Monday, December 2, 2013

The Catholic Channel as a Symbol for the Church: Salt without Flavor

Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.  (Luke 14:34-35)

We Christians are so far from being salt of the earth that not only have we lost our flavor, we have become a kind of kill-taste.  What's a kill-taste?  It's like a killjoy.  When a killjoy shows up at a party, all the fun is sucked out of the room.  What's a kill-taste?  Sprinkle some on your food and all of the flavor gets drained away.

Go to Mass in the suburbs next Sunday.  Will the music, the homily, the general atmosphere inspire you to go out and baptize all nations - or will you want to go home and go to bed to sleep it off?  Are we salt of the earth or are we the anti-salt, the killtastes of culture?

Pope Francis' Exhilierating Exhortation, on the other hand - that's salty, that's flavorful.

Meanwhile, Gerard Nadal has written a thoughtful piece in which he takes Cardinal Dolan to task for blaming the loss of the "gay marriage" battle on bad marketing on the part of the Church: "Responding to Cardinal Dolan: We were not Out-marketed on Gay Marriage, We were Out-Evangelized."  Nadal gets it right because it ain't about marketing.  Thank God for that, because the Church doesn't even begin to start to understand marketing.

Take, for example, Cardinal Dolan's marketing disaster known as the Catholic Channel on Sirius XM Radio.  Listen to that thing for more than five minutes, I dare you.

I looked up the words FORCED, AWKWARD, ANNOYING and UNBEARABLE on an online dictionary.  The definitions simply consisted of a link to the audio feed for the Catholic Channel.  It makes you wonder how Mother Angelica, salt of the earth that she is, managed to start a network that by and large still has shows that are Catholic, interesting and flavorful - and not forced, contrived and repugnant.

So here's another thing that happens when we lose our faith - we realize that the stuff we do isn't exactly tasty and so, since we're no longer salt, we compensate by being loud or stupid or insistent or artificial or self-consciously clever or ... well, we become the headache that is the Catholic Channel on Sirius XM.  Better simply to be bland, in my opinion.

At any rate, marketing and "forced fun" doesn't really fool anybody.  We have lost our flavor and we are fit not even for the manure pile.

If we begin to believe again, if we begin to love - then the vision of Evangelii Gaudium will begin to come to pass and we will attract people not by marketing our message but by becoming followers of Christ - not by what we say but by who we are.

6 comments:

Philothea said...

I don't subscribe to Sirius radio so I haven't heard any of the shows and can't judge them but I will say that I can't stand contrived jovialness! Even worse when it comes from a happy clappy man of the cloth. On another note, don't you think that sometimes it's not so much the homily or the music or whatever at Mass but our own lack of a genuine faith life that makes us want to go home and sleep off our Sunday morning gathering? Just sayin' because many times I hear from fellow parishioners, "Oh, Father is such a snore...always talking about the poor...always talking about a good deed...or the immigrant...yada yada!...why doesn't he ever talk about (insert favorite special project or pet peeve) and why the heck do we have to listen to that music!?". Shouldn't we take a look at ourselves because the Mass should always inspire a zeal for evangelism, right? The Eucharist truly is the source and summit of Christian life, filling our minds with grace.

Joey Higgins said...

>The Eucharist truly is the source and summit of Christian life, filling our minds with grace.

There's a youtube "coach" that I enjoy watching that is absolutely inspiring to watch if you want to get in shape - he believes what he's doing completely and has hundreds of thousands of viewers because of that. He's not always correct, but he's on fire for his cause.

I think you're absolutely right that the point of the mass is the Eucharist and its grace should be transformative in our lives; but one of the stumbling blocks for "us" is belief and if nobody else believes, if we don't see others believing, if we can't see that grace in action, if the leaders look dead to the congregation - well - at the very least we should try to identify what is going wrong.

Joey Higgins said...

It makes you wonder how Mother Angelica, salt of the earth that she is, managed to start a network that by and large still has shows that are Catholic, interesting and flavorful - and not forced, contrived and repugnant.

I assume this is probably sarcastic, but just in case it isn't:

Authenticity. Catholic teaching is actually extremely beautiful when we actually get into the Truth vs the surface that many people live their lives (not just with Church teaching).

Anonymous said...

Have you listened to 1460 or 1080 am recently? Much of the programming is insipid. Although, in the past week, they seemed to have started to change this.

Dr. Eric

Anonymous said...

Another gripe: these stations are on AM, they might as well be broadcast to alpha Centaurii, no one listens to AM.

Dr. Eric

Kevin O'Brien said...

"Not forced, contrived and repugnant," Joey that was not sarcastic. The EWTN shows vary in quality - Dale Ahlquist and Marcus Grodi's shows being the best; the children's programming being the worst - but it's never forced, contrived or repugnant. That's all The Catholic Channel ever is.