Sunday, May 06, 2007

MEGA Materialism or Mega Worship?

Joel Osteen's latest book titled: "Become a Better You...7 keys to improving your life" is predicted to sell 3 million copies. "Gee Wally, that sure is a whole lotta books, huh?" "Yeah it is, ya little creep. Now get away from the mirror, I've gotta date and I need to comb my hair." "Gee Wally, you don't gotta get sore!" "Ahhhh go get washed up for dinner, ya goofy kid."

Most books like this seem to be the "self-help" genre, with the gaze inward, not outward. Whereas the lives of the Saints are so much more compelling and rich and offer more help to me than when the focus is on "me." They're more keenly aware of 'the greater good' and longed to learn how to be Christ to others, not just 'improve their lives.' The "7 keys" in "my book" would be the 7 Sacraments. Those gifts teach us to be "outward thinking," to see beyond ourselves and make a positive difference in the world for heaven. They're given by Christ to make me better for OTHERS. I later read a couple articles on 'mega churches,' and a Charlie Brown quote came to mind: "Arrrrrghhh!"

The keys were given to Peter. How comforting there's a place where the 'buck stops' and happily we aren't floating adrift on a sea of "mega-church madness" anymore. We went to one in Omaha for 13 years and attended one in Dallas in 2003. I see so much consumerism in this whole mega church phenomena, it's almost nauseating. It's hard enough to have to live in this materialistic and profit-laden age, with 'unbridled consumerism' attacking and assaulting our senses, our religion and our faith. The blessed quiet of a sanctuary on a Sunday is what I crave now. Sometimes uplifting gregorian chant or some of the more subdued hymns, and a pipe organ at this time of my life. I don't want videos on a "JUMBO TRON" a 15 piece band blasting away choruses that would give my dear Grandmother a heart attack...and me, too, now. Seems I've become old and stodgy. "Gee,I'm like the Catholic Church!" Old, stodgy and traditional! : ) But yet I'm filled with more LIFE than I ever dreamed, as the Bread of Heaven and the Blood of our Saviour is given to me at Mass. That's more than enough for me!

Some seem to want to worship God "their way." The "have it your way" American flocks scurrying off to "Burger King of Kings Worship services." Having been one of those sheep, I know the drill and now shudder to remember it. It seems most of these places tend to "feed egos" more than souls. It saddens me that the only way some can draw a gathering is to be "hip" and "with it" using the latest technology to razzle and dazzle more sheep than the next "corral" down the road. Reverence is a word no longer spoken or heard much in these places, either. There's no 'holy hush.' It's sad and it must grieve our Lord's heart and our Lady's. Do you think they're ever quiet enough to really hear God on a Sunday? I don't doubt their Christianity at all, or their love for the Lord, but I find it hard to quiet my soul at a solemn Mass sometimes. How much more distracting this mega amount of stuff is!

At our former congregation it was constant noise for nearly two hours. But, then again...some places DO have Starbucks! Oh PUHLEEESE! Is this what a house of worship has finally become? And I heard a voice say unto me: "If you build it, Pastor Java Joe, and serve cappucino, they will come!" "Coffee and Chai and Cocoa oh my!" "Come worship at Sip, Savor & Sing Fellowship! Starbucks and biscotti await you in the new "Coffee Corner" of our fellowship hall. I should pray to be less sarcastic while in Rome, but that's a big order, even for God! God said to worship him in Spirit and in Truth. Somehow something seem drastically wrong with the mega church mentality.

Before a kiss, there's always silence. For me,every Mass is Heaven bending down and kissing Earth. Our Lord giving us Himself as we give Him ourselves. Blessed, sweet silence. The Eucharist. The holy "Kiss" from Heaven. The SOURCE AND SUMMIT of our Catholic faith. Before one receives Jesus into their body, there's precious silence, the 'holy hush.' Hey, wasn't that a Herman's Hermits song?

