Thursday, May 14, 2009

Stage VS Altar

OK, now this post might be a little controversial for me. I usually try to keep my posts light and fun (I hope). This is the type of church we pick, my husband and I. We like the more traditional type Catholic churches. How can someone look at this and not think of God, the Angels and the Saints? The images lift your eyes upward towards Heaven and keep your thoughts there, thinking about heavenly things. We are not worshiping the images, at all. We are just reminded of things heavenly. I know even protestants have nativity sets out at Christmas, same thing, it reminds people of Christ's birth. Heavenly things to think about at Christmas time.
This is a picture of a Community church somewhere. We went to our 2 oldest's piano recital last night, held at a local Community church. Now this local church was just newly remodeled, and it pretty much looked like this, only the stage was much more grand and it was a little bigger than this. It did have the sound and light room, (that little rectangular thing in the upper right of the picture), it did have the large screens. It also had, in their entry way, 9, yes 9 large flat screen tv's, a coffee shop, and lots and lots of room.
It seems to me the main focus is the stage and the entertainment. Why would someone leave something like the picture on the top and go to something like this for worship? Where do these community churches get the money to do this with nothing held back? I know every Catholic church that is built or remodeled, it is like pulling teeth to get the money to do what they do and it is the bare minimum, no fancy screens or tv's or coffee shops.
When we pick our church (there are lots of Catholic churches in our city), we picked the most traditional of them, they had to have a good priest (we got two great ones), and then, the people I guess are last, but we do like that welcome feeling, although, not necessary, and I don't mean, shaking hands with everyone when you get in. I mean, seeing the same people, sharing donuts with them after Mass, praying together, loving together.
It really made me even more thankful for our rich Catholic faith. Even more thankful for Jesus, front and center in the Tabernacle, waiting for us. There in every Catholic church. Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
Jesus, front and center.
I did space for paragraphs...sometimes it does it and sometimes it does not!! It drives me crazy and just so you know, it's buggin' me that there's no paragraphs and it won't let me do them!


  1. What makes me sad, Jaime, is when I go into a *Catholic* church that looks like the second photo. No statues, no crucifixes, no beautiful artwork of any kind, no kneelers; the Tabernacle hidden away in some back chapel and the pews set in the round so we can all see each other. And lots of room in the entryway for socializing. 'Cause we all know that's what matters most, right?? (tongue in cheek, girlfriend, tongue in cheek).

    But there is a lot of appeal in the second style, for a lot of people. An hour or so from here there is a non-denominational "mega-church" with I think three whole different styles of worship all housed in the same huge building. Tons and tons of people have joined them. And they must tithe, because it sure looks pricey. (Cathoics are waaaaay stingier with our money. We just are.) :)

    In all honesty, I do think our non-Catholic brethren get the "community" aspect of faith life better than most Catholic parishes do. But to do it at the expense of the "source and summit" of our Faith is a huge mistake -- our Faith is most definitely about principles over personalities, to borrow a phrase. Christ is still present in the Eucharist, even if nobody says so much as "hi" and you never run into a single one of them in the grocery store. Assuming you'd even want to, depending on how they come across! :)

    But it'd be really nice to have both, don't you think?

  2. I get why some are drawn to those community churches. However I can never understand why a CHURCH would OWN and be in a Mall. We have one of those mega churches, with coffee shops, bookstores, etc. Not only that but they OWN one of the local malls here. Their church is in the mall and the movie theaters, banks, that are in the mall all pay "rent" to this church. Their slogan is "a different way to do church".

    I guess. I personally have never been inside the church part. However, I've been told from some very reliable sources that everything is done via TV and video tapes.

  3. I agree with you Jamie...what is with the paragraph thingy always messing things up.

    GREAT post. Holy Moly the world is going to hellinahandbasket. I understood the tv's, stage....but but but a coffee shop???

    Bubble. I need a big big bubble.

    Our priest is not the best in my small town or bigger community. Just not as chrasmatic or full of spirit as I would like. My dh's hometown has a priest that is over the top on "feeling the spirit" cannot even pray.

    I go for Jesus. As long as the it is a valid Mass and has kneelers and NO dancers. I like seeing people I know and share a nice word together afterwards but that is it.

