A badly lit church looks to me like a tomb. After the pointless proclamation of the death of God, and the recent decimation of congregations, churches often seem like giant, empty vaults in a cemetery : God’s own massive tomb, among the other smaller ones in the adjacent graveyard. No light, no life, not even a corpse.
A modern iconoclast and ferocious misanthrope, Austrian author Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989), once called his country “a cemetery of ideas”. The Church, which some consider – while others just hope – to be moribund, has always deserved such a sobriquet. In spite of its ritual Easter symbolism of the Light of the Resurrection after the “Tenebrae”, the Darkness, of Good Friday, the Church has always lived in and promoted the Dark Ages, which cover, theologically, the better part of the last 2000 years.
The Church is a vast cemetery of ideas. Worse, it has been and still is an abattoir of ideas, an extinguisher of light. Systematically, whenever new, liberating, enlightening ideas appear, the Church condemns them. Its pronouncements often read like its famous 19th century “Syllabus of Errors”. Copernicus was wrong, Giordano Bruno was wrong, Galileo was wrong, Luther was wrong, Darwin was wrong, the Modernists were wrong, liberal theologians today are wrong, advocates of artificial contraception and stem-cell research are wrong, and – need it be added, in all humility – people like me could not be further from the truth.
When did the Church ever propose a new, illuminating idea ? It has been content to rehash the nonsense (apart from its impossible dream, “love one another”) preached by supposedly inspired authors of so-called divine Revelation, adding, over the centuries, even more nonsense of its own creation. It proclaims Jesus as the Light of the World and defines its mission as lighting up the lives of people with the Good News it calls the Gospel, repeated ad infinitum Sunday after Sunday in churches where no amount of candle or even electric light will ever reduce the darkness and the blindness it cultivates.
Meantime I aim to continue my self-appointed mission, described accurately enough in the Gospel song “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine”. The blog you are reading may not be a brilliant source of illumination, but I hope you will agree that it is not a cemetery of ideas. FIAT LUX !