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When you think about your community of believers, what words come to mind? What descriptors would you apply to the group of people you share faith and do life with? What are your gatherings like? These questions apply to your church, the other organized gatherings you participate in like Bible studies or home groups, and pretty much any way you and your Christian community do life together. I hope that one of the words that comes to mind for you in describing your people is "partiers." If titles like "partiers" and "party people" are foreign to you in a Christian context, I would like to change that. I am on a mission to redeem the word "party" because I believe Christians could be the best partiers in the whole world, and that it is our God-given right, even our God-given mandate, as sons and daughters of the Most High and inheritors of eternal life to party like there is a tomorrow — and an infinite number of tomorrows to follow that.
Here are a few reasons I think Christians could be the best partiers in the world:
Christians have the best reason to party. There is no people group in the history of the world who have a better reason to party than Christians. We know the true God, and better than that, we know Him as our Father. We've been saved from the death of our sin into the life of Christ. If that's not a good reason to throw a party, I don't know what is.
We're a family. We've been saved out of orphanhood and slavery into sonship. We have a Father in God, a brother in Jesus, and the common DNA and kinship of the Holy Spirit. We've been adopted into the biggest and best family of all time. What better way is there to bond and to enjoy each other as family than partying? Healthy families know how to celebrate together.
Partying breaks us out of get-'er-done mode. So often, we approach God and we approach our gathering with a mindset of list-checking, problem-solving and goal-accomplishing. We gather because we're supposed to (which I guess is better than not gathering at all). But the truth is, relationship and celebration are ends in and of themselves because they are both ways of participating in the glory of God. Sometimes it's good to just spend time with God for the sake of spending time with God and the same goes for our spiritual family. Sometimes, we just want to be together and party because we love each other. There is no better way of breaking out of a utilitarian mindset toward God and toward the church than by partying.
Partying is good practice for eternity. I mean, seriously, as crazy as it sounds, as Christians we believe we're going to be celebrating together for eternity — let's get the partying started now. Our hope in the resurrection and eternal life is a sound one. Don't be shy about celebrating that.
We experience God through each other. We love to be together because we experience grace and God's presence when we gather.
Partying is fun!
Here are a few inhibitors that prevent us from partying well:
A mindset that church is only about sitting in pews and fixing problems. There is so much more to your salvation, more to church, and more to holiness than regulating your behavior and stopping sinning. Your identity as a Christian is one who gathers, worships, celebrates, is thankful, sings songs, and enjoys family life. Own it.
Westerners can be a stodgy bunch. Good partying takes practice, and western cultures often need a lot of help in loosening up. This is OK. As we mentioned before, you've got an eternity of partying to look forward to. Start wherever you're at. Richard Foster, in his book Celebration of the Disciplines, actually talks about the discipline of celebration. That's right, as oxymoronic as it sounds, it takes lots of intentionality and, yes, discipline to party really well. Personally, I love this, because it means partying can be approached as an art form.
A puritanical (in the bad sense of the word) belief that, for some reason, being jovial and happy together isn't a Christian thing to do. C. S. Lewis communicated this balance quite well. On one hand, in books like The Weight of Glory, he recommends the we have a certain sobriety toward each other, knowing that we are eternal, holy, sacramental creatures who image God. One the other hand, in The Chronicles of Narnia series and elsewhere, Lewis portrays extravagant parties and celebration as beautiful and important things redeemed people do together. You can be a sober-minded saint and a rad partier at the same time.
In the New Testament, no other story uses the word "celebrate" more than the story of The Prodigal Son found in Luke 15. After the wayward son has returned from years of being lost, his father, who represents God, says, "‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate." The Father's heart is that partying follows redemption and the restoration of relationship.
During the party, the older brother in this family get's offended at the liberality his father is showing to his younger brother, who really deserves judgment instead of a party. The father says to him, "Son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” He actually goes so far as to say they had to party! I love it. Brothers and sisters, you officially have permission and are encouraged to party like Christians, that is, to party a lot, to party well, to party like family, and to party like those who have hope.
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-- I think many times as Christians we forget that God wants us to be happy. If you look at the Old Testament, God commands the Israelites to celebrate certain things and He encourages them to be joyful. And then there are the modern day Christians, with our somber expressions, telling the world how hard it is to be a Christian and giving such an unattractive face to Jesus. Christianity is certainly not a walk in the park in our society but aren't we told to consider it all joy either way?
--Christians used to believe that you had a choice, you could be happy in thins world or you can be happy in the next. And there is certainly a lot to be said for that idea. There is the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. There is Jesus teaching about celebrating when the you have the bride groom, there being time for fasting later. But then again a part of the mystery of the Incarnation is that God has sanctified human pleasures. I suppose that it is a matter of balance. And we can't forget Jesus' command. When we throw a party we are to invite the poor.
--Hunting parties, dinner parties, sometimes working parties...
Just doing stuff with people that we enjoy doing stuff with....... Music and dancing ain't mandatory.
--I think this is a much needed article. Honestly, Christians around me and myself even tend to be like, "I can't be happy. I'm too messed up. Jesus died for me only to have me hurt Him over and over by sinning." Well, what I've come to realize is that. "IN that while we still sinners Christ died for us." -Romans 8:28 So Jesus knew we were going to keep on sinning even after being saved. BUT HE DIED ANYWAY. THAT is the reason we have to party. We have a God that loves us so much that He would die for us even though we are messed up and will keep making mistakes. Yeah.... we definitely have the best reason to party!!!!!
--To an outsider, I imagine that many would see Christianity, and church, as things that involved rules and restrictions, and that Christianity was never fun. At school, the questions I was routinely asked about faith were along the lines of "What aren't you allowed to do?"
From what I have come to understand, being a Christian does not mean that the trials we go through do not affect us. Yet, because we have hope, we are allowed to laugh, to celebrate, and have fun.
--I believe there is an inherent hesitation for Christians to condone partying as most understand it because of some of the behaviors that is typically associated with celebration in our culture.
Take the classic example of dancing. There are many Christians who still look upon it with either disapproval or at best suspicion unless it was amongst close family members. Wheaton college did not even permit social dancing until within the last decade or so.
The same goes for the consumption of alcohol. I don't believe it in and of itself is wrong (with Scripture to back it up) but there is so much concern about drunkenness, debauchery, etc. that they feel it's better to not have it there in the first place.
Of course it's possible to have a fun party without dancing or alcohol. But for many in the secular world, when they infer that such behaviors (and perhaps others) are verboten, they will naturally conclude that Christians are, well, largely party poopers.
--'have a fun party without dancing or alcohol' - Miketime
In the Old Testament they had both. But dancing was more like 'line dance' without skin contact to the other sex, right?
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