  4. Many military chapels are like the second picture in a way. Jesus is in a tabernacle in another room except at Mass 'cos we share the chapel with other denominations (and yes, even wiccans). So, when we get to HI we are looking for a Catholic Church in a parish. It's hard to explain. I love our military Catholics, but I can't abide the building and all the red tape interference.

  5. Gosh, that first one is such a gorgeous church! My mind would be so uplifting in there.

    I hope our dear freind Kimberly doesn't mind my sharing a comment she left on my blog. It encapsulates this discussion for me and I have been overwhelmed with it's accuracy.

    "Surround me with the common, the banal, the only-moderately-urbane, the mundane...and I slip into commonality, banality, urbanity...and it all seems so very mundane.

    Surround me with beauty, with elegance, with holiness and reverence and I reach higher and higher to become that which surrounds me.

    Not to mention my Good God deserves nothing less!!!"


    Shouldn't we always be asking, 'is this the BEST I have to offer God, my Saviour?'

  6. I used to go to one of these mega-churches out in California when I drifted from my Catholic faith in my teens and early twenties. Yes--there was even a coffee shop!

    Your title "Stage VS Altar" is right on the money. It was always a performance at this mega-church. I am a ballet dancer and was part of their worship team. We would perform during services along with "the band".

    I always knew there was something missing at this church but I didn't realize what it was until I reverted back to my Catholic faith. The church I am at now looks much like yours and I am happy to say the choir "performs" at the back of the church in the choir loft!

    God Bless!

  7. I sometimes wonder why I cannot type!!! My comment doesnt even make sense. Oh well.....

  8. Christine I understood it :)

  9. I want to attend a church that looks like the first photo. Unfortunately our church is closer to the 2nd photo. If you get a chance, email me with your Mass schedule!

  10. I couldn't agree with you more. And, I also agree with the comment made by Eileen... very sad when a Catholic church doesn't have statues of the saints, kneelers, and the Tabernacle is nowhere in sight. We recently when to my Godson's First Reconciliation. My husband and I looked around and couldn't see the Tabernacle anywhere. AFterwards, we asked the priest where it is... to which he replied "oh, its back in the room behind the sanctuary - that way we can use the church body for social gatherings" - I couldn't believe it! He went on to tell us that he does things 'a little differently than others'. For example, he said that he 'has saltine crackers to give to those who can not receive communion'. - I left that day feeling sad and disgusted.... but joyful that I am able to attend a much more traditional Catholic church.

  11. Beautiful Blog!
    I totally agree with you on those "Arena Churches" as my husband & I call them. They seem so bare & sterile.
    What time does the show start?

    I had belonged to an ultra Orthodox Catholic Church that was built in the 1800's. Beautiful pics @
    I love it there! It is beautiful to look at, the music is always awesome and reverent (no weird 70's folk music!),and people are almost always dressed modestly (mantillas on some).

    Spiritually my husband is not where I am & he almost always did not go to Mass with me & the children. The church is in a bad area too. So,I had to make the difficult decision to leave for the sake of my family & our safety. The parish nearby that we belong to now is traditional, open to home schoolers, & has perpetual adoration. I have went to this parish all my life for adoration, confession, & Holy days. We now have the option to be fully involved in the parish community as well as sports. God was calling us here for a reason.
    The only issues I have are the look of the church (very plain 60's style)Pic @
    & the music (not so uplifting).

    Thanks be to God, we did get a new beautiful tabernacle this past year though. That's where our ultimate focus should be right?
    My husbands whole family has fallen away from the Church and joined Assembly of God churches in our area. They have all the stuff you mentioned. Coffee shops with doughnuts too!
    My mother-in-law always says she wishes we would come or maybe the girls could come to the coffee shop sometime!
    We just say, "We are happy where we are, thank you!".
    I know we are not supposed to be searching for a feeling but, I don't feel Him present there. My husband & I felt weird when we have been roped into attending a "Service" there. We know His Body, Blood, Soul,& Divinity are not present in those churches! They only have a part of Him. Thank God my husband knows that!

    God Bless and keep up the good Blog!


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