June 21, 2015
What can churches learn from comedians who create an atmosphere of invitation and inclusion?
As one who has often been entrusted with the responsibilities of worship leadership--musically, liturgically, programmatically, administratively, etc.--I find deep resonance with your connection here, Bethany. You're describing precisely the attribute of worship that I've always felt it was my job, as worship leader, to try inspiring in the gathered faithful: that, just by showing up, they're part of something bigger than themselves. They're not there (or at least shouldn't be there) merely to observe or "take in" a drama, but to be an active part of it. They're not there (or at least shouldn't be there) merely to be ministered TO, but to take primary ownership of the ministry itself, to see themselves as integral to the whole outreach of the church to the world, beginning with the immediate outreach of the local congregation.
I think that sometimes we approach the drama of being together in Christ somewhat like we're "season ticket holders" rather than registrants on a Kingdom duty roster. But, as you say, when the church is doing its job, we should feel both received and sent, both welcome and assigned, relieved of our own burdens even as we're burdened for others.
Feels a little strange to jot you a note here, but I like this piece--and want to say so out-loud. You've pointed to some striking parallels between the ways that comedy forms community and the way church does. As I read this, I couldn't help thinking of an author you've put me onto, Emily Winderman, who traces the ways that pathos creates a kind of "adherence" or stickiness between people and cultural objects. Your piece helps me remember that feeling of "emotional adherence" that unites me, sometimes in surprisingly intense ways, with other enjoyers of a joke. ("Take my pathos--please.")
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