Our Church Dilemma

One of the nice things about our house is that we are about a half a block from our local church. That, it turns out, is also one of the drawbacks. The services are atrocious, but because of the proximity, I feel compelled to attend.

The renovations to the sanctuary, landing masses in the elementary school’s all purpose room, have caused part of the problem. Fluorescent lights, dropped tile ceilings, the absence of windows, and an incense overpowering aroma caused by the rubberized floor that is very similar to what you get in your local Goodyear store all eliminate anything even remotely close to a reverent atmosphere. But this is temporary, and the new sanctuary should be very nice.

The big problems are the music and the priests. As for the former, all I can say is imagine some simple backwoods Baptist church in which some eighty year old self taught pianist leads music from behind an upright piano while the six member choir sings in multiple keys, and you’ve got our music. Worse, they’ve chosen all kinds of teeny bopper type tunes for the responses and such. The music frequently clashes with what ought to be the mood.

As for the priests, one of the two priests is decent enough. His homilies can be interested, though they are always long winded. The other guy though, is unbelievably bad. To start, he has one of those aspirated high toned “I’m so holy” voices. That is then made worse by what can only be marbles in his mouth, so mumbly is his speech. He is also very long winded and has a terrible habit of chasing rabbit trails. Today, for instance, it took him nearly ten minutes to announce at the end of the mass: 1) The red mass is Friday, and 2) the dedication of the new sanctuary has been moved to July. Several people left while he was wandering through these two apparently simple things. Oh, he also frequently forgets to turn off his microphone, meaning we all get to hear his snorts, sneezes, and hacks broadcast throughout the church.

Anyway, there are two other churches in town that ought to be much better. But then we’d have to load up and drive. That isn’t a big deal now, but when the kids get older, it would mean we would be forced to hang around for adult education while the kids go to parish school of religion. The big bonus here is that we (well, mostly me) could go home and tell the kids to follow when they get done.

So I don’t know what to do. Walk to church but endure masses that had they been my first exposure to Catholicism would have ensured I remained a Baptist? Or, get a more worshipful and dignified experience, but have to load up and drive, and then one day have to sit through the Catholic version of Sunday School? Maybe I could just watch a certain amount of EWTN every week and be done with it.

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4 Comments on “Our Church Dilemma”

  1. Greenshirt Says:

    I would load up and go. You’ll be getting the experience you are looking for, and exposing the kids to the same thing. – even though it will be a while before they will be storing memories. Sunday School is a bit down the line at this point, no?

  2. walt moffett Says:

    The Church and its pastors change at a glacial pace, so waiting it out is another option. Take in the occassional Orthodox service for the full bells, smells, and mysticism recharge if need be. Might be easier to find a more congenial parish though.

    The parishes in Louisiana have adult education? In ths part of Alabama, it tends to be done on week nights or over coffee at the Huddle House whilst the young uns get indoctrinated.

  3. Himself Says:

    I vote with load up and go – you want to give the kids the best experience right from the beginning.

    In the old days, the diocese drew parish boundries and you couldn’t go outside them to another church without permission.

    Oh, and please no EWTN. Read Thomas Merton, St. Augustine, anyone.

  4. wheeler Says:

    ahh, come on, you don’t like mother angelica? of course, as great as ewtn is, they don’t hold a candle to tbn. after i’ve drank too much, i really get a kick out of watching joel olsteen. i’ve been told i do a great impression.

    anyway, i think what we’ll do it hold out for the new sanctuary. from what i’ve seen it ought to be very nice: lots of marble, old school stations of the cross, lots of classic stained glass. perhaps the atmosphere will overcome the homilies. no pipe organ, but at least it will have an organ, so maybe the music will improve, too.

    if not, we’ll see.


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