Religion is a major factor in my life but I try not to be a religious freak. I try very hard to appreciate everyone’s point of view and not judge whether another’s religion might be right or wrong. I have always belonged to the Baptist church but religion has been more of a private affair with me. I have little tolerance for shouting preachers and hell fire and brimstone sermons. I am also suspicious of TV evangelists and consider most to be charlatans.
I prefer quiet and reverence in the church and favor traditional hymns and organ music. I realize in this day and time that method of worship must be very boring. Since we live in an energized world, there is a move to make the religious services reflect our fast paced, high volume, secular lifestyle.
The service at my church today violated virtually everything I consider sacred about a service. It was part of a youth weekend. The church is trying everything to reach youth and make the service more attractive to them. Many feel there is an exodus of youth from the church and membership cannot be sustained and the Christian religion is in danger of withering unless we can do something to attract the young back into the fold. Today, in my opinion, my church crossed over the line in this effort. It was like a rock concert. A rock band played rock praise music at the highest volume obtainable without bringing down the walls of the sanctuary. Most everyone was dressed in tee shirts and stood with their arms in the air and performing other gyrations to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. To quote Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye, “ Jesus would have puked.” I thought that any minute during the service they would bring out a chicken for us to kill or a snake to handle. It was that bad.
If I am lucky enough to get to heaven, with my simple beliefs, I certainly hope it is a place with many mansions like the Bible says. I want to be in one of the mansions far away from the bunch I heard today with sound-proof walls between. God will have to be on a marijuana high to appreciate that group who conducted their rock ritual in the church sanctuary today. It certainly shouldn’t even be called a sanctuary after today’s performance. If heaven is going to be filled with the kind of activity and music I witnessed today, I may have to seek refuge with Mark Twain in a warmer climate for the hereafter.
I only wish we could teach our children the importance of reverence in communicating and worshiping God. Instead, we are allowing our children to misbehave and demonstrate blatant irreverence to appease them in a misdirected effort to save their soul.
With these blasphemous statements I realize I am guilty of judging, so I suppose it is best for me to just confine my religious activities to the porch. There it is quiet, peaceful and you can hear the voice of God in your innermost self. You are more likely to hear the soft knock on the door of your heart rather than through the thunderous roar of a rock band or the shouting ramblings of a preacher.