Why we don't go to church (frequently).

We are ideal candidates for Catholic Church attendance.

1. We believe in God.
2. We believe in ritual.
3. We connect with God in the Eucharist.
4. We are invested in our children's religious education.
5. We don't expect perfection.
6. We want some community but don't expect community to be perfect.

But we don't go to church all that regularly.  We try.  We think about it every Sunday.  Heck we even tithe and are members of a parish.  But a lot of weeks we don't work very hard to get there.  WE have logistical reasons for this: work, chaos, living on an island blah blah. But everyone has logistical reasons for their things.

 The fact is we don't go to church too terribly often because it mostly sucks. At best, the priests are distant and out of touch; at worst they are offensive and on a power trip at worst (of course their are exceptions blah blah blah).  The power stuff if often weird... pious prayful, respectful and wise laypeople are mandated to stay away from the bread and cup, everyone (sometimes ironically)) deferring to father so and so.  All the while very educated, capable, and competent lay people are treated like children.

I haven't heard a good homily in ages.
Seriously I cannot remember the last time I heard a homily and thought that it had ANY relevance to my life.
I cannot remember when the gospel caused me to pause and consider my life: my whiteness: my Americanness: my privilege: my wealth: my selfishness.   (though I have heard a lot of talk about pornography and -separately-giving money to the church)

When I have an interaction with a priest that is not all about power and ego I am surprised.  When I have one that is...well another day.

And then their is the matter of our family being super invested in faith.  Strangely the church is so eager to be relevant to people who don't have a clue and to market to those who are "outside the faith" that they are utterly irrelevant to those that are already in the faith.  Take baptism prep class.  The assumption for parents is that we have not been to church since 1989 and that we are just doing this baptism because Aunt Violet wants us to or wants to be a the Godmother or whatever....so instead of baptism class being meaningful and rich faith formation and community building it is all about the rules:  who can be Godparents and who can't....who stands where and who can't...and then sometimes their is a delightful (sarcasm) foray into original sin.  All of this sucks...and everyone who is in the horrible class thinks it sucks...it's like new employee orientation at work or like watching a third grader's band concert.  We all smile passively pretending that it is at least tolerable but really we are all dreaming of what we could be doing on our phones.

The fact of the matter is that I am not sure we are raising Catholic children? I hope that we are raising Christian children who can think, can be challenged, and are changed by the gospel.  I hope that they have lives where they weep for because they have let themselves know the pain of other people and that they laugh the deep laugh that comes from joy in relationship.  But I don't know if I wish this church (as it is now) on them.  I hardly know if I wish it on myself.


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