The First Church Of Convenience And Politically Correct Feel Good Services

prayingOne Sunday years ago as we were leaving mass with our sons, my husband said “Where are the men?” This started a discussion that has haunted me for years, and led me along a wandering path of thought about why so many people are not attending a church. His observation was specifically about how many women and children were attending mass without a husband and father every week. Not every woman there with children was a single parent, and yet he was correct, the pews were filled with women and children, and most of the men present were seniors.

This morning I read a great article by Matt Walsh at The Blaze. He supposes Christianity is dying from boredom. Here he discusses a recent service he attended in a  church he visited.

The pastor began with another round of jokes. They weren’t very funny but they succeeded in being unserious, which I guess is close enough. The sermon was jam packed with youth slang and pop culture. He mentioned a couple of TV shows and Netflix. He made sports metaphors. He didn’t do anything with the references, he just hung them out there like we were supposed to be impressed that he knows about these things.

I think he even said something about Angry Birds. Dated, sure, but it did the job of letting us know that the guy speaking also used a smart phone at some point in the last five years. OMG! He totally gets us!

The word “Gospel” made maybe one appearance in his message. The words “truth,” “sacred,” “reverence,” “sin,” “hell,” “virtue,” “obedience,” and “duty” were conspicuously absent, just as they’re absent from most sermons delivered in most churches, everywhere in the country. Of course he did throw in a friendly helping of “friend” and “helping.” And “tolerance.” Obviously tolerance. It’s important to only preach the sort of principles we can practice from our couches, you know.

Reading this reminded me of the conversation with my husband, and discussions I have had lately with friends. Back when we were raising our family, I think most of the kids our children attended school with went to mass, with or without their fathers. Recently I read an article by a priest who said most of the children preparing for First Holy Communion and Penance would never receive those sacraments again because their parents do not attend mass. This just stunned me. Why even bother to have them go through the preparation classes and receive the Sacraments? I suppose so that they can attend parochial schools at the Catholic tuition rate.

Flippin ChurchMeandering right along in my thought processes (stay with me here, I do like to wander), I have been intrigued the last several years over new churches names. The Bridge, The Rock, The Community, Rock Bridge, The Source, Encounter Church, Venture Church. Whatever happened to the venerable First Baptist Church or {insert City Name} Methodist? Not to be outdone, I have seen established churches change their name to one of these newfangled descriptor words. I actually had a church member tell me that they didn’t really want potential visitors to know the denomination of the church before they attended the service. What? Really? Is there some chance here that you might need to rethink your theology if you need to disguise it?

Until our parish was blessed with a very back to basics young priest over a year ago, I had wondered if I would ever hear the word sin mentioned in a sermon again. In a Catholic church I don’t believe I had heard a sermon condemning abortion since the seventies. We were never exhorted to examine our consciences, go to confession, or to even question what might be sin, let alone be given food for the journey, so to speak.

It seems in a time when we need guidance and strength from our church communities theuncertain church most, we are being given watered down generic messages that won’t offend anyone or endanger the tax exempt status. Many Christians feel distant and detached from their church community. Perhaps some, testing the waters, find the services boring and uninspiring, as Matt Walsh pointed out.

In his article Matt comments: I wonder what a secular person might think if he was looking to give Christianity a try and that was the first service he ever attended? Yeah, he wouldn’t leave offended (or impacted, or moved, or energized), but would he even be awake?

It seems to me that the message of Christ is considered no longer palatable in His churches today. Instead of preaching the Word we are given talking points and feel good exhortations. How many churches are doing mission work or community service?

What are your thoughts? Do you see Christianity being preached and lived in your churches and communities? Are the men missing, or in the minority in your church? Any thoughts on the new crop of names for churches? Will our young people restore the traditions and Tradition that our generation has forgotten? In the Catholic Church there is a movement toward increased participation in the Tridentine Mass, and restoration of the sacred in liturgy and music, led by young priests and families not influenced by Vatican II, where we lost so much of our heritage steeped in beauty.

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136 Responses to The First Church Of Convenience And Politically Correct Feel Good Services

  1. Ivan Awfulitch says:

    Unfortunately, all too true. My advice is rather than attend a “why bother” church, get out of there and find a good church where the gospel, sin, repentance, heaven and hell, grace, and the other Biblical doctrines are taught. If you live in or around Bellevue, WA, send me a note and I will tell you where you can find a solid, Bible teaching church.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Elvis Chupacabra says:

      If a church doesn’t stand for something Biblical and Gospel-based, they’ll fall for anything. “Prosperity Ministries” come to mind. Also, “feel good” churches are no more permanent than the attention spans of the people who are told what they want to hear, versus what they need to hear. The ultimate test of your sermon is asking, “Who said that, God or man?”

      Liked by 3 people

    • tgmccoy says:

      Left the ELCA (Every Liberal Cause in America) Lutherans because of exactly that.
      Conservative Baptist now.
      Even they had row over a name change ..-140 years as “First Baptist.” then a change
      to something like: “Discover” or “Whatissthat?” ah (very quietly now) baptist…ah…er…
      church. Flew with the congregation like a Snap-on toolbox…

      Like

  2. czarowniczy says:

    New! Improved! Non-gluten, less sodium, God-lite! Then we have that hew generation of priests/ministers who feel that progressive social engineering and political indoctrination’s the way to go. Out in the boonies there’s still a lot of fire-breathing and Bible-thumpin’ but many churches in the city have so alienated/bored/otherwise chased away so many attendees that you can swing a catechism in one and not hit a soul.

    Liked by 4 people

    • czarowniczy says:

      “…city have sole alienated,,,” S/B ‘so alienated’, my soul mistake in the post

      Liked by 2 people

    • Grimble Gromble says:

      Our priest just gave a talk to the local ecumenical Minesterial Assoc on politics in the Kingdom of God – and how it does not belong there. Spread the Gospel, welcome all political adherents to the Kingdom of Heaven, and teach them ‘what’ that means and the expectations of our Lord to sit at the banquet.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Be Ge says:

      A lot of Russian / Soviet commies, like Uncle Joe Stalin, for instance, were church education and were once considered to be on a path to priesthood. The Soviet “took theological education” commies were among the most dangerous ones.

      Like

      • czarowniczy says:

        I don’t think it’s the eduction as much as it is the ability to internalize the principles. The religious education was to make them turn away from the Dark Side but the force was too strong.

        Like

    • Kitty Smith says:

      We live near bible-thumpin’ Southern Baptists. We are surrounded by them. They are THE most boring people I have ever encountered in my entire life. Their two biggest pleasures in life outside of gossiping is stuffing their bloated faces and hanging rolls of belly fat while sitting on their overly-broad butts watching football. There isn’t an imaginative or creative bone among them. No learning, no curiosity, nothing. Flatline ignorance of anything – deer-in-the-headlights when the subject is anything but church, food, and football. They are just about brain dead, but, oh do they go to church. They seem to think if they have that good ol’ southern religion, they don’t have to do anything else in life. Their entertainment is to eat, sit, eat, talk sports, eat, talk about TV shows, eat some more. They think because they go to church which, along with TV, are the center of their universe (not God) and worship, they’re good to go and that’s all God wants from them. Nevermind the pettiness, cattiness, and back-stabbing that goes on in their churches. The church gives its imprimatur on their flat-out intellectual laziness just because they believe and (sort of) obey God’s commandments, so they hide behind that instead of setting a personal standard of responsibility and excellence. “It’ll do.” “It’s God’s will.” IMO, the self-righteousness in their claims that God somehow supports their poor choices is disgusting and downright blasphemous.

