A Culture of Spectators ~ Something to Think About

There are a few expressions that I would like to repeat:

“Christianity began as a company of lay witnesses, that has become a professional troop of performers, financed by lay spectators.” (author unknown)

“Christian idolatry can be seen when believers: worship their work, work at their play,  and play at their worship.” (author unknown)

“Christianity began in Judea as a community, was taught in Greece as a philosophy, was conducted in Rome as an institution,  permeated Europe as a culture, in America became a lifestyle, which today has turned into a business.” (Brent Bolin)

In 21st century America we have become a society of spectators.  We practice watching people live, which can only be done when we momentarily stop living ourselves.

We watch television, we watch theater movies, we watch rented videos and DVD’s, we watch plays, we watch musicals, we watch music videos, we watch music concerts, we watch lounge acts, we watch standup comedians, we watch casino shows, we watch basketball, we watch baseball, we watch football, we watch soccer, we watch golf, we watch billiards tournaments, we watch the Olympics, we watch dog shows, we watch rodeos, we watch dancing, we watch auto racing, we watch dirt bike racing, we watch fishing, we watch hunting, we watch TV Evangelist, we watch choirs, we watch Teachers, we watch Preachers, we watch as others live life, and worst of all we watch each other, caring too much what others think, rather than doing what God has told us to do.

However, we are told to be doers, and not hearers only.1  In fact we are told:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

What the Holy Spirit is saying through James is that IF you are a hearer only, you are deceiving yourself.  The text goes on to say,

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.”2

This allegory illustrates that if all you do is hear in regards to the Word of God, and don’t do what it says, its like briefly looking at your reflection, but forget it as soon as you leave the mirror – you go live life and forget what the Word says – practice keeps the Word of God alive in your life.

A final expression to think about is found on a cathedral in Lubeck, Germany, which states:

Thus speaketh Christ our Lord to us:
Ye call Me Master and obey Me not.
Ye call Me Light and see Me not.
Ye call Me Way and walk Me not.
Ye call Me Life and choose Me not.
Ye call Me Wise and follow Me not.
Ye call Me Fair and love Me not.
Ye call Me Rich and ask Me not.
Ye call Me Eternal and seek Me not.
Ye call Me Noble and serve Me not.
Ye call Me Gracious and trust Me not.
Ye call Me Might and honor Me not.
Ye call Me Just and fear Me not.
If I condemn you, blame Me not.

1. James 1:22
2. James 1:23-24



  1. Thought provoking… I love the quote found in Germany. It made me think about myself and my relationship with Christ. How I treat it, nurture it. Do I care for my Lord in the way He would have me do so? Most definately not. Brent, you always humble me and bring me to my knees when I need it most…thank you friend. Blessings~~ ( I know I have certainly recieved mine today!~~)


  2. Nonni,
    Thank you for your kind words. The courage of taking ownership is where the Holy Spirit begins to do a work in our lives; at least this is how it is in my walk with the Lord. I appreciate your humility concerning this essay, and I know I don’t need to say the following but for those others that may read this – the following may be appropriate (in consideration of your comment about me humbling you in bringing you to your knees – I understand how you meant that and thank you, yet for those other eyes watching I need to communicate the following – because I don’t see my calling as attempting to humble others, as much as that is to share what I have went through or am currently going through in regard to my Christian walk in God’s Word) .

    I would like to share something with you if I may (I know this sounds like counselor-speak – actually I use it as an indication that I’m going to get personal). What I’m about to say is absolutely true, not stated to sound good or even humble.

    You see it is I that am sitting on the couch watching TV, it is I that become preoccupied with DVD’s, it is I that spend way too much time surfing on the Internet for things which may be political, or controversial. It is I that becomes too preoccupied with what others think.

    You see these words are not meant to be words to others in order to bring conviction to them alone; these are words to us as human beings; with myself as a primary example of the appropriateness of the issue. Many times whenever I present essays that sound as this one does; harsh, convicting, Judgmental; originally, I add in comments concerning my own guilt within the issue.

    Yet, as the person that I turned to for insight readily and repeatedly tells me; I need to take those personal things out – to condense, to stick to the point; I end up deleting many of those confessions.

    It is God, and God alone that knows my heart. While I do admit to a certain spiritual, a spiritual superiority, which I hate to admit and recognize as spiritual pride; which is detestable; that should never detract from speaking the truth.

    If it is true, that we could only speak about subjects that we would master ourselves, and we were legitimately and wholeheartedly honest with ourselves, the issues that we would be able to talk and teach about would be very few.

    Every time as human beings that we feel like we have mastered a particular problem in our life, we need to watch out – because that is the greatest opportunity we have, because of pride and self-confidence; to fall into that very sin. Hence, the necessity of the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul, when he states:

    “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)

    To know me, is to know that I make myself sick. I am more aware than anyone else that these issues that I write about are issues that I have issues with.

    I have been guilty of just about everything that I throw out there for others to mull over, otherwise there were not be any reason to put it out there – if I don’t find it applicable to others as well.

    This is sometimes referred to as Projection, but I hate the idea that psychology would take a human reaction as attempt to gain credit concerning the observation.

    As an old teacher used to say to me; if the preacher is always talking about sexual sin, guess what he has on his mind all the time – and therefore thinks others do as well.

    It is human nature to think that others deal with the same things that we deal with (and psychology’s observation concerning “Projection” is rather a human observation in which they deserve no more credit than the old teacher who made these comments to me decades ago – it is an obvious observation concerning human nature).

    It is Jesus, and Jesus alone that deserves our preeminence, yet look at how much time I have spent in this comment speaking about myself.

    I prove the point in my own behavior of how I, as most human beings become a adamant spectator – a speaker, per sa, rather than a “doer,” even if the subject matter is: “me.”

    On that note, let me shut-up. bb


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