Ten Things That Empty Churches

7. Hypocrisy –  People can tell if a congregation is vital, spiritually alive and trying hard to follow Jesus Christ or not. Spiritual torpor, laziness, immorality and hypocrisy send people running for the doors. They don’t expect Christians to be perfect, but the do expect them to be consistent. They expect us to be doing our best to practice what we preach even if we fail sometimes. It’s not the failure that puts them off–its the not trying. The worst hypocrisy is the sluggish pew holders who turn up every week but whose lives are a lie.

8. Lax Liturgy – Why oh why do we keep trying to imitate the Protestants? They do Protestant well enough. Let them do so. We should be Catholic and not ashamed of it. We should build beautiful churches, train our altar servers, invest in good musicians, work hard to beautify the liturgy and make the sacrifices necessary to do so. Along with the externals we must all work to make the Mass as reverent, prayerful and worshipful as possible. Modern man is dying for the one thing that feeds his soul: worship. He cries out for the good red wine of worship and we give him watered down grape juice.

9.  Works Without Faith and Works Without Faith – The book of James says “Faith without works is dead.” Well, it goes the other way too. Works without faith is also dead. When religion becomes a weekend club of do gooders people run a mile. Why would anyone want to get up out of bed on a Sunday morning just to have a politically correct pep talk about how to make the world a better place? If religion is no more than being good you can keep it. Any atheist can tell you, “I can be good without religion.” and he’d be right.  The opposite is also true.  See No. 6 above. People can spot a religious phony a mile off. All that religion. All that dressing up. All that reading of holy books and parading about. Then the religious folks tootle off home and forget about the poor, the homeless, the hungry, the mentally ill and all the people with problems. May the Lord Have Mercy.

10. Being Miserable – You know what C.S.Lewis said about religious people? “You can always tell the pillars of the church because their faces look like stone.” If we’re redeemed why don’t we look more redeemed? Honestly, if you tune in to some of the religious folks all they do is grumble, grouse, grip and gossip about all the terrible sinners and all the horrible things in the world. All they do is blame others and defend themselves and huddle down into their little religious enclaves to be miserable together. Fuhgeddaboudit. If your religion doesn’t make you happy there’s something wrong. Happy? I should say joyful. There’s a difference. Christians are people who are joyful–even in adversity especially in adversity. They sing in prison. They joke on the scaffold. They have a supernatural confidence and joy that is attractive and winning. If that is not present there’s a problem.