Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Hate Church

After having to attend mass for 3 of the past 4 weeks, I have confirmed my old opinion that I hate church. I don't say this to be condescending. In fact, I say this with a tinge of jealousy for those who get something out of a religious service. Me, I've always struggled mightily. Yet it's hard for me to not dread having to go whenever I'm with my parents. And it's hard for me not to walk out upset.

I often wonder what other people get out of a standard religious service. Especially Catholic, as that is the service I am most familiar with. Some other religions seem to foster a community. And the megachurches seem to be more about a spectacle or entertainment or networking or whatnot. Meanwhile, the Catholic service is all about chanting...every week the same chants without any thoughts. And telling you what to think, which usually revolves around pretending the world have not progressed since Jesus' time. Apparently, that was when the world was perfect, before it started going to hell in a handbasket. Yeah, stonings those adulterous heathens!

That's not to say the Catholic church does not good work or serve a very important purpose. By focusing on the stupid shit, they are missing an opportunity to not only gain more active participants, but also do a better job of doing God's work. Instead, we get sermons like today focused on the monetary issues of the church. I get it, Chicago has way too many churches. They were neighborhood churches built for a different time when everyone went to church and donating was important. But is it really a good use of 20 minutes to hark on financial struggles?

My 3 point guide to modernize the Catholic church would be as follows - I'm prepared for excommunication for broaching these subjects:

1 - Step into the 21st century. I know this will never happen in my lifetime but if the Catholic church became more progressive they would easily attract more people, especially younger people. This would include allowing women to become priests, allowing priests to marry, and recognizing and welcoming homosexuality all the way to marriage. Oh yeah, maybe show really remorse when scandals occur and not automatically try to cover it up.

2 - Highlight and expand community involvement. Afterall, what would be a better use of a religious organizations time - one hour chanting or one hour volunteering to make people's lives better? I'm not saying get rid of the mass, but let's stop focusing on it as the most important thing evah. I'm sorry but I live a good life and volunteered for a day every month, I would think God would respect that more than the same person who went to church every Sunday instead of volunteering. Then again, I'm crazy!

3 - Engage the congregation in debate. Instead of chanting, how about more of a dialogue. What about a Q&A session (Father Jim, why do bad things happen to good people?). What about Bible study that are discussions rather than another opportunity to tell you what to believe. How about explorations of other religions, to take qualities that are successful and incorporate into Catholicism? Are we really so headstrong and stubborn to claim the religion was designed perfectly and can never be changed?

Sorry for the rambling post but I got a roll. And maybe I'm being hypocritical and just like my Sunday morning sleep so none of these changes would change my religious behavior.


Tom G religion church Catholic mass service chants


Blogger la_carmabelle said...

Sir, I don't think your post is really evaluating the fact that a congregation is up to shaping the mass. In my congregation we do have many activities going on as a community: many festivals and processions with adjoined meals with the whole church population of our small and humble town. I am proud to say, that our priest is a straightforward modern man, and so I would not grandly claim that the Catholic church is a place for snoring or whatever it is you do.

6/27/2008 06:22:00 AM  

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