Rant: We Don't Need Bells and Whistles

While looking for some material about the Holy Spirit, I found the LIFT Ministries site. LIFT Ministries, a Catholic group out of Boston, aims to appeal to the young through "modern elements such as professional lighting and sound, video screens displaying worship imagery and song lyrics, creative environments and the latest in contemporary praise and worship music performed by a live band to enhance the worship experience". In their defense, they don't seem to be doing this during Mass. However, they conclude their services with "a time of Eucharistic Adoration enhanced by more praise and worship music".

It's great to get more kids to church. It's great to make church cool again - declining numbers of young people are going to Mass. But should we take a cue from the Evangelicals to do it?

The postmodern world - and that of my generation in particular - is saturated with cell phones, big screens, iPods, and wailing guitar. We like the bells and whistles; we like shiny things, especially shiny things that beep. Do we really need more of the same on Sunday? Not to sound like a Luddite, but Jesus didn't have a Jumbotron during the Sermon on the Mount. The Transfiguration did not involve stage lighting. And doesn't God come as the "small, still voice" instead of the wind? We like spectacle. God calls to us in the silence. I wish we'd help lead people into a world with less distraction, instead of more.

And, c'mon now. Jesus is REALLY PRESENT in the Eucharist. So while he's there on the altar, should some long-haired dude be wailing away at a U2 cover? Stop swaying, put away your cigarette lighter and take out your rosary. If you don't like the rosary, say the Divine Mercy Chaplet (more on that later).
This is not to say that the Catholic Church has no use for a Jumbotron. We have two: to help people see the Pope, and to show the Latin words to the Angelus in St. Peter's Square on Sunday.

Protestants have to "enhance the worship experience" because their services have no center. Ours have the real Presence of Jesus. If we've got that, do we really need a drum kit?

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