Opinions Expressed in "Rants," while informed by Catholic doctrine, are merely the opinions of the author.

Church! The Best Show in Town!!


Remember the good old days – when EVERYBODY went to church – when the local Church was actually the CENTRE of the community? What ever happened to those days.

Some have a quick and easy to answer to that one: CHURCH IS BORING! Right? Church is irrelevant, the music sucks, the preacher is out of it, the community is judgmental, Church has nothing to do with my life. 

Yea, but, how has that changed – from the good old days? Why did Church work back then, but doesn’t seem to work now?

Well, lets look back on the “good old days,” like the middle ages for example. Back then, the center of every town, every community, was their church. And everyone was involved, everyone belongs, everyone WENT to church EVERY week, everyone regarded their faith as a MAJOR part of their lives. What did they have going for them back then?

What they had going was – back then, LIFE SUCKED!

Life was tough back then. Mortality rates were high. Most people were permanently poor, struggling for food, desperate to survive, oppressed or ignored by the powers-that-be.

The Top Ten list of things to do in the medieval world was:
10. Work
9. Cook.
8. Sleep
7. Sit on the ground
6. Pile dirt
5. Be ill
4. Give all your money to your landowner
3. Worry about being invaded by the neigbboring landowner
2. Count your goiters.
and 1. GO TO CHURCH 

Its easy to see why CHURCH was literally the best show in town!

You had the spectacular architecture,
Huge vaulted ceilings,
Stainglass windows – the medieval equivalent of 3D HD
Music that, to them, sounded like choirs of angels
An exciting preacher – preaching horror movies from the pulpit about fire and brimstone, or telling exciting stories about seas parting, shepherd slaying giants, ordinary men RISING FROM THE DEAD – stories that people knew – could be about THEM – stories that gave them HOPE.

All these things gave people a glimpse – of heaven, that filled them with WONDER and AWE  – a glimpse of what was waiting for them – their eternal reward for all the trials of life.

And they had community back then because people NEEDED community – to SURVIVE.

No-a-days, now that things aren’t so tough.

Most people aren’t starving or impoverished, so we don’t need to rely on each other anymore,
live to old age, so we don’t need to worry about DYING anymore,
life still sucks for some – but not for most.

Instead, most people are comfortable, independent, complacent
We have so little to worry about – we get bored with LIFE,
Boredom with life – has become our biggest problem.
So we just WANT to be ENTERTAINED
But look what we have to entertain us
Football, Movies, X-Box, Music, Shopping,
All coming without any moral price tag to go with it
And what a great job they do
They have us captivated, making EVERYTHING else BORING by comparison,

We don’t need to HOPE for a FUTURE heaven – we can have heaven RIGHT NOW.

And this is what, in our culture, going to Church has to compete with? No wonder its struggling.

To make matter worse, it seems sometimes like the Church isn’t even trying anymore.

Instead, there’s even a prevailing belief that we can get all of our numbers back EVERY SUNDAY if we just go back to that “old time religion,” from when they DID come, with traditional music, traditional buildings, LATIN – just like in the good old days.

These have their place, but they will not solve the problem.

I’m not saying that the Church should be trying to compete with the Superbowl, or Lady Gaga, or Halo 3. We shouldn’t be rigging up laser light shows or serving Starbucks or putting on 3D glasses for church. These promises of happiness – they never deliver anyway.

But, in our music, our preaching, our architecture, our liturgy - we should be aiming to give our Catholic faithful some of the things they need, some of the things they USED TO get from us – like that same sense of AWE, and feeling of HOPE, that they used to give them.