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Objection: Catholic Worship Isn't Exciting Enough!


Let me start by saying that worship of God is not always going to be exciting in the secular sense. I hope it is always meaningful, but I can't say it will always be exciting. Excitement as defined by secular culture is an emotional high or adrenaline rush. Both are often whims that we each get at different times and in different settings, some Christian, others not. If emotional highs or adrenaline rushes are the standards of Christian worship, then Jesus himself was a lousy Christian. Jesus fasted for 40 days, and he tried to hide from the excitement of the crowds. He was spit at, teased, and received the death penalty. Even after he rose from the dead, his followers experienced torture, rejection, and death. The lives of Jesus and the apostles were hardly exciting in the sense we define it today. As his followers today, Jesus tells us that we are "blessed," i.e. "happy" if we are merciful, poor, peace-making, hungry, etc. Jesus turns the world's definition of excitement upside-down! In other words, as Christians we will often have to bear many crosses, and will not always live exciting and happy lives as the world defines the terms exciting and happy. Since Catholic worship and the church year (feasts and fasts such as Advent, Christmas, and Lent) are based around the life of Jesus, some moments will perhaps be more "exciting" than others, but they will always be Christian. In other words, excitement is not a bad thing per se, but our faith and worship are not dependent upon something that subjective. If it were, then when the excitement passed, our faith would be in vain.

Excitement comes and goes and differs from person to person. Sometimes we just cannot be excited or lively, no matter how hard we try (and why should we even strive to have one emotion?). After someone has died who is close to us, it is hard to get those "warm-fuzzy" feelings during worship. It is in these moments that "exciting" worship can become meaningless, and even offensive. Many I have talked to who say their worship is "exciting" often do not even go to church very often. Perhaps it is because when all is said and done worship that is not meaningful, but only exciting, is rather shallow and has little connection to the life of the believer. And obviously, when the excitement fades (as it usually does), what is left? Most human beings experience a wide variety of emotions everyday, including sadness, anger, doubt, impatience, etc. Catholic worship generally appeals to all of these emotions, not just one.

Many people, but especially young people, are sick and tired of excitement. Everyday we are bombarded with advertisements and people who try to tell us what is exciting and why we must seek their version of it. Virtually every minute of the day, through images, T-shirts, and music, we are told, "all you want is excitement." Many in the secular world buy into this, but many Christians such as myself are sick and tired of excitement. We want peace, meaning, historical connection, and community, which are exact opposites of the loud, the fast, the new, and the individual that secular society tries to sell us constantly. Catholic worship is meaningful to us, because it gives us a historical alternative to today's secular values. I do not want MTV in my Church. Even if I watch MTV during the week (and I used to), please...give me a break from it on Sunday and when I worship. Perhaps this is why Wicca is the fastest growing faith among offers contemplation, peace, mysticism, ritual, connection to the past, and other spiritual benefits, while many Christian churches have sold themselves out to secular culture. Catholic Christianity generally has not sold out to popular culture, and definitely allows room for much ritual, sacrament, peace, historicity, and mysticism, while still allowing plenty of room for excitement (although our worship and faith are not tied to excitement). However, unlike Wicca, our worship is directed toward the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, the word has just not gotten out that ancient and historical Christianity is meaningful. Let's get the word out that we are excited to not always have to be excited.

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Last Updated 2-10-2007

Ancient and Future Catholics