Alpine Summit

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Piles of Rocks

The Anchoress posted a link to this guy, who converted to Catholicism, describes his experience in a cathedral.

Dear God, how we are going to enjoy attending Mass here. No movie screens, no power point, no easy four or seven blanks to fill in on our bulletins making simple a rich salvation, no worship ensemble, no skits, only the beauty of iconography that moves one to contemplate our Lord, his blessed Mother, the communion of the Saints and oh yes, the drama of the Real Presence.

Now, I'm all for people worshiping God in whatever way they choose. What I see from Catholics, though, is an implicit (and sometimes overt) criticism of protestant's method of worship. In fact, I seem to recall the Pope mentioning something about "saving protestants." Anyway, if Catholics need a sculpture or statue and a large building to feel the presence of God, that's their own prerogative.

I always have to fight this feeling that a baroque painting or a great cathedral is somehow "proof" or validation of a faith. Then I think of the Mormon tabernacle in Salt Lake City and remember that it's merely the work of men. I also think of how Jesus lived. He lived as a pauper who traveled around in rags relying on others for all his needs. He would preach where he would be heard and even embraced the lepers (social outcasts at the time).

This tells me that all the grandiose cathedrals and nice paintings and gold leaf fixtures, while nice, are merely trimmings and have little (if anything) to do with God's message or greatness. Sure it's moving to see such grand things done for the glory of God, but God's true glory is immaterial.

Again, I'm not belittling Catholics or their method of worship. If they need/want such grand things to be moved and feel God's presence, then fine. They should keep in mind though that they are just things... "earthly treasures" if you will. It's important to know that the difference between Catholics and Protestants- boiled down to its core- is merely semantics. As long as one believes in the teachings of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that Christ died on the cross for our sins, and three days later ascended into heaven to return again at a time of God's choosing is really what all Christians believe.

I have far more issues with the Catholic church, but for Catholics to criticize how other Christians worship is wrong. There are many paths to the same goal; which is glory to God and His Son.

UPDATE: To those of you who have come here through Saintos' site or elsewhere, I've posted afollow up here.