      Churches are man’s construct. One can be a believer, do their own reading, and worship privately. Just because someone doesn’t attend church doesn’t mean they need to have fire and brimstone preached to them. There is such a thing as private, peaceful reflection, prayer and worship.

      So I completely understand why people are fed-up with attending church. It doesn’t mean people don’t believe in God and His word which is, in part, a directive to do your best, be productive, be responsible, embrace everything you can in the world He has created – not sit there like a lump.

      As for catechism, at least the Catholics have a lot of aesthetics going on. 🙂

      Like

      • Menagerie says:

        Churches are not man’s construct. Jesus Christ established His Church on earth through the apostles with St. Peter as its head. He left them full authority in binding and loosing and he established the Eucharist at the Last Supper. He himself chose to be baptized, and He sent the Holy Spirit to strengthen them for the work of building His Church.

        If the Church He left behind had not survived, Fed by centuries of blood sacrifice by the martyrs, you would probably never have heard the name Jesus. After all, he was not the first or last Jew claiming to be the Messiah. Can you name any of the others?

        As for your last paragraph, particularly “embrace everything you can in the world he has created,” you appear to be reading a different Bible than I am. Significantly different.

        You have expressed your disgust and disdain for southerners before. You paint with a broad brush.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kitty Smith says:

          I see what I see, and I do have a frame of reference. I do not see God’s spirit in the lazy and willfully ignorant and those who will not take care of their bodies and the health God gave them at birth.

          It doesn’t matter what your interpretation of the bible is as to the creation of the natural world, resources and man’s role in understanding those duties. Gluttony, laziness and sloth are not mentioned as attributes, IIRC. Either you embrace the world He gave us, learn about it and work in it, or you sit and become a useless pud, and no amount of bible thumping, prayer or bible knowledge excuses that choice. Perhaps you think it does.

          Southerners are dropping dead at an alarming rate due to obesity, diabetes and heart ailments. It is caused by the ignorance of clinging to unhealthy traditions. Their minds are not open to healthy lifestyles, innovation, creativity, better methods of efficiency – nothing. “This is the way we’ve always done it.” “We eat happy, not healthy.” “It’ll do.” I’ve heard too many say these things too many times to not believe it isn’t a Southern mindset. The diet here was fine a hundred years ago when people performed hard, physical work all day. It DOESN’T work when you sit in front of a TV or video console all day. Both render a population fat. sick, and ignorant. The childhood obesity in the South is stunning. There are fat kids everywhere – more fat ones than thin ones. Rarely do I see kids riding bikes or playing a big game of tag or anything like that in their yards. Adults don’t do anything either, and that’s how the kids learn it. Nobody here MOVES. No religion, no faithfulness, none of that cures this problem and it is a personal defilement of His creation to continue doing so.

          Is that what YOUR bible says as to how we should live? Mine doesn’t.

          Like

          • Menagerie says:

            We are going to disagree on this one. Many southerners are indeed unhealthy. Perhaps the percentage is higher than other areas of the country, I do not know. I do know that there are plenty of unhealthy people and unhealthy habits in the rest of the country.

            The statement that nobody here moves is utterly ridiculous. I walk two hours most days, and go to the gym three days a week. I used to live in Chattanooga TN, consistently named one of the best places in the country to live for outdoor activities. There is an Ironman competition going on there right now. One of my sons, a state champion athlete, still finds time to work some weekends on the Ocoee River as a rafting guide, something he has done since he graduated high school 17 years ago.

            You go right ahead and look down on all of us ignorant and lazy southerners from your superior world, but try to tighten up your adjectives just a little bit, Saint Kitty. Not every single solitary soul in the south is lazy.

            Liked by 1 person

          • stella says:

            Rude, much? I think the Bible also says a few things about tolerance, understanding, and setting yourself up as a judge of others. Prejudice is an ugly trait.

            Liked by 2 people

      • czarowniczy says:

        I don’t think different religions make as much as it attracts different types. There’s a lot of heavy-duty Baptists, COGIC, Pentecostals and others out here and the members I’ve run into run the gamut – and I’ve run into some at that local bottomless pit of iniquity Applebees’s. Some work at the NASA space center and some are welders, small farmers, truck drivers. Some chose a less challenging rural lifestyle while some regularly haj to the Big City of Sin. Some try to convert me while others are content to let me slouch my way to the particular hell I’m bound for without having benefit of their religion.
        Just about all share the same core beliefs, the differences seem to be in their individual ways of expressing them outwardly. That old 1st Amendment thing in a slightly different form. I feel I’m always free to walk away if the need be.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Grimble Gromble says:

    Christianity preached in Orthodox Christian parishes? – Very much so, lots of men and children (we don’t do ‘childrens church’), women too.

    Greater Community – Not so much, yes we can do a better job ouselves bringing the Gospel to the heterodox.

    Like

  4. TKim says:

    Beautifully written Menagerie. The entire home church movement began when Christians could not find a living, Word preaching church that was a home for the Holy Spirit .

    There has been a mindset that the church needs to compete with the bells and whistles of pop culture, to cater to the short attention span, and especially to not offend.

    It will bring in the youth, it was decided. And now youth is leaving the church in droves.

    Mega churches, churches with shops and food courts, church services with films and plays and magic tricks and secular music and dancing.

    To me (and please I do not mean to offend) it is along the same lines of parents who do not parent but befriend their kids. Instead of our unchanging God and moral absolutes, there is an immersion in the world, an identification with what is hip, politically correct and the ever so important “inclusiveness.” And the most damning adherence (literally) is that the truth cannot be preached in a way that frightens the flock or makes anyone uncomfortable.

    Revelation is more and more discarded, not because of lack of agreement between the tribs and pre-tribs that has been going on for eons, but because Revelation is not a “feel good” book. And when Revelation is tossed aside, so is the focus on the Second Coming, preparing our selves and our houses, expecting the rattling to come.

    We worship the God who spoke the world into existence. So why are there teens on the altar rapping about His only begotten Son being their home boy?

    In the world but not of the world. A dissipating truth.

    Liked by 9 people

    • dalethorn says:

      Amen.

      Like

    • Kitty Smith says:

      Very well said. Man-created religion, in and of itself, has become political, whether it’s kowtowing to the detrimental pop culture or selling itself as a theme park to the masses as a place of secularism. Western Christianity is caving in and condoning more and more bad behaviors through coddling and this idea that nobody should ever have to experience recriminations for those behaviors.

      Like

  5. Irene Matthews says:

    We have one here in Charlotte called “Elevation” church. The so-called pastor, Steven Furtick, just built himself a 1.7 million dollar house that he refers to as a “give from God.” http://www.christianpost.com/news/who-are-the-megachurch-leaders-who-decide-elevation-church-pastor-steven-furticks-secret-salary-and-influence-his-ministry-107741/

    Like

    • Irene Matthews says:

      “Gift from God” that should be.

      Like

    • dginga says:

      OMG! I lived in Charlotte during the Jim & Tammy Bakker / PTL / Calvary Church (big pink marble church at 51 & Rae Rd) days. PTL is now a development called Regent, but nobody who is from Charlotte wants to live on the old PTL grounds. My point is that you would think the good people of Charlotte would have learned to avoid the charlatan preachers like the Bakkers. Building Calvary Church practically bankrupted the congregation, and became quite the joke in the community.

