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Why the Church is Losing the Culture War

Source: Brian Holdsworth via YouTube

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Music provided by Paul Jernberg. Find out more about his work as a composer here:

It’s not enough to have a creed. We have a creed. We are right about ultimate truth, about how we should live our lives, about who we are, where we came from, and where we’re going. Our creed tells us that, but people aren’t merely rational. People aren’t drawn to mere assertions of the truth without some window dressing – and, in fact, they’ll happily embrace well-dressed falsehoods.

Nobody is going to buy into a #creed when the people who profess it, don’t act like it’s the kind of thing worthy of its own distinct culture. Culture is the music, the art, the literature, the rituals, the #worship, and the way of life that is proceeds from that creed.

Culture is the embodiment of creed, or more accurately, the embodiment of religion and a creed cannot survive if culture does not bloom out from its roots. The culture of the Church bloomed for 2000 years, until we decided, in the interest of not being too assertive, or perhaps because we took it for granted, that we could discard it.

In our struggle or diplomatic dialogue, however you see it, we sacrificed the thing that motivated us, that renewed us, that made us attractive, that made us an alternative. We did something that countless martyrs died trying to prevent.

Take for example, during the Protestant Revolution, how revolutionaries were seized with that old, embittered spirit of iconoclasm. They stormed sanctuaries of churches and monasteries, smashing stained glass windows and destroyed all the sacred art they could find.

But in the immediate aftermath of the Second #Vatican Council, it wasn’t some previously unknown adversary who vandalized our sacred spaces. We did it ourselves. We were seized by that same spirit, but with the added ingredient of what Pope Benedict XVI might have referred to as a pathological self-hatred.

We literally brought jackhammers and other instruments of destruction into our own sacred spaces and set to the unfinished work of the revolutionaries. We abandoned the expressions of our faith that had aroused the affections of countless generations for the creed we professed, and perhaps, even, the respect from those who didn’t profess it.
And it didn’t stop with ornaments, altars, paintings, and statues, we abandoned our language, our songs, our architecture, our ancient rituals, even our calendar of feasts, as if all the other concessions weren’t enough.

In place of the #culture we self-sabotaged, we either contented ourselves with the nihilistic emptiness of the aftermath, or we tried to synthesize elements of other cultures into the residue of our own. We were convinced that this would make us more attractive to non-Christians in our evangelistic efforts.

All we have to do to attract them to a creed they don’t want, is offer them a culture they already have, but much less sophisticated because we don’t have the resources of, say, Hollywood, and much less authentic because it isn’t actually born out of our own creed. We’re just play acting at someone else’s.

And as we should have expected, there was no wave of converts. Instead, there was a mass exodus which continues to this day.

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Header image: Brian Holdsworth via YouTube