neighborhood. There’s just something wrong with that. What were they all doing Saturday? Is service only done if I can miss church to do it? Why not take some time from our copious levels of leisure to do service instead of cancelling church for it? Just a pastoral pet-peeve.
I know, I know, this is how people who may have aversions to attending church might be more comfortable in a neutral setting. blah, blah, blah. What you attract them with you keep them with.
Preach the word, in season and out.