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Fr. William Leland

As an Anglican Rite Catholic Priest, my suggestion would be that they focus on Jesus Christ, as opposed to their social experimentation...

Pax et Bonum,

Thomas More

Ahh, but Father, isn't it pax et popularis? Maybe not.

I think your desire to move away from social experiments and to Christ is right. They might point out that Christianity is the biggest social experiment in the history of man, but they'd miss a key point.

Christ brought those in the world to Him, and changed them--He did not change Himself.

While Paul was all things to all men, to win some, it was in drawing people away from Philomena's identified "powers that be" with all their fleeting glory. He drew them to something else.

That something, or someone, however, is not boring. That's the hard part. We don't need to draw the world from the world and to something the world likes, simply out of fear of them being 'bored.' We need to draw them out of their boredom--and most worldly behaviors seem somehow connected to this 'boredom' everyone's so afraid of.

Is using music not designed to do this the right approach--and what if it's done for the wrong reason (church popularity)?

I am with Philomena, it doesn't seem that the Church getting on the ever-revolving wheel of popular culture is going to solve any long-term problems. It seems people can already get good rock by not entering the Church--why sign-up for the "world lite" version? Sin boldly if you're not coming in for shelter.

That said, each church is located--as was our Lord--in a physical time and place, to interact with physical beings. There is a connection to the non-spiritual that matters. We must take this reality into view. How one "focus[es] on Jesus Christ" today might look, physically, different than how it was done in another country 1,000 or 2,000 years ago.

What ought to stay and what should change?

Thomas More


I take your point, Thomas. There's certainly space to incorporate different styles of music and other elements of popular culture into a worship service without "selling out". I've been to a church that uses movie trailers to emphasise certain points. Maybe the mistake rests on the reason the new thing is being incorporated. It might support some teaching that's already going on in a life-filled church but it's certainly not going to save a church that's dying (as the Church of England seems to be in many ways). If a church is dying, it needs to get back to "first things".


And what are "first things" Philomena? I think that is a great question. And it seems to me, to quibble with Mr. More, that Christ didn't bring, "those in the world to him" - on the contrary he went to them!

What is missing is a love for the Missing that is demonstrated by our God in the Incarnation. Doing whatever it takes to get to where the people are. Love finds a way. I would submit while the Church of England is way too concerned about being popular and being so won't accomplish the glorious task Christ gave His Church - neither will making sure our church services are right, correct, holy or whatever (not that this isn't necessary ).

What is missing - is the Missing! When is the last time I spent time with a prostitute? Had dinner with a thief? How is my life and the life of my church reflecting the commitment to His missing children that he showed.

What is missing? It is a dangerous mission! That is what is missing. Playing U2 is fun - and it is safe. Making sure we do things right is safe. Neither is wrong...but the DNA of the Abundant Life is fired by a communal, creative, committed and risky mission to go to the Missing and do whatever it takes to love them into the kingdom. There are no programs or types of services or great music that will accomplish that...relationships accomplish that.

The Church is missing in the midst of the Missing. Until we show up where the Missing are it won't matter what we do U2 or Wesley "in" our churches.

The problem isn't that Church is boring the problem is the Church is BORED!

Be His,


Hi Didymus! We've missed you.

By "first things" I mean God's goodness and our need, if I can sum it up so briefly. Relationships are also a first thing. I like your perspective of going out to meet people where they are and getting out of our church buildings. I just can't imagine the Church of England doing that right now because they've lost belief that they carry any Good News. For that reason, I think they need to look inwards first and recover their hope before they can go looking for tax collectors and prostitutes.


Thanks! I would like to contribute more but life ...well, you get it. I very much enjoy what you have to say and this one especially has been challenging to me.

I hear you about the Church of England not believing they have any Good News to spread. And I share your inclination to turn inward first and then venture out.

However, I think there are examples in scripture where this human wisdom is countered by God's "foolishness." At least three examples come to mind. 1) The Demoniac. Fresh from being possessed by "Legion" he wants to go with/ be with Jesus. And Jesus says, "no" and sends him out. Now this exmaple isn't exactly what we are talking about, but one could ask, "what the heck did this guy know/understand" that would qualify him in Jesus' eyes to "go out" and "tell"??? 2) When Jesus sends out the disciples two by two. We know from reading the rest of the gospel that they didn't "know" much and certainly didn't have their act together. Again, this example isn't a perfect analogy but shows the heart of what I believe is a biblical but oft overlooked principle.
3) Taking a close look at the Great Commission we often fail to look at who Jesus is speaking to. The Bible says Jesus commissions these people to make disciples. Who? Well, believe it or not - check your Bible - he is speaking to "worshipers AND doubters." Yes, doubters. Speaking face to face w/ the resurrected Jesus Christ, some were STILL doubting...yet qualified to GO and TELL and MAKE disciples.

All this to say. I wonder if we will ever have our act together enough to be or feel qualified to turn outward? Or, what if it is in going and telling and making that God is "qualifying" us?

What if God changes our hearts through our hands and feet as much as through our minds?

Thanks for the discussion Philomena!


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