Friday, December 2, 2011

Religious Theater

Job 15:34, "For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery."

Across America people say, "Let's go to 'Church'." I believe this phrase is better rendered, "Let's go to the Show!" Why you ask? That's easy. 'Church' has become a 'Show'. It's entertainment. It has become, theater! Religious theater!

We have the theater itself, a.k.a. the 'Church' building. It has everything we need. There's a large marquee outside advertising what's inside. Large screens, state of the art sound systems, expensive lighting, recording equipment and facilities, exits, stadium seating, aisles, a stage, instruments and orchestras, choirs and quartets, singing specials, skits and plays. It's set up like a theater. Not all theaters are the same. They have their own rules and ways of doing things. Some theaters are very large and some are very small. The very large ones even have the little ones entertained in their special classes with games, crafts and activities with their own mini-theaters. They're so cute!

There are those involved in managing the choreography of not just the Christmas plays, but also the every week services. This is the Production staff that set-up and break down scenery and decor. There are those who set up the sound and lighting backstage. Ushers are placed in the aisles and at the doors. They all work together to put on a great 'Show'. Why? Because they are sincere in what they do.

Then there are the Actors and Players. The actors include those who put on the show itself. Some sing. Some preach. Some give testimonials in front of an audience. They make sure that there is something there for everyone. Some are sincere, some are 'hams'. Some over act and some are just extras. Some just want to get into 'The Act'. The preacher gets emotional when he speaks. In some theaters he is backed-up by a choir or an organ as he reaches the crescendo of his message. Great emotion is invoked all throughout the theater. Some people are brought to tears. Others hide their true feelings.

Then there's the audience. The goal is for the audience to be moved. They go up to the front, kneel down at the steps in front of the stage and soak the carpet with their tears. Or, they come up and greet the speaker with a handshake and whisper some words in his ear. Some ask to be accepted into the theater's membership so that they can come every week. And they are willing to pay. The admission price tag is ten percent of their income each week. The staff doesn't call it a membership fee, or season tickets, or even an admission fee, but they might as well have. Why? Because it's the same thing. Some get a package deal within the theater. The more they pay, the more they get involved. Some want to get into the 'Show' themselves. But to play, they have to pay! If they are not contributing their fees, they are not welcome to participate in putting on the 'Show'.

The sad thing is, the majority just want to see God in their lives. They go to the place they think will bring them to Him. Why? Because everyone else goes to the 'Show' for the same reason. The Problem is, most of the time He isn't there. This is not His theater. He never set one up. The audience isn't to blame, really. It's those 'Actors' who need to perform. The Bible has another name for them. They are called, hypocrites. In the above text in Job we see that there are congregations of hypocrites  They engage in bribery. Sounds a lot like those who pay to play, doesn't it? A curtain of fire will descend upon this theater at the end of the longest running play ever conceived. This is a play that has gone on since creation began. There are plays within plays and theater within theater. It is Religious Theater. It was created by Satan. It is Produced by Satan. It is Promoted by Satan. It is directed by Satan. Are you an 'Actor'? Are you a performer? Are you a stagehand? Are you a part of the audience? What is your role?

Jesus doesn't want actors and stagehands. He wants His children back. Let's stop going to and paying for a 'Show'. Let's start living as the organism of fellowship He created. He meant us to be a living community of believers to win souls and assemble with free admission. He never intended us to be hypocrites in a side-'Show' called Satan's Religious Theater.

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