Why I Left in the First Place…

If you don’t know me, I am a Christian… more specifically a recovering Catholic. I think I stopped going to church about three years ago.

However, as of late I’ve been feeling empty, so for Lent I decided to start going back to mass. I mean, I may not see eye to eye with all the Catholic doctrine, but I still feel that mass puts me closer to my faith than trying to fly solo. Plus I feel a tad guilty, as I have become one of those twice a year Christians (Easter and Christmas) that I used to criticize. I’m enough of a hypocrite as it is without being one in the eyes of God.

So, I go to mass. – a Catholic one since I still remember where the Amens and Halleluiahs come in – and I realize the reason why I stopped going to begin with:

Other parishioners! Now picture if you will:

In front of me, there is a mother with two kids. One of those kids is equipped with a Nebulizer (a gurgling device that administers vaporized asthma medication to the patient and anyone around the patient at the time) and a Gameboy (a beeping device that administers a migraine to anyone not playing with it at the time). Now you would think the other child would be grabbing for the Gameboy. But no! he’s crying for the prescription medical device.

To the right of me, there are two senior citizens arguing over where to go after mass for lunch. However, the catch is they must not have replaced their hearing aid batteries, so they are very, very loud. It was a hard fought battle, but IHOP won in the end.

To the left of me is the aisle, inhabited mainly by speedy toddlers followed by their not so speedy parents, all in a conga line to the bathroom.

Behind me are highschoolers standing in the entrance. They seemed to be aspiring bouncers, as they (all be it involuntarily) made it difficult to get in for those all those who were 30-45 minutes late.

All that was missing from the mass was a Russian Orthodox dancing bear…

And what does the pastor think of all this? Well, he addressed this once about three years ago (coincidence?) saying that children will be children and that they don’t know any better. Ok, shouldn’t their parents? And what about the pancake people in the back row, or the eat and runners that come just for the Eucharist?

But don’t think the conservative priests have it any better. I recall once, again about three years ago, when the priest stopped in the middle of his homily about forgiveness to chew out a pair of brats yakking in the back pew. Not only didn’t they realize they where being told to “pipe down” (exact words) by the priest, but they didn’t even notice the entire congregation glaring at them.

What’s the point? Showing up and munching on an unleavened cracker are half the battle. Please be courteous to the few who actually like going to mass. Leave the children at home, the only saving they want to know about is Superman and Lois; figure out a menu ahead of time, though I recommend the diner on the other side of town; and if it takes you so god damn long to get to mass, pick a parish that’s close!

When Lent is over, I have full faith that I’ll not be attending services regularly for a while… at least not until they re-arm the nuns. twak

Though I can’t be too much of a heathen if that’s what’s going to mass.

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Written by

Ryan Livingston

Ryan Livingston