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October 19, 2017

Trendy churches and the race to the bottom

“My Church has a mosh pit.”

That’s so radical. It is. It is so cool. It would make me, if I wasn’t Catholic already, become a Christian at your church.

It really would. I don’t know how when people – we can say atheists, Jews, Muslims, or really, even us Mary-loving Catholics and Orthodox – see that shirt, they don’t want to join that church.

And hey, we aren’t talking about just that, there’s another tactic roaming around that shows how cool a church is by using its name. The name of the Church? MERCYhouse~It’s a Church. Not only is it an awesome name, it is spelled cool, like E.E. Cummings and Owen Meany came up with it or something. I’m sure you’ve seen it on campus.

Do you get the message yet? I think we get it. Do we get it? I’m not sure if I get it, but I think it is: Your church is cool. It’s hip. It’s progressive (chill, of course). It’s just plain awesome in every way. The most awesome church in the Pioneer Valley. Is that it?

Now, I feel I might be being too hard on them – although I am not making any of these stressed examples up – since I am sure that the members of churches like this do some great things in the community. But if that was the prerequisite for not saying anything, then Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses would be well-spoken of groups. So, you have to still question, well, ask the question of, at what cost is being cool worth it?

I would really love to know if anyone was influenced positively by such lame tactics. I want to see if anyone thinks that, because a Christian church has adopted and is involved in some cool music and acts all hip and in with the current times, they will in fact become a Christian since they won’t have to listen to any Ave Marias or any Byzantine chants. That they can listen to some Hillsong, and enjoy every last minute of it. While moshing. And “worshipping” Jesus Christ at the same time.

I doubt it. It’s preaching to the choir – or I guess preaching to the Christian rock band these days. Or whatever it is. It has no appeal to anyone unless they are lonely and/or want to be a part of something, and there are better ways to rid the world of the disease of loneliness. And having someone join your church because it is cool, which seems to be a common problem in some areas of the world, isn’t exactly very profitable if you really care about their soul. The last reason I can think of is to trick people into coming, like adults do to children with candy.
Best example I could come up with, I’m sure.

But underlying this tired guise isn’t exactly a heterodox movement, although I’m sure some think that. It is a shift in social thought. It is time to get the old out and get the new in. It’s happening everywhere in the country, the world and on many ideas – and ideals.

What were once open-minded liberals are now still self-called open-minded liberals who, if you disagree with them, call you a bigot, sexist, homophobe or fairy-tale believer. Because they are the ones who know what is right on the many issues. Considering I am, I think, liberal on most things, I apparently may not be, but this race to the bottom seems to be a race to see who is more annoying.
With this race to the bottom being the race to see who is more politically correct, who is more up with the times? Who is less old-fashioned? Who is the most “open-minded?”,On the other side, you have the self-martyrs who feel that by being, at times, the things they are called, they are heroes to their ideals.

It’s a sad day when this race to be the most new-age and politically correct person leaves the political and social realm and creeps into the religious world. Because the one thing that should be different and old fashioned seems to slowly be making its way to the times.

And American Christians wonder why the percentage of atheists has grown dramatically in the past decade.

Ben Moriarty is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at emoriart@student.umass.edu.

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