      Like

      • stella says:

        Different generation, I imagine. There’s a sucker born every minute – isn’t that the saying?

        When I visited Charlotte during the 1990’s, the PTL grounds was one of the local attractions I drove through just to see what was what.

        Like

    • Elvis Chupacabra says:

      “Prosperity Ministries” are the work of Satan. Remember that Old Scratch knows the Bible better than we do, and he uses it to do his work by misleading and deceiving. Recall that he tried to tempt Christ using scripture. Jesus also spoke of His poverty, reminding us that our riches are in heaven. In Mark 8:36, Jesus said, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”

      No, the Bible contains no “get rich” schemes for this earthly realm. All of the treasures, pleasures and riches of this world will be burned up in a blink of an eye. All but salvation is temporal.

      Like

      • John Denney says:

        Yet I have indeed prospered remarkably since I became a Christian.
        Because I was helpful, I got a job.
        Because I worked heartily, as unto the Lord, I got promotions.
        Because I spoke the truth in love, I got respect from many and resentment from some, one of whom likely had me terminated.
        Yet my patience and kindness and technical skills were remembered by another former employee who then recommended me to his current employer, who hired me.
        Many at the company are Christians, and our business does well and we prosper because we are devoted to helping our customers.
        Solomon did not seek fame and wealth, but the Lord, and the Lord honored him with fame and wisdom and wealth.
        Jesus Himself said, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • RoyBaty says:

          Well said John!

          Like

        • Menagerie says:

          What about Job?

          Like

          • John Denney says:

            In the end,
            “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. . . . So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters.” – Job 42:10, 12,13

            The next chapter after Job 42 is Psalm 1, which starts:
            “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

            Yet there are evil people in the world who would deprive others of what is rightfully theirs. Many Christians around the world have lost life, liberty, and property.

            Following the Lord makes one prosper, but that prosperity is jeopardized by the forces of darkness, which happened to Job (Satan himself) and persecuted Christians around the world (by Satan’s minions).

            Like

            • Menagerie says:

              He might have gotten his material goods replaced twice over, but his children were still dead. In the end, Job is still one of the most difficult books in the Bible to grasp. We want to find all kinds of lessons, but it is a lot deeper that something that seems akin to Prosperity gospel to me.

              Like

          • smiley says:

            The Book of Job is about a satanic attack against him.
            the purpose of the Book of Job is to teach us the proper response.
            never once did Job “curse G-d” or blame G-d or lose his faith in G-d.
            he humbled himself before G-d, and prayed for his misguided friends…for which G-d blessed him.

            Like

  6. JunieG says:

    I am old enough to remember the glorious Latin Mass, then the stupid (IMHO) folk masses with those stupid cheesy songs that replaced the majestic ancient chanting and music. I no longer felt like I was in the presence of the sacred. I might attend now if it was spiritually uplifting, but the informality and aim for the lowest denominator isn’t going to get me out of bed early on a Sunday. I am turned off by Liberation Theology, as well as the migration of Charismatic practices into services. Great Catholicism is still out there, in the return of the Latin Mass in some churches. If you not already familiar with Crisis Magazine, you might enjoy having a look. http://www.crisismagazine.com/

    Liked by 5 people

    • Adrienne says:

      Dead on, Junie. We left our happy-clappy parish for an FSSP parish we are blessed to have in our small area (Coeur d’ Alene/Post Falls, Idaho.) At the 10:30 Mass, the band (yes, band) has got everyone singing Make Me a Sanctuary while they slither up for communion while glad handing everyone in the pews. Gag! The hand holding at the Our Father is liturgically incorrect and woe be to anyone who doesn’t want to hold hands.

      Check around and see if there is an FSSP parish in your area or at least a parish where the Novus Ordo Mass is properly done.

      Ever notice how everyone receives communion, but no one goes to confession?

      Like

      • The Tundra PA says:

        happy-clappy parish…I love that. It’s just what drove me away from all the Churches of What’s Happenin’. Adrienne, great to see you among the branches at the Treehouse. I’d hoped you were a reader here. I follow your blog daily and enjoy it immensely.

        http://adriennescatholiccorner.blogspot.com/
        for those of you who don’t know this lovely Treeper.

        I am new to Catholicism, am now a catechuman. Our parish church on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska has only a minimal amount of hippy dippy stuff, and for that I’m grateful. But I would so much like to experience the Latin Mass. There is only one church in Alaska doing it, and it is near Fairbanks. Perhaps I’ll be able to visit there one day.

        Could you explain what you mean by where the Novus Ordo Mass is properly done?

        Like

        • Menagerie says:

          Hey Tundra, as you may know, the Novus Ordo is the mass in the vernacular said in Catholic Churches today. Happy clappy is not “properly done.” There are rubrics for priests to use to celebrate the mass. In the 1960’s after Vatican II American priests threw out the baby with the bathwater, and many of the changes introduced were never intended to be made and were in fact not approved changes. Many of the very educated tradition loving Catholics could give you specifics in detail.

          Our priest says Mass with such profound reverence that you know you are participating in a very sacred and solemn sacrifice, you understand completely the transubstantiation, you feel present in the moment. Indeed, many times tears come to my eyes with the understanding of what I am participating in.

          Specific examples for you. He dug out the beautiful vestments that had been buried in the sacristy. Lay people are not present on the altar during the mass with the exception of the servers. He has roped off the sanctuary with those velvet rope thingies and I pray that altar rails will be returned. We sing the Agnus Dei, (Latin version of Lamb of God). During Lent there was silence during the recessional. The music has been totally been re-done, and we have a schola who perform the sung Latin masses he offers once a month. When he genuflects and bows over the Eucharist, it is a complete movement and not a nod or bow.

          The liturgy is given every ounce of solemnity, reverence, and respect that can be given. On holy days we actually have processions around the block. The service on Holy Thursday which ends in the altar being stripped and the Eucharistic Lord being taken to the altar of repose in a solemn procession out of the church will absolutely break your heart open.

          This young man has done more to teach Catholic beliefs in merely his mannerisms than I have learned from any priest since 1977. I praise God for him, and beg for more such as him.

          I hope that gives you some idea of what “properly done” alludes too. It is not really a fair term because masses that are less solemn and don’t use the Latin chants, or the solemnity he uses are actually “proper” but not to our taste, which is a different matter altogether. There are quite a few parishioners who have left my church because they don’t like how the new priest celebrates mass. It’s hard to get us Catholics to agree on anything.

          Add: our priest prefers to celebrate Mass ad orientum, facing the altar, leading the congregation in offering a sacrifice. He isn’t there to put on a show, it puts the emphasis on the sacramental nature of the liturgy.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Kitty Smith says:

      I don’t know where you live, but if you understand Spanish, try attending a predominantly Hispanic church. Latin countries practice the older Catholicism – not the new-age stuff you find in urban and even suburban places. The masses in Hispanic churches are profound, thoughtful, relevant and uplifting, and that powerful sense of sacredness you speak of that I understand, will be found there. We forewent mass in a large cathedral to attend mass in a church near the barrio.

      And Hispanics dress for church, for mass, for Him. 🙂 No jeans. Men wear suits or sport coats, women wear dresses, skirts or slacks and often a scarf, hat or head-covering of some sort. Kids are decked out to the nines and well-behaved.

