If ya ain’t living your beliefs and faith, what are you actually doing?
We all know the joke about the gym on January 2nd (full) vs. the gym on March 2nd (every machine is available).
You know the same joke but applied to religion?
Easter Sunday is usually the busiest day of the year for many churches — something like 6/7 in 10 Americans go to church.
The literal next Sunday is usually one of the least-attended church days of the year.
The pessimistic way to view that stat is families saying “OK, we did our duty, see ya maybe once over the summer and then into next holiday season.”
But damn (Daniel) … one week and there’s that big of an attendance drop?
While not that surprising, I think this needs to be unpacked a little bit.
The curation problem
Some realities of Easter, especially for the American middle class:
- Three to four generations together
- People generally looking spiffy
- There’s a high moralistic tie to “Look at me doing the God thing”
Easter photos were a thing in the 1920s, I’m sure. (I wouldn’t know, as I wasn’t alive.)
But Easter in the age of social media? That means you can hit the holy fucking grail of social posting, which is:
- I look good
- You seen my kids?
- Did you realize I’m a good person and I do stuff like pray?
There’s a lot of curation around Easter on social. If you’re reading this post, go to a social platform and do some scrolling. You know I’m right. You may not want to admit I’m right, but you know I am.
Are you saying these people aren’t holy and don’t have good intentions?
Nope. Because I don’t know every single person who posted a photo yesterday. Every individual is different. A blog post, or even a long-form New Yorker article, cannot possibly generally encapsulate the human condition. That’s not how it works. I’m just speaking at a 30,000-foot level.
So what comes from the attendance drop/curation issue?
Look, for better or worse a lot of people want to hit their mark and check a box, but then they don’t necessarily think about the broader impact of what they’re doing.
This happens at work all the time. The deliverables (the tasks) become more important than the strategy, and no one knows what’s happening — they just know they need to get Project A to Dan by Wednesday. That’s now all that matters. Bigger purpose? Kaput.
But think on this Easter stuff.
A lot of people want to hit the mark — good family photos, proof of “I did the Easter thing,” etc. — but they don’t think on the bigger picture.
You gotta live it
Easter is — look, I’m not very religious but I can put 2 and 2 together on stuff — important because it kind of underscores the whole Christian concept, right? The resurrection is the greatest miracle in human history? And it should speak to our own ability to come back from adversity (personal), our ability to doubt God and rebound (spiritual), and more?
I think that’s the point.
If Easter is the rock upon which your faith is theoretically built, then Easter has to be something you live every day.
Here’s what I mean: let’s say you took the three generations looking snazzy photo, right? And then, three Wednesdays from now in your business, you stiff a partner and lay off a few people to make costs.
Does the fact that you went to church on Easter now make you a good person, even considering those moments 17 days later?
I would argue NO.
But many would argue YES.
Again, you gotta live it
This is one reason why I’ve never totally understood the obsession with attending church.
I know tons of people who regularly attend church and are total pricks, cheat, steal, screw people in business.
And they often think the churchgoing absolves them.
I’d personally rather meet a really faithful, well-meaning person who goes 12–14 times/year than some prick checking boxes and posturing while he worships The God Of Revenue Growth 77 hours/week.
But maybe that’s just me.
You need to live this stuff. Human resurrection — the capacity to come back, to grow — is everything. It’s the undercurrent of the whole human experience. You will lose people. Your parents will die. This happens to everyone. How you gonna get it? Who you gonna be in that moment?
If Easter speaks to that, then Easter underscores faith.
But it can’t be one photo or one Instagram Moment.
You need to live it consistently.
How does this tie to work?
Well, not everything I post ties to work, but since you asked …
… we’ve got lots of research on how work has been “uncivil” in recent years (no shit) …
… most organizations report declining respect among peers …
… only about 15% of people globally are engaged in their job …
… increasingly people report being isolated at work …
… and yes, some of the above in this post is my opinion, but all those links are legitimate research. That’s all actually happening out there. You’ve probably lived it (or felt it).
Don’t you think if more people were out there actually “living” Easter and what it means — don’t you think some of this stuff would get better?
We spend more time at work than we do with our family, often.
What if we lived the message of resurrection and growth and connection, instead of just getting our perfect Facebook picture and not coming back next Sunday?
Doesn’t it stand to reason that’d make some of what happens at work better?