Let me preface this by saying I have no issue with any religion. I was born a catholic and will likely die one and I have only a very healthy respect for all religions. I have no designs on converting anyone nor do I want anyone else trying to convert me. I do however, have some questions about certain practices within specific religions; namely mine, and only because it’s the only one I am familiar with.
The catholic church has its’ traditions, with age old ceremonies and countless hymns, most of them thoroughly depressing. I was always led to believe that my faith is what will save me. If you’re struggling with life, go to church and God will help you. If you’re struggling with guilt, go to confession and God will cleanse your sole. If you’re looking for solace, comfort and peace, you will find it at church, right? I think that’s how it’s supposed to work, but does it? Is that the environment they’re creating in the church? One of peace and love and mercy? Cause if they are, I’m not feelin’ the love!
I went to mass every Sunday growing up and I sang in the choir. I dragged my 3 children to church every weekend (with a pile of toys to keep them quiet while I repented for my sins) but for some reason I never felt happy after attending a service and I could never figure out why.
Then I happened upon a Baptist service on television one Sunday morning and it got me thinking because it didn’t leave me feeling bad about myself when it was over. Granted they too have one’ preacher’ who dominates the service and does a lot of screaming, but it didn’t seem accusatory. What I found uplifting was their music. They’re all dancing in the aisle, clapping their hands and pounding tambourines – they’re having a ball! The catholic church on the other hand, has put more than half of their mass to music, and I don’t mean happy, upbeat, make you want to come to church, music. This stuff is tuneless, morose, and has the enthusiasm of a speed bump.
Further, the catholic service consists of a lot of lines like “I am not worthy” and “ I have sinned”. I know that, I’m no saint, but do I need to advertise my short comings? I come looking for solace and mercy but I get berated, and told to get on my knees and say 50 Hail Mary’s. And by the way, if we can all talk to God, anytime, anywhere, why do we have to go to confession at all? I’m all for cutting out the middle man so I go straight to the big guy and to date I’ve not been struck by lightning. And who are you to tell me I am not worthy? I lead an honest life, a Christian life, and if occasionally I falter I think I’d repent more effectively without having the snot pounded out of me. I think God knows that, and while I still consider myself catholic, I do not attend regular mass and the big guy and I have both made our peace with the arrangement.
I have to admit there are times when I long to go to a church service. There is a sense of peace you walk away with when you’re in Gods house but I fail to understand why they can’t make it fun. Religion should be a joyous thing. Just once I’d like to see someone boogie up to receive communion, and maybe they should hand out tambourines and maracas to the congregation. Put a little life into the service, get people up on their feet, singing and clapping, celebrating religion instead of fearing it. Make people feel good about themselves and the church, then maybe, just maybe, they’ll come back.
I think we could all learn a thing or two from the Baptists and Gospel Church goers and if I could muster up the courage (and a few conspirators) I’d crash the next catholic service with a mariachi band – bet that would blow the priest right out of his papal clompers!