      We live in the South now. Catholic churches are few and far between, and none are Hispanic.

      Like

  7. tappin52 says:

    I became very disillusioned with church services when they became all about raising more and more money. Multiple collections, always some program for those “in need”, and the capital improvements needed for the church properties. I began to feel like wasn’t a place for my soul anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • wondering999 says:

      Libertarian Joel Salatin wrote a book about small-scale farming that included an endorsement of “homechurching” (similar to homeschooling).

      Instead of building a big old building, Salatin & the rest of their congregation meet in each other’s homes, and use the spare collection to actually help out situations where there is genuine need (instead of blowing out funds for heating, cooling, plumbing and roofing an elephant of a building that isn’t used 7 days a week)

      In the old days, a lot of church buildings were schools, on not-Sundays.

      Like

  8. Sam says:

    In Revelation or Apocalypse, Christ talks about different kinds of churches. Most churches today seem to be types of Sardis churches which are dead or of Laodicea which are lukewarm and wishy washy. This is in Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation. Christ has some harsh words for them.

    As to the absence of men: men prefer strong meat and they don’t like the kind of feminine messages the churches are preaching these days. Priests and pastors are predominantly conciliatory and unwilling to give offense to anyone. Hence they no longer preach from the Bible. Jesus Christ’s message was offensive in his day and it is still offensive today. He said as much. His words, faithfully preached, convict man of sin and show him the way out through Christ. Most churches fear losing members, so they do not preach faithfully. The irony is that they lose membership anyway.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. TheFarSide says:

    Yup, the men are definitely missing from the churches I have been to, and now the women are beginning to be MIA, too. I think it has to do with the message the church presents (at least in the domination I grew up in): Overall, Sunday after Sunday, they tell people they’re not good enough, they don’t measure up, they’re not doing enough, they’re not acceptable or accepted. What man wants to hear that all the time? For that matter, what woman wants to hear it all the time? And who wants to try to get to know Someone who thinks you’re a big fat nothing burger! That’s not the TRUE message of the Gospel!

    This, plus the misguided idea that the church has to make God “entertaining,” is killing people’s desire to attend church in the long run. Since when does God need us to make Him more “fun” or “entertaining”? That’s absolutely ridiculous, and it leads people to attend church for all the wrong reasons. Well, initially it does, but eventually those same people (who are actually hungry for God) find that all the jokes, flashy lights, loud music, and entertainment are worthless, and so they leave the church. After all, if church is just another place to be entertained, they can get that on TV or online!

    If the church taught the FULL Gospel (rather than just the salvation message + behavior improvement programs served up 9,000 different ways), then perhaps people would come to church for the right reasons–and stay because they get meat every Sunday instead of junk food (the entertainment) or milk (the salvation message + “oh, just behave”)!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. 2x4x8 says:

    Obama lectured Christians at Georgetown University: Churches should be concerned about Poverty (but not the bad character that cause it) and not abortion and gay marriage

    Like

    • Grimble Gromble says:

      They want the healing without the rest of the story ‘go and sin no more’

      Liked by 2 people

      • 2x4x8 says:

        that is true, I see it from a “building character” over time standpoint, suffering produces perseverance …………..

        bad character, like in proverbs with the distinction between “wise and foolish”, one prospers and the other doesn’t

        Like

    • dalethorn says:

      Poverty is a subtle thing sometimes. When the woman was about to wash Jesus’ feet with some expensive ointments, his followers criticized the woman saying “You should sell those ointments and give the proceeds to the poor.” But Jesus corrected them saying that the poor will always be around us, but (and this is my interpretation) we should not make the poor an object of worship or idol. Or putting it differently, we can have a church picnic and enjoy good food while the poor are suffering, as long as we don’t make that celebration an idol either. As long as the focus is on God, we’re probably doing right.

      Like

  11. joshua says:

    I remember moving to uber liberal Austin Texas in the 1970s to manage a new high tech company. Bought a house and looked for the neighborhood protestant church of my faith so I could take my family….found one, but discovered that the first Sunday morning service was at 7 AM and the preacher and congregation showed up in blue jeans and fishing clothes….so as to let them all get on the lake early Sunday without having to go after the normal 11 AM services….not my cup of tea….put the kids into Sunday School…..they came back said, “all we do is cut out pictures of doves and color in pictures….we want to learn about Jesus and God….Daddy, do we have to keep going? Can we come with you to the big church instead”….I knew then that my idea of religion and worship was headed for the crash.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elvis Chupacabra says:

      I guess that the preacher missed the “fishers of men” lesson by Jesus.

      In our church, the preacher is the man hired by the congregation to preach to us and teach us. He’s not over us in any way; that is what the church elders role is for. The elders literally have scriptural responsibility for the congregation. Deacons assist the elders and the preacher.

      “Let him who would be the greatest amongst ye be the servant of all”. All church members help with the mechanics of the congregation, whether it’s teaching Sunday school, cooking for fellowship, leading singing, helping with communion, or whatever. Too many people go to church to GET and not enough to GIVE, and I don’t mean money.

      There is no “kid’s church” after Sunday school. The children participate in the main congregation assembly from day one, because you never know when they start to “hear the Gospel”.

      In my opinion, too many churches have departed from Biblical guidance, Biblical principles and the Great Commission Jesus gave all of us to preach the Gospel. Church is a collection people (Church in Greek: ‘ecclesia’ = ‘the called out, the set aside, the redeemed’), and not a place or a building. You can have scriptural church in a parking lot or in a mud hut as well as in the finest building in the world. In worship, we often forget that besides the vertical component (God – man), there is the horizontal component (man – man). We worship together. “Where two or more are gathered in My name…”

      Like

  12. labrat says:

    I love the old traditional high Latin Mass. I love a Mass with a good choir and seek them out. I love the deep, rich traditional rituals of a good old fashioned Mass. I love the old ornate churches,dark and shadowy recesses and stained glass windows and gaudy chandeliers. I believe it was Andrew Greely that once wrote a beautiful essay about the importance of the ritual in Catholic spirituality.

    A few years back, my church incorporated more Latin into our Masses and my kids loved it. They liked saying the prayers in latin. It felt more “real” to them.

    I am still not used to the new changes they made a couple of years ago. When the congregation awkwardly blurts out “and with your spirit” and quietly murmur to myself “and also with you”. I hate the new Gloria. I miss saying “it is right to give him thanks and praise”. (still say it in my head).

    Nitpicking little changes but they alter my experience to this day. Who wants to feel irritated when they are in church?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Grimble Gromble says:

      We say “it is truly meet…” rather than “It is right…”, I say this only to recognize that if we changed this from ‘meet’ I would also miss it as you miss your cherished tradition.

      Like

  13. Plain Jane says:

    We are very fortunate where we live. There is a Franciscan Monastery (quite orthodox) a Carmelite Monastery that celebrates the Tridintine Mass weekly, and several diocesan parishes that are pastored by young, traditionally minded priests. I am so very grateful for this.
    There were as many men (young men even) as women and children in line for confessions before Easter at the parish that DH and I went to for confessions, and I told the priest that he must be doing something very right because of seeing the men there. I cringe when traveling and often see/hear Mass celebrated by the feel good theorizing priests. It seems that the really old, and really young priests are more traditional. Perhaps the seminaries have been cleaned out of the infill-traitors.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You may be right. About 10 years ago, a local Catholic friend told me that Mt. Angel Seminary in Mt. Angel, Oregon had been, as you say, “cleaned out.” Apparently, it had become quite a den of snakes.

