Saturday, March 28, 2009

On the Church's Supposed Lack of Relevance

True Confessions:

To mix religion with entertainment is to rob religion of its true purpose - to separate us from the world and help us focus on God. Second, it caters to the flesh, which is in enmity with the spirit. Romans 8:7, 8 says: For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot;and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (RSV)

The flesh constantly demands to be entertained, to be fed, to be noticed, to be indulged. It is not about to deny itself anything. Catering to it by providing pretty colors on a screen and cute ditties will not help our spirit grow closer to God. The path to holiness does not lie in slick marketing campaigns that promise a good time will be had by all - but by remembering that we are travelers through the world, in it but not of it. And heaven's future citizens focus on heavenly things.

I used to think that Catholicism was woefully behind the times. For many years, I was a member of a church that had slick marketing campaigns and excellent entertainment. I used to think this was what a modern church should be. In order to be "relevant" to the culture, I reasoned that we needed current modes of reaching out to them.

But did it produce anything good for the spirit? It was as though we were advertising "Christianity-Lite," plenty of flavor but zero substance. It never challenged me spiritually and somehow, deep inside, I knew as Christians that we were supposed to be challenged - not coddled.