Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Los Angeles Churches Make Worship ... Hip?

Sheila Marikar, in the New York Times (December 12, 2015) enthuses:
Mosaic, a church that counts thousands of young people among its congregants, offering sermons rife with pop-culture references, musical performances that look like Coachella, and a brand cultivated for social media. (Church events are advertised on Instagram; there’s a “text to donate” number).

While Christianity is on a decline in the United States, at Mosaic and other churches like it in the Los Angeles area, the religion is thriving.
Sorry. Not a fan. Not for me. This flash-in-the-pan surrogate religious fare seems to offer a quick fix with shots of pure sugar and adrenalin that draws young people because it's like a free concert with fringe benefits. It's like taking LSD to attain Satori (enlightenment) rather that doing the hard work of Zen meditation. Kids will continue to go for several months, maybe even a couple of years, but then they will find themselves getting real jobs, kids of their own, and moving on; and the whole enterprise will just fade away into oblivion.

It looks like a huge shining lake of sparkling water, but turns out to be a shallow puddle of enthusiasm that cannot possibly sustain over the long haul because it is fuelled by the cult of personality and entertainment and lacks the benefit of deep theological rootage.

This is precisely what is killing AmChurch Catholic parishes attempting to ape these methods and cultivate a 'hip' ambience. Things turn out not to be 'hip' as hysterically pathetic, vapid and boring. By contrast, nothing revives the faith more than the solid meat of authentic Catholic teaching. To go deep into history is to cease to be vapid and boring, and to open the wellspring of the Living Waters of Life passed down from the Apostles and our Lord through Catholic tradition.

True our Lord says (Mt 11:30) that His "yoke is easy" and His "burden is light." But He also says (Mt 7:14): "small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and few are those who find it." There is no quick and easy path to sanctity or salvation. The consolations of Christ will lighten our burden, but the simple fact remains: faith is hard work. Faith is not a rock concert.