It pains me to admit it, but the priest at our church sucks like a Hoover.
Or a Dyson
Pick your favorite upright. The simile still works.
He’s a five and a half foot Dirt Devil in robes, sucking out our will to live with one long, convoluted, meandering sermon. At least I assume it’s meandering and convoluted. I have no idea because he isn’t very adept at keeping his mouth inline with the microphone so his voice fades in and out of my ears, much like it would if I were literally, and not just figuratively, slipping in and out of consciousness.
I couldn’t catch much of what he was saying, busy as I was bribing Nicholas to keep quiet with Elyon marshmallows in natural vanilla, but at one point he garbled something about an article he wrote nine years ago detailing the confusion of a recently converted Catholic regarding the validity of her Protestant marriage under the eyes of the Church. This woman felt it was still blessed by God even though it had been performed under a different faith before her conversion. Then she decided she no longer believed that because…
I have no idea. He moved his mouth.
It was like an overly dramatic cliff-hanger from the 80s, only instead of Who Shot J.R.?, I want to know Who Blessed the Marriage? The answer, I’m afraid, will not be forthcoming and will always remain a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. But all was not lost. I did hear him say this week celebrates the Call to Serve, and that the Church is actively looking for young men and women eager to answer the call to serve God. Yes, please. That would be great, especially if they hear the phone ringing in the Inland Empire.
We’ve tried other churches before with mixed success. The Mister is not Catholic, and out of respect for him and an interest in trying something new, last year we visited one of the large churches everyone is talking about. You know the one (because you probably have one, too); it’s the one with stadium seating, power points presentations and
and woman’s ministry
Dave Ramsey University
and, in case you’re not up to sitting with the masses, streaming live video.
I don’t know. It was okay, but I just can’t get over the 22-piece rock band and light show. And, forgive me for being rude, but is that a set director I see hovering in the wings? The message was simple, straightforward, and easy enough to swallow, but at the risk of creating controversy, I feel these fast-food sermons contribute to the dumbifiction of America. We are talking about the word of God as written by fallible men and women over 3,000 years ago. It is my most humble opinion that some things require thought and analysis, a little frontal lobe effort on our parts to see if we are going to buy what they’re selling, and I’m not sure a fill-in-the-blank pamphlet (free pencil!) and power-point presentation with flying words in Papyrus and Jester pushes us enough intellectually.
I know many people think this is what makes this new breed of church so grand–finally, a message they can understand the first time around and without having to think too hard!–but, for me, the simplicity of the message (spoon feeding, if you will) is not a selling feature. An inspiring message is great, and I will take them where I can, simple or complex. A simple message alone, however, fails to keep my interest. In law school there were many, many cases I didn’t understand the first or second or third and fourth time around. I would read the same case over and over again until I understood the opinion of the court and the rule of law that came forth. If I can do that with a book full of cases on civil procedure, surely I can do the same with a book that postulates we were created in the image of a supreme being.
Which is what leads me to the crossroads at which I currently stand. On the right I have tradition and symbolism and thousands of years of history lost on a priest who is incapable of communicating the message he has spent years studying. On the left there is a (seemingly) profitable, exciting, youthful ministry that caters to the youth and makes church enjoyable and entertaining, if not intellectually demanding or fulfilling.
What to do? That also is a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma.