Thursday, August 22, 2013

Reality vs. Unreality - The Essence of Our Crisis in the Church

Mother Angelica - the reason people love her is because she's always so real.
I really think our problems in the Church come down to this.  Do we really think God is real?  Are we willing to be real about our faith, with Him and with others?

Today a friend suggested in an email that most of what we see around us is complacency and guile.  I agreed but placed that observation in a broader context ...

We use guile when we're trying to create our own false realities, trying to fool others and game the situation.  We become complacent when we don't really believe something to be real - or as real as other things are in life.  This feeling of Unreality pervades the Church.  Perhaps a woman like Mother Angelica is not "holy" as much as she is convinced of the Reality of God - convinced that His Reality is so much more real than anything we toy with in the rest of our lives.  This makes her seem "holy" to us, when she's really only acting logically and consistently based on principles she accepts as utterly undeniable and Real - the existence of God and His trustworthiness.
But much of our culture is Unreal.  It is Unreal to have sex but no babies, to pretend that "marriage" is entirely artificial and man-made, to run a Church that gets complacent about touching people or proclaiming the Reality of truth.  A Catholic parish up the street has never spent $1,000 to book Theater of the Word - though we were parishioners there - but they just raised $350,000 to repave their parking lot.  That's Unreal.

Yes, a parking lot is real, and maintaining the parking lot is necessary, but having a fund-raising drive to come up with $350,000 for the parking lot when Mass attendance is down, when every single Catholic girl under the age of 25 in the parish enthusiastically supports "gay marriage", when divorce and remarriage in the parish is rampant, when the parish teens are all sexually active, when contraception and abortion are accepted with a yawn and a shrug, when almost nobody who goes to Mass seems to know who Jesus Christ is ... paving over paradise and putting up a parking lot is one thing; glossing over hell and re-paving a parking lot is another.

The choice really comes down to this.

Is God real?

If He's not, then quit going to Church.  In fact, burn them all down and outlaw the Faith for the ridiculous superstition that it is.

If He is, then start living your life accordingly.

But that ain't easy.  And yet that's the essence of our crisis in the Church.


Del said...

In your rendition of Socrates Meets Jesus, I felt the climax at the point when Socrates asked the heartfelt question, "WHERE ARE THE CHRISTIANS?"

Where are the people who act like they know God is real? They should be strikingly obvious as they walk through the world... WE should stick out like sore thumbs!

As Flannery O'Connor put it so clearly: "You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you odd."

Kevin O'Brien said...

Well, then, I've got a head start! I've been odd all my life.

Del said...

Really? So, this didn't start with your conversion?

Odd guys wear kilts!