Panem et Circenses. It’s a Latin phrase that translates “bread and circuses.” It was coined by a Roman satirical poet who was appalled at the apathy and self-centeredness of Roman society at the time. It has also been used as the theme of a popular book series, The Hunger Games. The idea is of a populous that has given up the privilege and responsibility of governing themselves in exchange for full bellies and entertainment. We see this in our society everyday. Most people are completely disengaged from the political process, have no idea how our system works, and couldn’t care less who might be the best candidates. Most of those who are engaged are supporting either the candidate that entertains them with his boisterous and defiant speeches or the candidate who offers free stuff. Either way, they don’t seem to care how much they’re lied to or how much power they concede as long as they get lots of stuff and have their ears tickled.
Sadly, we see this trend in churches as well. Most people attend a particular church to be entertained, or to have their needs met, or both. In the process they neglect their responsibility to serve others and grow in their faith. They also miss out on the privilege of being used by God to shape their church, their community, and the lives of individuals around them. Being a disciple of Jesus is a call to action as well as a denial of self. It is the opposite of panem et circenses as we work together to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.
Adam Davis, Senior Pastor FBC Archer City, TX