Emerging churches siphoning off lapsed Catholics

Emerging churches siphoning off lapsed Catholics

In an article on the “emerging church” movement in Massachusetts, we see a curious reference back to Catholicism, and a notation of how many of these new “emerging church” members are lapsed Catholics. But first, what is the “emerging church.”

Mainly, it seems focused on worship as entertainment and free of most mentions of Christian doctrine and devotion. In some place, you’d find no difference from a nightclub act. One of the founders of the movement even claims that one doesn’t have to be a Christian in order to follow Christ. Here’s a sample:

The first difference you would notice between the 9 a.m. ``first worship” at Wellesley Congregational Church and the traditional 10 a.m. service is location. People at the traditional service fill the pews in the sanctuary; the early-bird faithful migrate to the basement and sit facing one another in a U-shape of metal chairs.

Instead of the stentorian tones of the organ upstairs, a pianist leads first worship. Bursts of color banners bearing photos of parishioners on the walls light up a service that, unlike the traditional one, is notably mobile: People greet one another with a sign of peace, gather around the Communion table, and pantomime to song the Biblical story of the tax collector who climbed a sycamore to see Jesus .

The music is just as free-wheeling. ``Feel free to sing harmony,” the cantor exhorts during one hymn. ``It is totally allowed.”

Catholic-Lite: doctrine and self-sacrifice free

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