Skip to comments.Is the Church a Clubhouse or a Lighthouse? A Cruise Ship or a Battleship?
Posted on 06/18/2014 2:03:33 AM PDT by markomalley
OK, so the title asks two focal questions plainly enough. Lets begin with the first, Is the Church a clubhouse or a lighthouse?
Many it would seem want the Church just to be a friendly place where people can gather. Many of these same people get angry when the Church shines the light of truth on something. They declare that the Church should just be open and inviting. They object when She is challenging and points to the demands of the Gospel.
But the Church has to be more than a clubhouse otherwise she is no different than a bowling league or the Moose Lodge. She is most certainly meant to be a lighthouse, warning of danger, giving light to those in darkness but also risking that some who are accustomed to the darkness, will complain of the Light of Christ she reflects.
Here then is a focal question: clubhouse or lighthouse? Of course there does not need to be a radical dichotomy here. There are surely social aspects of the Church wherein she builds community. But mission needs to be first and it is our mission to be light that actually builds community since we are focused on one goal, not merely individual interests.
Another and even more provocative image is in the video below from Ignitermedia.com which asks if the Church is a Cruise ship or a Battleship.
Many it would seem surely think of the Church more like a cruise ship; One that exists for my pleasure and entertainment. Peel me a grape! seems to be the attitude that some bring to Church. The video does a good job listing how people think of the Church as a cruise ship by listing the questions many ask of a luxury cruise liner:
It is a true fact that our parishes ought to work very hard to make sure the faithful are effectively served and helped to find God. Good sermons, excellent and obedient liturgy to include good music, a beautiful Church and dedicated clergy and lay staff. God deserves the very best and so do his people.
However it also follows that the world does not exist merely to please me. No parish we attend will ever be exactly the way we want it. No priest preaches perfectly every Sunday. The choir does not always sing my favorites.
Some people stay away from Church and call it boring or say they arent being fed. But in the end, its not about you! We go to Mass to worship God because God is worthy, because God deserves our praise and because he has commanded us to be there. God has something important to say to us whether we want to hear it or not. He directs us to eat his flesh and drink his blood whether we like it or not. We must eat or we will die. Holy Mass is about God and what he is saying and doing.
The video goes on to suggest a better image for the Church as a Battleship. I was less impressed with the criteria they gave comparing the Church and a battleship and so I have added my some of my own as well:
Some dislike any military imagery in reference to the faith. But pugna spiritalis (spiritual battle) is simply a fact. We are besieged by the world, the flesh, and the devil. We are called to engage the battle and by Gods grace with through to victory. Our weapons are the Word of God, the Teachings of the Church, the Sacraments, and prayer. We cannot win on our own but must work together under the authority of the Church which is herself under Gods care and authority. We are rooted in the wisdom of tradition and guided by the Pope and Bishops to apply that wisdom and our training to these current times. Peters Barque has endured many storms, yet has never sunk. She is a sure a steady ship on a clear and noble mission.
Msgr Pope ping
Nice one! I would add one more - Do the crew think they are actually 1st class passengers rather than deckhands?
Battleship! No question. “And the gates of Hell will not withstand her.”
It’s Fort Apache ,, and since there are no reinforcements coming we’ll have to exit the gates ourselves knowing what’s in the treeline.
None of the above.
Nor is church a rest home for saints; church is a hospital for sinners.
We consider our church to be sort of like a M*A*S*H unit. We heal when one needs it, equip those who are ready to rejoin the fight for the souls of our friends, family, or even strangers.
- Do the crew think they are actually 1st class passengers rather than deckhands?
Sounds like this guy would make a much better pope than the current occupant.