      Like

  14. dginga says:

    I was raised in the Presbyterian Church until they became so political and so leftist that it no longer resembled the church of my youth. My hubby is a Lutheran, and we attended Lutheran churches until they became so focused on attracting the young and the restless that I felt like I was attending a performance, not a worship service. We live in the suburbs of Atlanta and have tried to find a church home, but the suburban churches seem more concerned with entertainment and making church as EASY as possible to attend (I swear some people bring their kids in their jammies) that it just doesn’t feel like church. In some churches the children feel free to climb on the pews and run around the place all during the service. (Again, my parents took SEVEN children to church and even the smallest of us knew church was not the place to color, or act up, or play.) I was raised that you go to church to praise and glorify and worship God, not to listen to a rock concert and buy CDs and be told you’re not a bad person if you make a lot of money. There are men who I have seen going to church dressed as if they dropped by on their way to the golf course, not men focused on the Word of the Lord. There is a church right across the street that is one of the mega-churches in town. We went there once. The sanctuary is a big theatre, complete with theatre seating. The chancel is a big stage. They had a band, with guitars, drums and keyboards, rather than a choir and an organ. I felt like I was at a performance, not a worship service. They even have a gift shop that you walk by on your way to the sanctuary. I guess I’d have to say that I didn’t leave church, it left me. We no longer go because we do not leave feeling closer to God, we leave annoyed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • dalethorn says:

      In year 2000 I attended a funeral where the pastor was C&MA. I mentioned to him that C&MA grew out of the Presbyterian sect, and he nodded. Then I mentioned that Baptists have always believed in the Ten Commandments, but Presbyterians tend to prefer the Ten Suggestions. He was not pleased by my little joke.

      Like

  15. I’m with you all on this one. Having been the gamut from my Mother’s Lutheran church where the pastor railed against Catholics all the time (Mary-worshippers!) to my Dad’s Roman Catholic, which I loved, to many, many years later my own Jewish faith, I was ready to leave the RC church the very day they dropped Latin.
    Why? B/c I lived in Switzerland then, and so the “vernacular” was … German! Only a few months later a priest from Africa who spoke only French said mass in Latin (hahahaha!) and gave the sermon in French, which most Swiss understood. I asked my neighbor why the priest said mass in High German instead of Swiss German dialect. She was shocked. “You can’t talk to god in Swiss German!” she exclaimed.
    Time passed and the guitars and cheesy songs and hugs for peace in the pews continued as my own attendance slipped and eventually ended, as I realized I needed a more authentic connection to G-d. After a long struggle (rabbis have a tradition of refusing requests for conversion at least three times – you have to really mean it) and some excellent classes in Jewish religion, tradition, ritual, I became a Jew.
    Now I call myself a Celtic Jew, since I’m Scottish-Irish by parentage.
    As for the kids who prefer Latin? They are right. It is more real. Our services are about 75% in Biblical Hebrew, 25% vernacular. As for men in synagogue? The more conservative the Jewish denomination, the higher the percentage of men attending. So, whoever above who said men prefer real meat was right on target. However, I do hope and pray that a renaissance in religious practice and thought is coming – we Americans certainly need it.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Jim says:

    At the Catholic Church I attend in a Dallas suburb with my wife and two step / God daughters, there are many families, especially the youth in attendance. I also occasionally attend the Latin Mass at a Latin Parish called Mater Dei. I sense a change that has started with the clean out of the Seminaries which now welcome the Holy Priests instead of screening them out. There was an orchestrated move by Liberals to gain control of the Seminaries which was accomplished. This is why we had an influx of gay Priests and weak Priests starting post Vatican II. Pope Paul wasn’t kidding when he said, “The smoke of Satan has entered the Church.” We are now in the process of smoking him out, I believe. We are also moving to another Parish where I was actually impressed with the Deacon and his sermon. It was not about “Him” and no Social Justice, and the Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was the center of the Mass. That is the one thing that keeps me in the Church. Regardless of the Priest, I can go into a very deep Holy place at any Mass. One thing that is also avoided, and which all lay people need instruction with, is Spiritual Warfare. Not one Mass I have gone to over the last few years at my regular Parish has had sermons on Spiritual Warfare and dealing with the Devil in our lives. The EXCEPTION is the Latin Church.

    As things get worse, our need for Church will get stronger. And don’t forget, the Holy Spirit is very active now as the Spiritual battle intensifies.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Menagerie says:

      I admit that I am so grateful to our young priest, whose every action, every motion, every stance, every expression is reverent. You absolutely cannot sit through one of his masses and fail to realize that you are in the presence of God, celebrating the sacrifice of the mass. I treasure the changes to the liturgy and the music, as well as the direction of the ministry in the parish. Some people have left because they do not like the new (old) changes.

      I stayed before because the mass is not about me, and aside from extreme circumstances, the mass is valid, and not about the priest either. However, it is just danged hard to keep the proper mindset when you are sitting through a three ring circus instead of a solemn liturgy.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Marliese says:

      How can we “smoke them out” when we have a Liberation Theology pope? I’m afraid the Vatican is full of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nomadic100 says:

        Pope Francis is himself elderly and he has said he expects his papacy to be quite brief. I believe that the damage he can do is relatively limited. I’m prepared to cut him some slack for two reasons: he is from Argentina, a bastion of leftism as are most Latin American Catholic churches probably due to the inordinate poverty which has long characterized the continent and, secondly, because he is a Jesuit, a left leaning order.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Marliese says:

          Well, I think he’s already done a tremendous amount of damage. He’s short on wisdom and speaks without thinking. We don’t need that in someone who has the ability to speak infallibly on matters of faith and morals. He’s about to issue something on “climate change” and then yesterday or today he called the Palestinian leader an angel of peace.
          I spent 12 years in parochial schools and things were fine until Vatican II. After that I lost all respect for the clergy. I really don’t think the church needed reforming. It’s pretty much protestant now. My parish church is a “social justice” church. It doesn’t feel like a Catholic church at all.

          Like

          • Jim says:

            Although I agree with much of what you said, but he was misquoted as calling Abbas an Angel of Peace. He said, “MAY you be an Angel of Peace.” There have always been Popes that steer the ship of the Church off course at times, but it has always been righted. We have to pray hard for the Pope, and for ALL men of the Cloth. They are under continuous assault by the Malignant one and his minions, from Hell, and on earth, as in Cardinals etc from within, and the secular world without.

            BUT having said that, the reason this Pope is so often misquoted is BECAUSE he speaks off the cuff and has no filter. I think he is all Heart and no brain and is easily taken in and manipulated.

            Like

    • Rurik says:

      Back in the 1930s Emelyan Yaroslavsky (Gubelman) the leader of the Union of the Militant Godless once whined to Stalin that Christianity is like a nail, the harder we hammer it, the deeper it sinks. He was far more right than he realized.

