Sunday, December 3, 2023

Bored in Church: The Layers of Boredom Amidst Worship

By Jeff Arnette
Boredom, a seemingly simple emotion, takes on intricate layers within the church. At first glance, it might be dismissed as transient, yet upon deeper reflection, it’s evident that this emotion touches the very core of one’s relationship with worship. In understanding boredom, one is not just confronting a momentary lapse of interest, but addressing the dynamics of personal faith, engagement, and the very essence of worship.
    Within the church, every hymn sung, every scripture read, and every sermon delivered aims to connect the soul to the divine. However, boredom can creep in, even in this spiritual setting, leading us to question the nature of this disinterest. Is it a mere reaction to the external surroundings or a reflection of our internal spiritual state?
    When we dissect the idea of boredom, its initial description paints a picture of disinterest towards our surroundings. However, in the context of worship, its implications are more profound. Disinterest during worship, when hymns are sung and scriptures are read, might indicate a mental and emotional closing off, a barrier erected between oneself, and the divine message being conveyed.
    But, as humans, it’s also essential to recognize that sometimes our disinterest isn’t necessarily about worship but about our personal state of mind. Often, we associate the feeling of boredom with the absence of enjoyment or entertainment. This association can be especially problematic in a church setting. Worshipers might find themselves disengaged because the hymns aren’t familiar or because the sermon doesn’t resonate with their immediate concerns. Such feelings could be mislabeled as boredom when, in reality, they’re about unmet personal preferences or expectations.
    The danger here lies in the potential shift of focus. If one begins to evaluate church services based on personal enjoyment or entertainment value, the essence of worship risks being overshadowed. For instance, the choice of hymns or the style of a sermon should not be the yardstick measuring the ‘worth’ of a service. To equate personal preferences with the quality of worship is to misunderstand the very essence of faith and community.
    In this light, the challenge is to discern the roots of our boredom. Is it a fleeting sentiment, borne out of a misalignment between personal expectations and the worship experience? Or is it indicative of a deeper spiritual disconnect, where the heart and mind are no longer in harmony with the spirit of worship?
    Thus, the journey to understand boredom in church is a call to introspection. It beckons worshippers to delve deep into their feelings, recognize the transient nature of emotions, and recommit to the true essence of their faith and worship.

- 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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