I think that it’s like the old joke — if you ask a Baptist and a Methodist and an Pentecostal for an opinion, you’ll get four answers — and one of them will be in tongues. I think that just might be true about Catholics, too.
You know, now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve never been invited to attend Mass by a Catholic friend. Never. Billy, whom I knew when I was very young, used to give me his Catholic comic books — guess that counts for something.
I attended Mass a few times, at different parishes. The first was in a swank and very modern building. I couldn’t tell the difference between it and a Baptist service, until they asked someone going through RCIA to leave the service during the grape juice and ritz cracker portion of the proceedings (can you tell I come from a Baptist background?)
I left, too, before they found me out. I never did figure out who the priest was — the roly poly Santa Claus looking guy, or the lady who did most of the talking. She was one of those folks that sound really soothing when she talks, only later you can’t remember what she said. You can’t even remember any of the words you promised yourself you’d look up.
The second one was a large Cathedral and it was much more conservative in its liturgy. I admit that it was beautiful and struck a chord.
One of the earlier posts said something about the difference of denominations, and I wonder if you’ve grasped yet that different churches of the same denomination will give you a vastly different experience.
I attend a PCUSA church, and, according to a local Presbyterian magazine, less than 6% of PCUSA pastors believe the Bible is the word of God, compared to over 50% of the laypersons of the denomination.
That’s why it is becoming (has become?) an inconvenient social club, like the Episcopalians. Inconvenient because you have to get up so early to attend the meetings. Shoot, they can barely afford to keep up the organ. I got in trouble for lifting my bic lighter in the air after one particularly florid and finger-flailing rendition of The Old 100th…
(I was married in an Episcopalian country clu…I mean, church, and we left because we didn’t want to contribute money to fund a pilot of a cable teevee show they wanted to produce called, ‘Episcopalian Eye for the Straight Guy.’)