Fun is the new core value.

So argues Matt LaBash in a Weekly Standard piece that is more dreary than insightful.  LaBash thinks it’s necessary, it seems, to overwhelm us with examples of how ‘fun’ has risen to the top of corporate America’s values.   While a list of fun oriented people and activities does not a profound piece of prose make, LaBash’s piece does highlight an important phenomenon that exists outside the bounds of corporate America as well.

Life must be fun.  When things get hard or worse, boring, we check out.  As Dan Burrell points out at SharperIron, at some point this notion took hold of youth pastors and leaders, with rather unsuccessful results.  It is a problem I have addressed in the past (and the effects of it as well), so I read Dan’s suggestions with interests and approval.

  • Emphasize Teaching, Not Activities

  • Provide a “Grownup” Youth Pastor

  • Challenge Teens Toward Maturity

  • Spotlight Prioritizing

  • Teach Doctrine, Apologetics, and Rhetoric

  • Encourage Service and Ministry

  • Promote Cross-Generational Interaction

  • Include the Pastor in the Ministry

  • Create a Positive Spirit Toward the Youth

  • Train and Equip Parents, Not Just Teens

You can read his post for fuller explanations of each item.  At the core of it, it seems ‘fun’ is being bandied about as an adequate substitute for meaningful, important work.  Make a worker understand why they are working, give them a sense of satisfaction at a job well done, and the need to have ‘fun’ will evaporate.

So too with young people–help them see the meaning behind their lives and activities, and they too will learn to appreciate the deeper joys of life, rather than continuing to be placated by the gods of fun.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

One Comment

  1. Wow, this speaks volumes- especially when we are talking about church. Kids today speak of how fun church was, or was not. Our youth ministries in churches are trying so hard to be fun and to entertain children and students rather than try to teach them the Word of God.

    -cornelia seigneur


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