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Out of Context: John Ortberg on Amusing Worship

So many of our church gatherings are amusing, but are they arresting?

"To 'muse' means to reflect and ponder; put an 'a' in front of it and you have the absence of reflection. Amusement is a way of boredom-avoidance through external stimulation that fails to exercise our minds. It's mere diversion. It is a kind of performance-enhancing drug for an attention-deficit society. 'Amusement' is appealing because we don't have to think; it spares us the fear and anxiety that might otherwise prey on our thoughts.

"In the context of worship, amusement is a waste of time and a waste of life, and therefore a form of sin.

"To arrest someone's attention, on the other hand, is to cause them to sit up and take notice."

Excerpted from "What Does God Think of Entertainment?" in the Spring 2011 issue of Leadership Journal. To read the full quote IN context be sure to subscribe to Leadership today by clicking on the LJ cover in the left column.

John Ortberg is pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California.

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