How did I whittle this list down to five? It must have been a miracle!
Collection plate always drove me insane. I remember it passing us at three or four times during one sermon. My mom finally stopped forcing me to go when one day the church used that money to buy the pastor and his wife a new Lincoln Town car. The old bats on the board were so giddy about it, made me sick.
The basic philosophy- we all know it is based on a superstitious myth. It is the equivalent of a meeting about fairies, the Lock Ness Monster or UFOs; although in the latter case there might be a scientific discussion.
The hymns- why? I can understand the Shakers sitting around for inspiration but building a ceremony around dirges? Christian hymns are hardly the cutting edge of lyrics or music. Often complete crap, that makes a point of not scanning but mentions Jesus. There are plenty of good songs you can sing along to without involving imaginary friends
The sermons- those by the Ministers are formulaic and totally bogus. OK some lay preachers and clergy at the top, Tutu, Huddleston or Sentamu might be interesting but seldom about theism.
The Minister- even in small English churches a waste of a salary. If they were even a good manager then they would be doing something more worthwhile. There is a comedy stereotype that sets the Minister as incompetent, ineffectual or a total fraud- it isn’t a stereotype!
The waste of time- it is a given that Sunday mornings are better spent in bed! However if you are a real altruistic person then all that time praying, singing and listening to crap can be better spent working with secular organisations.
The "Christianity is not cool" point is very true. Even when I was a Christian, I was aware that the religion was not "the hippest". It tries so hard to be, but I think it's kind of sad to see it fail so badly at trying. The saddest part of church for me was seeing all the well-meaning, struggling people sitting there giving what amounted to their last dollar to the church because they had so much faith that their god would see them through their rough financial times. I did it myself, but I always thought, "Hey, instead of giving all my money to this large church (who will be using it for "beautification" purposes), wouldn't it perhaps be better to pay off the loans I'm giving this money to Jesus to help me get the money for? Why was it Jesus's money? Wouldn't Jesus want me to pay off all my debts and then give what I could afford to the church?" But really, the call for tithes and offering was always the most disliked portion of church for me. Some people (mostly the elderly) would give their last dime to the church if the pastor told them to, and the church would welcome the gesture.
This is what I continue to find stupid about churches.
The first picture is from my home town. It is a new picture, it used to be much more crowded with dead people like in the second picture. They cleared some graves with the restoration. What I most vividly remember from it is the stench. So much so that when I even read the word "kerk" (church) I smell it again. I suspect it was from the bodily fluids of rotting corpses leaking into the ditch around the church. It used to be enshrouded in permanent darkness from overhanging trees. Especially Protestants have this nasty habit of planting their churches smack right in the middle of a graveyard. What's up with that morbid fascination with death anyway? Fucken medieval. As a kid I hated, I mean really hated the times when I had to even walk run past the monstrosity.
This could (and should) be an ongoing series.
@Rick: I have little doubt that I will be revisiting the subject of church, and Christianity in general, in this series.
@Clary Fernell It is one thing hearing the most musically accomplished and familiar carols sung by a trained choir, backed by an orchestra in a beautiful cathedral. A rare dirge sung by a group of pensioners, complemented of a broken and tuneless organ in a crumbling concrete shed is a bit different. The latter is closer to what you find most Sunday mornings!
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