Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Sunday Morning?"

I saw this clip posted on facebook the other day. It was parody of "contemporary" and "relevant" seeker-friendly protestant assemblies that are popping up in malls, gyms, corporate offices, even luxury hotels on Sunday morning. The person who produced the video obviously came from the background of one of those churches as I too had. I once was a bass player for a worship band that was known as the "best live band on Sunday morning" in our particular area. As much as I laughed watching the video, there was a sadness to see that worship services for some of our protestant brethren have devolved into a multi-media experience seeking to entertain.
In medical school we learned that "nature abhors a vacuum." Whenever an organ was removed from the body, such as a lung, the space would be filled with tissue fluid and an empty space would not remain. In much the same way, when the sacraments are removed from the church, a vacuum is formed that must be filled with something.
The further we move away from historical liturgical worship centered on the sacrament of the Eucharist, the more we will see worship services like these. Increasing the cultural "attractiveness" has become the method of church growth and success in these times.

Apologies to my protestant friends who don't attend these type of services; I don't wish imply that all non-Catholic churches are going in this direction.


Blogger Owen said...

Yup, worked for 3.5 years for one of these and this vid is mega true. Get it?

September 19, 2010 5:46 PM  
Blogger kkollwitz said...

Eventually (maybe already in places) this type of worship will become so indistinguishable from entertainment and non-specifically Christian ways of seeking truth that it will disappear.

By seeking relevance, it will become irrelevant.

September 19, 2010 6:27 PM  
Blogger Owen said...

"By seeking relevance, it will become irrelevant." Spot on!

And, to illustrate, the very congregation I mentioned where I did my last ever protestant pastor gig, roughly two years after I was gone - I learned through a friend - was looking to do away with skits, film clips and "talks" by the pastor in their service and going forward (read, go back to the past before we did all this relevant stuff) to "more expository preaching." Uh huh.

September 19, 2010 8:27 PM  
Blogger Joyful Catholic said...

Well said, Russ. I remember the 7 piece band,(bongos on Sat nights!) and the 'dancers w/ streamers/ ribbons' gliding down the aisles. But when I see the young man at our parish now,w/ cerebral palsy, (it takes him almost 5 minutes to make the sign of the cross) and see him receive Jesus (as his Lord & Savior) every day at Mass, at Holy Communion, one wonders, "Gee, what good, what 'transformation' would the band, and dancers give that man? Not much!

He can't clap, he can't sing, he can hardly speak at all, but he can walk...very slowly. He walks up to receive Jesus in the Eucharist and I almost want to cry tears and cry out, "THIS IS IT!" THIS EUCHARIST is the 'good news!' "It's" JESUS WHO IS PRESENT. HIS BODY & BLOOD transform us, change us, over time and GIVE LIFE! No songs,no matter how skillfully played or sung, no mere words 'preached' by a glib pastor can give a young man or anyone such life changing, 'transforming power!'


September 21, 2010 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joyful Catholic, I just wanted to say that your post does not show you to be joyful but spiteful and denigrading. How can you say what will or will not bless someone. I belong to a church similar to the one being mocked in the video and although I cannot participate fully in the worship I am still blessed by seeing the joy of the LORD on others. Why do think that it is okay to hide that from someone?

You should read 2 Samuel 6:14-23.

September 21, 2010 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having attended a church like the one "mocked" and having returned to Catholicism, I can tell you that what those churches offer pale in comparison to receiving Christ in the Eucharist. It is the most joyful feeling I have ever experienced. I believe that Satan does not want people to encounter Christ in that authentic way. Julie

September 21, 2010 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need to say that I should havd dug deeper into what the video was really about before I commented. My specific comments to Joyful Catholic still stand but I have to say more about the video.

The video was done by this church:
a type of church that is presented in the video. It was not a critique of that type of church but more of warning. It was produced specifically for conference. I am still disturbed by the video but now understand more clearly what the intention was now that I understand the context. What disturbs me is that a lot of people will take this as a serious critique of this type of church by way of humor. What is even more interesting is that they were making fun of themselves and their own service. This showed that they know how to laugh at themselves. How many of us can do that about ourselves and our types of worship?

September 21, 2010 8:58 PM  
Blogger Joyful Catholic said...

Had a problem w/ 2 other comments, Russ. It said URI too large. So here's a truncated one to Anonymous.

I'm sorry I came off as "spiteful" to you. But I *never said* someone can't be "blessed." Putting words in another's mouth/comment isn't exactly 'Christ-like' however.

I basically asked 'what (real) good, what transforming power' does a band/dancers or a great sermon actually give anyone? Sure they can 'bless' folks but isn't there maybe something *more* that Jesus himself desires of us,for us? i.e the Mass?

The Holy Spirit is like the wind, He's all over the place,and He's working in other 'churches', too...constantly wooing us all to the Truth. I only meant that no band/sermon can ultimately have the power to transform a life, as much as Jesus' Body & Blood certainly does.

Jesus (not I)said in John 6:53

"I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you."

There's not one word about a 'great sermon' or 'music' or a repetitive 'praise choruses' giving LIFE. I know all that stuff evolved over time. At our 7:00 a.m. Mass there's not even a choir,no songs sung, and sometimes not even a homily, only silence.