      Like

  17. Grimble Gromble says:

    Many (most?) men like structure, order, commitment, and accountability. This is why many are attracted to Islam – If Christianity is not presented as these things (and it IS these things and much more) but rather a lukewarm, feel good, prosperity gospel, and the numerous other heterodox notions, man will fill that hole in his heart, even if it is with Satan.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. Rurik says:

    Khristos voskrese!
    Eastern Orthodox cousin here. Following the same Liturgy since the Council of Nicaea Because of our congregants, we pray in a mixture of Greek and English, Lord’s Prayer in Greek, Slavonic, Rumanian, Spanish, and finally English. Our preaching is never about politics or events of this world, but is always a lesson on the meaning of the Gospel passage just read. If you get the Truth, then the “sinnin’bad, abortin’ worse” message is redundant and obvious. Politics follows from Truth.
    I’ll admit our humble little Transfiguration Church cannot do anything like the following, but here….

    Vo istinu voskrese!
    -Rurik

    Like

  19. PhysicsNut says:

    get a shortwave and listen to Brother Stair, or Pete Peters

    Like

  20. angie says:

    I’m Catholic and love my faith but Mass not so much. When I’ve gone, often I leave feeling aggravated and ticked off. That’s not the way one should feel after leaving a House of God. At the cathedral in town, I call the altar a stage because it seems the priest has made it all about him or at least a great deal about him. I don’t care if a priest is popular. When I was young, priests sometimes scared the dickens out of me not because of their sermons but because of their gravity. It makes me sick that the priests who kiss ass with the mucky mucks move up and the honest priests who truly live Christ’s message are moved to out of the way, in the boonies parishes. Other priests are so liberal that I want to slap them into next week. We had one who had his picture taken carrying on with gay people in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras! He no longer has a parish but he still can perform Masses and he travels on missions. It’s hard go to a Mass when he’s the celebrant. Unfortunately, he is from this town and regularly performs funeral and wedding Masses.

    My mom, dad, and youngest brother are always on me to go to Mass. I tell them that my faith is between God and me and they need to butt out. Of course, they push going to Church all the while, my mom is bitter and looks at the worst side 99% of the time, my dad is always talking doom and gloom and cares about money more than people, and my brother is a clueless ass_ _ _ _. My dad and brother think racist jokes are funny and that people exist to help them. I told them that I might not go to Mass but I trust God to guide my life while they go to Mass and think they are in charge.

    Is it more important to go to Mass on Sunday and act like jerks or to miss Mass and try to follow Christ’s teachings? I wish that I could do both.

    BTW, I do not think that I am a perfect Christian. Lord knows I screw up at least hourly, :).

    Like

    • Menagerie says:

      It is more important to go to Mass on Sunday, participate in the Sacrament with love, and not act like an ass. You can do both, it is not an either/or proposition. Here is an article you might find helpful.

      http://www.catholicgentleman.net/2014/10/four-ends-mass/

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nomadic100 says:

      Church is meant to facilitate one’s eternal salvation. This it does by providing an opportunity to worship God and, in the case of Catholic and Orthodox churches, by providing the sacraments – an extraordinary blessing in my view. Priests and other clergy are fallen people like the rest of us and so the degree to which they resemble what, in our opinion, is an Ideal Human will vary widely and often be short of the mark. “Judge not that ye not be judged.”

      Like

    • Jim says:

      The seminary there was called the “Pink Palace” which was told to me by a Priest that studied there. I think it was Immaculate Heart. He said there would be seminarians blatantly dressing up as women on Friday nights and heading into the French Quarter. They didn’t even try to hide it. The Seminaries were corrupted and in the control of corrupt Priests who were the ones who decided WHO would become Priests. Holy men were screened out. This, thankfully has changed due to St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict.

      Like

  21. Just Sayin says:

    When I travel or meet people from other places and they find out I live in a place well-known as the most conservative Catholic Diocese in the country, they often reach out in pitty, “oh you poor thing, how do you deal with it?”

    Very well, actually. Our Diocese is THRIVING. Lots of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Masses full of people. Catholic schools packed to the seems and overflowing with children. And the Gospel being taught and lived through the example of the Priests and Deacons.

    So, I mean, what’s not to like? And how about yours?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Tundra PA says:

      Where is the most conservative diocese in the country?

      Like

      • Just Sayin says:

        The one that doesn’t have girl altar servers.

        Like

        • Menagerie says:

          I am curious also. Why would you not just answer her?

          Like

          • Just Sayin says:

            Seriously? Maybe we’re not as well-known as I thought we were. I thought “no girl altar servers” would not only help justify the contention of “most conservative” but also provide enough of a hint, since we’re the only Diocese in America that doesn’t allow them and we seemed to have gotten plenty of national attention over the fact that we don’t allow them.

            The Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. In addition to not having girl altar servers, we also have the highest Priest to Catholic ratio of any Diocese in the country.

            Liked by 1 person

  22. Totally Domestic says:

    Never settle for spiritual junk food. Demand the meat of the Holy Word of God KJV!

    Like

  23. ZurichMike says:

    Why are there no men and dwindling numbers going to church? For Catholics, I believe it started when the focus moved from “how are you engaging in this sacrifice at this Mass?” to “how can the priest keep your attention for 45 minutes?”. We are a society that no longer knows what sacrifice is — so why would Christ’s sacrifice mean anything to anyone? (that’s a rhetorical question — don’t jump ugly on me).

    Look at popular cultural since the 1960’s: Christ the wimp in “Godspell” and Christ the circus farce in “Jesus Christ, Superstar” to Christ and the Apostles as gay in “Corpus Christi” to Christ as a delusional nutcase in “The Last Temptation of Christ”. Compare all of that with Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” — and its enormous success despite the naysayers — which shows how being viscerally involved with Christ’s passion (struggle) is what moves us forward in life — which is why this movie resonated with millions of people around the world.

    Look at Vatican II: No longer facing the altar and tabernacle that holds the Body of Christ — instead face the congregation and turn your back on the Lord and hold a gab fest. How would any of this appeal to a real man, the head of a household and one seeking strength to carry on, if Christ is no longer the head of the Church? What would a man learn about protecting the innocent and serving God from a Church that fails to stand up to politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden, Catholics in name only who support abortion gladly, and fails to uphold core beliefs of the Church in sermons?

    Could any Catholic recite the Nicene Creed with conviction in front of a stranger if asked “What exactly to you believe in?” When was the last time you held up your hand when someone was talking smack the Church and you said, with conviction, “No, you are misguided and repeating falsehoods about a faith community I find transcendent and true” or if they were mocking Christ did you ever interrupt loudly and say “Sorry. Stop. Not today, Satan, no today” and the pray inwardly for Archangel Michael and the legions of heavenly hosts to cast Satan out of your presence and back to hell where he belongs.

    Men are no longer taught, encouraged, or rewarded to be spiritual warriors — just like that are no longer taught, encouraged, or rewarded to be good and strong men, good and strong husbands, good and strong fathers; since the 1960’s there has been a general wussification of men and now a Pavlovian response to modern society that men should be meek and mild and agree with everyone just to get along . . . .

    OK, I need to stop now — I could go on for hours, but I don’t want to hog the thread . . . .

    Above all, keep the faith. Pray without ceasing. Ask your guardian angel for protection. Call upon His Holy Name for help.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Menagerie says:

      As usual, you stated truth in powerful beautiful words. Thank you Mike.

      Like

    • Auntie Lib says:

      Mike – you said it all! That hit so many nails on the head. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

    • partyzantski says:

      Mike,
      Thank you. You nailed it.

      Like

    • Menagerie says:

      I can recite the Apostles Creed. I got a little lost on the Nicene when they changed the wording. And I actually found myself in a confrontation with a woman in a bookstore over Catholicism. She asked me to use my phone to help her research a Christian college, and somehow wound up on an anti Vatican/Catholicism rant.

