Frog-in-my-throat

In a conversation with a friend yesterday, I was sharing some of the heartache that has filled ministry life of late… and this phrase jumped out of my mouth like a frog:

Let Church be good again!

It surprised both of us and after a few seconds of silence, we started hemming and hawing in affirmation like two little old ladies saying You got that right, girl!

[ which was funny in the moment because my friend is a guy ]

We touched on a profound notion.

My friend lives in a big city… and even though he works at a parish, there are many other options he could choose for Sunday liturgy if he so desired.

This is also true for a vast majority of American Catholics.  Believers can shift from one parish to another if they wish in order to suit their personalities or preferred style of worship or… [ fill-in-the-blank reason. ]

Research data shows that upwards of 70% of Exodus-Catholics aren’t Catholic anymore because their spiritual needs aren’t being met.  There must be other factors at play here because with all the available options, surely there exists a parish that fits… right?

{ No Other Options }

But what about those cities where there is only 1… maybe 2 parishes and the next closest church is 100 miles away?

And what if the pastor at that local parish is… well… “not your cup of tea” ?
[ If he’s a gem, then you’re set! ]

How can we expect anyone to get excited about God if there are no other options except an experience of Church that fits like a bad sweater or a pair of 2-sizes-too-small shoes?

How do we make Church good again?

The question is important for me because someone I love has been beaten down by bad church… in one of those settings where there are no options.

Healing will require extraction.  Like that scene in Toy Story when the alien rejoices:

I have been chosen!

A new place.   A new time.  A new church.

If you are in a place where church-is-good… whether there are  options or no-options… celebrate and say Thank You Jesus!  Invite others to do the same.

And if you’re not… then try to figure out how you can help make it good church.  Someone you know or maybe don’t know needs you to make a difference.

Let church be good again.

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About Elaine Menardi

Heading off on a new adventure! I solve problems and make ideas happen.

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