Sunday Night Nausea

Here is the church

Here is the steeple

Open the door and …

And … just as I thought. The people are where they usually are on Sunday night. It gets harder and harder to make sound decisions about where we are going to spend Sunday night.

The commandment calls to us: “Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.” As for the Sabbath night—it is the night on which the TV superspectaculars beckon us to turn from the church and gaze into the blue glare. But what of Brother Drably’s sermon series and the youth musical?

I remember how for years my children complained that the wicked witch of the West had first died in 1939, and yet 30 years later they had never seen a Munch-kin. Oh, how they begged to stay home from Sunday night church and watch The Wizard of Oz. It seemed a small sacrifice at the time, but now the great serialized movies—Shōgun, Centennial, The Thorn Birds—all come on Sunday night. How can the church ever compete? Tom Sawyer once lamented, “Church ain’t shucks to the circus.” Tom spoke volumes about the lack of enthusiasm that many adults and most children feel, “Church ain’t shucks to Sunday night television, either.” Given a choice between video extravaganza and the droll show study series on “Israel in Nomadic, Precivilization History,” Sunday night church doesn’t stand much of a chance.

Some churches suffer needlessly. They may allow their Sunday P.M. show to degenerate into a kind of unplanned drift into “Singspirations” in which the “sing” never seems to have as much “spiration” in it as we would like, or a lecture film series on the Mark of the Beast and Israel’s return to Sinai. Or the church might spend big bucks to bring in a Schaeffer film series or a Dobson/Landorf film series. Sometimes a ...

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