      Do I get Zurich Mike brownie points? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Grimble Gromble says:

        If you get lost where the wording was changed in the Creed a few years back, you could always become Orthodox 😉

        Liked by 3 people

        • Menagerie says:

          Hmm. I might need a little better reason than a faulty memory. 😀

          Like

        • Rurik says:

          Changed the Creed a few years back? I presume you mean other than the Photios – fileoque dispute of the 860s?

          Like

          • Grimble Gromble says:

            Sometime I forget the [/sarc] 😉 860’s is a few years back 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          • Menagerie says:

            Yep, I meant other than that. I wasn’t going back that far, nor that deep.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Grimble Gromble says:

            The ‘consubstantial’/’incarnate’ and ‘I’ change?
            FWIW – We say ‘of one essence’ for ‘consubstantial’, ‘I’ and ‘incarnate’

            Liked by 1 person

            • Rurik says:

              Yes the 860s was a few years back. The fileoque of which I spoke was the Pope’s decision that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son and not just from the Father, as before. The subtle significance is lost upon me, but then, I am not a theologian. The same mindset which led Old Believes to burn themselves alive over the issue of how many fingers one extended when making the sign of The Cross. The Fileoque was the topic of my first presentation in Graduate school.

              Like

    • The Tundra PA says:

      Outstandingly stated, ZM! Your way with words is so impressive.

      Like

    • Jim says:

      Spot on. We need to be Re-enlisted in Spiritual Warfare as an entire Church. And notice how long it took for the Church to devolve after the Prayer of St. Michael was removed? I say that prayer after each decade of the Rosary. We need a new call to War. In the three years I am in my present parish, I have NEVER heard a homily on Spiritual Warfare or the Devil and his activity in our lives. I DO sense a change however. The Holy Spirit will not let us down.

      Liked by 2 people

  24. KCKid says:

    http://www.churchmilitant.com
    This is a great sight for true Catholic insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Spar Harmon says:

    — Holy Spirit, guide my speech
    in the Name of Jesus Christ
    and my Holy Father —

    Jesus in His ministry and Paul, as His Apostle, were very explicit about what a church is and what it needs to be about. In these comments here, I have heard little reference to that though I know many who have commented and know that they would know.
    I am left to conclude that that is not the referent base for their comment.
    When I meet with at least one other, in the Name of Our God, with the purpose of making Real and Present contact with Him, worshiping the transcendent Glory of Him, loving Him with all our being, drawing healing and strength through His abundant Grace and Provision, and rejoicing in the refreshment of the Real in our awareness, we ARE, then, the Church. We are, then, the Body of Christ – the church. Not the building. Not the music. Not the liturgy. Not any formalism accrued by any particular grouping of believers, but the group itself dedicated in Christ and gathered in His name.
    Such gatherings of Friends in Jesus Christ have no problems such as mentioned. If a group decides make a building, adopt a creed, establish an order of worship, create a beautiful liturgy, etc.etc., such problems as mentioned can be expected.
    Now is that conservative or radical?
    Yep it is both, I guess, well mebbee, I dunno, Hmmmmmmmmmmmm — — –………. . . … . . . .

    Like

    • Grimble Gromble says:

      Well …The Church did create buildings, its Hymns, the Divine Liturgy and establish an order of services, and The Creed – And it, the Church, is Holy.

      Like

      • Spar Harmon says:

        GG, you are talking in the conventional mode which associates “church” with the outer show of formal religious organizations. Paul’s letters are to churches he got started. He often speaks explicitly what is meant by “church”. Check it out.

        Like

        • Spar Harmon says:

          By that I mean, if you want to understand what I mean by church…

          Like

        • Grimble Gromble says:

          Actually, I am speaking of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that is the Bride and Body of Christ – As the Holy Scriptures attest of – Check it out

          Like

            • Menagerie says:

              Spar, you are a kind gentleman, and you model courteous discourse for those of us less restrained. Thank you sir, for your example as well as your restraint. I have a great deal of respect for you.

              I fear it is proving to be a long journey for me when it comes to restraint.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Spar Harmon says:

                I appreciate your kind words, Menagerie.
                Also, I have witnessed you exercise admirable restraint more that once — — and I have to admit lapsing into rants I was not thereafter proud of — — but I will ever be needy of God’s Grace and it has been freely granted when I deeply ask. I know that is so for you as well; so well met , sister in Christ.

                Liked by 1 person

  26. dalethorn says:

    Jesus founded a church, built on Peter (for what reason I don’t know, but he said it). The church existed, teaching the gospel (good news) before it was written down, and so the New Testament itself grew out of the word of mouth tradition passed from Jesus to his apostles, and to Paul, and then to the people. Starting over with new churches, much is lost in the pursuit of greater ‘purity’ or whatever the new congregation is seeking separately from the established church. It seems to me that going to Confession and Mass regularly with a good positive outlook, you can perform your obligations to your creator and feel free to ignore that which bothers you, or pray about it, or if all else fails find a more traditional church. Jesus said that the gates of Hell would not prevail against his church, and that’s how I know it still exists.

    Like

    • John Denney says:

      Gates are for defense, not offense.
      There is no gate erected by the powers of darkness that is strong enough to prevent the Church bringing the Gospel to the people imprisoned behind it.

      Like

  27. They have it backwards. We don’t transform Christ to fit into our silly nonsense. We are to conform to Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. hoosiergranny says:

    Wow. I just got a notification from Word Press that what I wrote could not be posted. There was nothing offensive. I hate being censored.

    Like

  29. Amity says:

    Our church still has plenty of men in it. The younger men are active, and many who were littles when we joined twenty years back are happily married and active in church, although not necessarily this church (they’re spread all across the country). We’re Missouri Synod Lutheran, meaning, to my pastor’s mind, somewhere between Catholic and protestant

    My parents keep abandoning denominations that get “too liberal” for them, because they seem to have a knack for picking denominations that are rapidly heading in a liberal direction! They are not alone, however; study after study shows that moderate and liberal denominations are dying, while more conservative denominations are growing.

    Seems to me it must be a challenge to be a Catholic in much of the US, Europe or South America right now, because the there church is so infected with liberal ideas, but OTOH the Catholic church is growing in Africa and Asia. Churches that stick with God will eventually triumph. The Catholic Church has veered off course right regularly, but there has always been a remnant of the faithful who pull it back to center eventually. It has survived some truly dreadful popes in its long history, and I believe it will survive this one.

