Nigel Barber via a blog in Psychology Today wrote about “The psychology and social impact of spectators,” published in 2001. It was delightful reading about someone else spouting off on a seeming commonality between our sports world and religion. Like sports, people do use times of worship as a vehicle to take a ride with friends.
We do entertain ourselves and not just with sports. I do not think of seeking pleasure in worship as bad. My preference of the repetitive fashions in Eastern Orthodox worship strikes common cords in my personality.
Nigel exclusively framed, along with Daniel Wann, et. al. the whole issue as if religion were just a more complexed social activity. I agree with them, but only to a degree. My disagreement might be offensive, though, to many friends within Christianity. For me, what Nigel Barber pointed at in “Is sport a religion?” is the effect of our fitting God to self, rather than the other way around.
Jesus statement, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” (Jn 6:26) is as common today. In ways I see myself as part of the crowd Jesus pushed away. Again, I don’t see desiring worship that fits best to me as wrong. I see the problem resting in our exclusively fashioning worship for comforts sake. I am afraid that our seeking what harmonizes well with self too deeply is also an insidious effort to keep God at a distance.
A complaint as common as fights between couples is boredom. When the couple avoid conflict so that only a few common cords are struck between them, they effectively hold themselves hostage. I am concerned that this is an unspoken function in all denominations of Christianity.