I am currently on vacation (and trying not to work). To that end, please enjoy this blog from July 2011.
The weekend is coming and that means I have to go to church again. I could go Sunday, but that is just prolonging the pain. I’ll go to the 5pm Saturday Mass and get it over with. That’s what people do, don’t they? They go to get it over with. Why? Obligation, guilt, habit, concern about appearances. Maybe some people just want communion. Doubtless there are people who seek to honor God, even if its not very inspiring or uplifting. I go for all these reasons, oddly. And also because it provides valuable material for blogging. I have recently been reading the business blogger and author Seth Godin. I liked this quote:
The organizations that need innovation the most
are the ones that do the most to stop it from happening.
My whole experience of the parish here in Avalon underscores everything we are discussing in “the book.” Did I mention, Tom and I are writing a book? Actually we’re currently completing the project and my time here is all about getting it done without a lot of distractions. I suppose the experience of the local church here isn’t a distraction thought, its a reminder of why we’re writing.
The book is about the “culture” of churches. Culture is the sum total of behavior and belief. Its like the atmosphere around us, we hardly even notice it, but it influences everything. We make the proposition in the book that the biggest problem in churchworld today isn’t really any of the problems we hear about all the time that everybody argues about. The biggest problem is exactly the one I’ll encounter this afternoon at the 5pm Saturday “get it over with” Mass. And everyone will come (late) and then they’ll leave (early) and they won’t even recognize that there’s a problem. And that’s because the problem is a cultural one, and everybody inside it can’t even see it.
If I was going to Mass at Nativity instead of Avalon, my experience would be very different to be sure, and the differences would be easy to list. But the real difference, and this is what casual visitors to our place usually miss, isn’t in any of those details. The real difference is in the culture. Our book is about our experience of changing the culture in a Catholic parish. The exercise is about innovation in an organization adverse to innovation but profoundly in need of it.