If the average Christian is asked to describe God, we usually come up with terms like holy, perfect, provider, healer, good, all-powerful, all-knowing, loving, and so forth. Of course, these are all accurate, and we do well to keep them in mind.
Non-believers are often less upbeat. God has quite the reputation as a glowering wet blanket, someone who thinks that if it’s fun, it’s sinful. Unfortunately, churches with rules such as no dancing, no playing cards, (and certainly no alcoholic beverages), build into that stereotype. It appears that God really needs a new PR firm. (Oh, wait, that’s the Church’s job!)
This may come as quite a surprise, but I’d like to point out that God really is a fun sort of guy.
If you read the gospels, you’ll have noticed that Jesus’ integrity is questioned because, unlike John and his disciples, He didn’t fast. Both Matthew 11:9 and Luke 7:34 record Jesus’ words: “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’” Of course Jesus wasn’t a glutton nor a drunkard, but he wasn’t sitting around with a frown on His face, either. In fact, you could say He gave new meaning to the phrase, “Life of the party.”
Lest we think that God only started tolerating fun once Jesus came to town, consider Deuteronomy 14:22-26. I won’t quote the entire passage (you can look it up if you want), but basically God is telling the Israelites to set aside a tenth of their yearly increase in order to celebrate God with a huge party! Can you imagine taking ten percent of your income and spending it all in one huge bash?
It’s obvious that this wasn’t intended to be a sedate church potluck. In face, if the tabernacle (and later the temple) was too far away to transport your feast, God suggests that you sell your goods at home and use the proceeds “to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish.” Whoo hoo! I wish for lamb kabobs and a nice old wineskin of well-aged sauvignon blanc, please.
I’ve met more than one “former Christian” who told me they left the church because they “wanted to have fun.” Of course, there are definitely those things that God forbids. In every case, He has a good reason—they’ll hurt both us and others. But God has never been portrayed in the Bible as someone who is anti-fun. It’s very much the opposite.
Maybe if the church did a better job of representing God as an enjoyable Person, more people would want to hang out with Him!