Open Buddha

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Goth Eucharist

This has been reported in several sources but it is still worth writing about… A goth who is also a priest is having “goth” mass with appropriate music in order to bring people in. As someone who was an altar boy as a child and remembers guitar masses during the early 80’s, I can understand why this is being done but I doubt if it will work to bring more people back.

The primary problem that Catholicism (or the Church of England) has is a crisis of relevance. In the world as it is today, does a 2,000 year old church (or 1,700 if you prefer) really maintain its relevance with its archaic doctrines, inflexibility to the modern world, celibacy, lack of a role for women, etc.?

I’ll be the first to admit that an abandonment of the ancient for the modern is hardly a solution. In fact, in many ways, it is a recipe for disaster. The old traditions have a great value and are tried and true for many. They have worked for generations of people. Most modern traditions have not worked for even a generation and we are, in many ways, a lost people without an internal compass. There is a compromise that must be made but one of its key features should be “flexibility.” Embrace of tradition with the flexibility to respond to current times and people should be a perennial drive in any of the old spiritual traditions if they want to remain relevant. This applies to Christianity. This applies to Vajrayana even. A tradition must speak to people in words that they can both understand but also, at the end of the day, seem relevant and applicable to their situation. This is an application of skillful means. A goth service strikes me as window dressing that avoids the fundamental problems that Catholicism faces today, which is more a crisis of rigidity and lack of relevance.

The page for the service is up at http://www.thegotheucharist.org.uk/. Their liturgy for the service can be found at http://www.st-edwards-cam.org.uk/Goth_Eucharist_Liturgy.pdf.

Kneel, Child!

Note: yes, this specific example is actually Church of England.