Church Shopping

The last post condemning church shopping seems to have put the cat among the pigeons. Let me clarify my comments. By comparing traddy church shopping and trendy church shopping I am not suggesting that traddy worship is just as entertainment oriented as trendy worship. If I had to say that one was ‘better’ than the other, then obviously traddy worship comes out on top.

I am not comparing the two types of worship. I’m commenting on the “I know best” attitude of the church shopper. What I’m criticizing is the self righteous know it all attitude that so often prevails, and this attitude is prevelent on both sides. I hear people tell me how they have left a traditional parish in order to attend the local AmChurch parish because it has a good youth work and “We really don’t like all that gloomy music Father has brought in.” So much for the misconception amongst the traddies that “If the faithful only get a taste of real reverence and beauty in worship they will all flock to the traditional styles of church.” No they won’t. 85% of American Catholics actually want banal hymns, carpeted churches, guitars, hip hop sermons and feel good liturgies. Likewise, we all know of folks who emigrate to a particular parish for the traddy worship that makes them feel good.

What I’m criticizing is not traddy worship, but the mentality that we seem to have sucked up from the culture that the reason for this type of worship or that type of worship is that it is what will draw the crowds, and the accompanying action in our tootling off to whatever parish we want to go to because we like that liturgy better or that priest better.

I say this as one who likes trad worship. I think it is the best. I think it is the most honoring and I have good reasons for the argument, however, I have learned more through sticking with a parish with a sloppy liturgy and awful music. I have learned through the difficulty some lessons in stability, some lessons in ecclesial obedience, some lessons in perseverence, some lessons in where to find the lessons.

What I’m trying to say is that maybe, just maybe God is wanting to do something far greater and more profound in your life than just allowing you to choose what you think is best for yourself spiritually. In fact I’d say that that is the one area of my life where I most certainly do not know what is best for me spiritually. Therefore, to submit oneself to one’s parish, one’s priest, one’s diocese, one’s church…geesh, there’s so much there to be learned and gained and so much spiritual advancement to be made that you lose when you march off in a huff to a parish you think you like better.

That being said. Sometimes you just got to go, but when you do you’d better agonize and pray over the decision, and when you find that new parish. You’d better stay put and learn stability. I know it will sound like heresy to some folks, but there is more to the spiritual life than fine liturgy. It’s called humility. Humility is very very hard.

Humility is endless.

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