Sunday, January 8, 2012

Churning Churches

I want to go to the church I went to when I was 8, or the one I attended when I was 16.  But where do I find those churches in this crazy new-fangled world?

My church in El Cerrito took a little field trip up to a “new” kind of church in Sacramento.  It had all the eh-things about my church without any of the good things I like to balance it out.  Like the big non-denominational churches some friends attended in high school and college, this church was all about doing things a new way, with drum sets and solo singers and that sort of stuff.  Different, new, exciting, yadda, yadda, yadda.  “Church attendance is down, we have to do things different.”  “People are looking for something new.”  “Church has to be exciting.” Bah humbug.

I want organs and choirs in robes; acolytes with long wick holders, preachers draped with stoles, Bible passages read from a giant Bible on a pulpit, hymnals and people in their Sunday best.  I want my favorite hymns that I can only hear in church.  Not electric guitars and drum sets and one singer with a mic, not overheads and jeans, not songs I hear on the radio.

But somehow, for some reason, church can’t mean these things anymore; it has to mean the opposite.  And before you know it, there’s nothing special, nothing about church you can’t get anywhere else.  Before you know it, there’s no reason to go.

While the easy-going churches lighten up even more to fight dwindling attendance, the Catholic church up the road fills 5 services a week. 

Sometimes it’s not a need for less structure and more change, but a need for more structure and less change that we need. 

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