By Elizabeth Prata
Where are your eyes looking? What’s claiming your attention?
The church was the one institution whose mission depended on galvanizing attention; through its daily and weekly offices, as well as its sometimes central role in education, that is exactly what it managed to do. At the dawn of the attention industries, then, religion was still, in a very real sense, the incumbent operation, the only large-scale endeavor designed to capture attention and use it. ~Tim Wu: The Attention Merchants
These days there are competing operations, all vying for our attention.
For politics, power, war, sex, sports, social media, gaming, or entertainment the best spectacles grab mass attention. Our culture is no longer banded together by shared beliefs; it’s drawn together by shared spectacles. ~Tony Reinke, Competing Spectacles
If culture is no longer banded together through shared beliefs but by shared spectacles, what of the church, where we’re supposed to be banded by beliefs but now share only spectacles? Woe!
Hopefully your church hasn’t sunk into the idea that maintaining a spectacle is the only way to capture a person’s attention. It’s our beliefs that unite us, with that three-fold cord not easily broken.
When a preacher lifts up Christ crucified, it is the premier spectacle that captures us, the doctrines around that cross are the only draw that holds us together. Not concerts or hot dog barbecues or revival extravaganzas. Those spectacles hold attention only for a moment. Just the preaching of Christ and Him crucified is the pivotal sight before our eyes.
I pray your Lord’s Day is filled with the Word, song, prayer, fellowship, and the saturation of the shared belief that sustains and nurtures our souls.