Skip to main content

Church is Boring, Rote, or Irrelevant? And God Never Is?



We started this series on the Holy Spirit with a reminder that the Holy Spirit is a person, and should not be reduced to merely a thing or a feeling.  Last week we were reminded of Richard Hauser, S.J.’s point that to the extent that we are open to the movement of the Spirit within us, we will be able to fulfill what many believe to be the point of Christian spirituality. Namely, we will better be able to imitate Jesus, love and do the Father's will, and love and serve our neighbors.

Some of you might be wondering why we’re spending the whole summer considering the Holy Spirit.

Part of the reason is that for too many people – perhaps for you at times – Christianity or church is boring, or rote, or irrelevant to their daily lives.

Here’s the problem with that: go through the Bible and look up every encounter that a human being has with God – whether with God directly, or with one of God’s angels/messengers, or with Holy Spirit, or with God-made-flesh in Jesus – and you’ll not find a single instance where the person thought the encounter was boring, or rote, or irrelevant.

So: is it too much of a stretch to say  if people NEVER find God  (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) to be boring, rote, or irrelevant to our daily lives, but they are finding Christianity or church to be that way, it’s because people are not experiencing God there?

Or as Hauser quotes the following Eastern Orthodox prayer,

“Without the Holy Spirit, God is distant,
Christ remains in the past,
The Gospel is a dead letter,
The Church is just an organization,
Authority a domination,
Mission is propaganda,
Worship a ceremonial,
And Christian way of life a servitude.

But in him: the cosmos is uplifted and groans
            In giving birth to the kingdom,
            The risen Christ is here,
The Gospel throbs with life,
The Church is communion with the Trinity,
Authority is a liberating service,
Mission a Pentecost,
The liturgy both memorial and anticipation,
And human life is deified.”






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If there's a will, there's a way.

For Lent, I was thinking of doing the typical fasts: fast from Facebook and take up reading, fast from petty vices like overindulging in sweets and alcohol and take on moderation, yada yada yada.
But I'm re-thinking that this year.
What I'm fasting from this Lent is discouragement. That means cutting back on what is so often the source of discouragement, which is a tendency to gorge on, or dwell on, bad news.
(Let me be clear: that does not mean giving up news or otherwise burying my head in the sand: it means staying informed while finding ways not to get pulled into a downward spiral of feelings of numbness and helplessness; it means giving up unproductive feelings like hopelessness and resignation and taking on visible behaviors like giving encouragement and taking action.)
It means making visible -- here, on my blog, and even on Facebook -- the good.
Because the problem is -- to paraphrase the community organizer Rich Harwood -- a lot of times we see "good news stories…

Fasting from Discouragement, Making Visible the Good

So for Lent, I was thinking of doing the typical fasts: fast from Facebook and take up reading, fast from petty vices like overindulging in sweets and alcohol and take on moderation, yada yada yada.

But I'm re-thinking that.
Now one of the things I'm thinking about fasting from during Lent is discouragement. That means cutting back on what is so often the source of discouragement, which is a tendency to gorge on, or dwell on, bad news.
That would mean taking on encouragement: to make visible -- even on Facebook -- the good.
Because the problem is -- to paraphrase the community organizer Rich Harwood -- a lot of times we see "good news stories" as being quaint -- they are tossed in at the end of the news as an inspiring story, or put in the style section. But stories of good things happening -- people coming together to do things, is not a touchy-feely, feel-good story, but something affecting real change.
So for starters: I'm inspired by the leadership example of…