Sunday, December 3, 2023

Bored in Church: The Dilemma of Boredom in Church


By Jeff Arnette
    In our modern age, the church remains a sanctuary of faith, unity, and introspection. Within we come in search of solace, understanding, and a deepened connection with God. Yet, in a world brimming with distractions and an ever-shortening attention span, the sacred hush of the church can sometimes be mistaken for monotony. When worshipers drift into feelings of boredom and detachment, a complex dilemma arises. Is this boredom a reflection of a fleeting human emotion or a deeper disconnect with divine communion?
    The experience of church, for many, is both a refuge and a ritual. It’s a space where one can connect with the divine, find solace in community, and partake in age-old traditions. Yet, among the hymns and quiet reflections, a contemporary issue bubbles up – that of boredom. It isn’t uncommon to spot individuals who, while present in body, seem absent in spirit. They stand amidst the congregation, but their gaze is distant, their participation minimal. Such observations lead to the pivotal question: Is it okay to be bored in church?
    Upon posing this question, myriad responses emerge, painting a complex picture of modern worship. Some believers argue with fervor, suggesting that boredom is synonymous with spiritual disconnect. For them, the essence of church lies in unwavering attention and deep immersion in every aspect of the service, from the hymns sung to the words of the sermon.
    On the other side of the debate are those who offer a more lenient perspective. They argue that in our human journey of faith, there are bound to be moments of distraction and disinterest. This does not necessarily signify a weakening bond with God but rather reflects our imperfect human nature. Boredom, they suggest, is but a fleeting emotion, not a litmus test for the depth of one’s faith.
    While opinions might vary, they all touch upon a singular truth: the experience of church is deeply personal. What might be a moment of profound connection for one might seem monotonous to another. But as these varied responses suggest, the presence of boredom in church is not a simple matter of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but a topic demanding deeper introspection.

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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