So, it's the *Eucharist* not 'peripherals' that bring 'true' and deep healing/transformation of heart, blessing' a person *the most* (body/soul) just as Jesus said and as He commanded we do. - Luke 22:19

God bless, A.

September 22, 2010 7:46 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

The point I was trying to make in the post is that the farther one moves in time and space away from the worship of the early Church, which was fully sacramental, the more it morphs into something unrecognizable from the original, but totally appealing to the popular culture. These guys who made the video may have been laughing at themselves, but unintentionally revealed much more about themselves and their form of worship.

September 22, 2010 8:16 AM  
Blogger Jeffrey Pinyan said...

What gets to me about these types of churches is that, for the most part, there's a time and place for what they're doing in the Catholic tradition. We just don't do it at Mass.

I'm watching the "roots" series at Liquid Church right now -- TJ, I hear about them on the radio, they're just up Route 1 from me. Theological differences aside, this talk the pastor is giving is not all that different from any number of Catholic lectures or talks or conferences that I might hear from Fr. Corapi.

We just reserve our corporate prayer, the Mass, for worship of God above all else. I suppose that's the primary difference between sacramental-liturgical prayer and non-sacramental non-liturgical prayer.

The other thing is... they seem so frantic! I mean, sure, we should be zealous for souls, but it's a bit depressing to me that some people can no longer be reached by stillness, silence, and reserve; they need constant action, flashy lights, noises, etc.

September 23, 2010 10:04 AM  
Blogger kkollwitz said...

"This showed that they know how to laugh at themselves. How many of us can do that about ourselves and our types of worship?"

I can't think of anything about the Mass that one could laugh about. But what would the apostles have found to laugh about at the Last Supper?

September 23, 2010 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kkollwitz, you do realize that they were laughing at themselves not their worship of God. They were making a point about how routine can become harmful but not evil itself. Or do you not see how a liturgical service is not repetitious every week? Example, my wife and I grew up Lutheran and it is very routine and liturgical but how many did we see in that church that were there just because and not challenged by anything. It has become a club full or rituals and traditions and the main purpose forgotten.

Keep in mind these lines from the opening of Fiddler on the Roof:
"Because of our traditions, we've kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka we have traditions for everything... how to eat, how to sleep, even, how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered and always wear a little prayer shawl... This shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, how did this tradition start? I'll tell you - I don't know. But it's a tradition... Because of our traditions, everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do."

And that video is a warning that churches do not fall into the same trap that the village of Anatevka did. They followed tradition without understanding the reason for it and did not tolerate any deviation. They became stagnent. Without change you cannot grow in the LORD and that is what He wants. Not robots following a ritual by rote because that is what is expected. God wants us active not reactive.

September 23, 2010 2:29 PM  
Blogger Owen said...

Refreshing to read a non Catholic admit they have tradition and citing a non bible only passage to make the admission :) Why are they so often anonymous? No need to be anonymous among brothers and sisters.

September 23, 2010 3:45 PM  
Blogger Owen said...

One does want to be careful to distinguish from the traditions of men (encompassing the good, the excellent, the bad and that which merely of which is merely human) with Tradition as given through the authority of Christ to the Church.

Small t tradition, some good, some bad, all merely human made is that which moves away from capital T Tradition, away from the early Church - such as a tradition that has moved many people away from the objective truth of Christ present to us in the consecrated bread and wine to what is symbol only and as powerful as a symbol may be it isn't reality. Move away from the central fact of Christ fully, really and substantially present in the Eucharist and one must work harder and harder in the flesh to make up what is lacking hence we find, well, the things in the vid.

This in no way means that a Christian, "handicapped" or otherwise cannot experience Christ, enjoy Him, His people and be blessed and even by those things experience some level of change an observer may not see. Yet even all this wonder pales in comparison to receiving Christ, body, blood soul and divinity. I would never trade back what Grace has afforded me for mere, if sometimes laudable, traditions of men. :)

September 23, 2010 3:47 PM  
Blogger Owen said...

Many Catholics and former Catholics through no necessary fault of their own, necessarily, are ignorant of the truth of our Eucharistic Lord.

Sham Pearls for Real Swine is a book by former evangelical Frank Schaeffer -- son of heavy weight Reformer theologian Francis Schaeffer(whose every word I once hung on) -- is a book which if read now (I have it on my shelf still) would seem prophetic in calling out the errors and want in the evangelical movements making Christ relevant. What kkollwitz has said is quite true and increasingly observable, "By seeking relevance, it will become irrelevant", except perhaps to those still lost in its waning ebbs and flows.

The same can be said of "liberal" "Catholicism" which apart from being comprised of baptised Catholics often more resemble yet another sect.

September 23, 2010 3:57 PM  
Blogger Owen said...

"Not robots following a ritual by rote because that is what is expected."

Now, it is time to laugh at yourself because, dear anonymous soul, for that, robotic enslavement to mere traditions of men, is exactly what that video was describing.

September 23, 2010 4:00 PM  
Blogger kkollwitz said...

"kkollwitz, you do realize that they were laughing at themselves not their worship of God."

No. To me it looks like they were laughing at how they worship. But no-one has to agree with me.

September 23, 2010 4:48 PM  

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