    Like

    • Celtic5 says:

      Empires have risen and fallen over the last 2,000 years or so, and yet the Catholic Church still prevails. Liberals and others who seek to destroy her ignore this to their own peril.
      Matthew 16:18 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

      Like

  30. John Denney says:

    I was born and raised Catholic, was an altar boy and sang in the choir, and was confirmed as a young teen, taking the name Michael as my confirmation name.
    But a few years later, it occurred to me that all the other churches were probably also saying that theirs was the One True Church. And of course the Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims would be saying the equivalent. I had been told that God always was, is, and will be, but what if there were no God, and just the universe had always been. and always will be?
    I became an agnostic. As years went by, I was exposed to Transcendental Meditation, Nichiren Buddhism, Rosicrucianism, Scientology, and all the latest pop spiritualism.
    Then I met a fine upstanding fellow my age who had a wisdom about him that was astounding, so I asked him how he got so smart. His answer was even more astounding – from studying the Bible!
    “Really? Where does it say what you were just talking about earlier?”
    Gary opened his Bible he always had with him and showed me the passage. I read it, asked him a question about it, and he said, “Oh, that’s explained here.” and flipped to another passage. After a few rounds of this he said I really should just come to the Bible study he went to. At this point in my life I was a long haired biker always in leather jacket, boots, and jeans.
    “Me? Go to a Bible study??”
    “Sure! Just come tonight and see what you think.”
    So I did, and the light of love, joy, and peace emanating from that rented hall when I stepped into it was amazing.
    There were about 60 teen and early twenties people in a carpeted room with just a couple folding chairs at the front. I spotted Gary, who introduced me to several people who greeted me warmly, and then the study started with everyone sitting on the carpet singing songs led by a guitarist sitting one of the folding chairs. A person would ask, “Could we sing number 14?”, and the guitarist would play it, and everyone sang as though they meant it, unlike the lifeless droning I remembered in church.
    After several songs, Floyd sat on a folding chair at the front facing us.
    “So, how was your week?”, he asked.
    People raised their hands and he called on them, one at a time, and they talked about their struggles, conflicts, trials, and triumphs.
    As one person spoke, everyone listened attentively.
    “This is weird”, I thought.
    When everyone was done sharing, we entered a time of prayer, from sitting on the carpet to kneeling on the carpet, and one at a time, people prayed out loud for those among them with struggles, conflicts, and trials, or gave thanks and praise to God for the triumphs.
    I thought, “That was cool. They really care about each other, and ask God for help for each other, and thank Him with just regular words like He’s actually here in the room with them.”
    Then Walter continued where he’d left off teaching the previous week in the book of Matthew. It was the Last Supper, and Jesus had just announced that one of the Twelve would betray Him.
    “Lord, is it I?”
    Jesus said it is one of you who has dipped his hand in the bowl with Me.
    “Master, is it I?”, said Judas.
    “You have said.”, replied Jesus.
    I had heard that passage at Mass, and had always wondered what He meant. The priest had said it was like when one guy says, “sure is hot”, and his buddy replies, “you said it!”.
    Well, yeah, but that wasn’t really a satisfying answer, since all the other Apostles had asked the same thing.
    But Walt, anticipating the question I had never voiced to anyone, pointed out that Judas did not say the same thing as all the others. All the others called Jesus, “Lord”, while Judas only called Him, “Master”, a title of respect, but not “Lord”.
    Then Walt asked all of us, “Is Jesus Lord of your life tonight?”
    “Why, no! I am the Lord of my life!”, I thought.
    “He should be.”
    I had never heard of such a thing before.
    The next week, Gary asked if I was coming to the study again.
    “Nah.”
    “Did you not like it last week?”
    “Oh, it was good and I liked it.”
    “Are you busy tonight?”
    “No.”
    “Why don’t you come then?”
    “Oh, OK.”
    I’m glad Gary was persistent. Same deal; love, joy, peace, song, prayer, study further in Matthew. This was the real deal.
    I made Jesus the Lord of my life that night.
    No denomination, just a Bible study. It is long gone, and everyone scattered to the wind (John 3:8), but I find fellowship with believers everywhere I go, regardless of denomination. I’ve attended the same church since I moved here 17 years ago, but I’ve still not joined and become a “member”, even though I’ve been part of their children’s ministry for many years.
    I just belong to Jesus. I am His and He is mine.
    “. . . have fellowship with us . . .” – 1st John 1:3

    Like

  31. That Other Guy says:

    I’m afraid your use of the sign for the Flippin Church of God, which I suspect was meant to illustrate a name/signage that you believe to be inappropriate (since the other pictures do so), is actually exactly what you express a desire for. It’s located in Flippin Arkansas.

    Like

    • Menagerie says:

      I assumed it was the name of a town when I used it, but it made the point I wanted. I saw no harm in adding it to the post. I am sorry if I offended you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That Other Guy says:

        Offended? Oh Heavens, no. I’m not some special little snowflake that requires trigger warnings lest I be presented with something that doesn’t conform to my world view. There is no “right” to not be offended. Absolutely no apology needed or expected (though thank you for your graciousness nonetheless). 🙂

        I am, however, someone that thinks should a person seek to make their case to others (regardless of what that may be) they should do so in a forthright, logical, factual manner, no matter the the medium.

        In this specific instance, I merely wanted to point out that, while “flippin” has in some cases become a polite way of saying another “f word” (and that may have been how some would interpret the sign), the fact of the matter is that the name of the church comports with your desires and so is not congruent with the other images that were included in your post.

        Call me pedantic if you like. No harm, no foul. 🙂

        Like

  32. TeddyOn20th says:

    I can only imagine what it must have been like to have the Catholic Mass in Latin. When I was a kid in the ’80s and ’90s it was already getting namby-pamby and full of divorced women looking to erase their pasts; it made my father furious. And nobody dressed with much formality. I can’t believe that nearly two millennia of tradition were tossed away less than a generation before I was born.

    Like

  33. WMCROW says:

    When we simply focus on Jesus in our churches – who He is, what He said and meant for us to do, what He has done in our lives – we are fine. We get in trouble when we start with Jesus AND something (politics, popular culture, etc.). The end result is you end up with churches not even focused on Jesus at all, just the other stuff. Then, I am with the men who don’t go at all – what’s the point?

    Like

  34. I think that JPG was more influencial than I realized while he was pope. While his reign as the top guy, he made much headway in steering the church during the aftermath of Roe v Wade, child abuse scandals (took place in my parish church), unpopular birth control teaching, end of the Cold War among many other deeply divided or political hot topics. Since his passing, our beloved church has not had a leader as strong, impressive or passionate since JPG. That is not to say that Benedict or Francis are not strong, but they pale in comparison to JPG, who had so much impact on the faithful or those who were at one time faithful. So, having a strong leader in our church (not unlike our country’s leader), is crucial to communicating to the faithful, keeping the faithful, and attracting the faithful.

    There is also a movement of classical education, too, which focuses on our church’s history, Latin (and Latin mass), great works of classical authors, artwork, and architecture. It is fabulous and have the opportunity to send my daughter to such a school. Until finding such a school (who coincidentally happens to be named John Paul the Great) I had never attended mass in Latin, complete with Gorian chants. It is truly soul-quenching to be part of such a mass.

    Like

  35. John Denney says:

    Heh. The pastor opened today’s sermon with, “Here’s a feel good chapter for you all today! Let me read it to you!” and read 2 Peter 2, a chapter about false teachers.
    http://www.blbclassic.org/Bible.cfm?b=2Pe&c=2&t=NASB#top
    “That describes America these days. So, you feelin’ good? or are you like Lot, ” oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds)”?”

    The worship team capped the sermon with, “The Voice of Truth”

    which brings me to tears.

    Like

  36. Annabahpa says:

    From the screenplay of John Wayne’s 1960 film “The Alamo”, here’s what Lieutenant Finn had to say: “I’ll have you to know that I’m a fully immersed member of the first church of King’s Crossing… And I believe in hell firing brimstone and the Pearly Gates and the cloud and harp for them has lived good, and Hell and Purgatory for them that ain’t, and I can whip the man that says there ain’t no hereafter!”

    Liked by 1 person

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