Joshua Gregor writes that
For at least the last 60 years there has been a vocal wing trying to make the church cater to secular fads under the pretense that this will attract people. So many churches put on ill-fitting trappings or accept every progressive trend that comes along, since we have to be “loving” and “tolerant.” It has often become very hard, impossible really, to distinguish between a church and a doctrine-free, feel-good NGO. Of course we are called to show love and acceptance, but though love is accepting of the person it can never leave truth behind, or else it can’t be real love. The truth will set us free. The Church has to offer a challenge, a sense of the sacred, an acknowledgement of the truth that is present – even if the truth is hard for some to swallow. Especially if it’s hard to swallow.
He goes on to quote Sam Guzman at The Catholic Gentleman that the Gospel “isn’t weird to the world, then we have to some degree or another lost our faith. When our worship is a closed circle, when it turns towards man and man’s desires, it immediately begins to die.”
The joy of being an Orthodox priest in Madison is that I am weird not only to the progressives (secular and religious) but also to the vast majority of Christians who fancy themselves if not traditional at least conservative.
In part, my “weirdness” is a function of wearing cassock and cross. But in a deeper sense, it is a function of my unwillingness to be something than what I am: an Orthodox Christian and a priest.
The “peace” that many Christians is nothing of the sort. What they are, are men and women who would prefer that the boat not be rocked.
Of course, this kind of peace is (with a nod to the Prophet Jeremiah) not really peace but something else. What else, I can’t say but it is not peace because it is not just.
Just this last week, Democrats in the Wisconsin State legislature proposed a bill that would require I violate the seal of confession if someone tells me they abused a child. If the bill is as poorly written as I suspect it might be, I ear I would also be expected to file a report if someone in confession tells me they were molested.
Needless to say, this isn’t a law I will not obey. But it does demonstrate that the peace my conservative ministerial colleagues think they found is an illusion.
Returning to Gregor’s observation, catering to secular fads to become popular is the last thing the Church–East or West–needs. The song at the bottom of the page makes this point gently and with humor.