I love movies. I can recall as a child how excited I was when I knew I was going to the movies. The old theatre may have been small and the screen may have had numerous holes in it from the local outlaws who threw things at the screen when the owner wasn't looking, but for me it was a personal adventure I could not resist.
At the movies, I could go across the earth in an instant and be in Africa on Safari, with wild Lions and Rhino's roaming the plains. The experience of the movies took me from the tiny little town I lived in to a world that expanded my thinking, my imagination, and my dreams.
I still love movies although I am so frugal that the price of a ticket makes me cringe. With popcorn, Junior Mints, and a cold Diet Coke I am armed and ready for new adventures.
Something that I have noticed is that my taste in movies is not shared by most people. I enjoy independent films, documentaries, and films that explore some pretty heavy subjects. I have found that most people just like to be entertained; lots of special effects, a car crash every few seconds, and plenty of explosions. Those kind of movies are not appealing in the least to me.
I am often reminded how people have different tastes in books, films, hobbies, and food. It is all very understandable - we simply like different things.
I also have realized that people have different tastes when it comes to church. I have been going to church services all my life and one thing has remained the same. When people leave a church service they often critique it like a movie, usually among friends over lunch - what did you think? Did you like that new song? Was the sermon too long? too loud? too boring? to controversial? I thought that prayer would never end. What did you think? How would you rate it?
Like the movies, church sometimes gets great reviews, sometimes not. Honestly, I think our personal tastes have a great deal to do with the review we give. After 30 years of "doing church", I am amazed at how the reviews of a particular service are often so different. I really should not be - the tastes of the church consuming public vary widely.
Just a thought, but perhaps our primary concern should be whether God was encountered and did he speak to us. Often when I am preparing for a church service the encounter I have with God is startling - he shows up in a scribbled note in the margin of my Bible or a line in a sermon that I just quickly wrote down, almost without thinking. God is full of surprises and is always coming around when we least expect it. Who knows - God may even show up at a church service that is less than perfect.
Just thinking, Steve