("There's a Holy Hush...all over the world at Mass, all over the world...we receive the Lord, True food that will know what I mean....As He gives Himself, to us every day, we know, He's the Truth, Life and Way to the peace that will last, and with the saints we can pray ...So listen very carefully, go to Mass and you will see what I isn't a dream...the only sound that you will hear is when He whispers in your ear; "I love you, forever and ever")

In only a few short minutes, (sometimes no homily at all during the week,) God has said more through any priest directly to my heart and soul than all the 45+ min. sermons over 26 years that we used to hear (and then, of course, had to buy the tape to hear them again, which we seldom ever did, hence the array of old cassettes in a drawer in the basement.) There were some good messages, but they sure didn't last me through the week in the same way the BODY, BLOOD, SOUL AND DIVINITY of JESUS does! I go to daily Mass if at all possible, just because I need SO MUCH grace! I need Jesus inside me, transforming me so that I can become a better wife, mother, sister, friend, and emailerperson. I don't think God wants his children to be so dependent on 'things of this world' to "stir their souls" toward worship. It's Christ, His Church and Our Lady stir my heart to go to Mass or to pray. I also like that Catholic Churches in the phone book don't have to display a "tag line." It's simply St. Joseph. St. Peter. That's it. No pictures of the priest either. Hmm...I'm realy glad to be Home. Mega Stuff? Mega books? Mega Music? Mega Videos? Mega volume? Mega churches?

No thanks. I'll pass and go to Mass.


Anonymous said...

Me too!

onionboy said...

I only wish more Catholics would pass on this and go to Mass. Sadly many order this author's titles in the bookstore where I work? Why? They have been badly catechised for one thing. They don't understand the power, grace and joy of their own faith. They haven't been given a love for Scripture or the opportunity to do Bible study (which I long to see combined with a good study of the CCC). I have offered my post protestant minister convert services more than once to priests but ... oh let's not go there.

In the mean time this author and Rick Warren and others are made very attractive to "Catholics" by their non Catholic friends and family.

Joyful Catholics said...

Amen Onionboy! A Benedictine monastery about an hour west from Omaha has a few of his (Joel's) books and many other "dubious reads" in their book/gift shop. I cringe to think where these books end up! I guess they supply them in the name of "ecumenism" but it really 'gets my goat!' They also allow Reikei and Enneagram and other new age classes and conferences there and I just wonder what our dear Saint Benedict, who we call on to ward of evil, thinks of this in his own monastery?!!

It's the "wheat and the tares" for sure, but it seems in a Catholic Monastery, the draw should be for CATHOLIC teaching and classes and such shouldn't it? Same for Catholic universities like Creighton, here in Omaha that is under a siege of secularism and can hardly be seen as a Catholic college any longer! Don't get me started on the Theology Dept! Christopher West came to speak and most of the profs in that dept. didn't even show! I realize the monasteries are welcoming all as "Christ" honest seekers, of course, but maybe if they'd 'put the breaks' on some of this "new ageism and off the wall vague and bogus and dangerous "spirituality retreats" and concentrate on good,well-formed catechesis and True Catholic doctrine more would be drawn to the TRUTH? Like you say, many are very poorly catechised and fly to this stuff like a moth to a flame...not knowing how badly their about to be burned...and how it grieves our Lord and Our Lady and the Holy Spirit who are doing everything within their power to nudge souls, woo hearts, draw lapsed, and ex-Catholics with axes to grind and seeking Protestants back Home to the CC.

PAX, and thanks OB for coming by and commenting. You and Jackie made my day!

; )

JMJ pray for us!

Tiber Jumper said...

Hey Susie!!
Glad to see some other folks visiting!It was Only a matter of time.
Excellent post. I say amen to every word!
A day with the Eucharist is worth more than a thousand with a live rock band in the sanctuary and holy dancers~
nature abhors a vaccuum. When the sacraments were removed from the church, the void had to be filled with other things, long expository sermons, emotive singing, "vibrant worship" and yes, my fav, Starbucks!

Joyful Catholics said...

Yes...once the Sacraments are 'put away' the only thing the people can do is come up with some new "traditions of men" that we're not to get caught up in or employ. I heard on RUSH today a caller complain about the newest 'quote' on the cups they're using about religion...and how in a tragedy people shouldn't call upon "god" as it might only be a figment of our imagination blah blah blah. O, the wonder of "enlightened" man never ceases does it??

Thanks for your kind words, TJ. Bless you!