Microcosm of Heaven
  • Hey all. I'm trying to decide whether I join our parish financial council so as to promote this idea that our physical church effects, music, and all should represent a microcosm of heaven.

    How do I navigate the subjective nature we all have of heaven? Perhaps most of the parish already feels like we have a microcosm. I don't. I feel like we have a typical North American, ugly shoebox for a building and we overwork our two choirs without valuing the music enough to pay for competent musicians.

    Note : I want some constructive opinions and discussion, not one of whining which I find all too often and which I myself am guilty of at times.

    How can we move forward about this issue?
    Thank you.
    Jonathan
  • Jon,

    1) Depending on the current make up of your financial council, the desire to improve things may not be at all well received. Consider this before signing up to promote really unwelcome ideas.

    2) Don't start with a "microcosm" of Heaven. Ask, instead, how our parish church enfleshes (or incarnates) what we say we believe.

    Examples:
    a) Christ is supposed to be the center of our lives, and yet our tabernacle is hidden.
    b) Christ calls us to repent of our sins. How easy is it for potential penitents to find the confessionals, and how much do those confessionals contribute to an attitude of penance and reconciliation?
    c) The Second Vatican Council insisted that Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony must have pride of place.... NOT because of its mere aesthetic qualities but because this music is integral to how the Church understands our public worship. What are we doing to promote an attitude of the worship of God, and -- by contrast -- what are we doing to promote an attitude of self-congratulations?
    d) Heaven is populated with saints. Is our church building populated with reminders of those saints?
  • Drake
    Posts: 159
    I would say a lot depends on your pastor and your fellow parishioners. If either group does not value beauty/music/architecture the way you do, it will be a very difficult uphill battle—especially if the pastor does not agree. That said, I would suggest trying to arrange for the pastor and financial council (and whoever else may be involved) to see a demonstration of the kind of beauty that is possible so that—putting it bluntly—they can do a cost/benefit analysis. Even still, they may not come to the conclusion you hope they would arrive at.

    Above all, pray and keep a smile on your face and a positive attitude. If possible, offer to help out in other ways around the parish. Show your commitment and love for the parish, even if you don’t get the decisions you want right away. I think that would apply whether you join the financial council or not. Be the beauty you want to impart.
  • IF we believe that a person should be justly compensated for his work, are we justly compensating musicians for the quality of the work they produce, and are we encouraging them to produce the beautiful art which the Church proposes, or are we aiming for an 'on the spot, banal product', and paying accordingly?
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 630
    Having too preemptively joined a bunch of parish committees in the past, my suggestion would be never join any parish administrative groups when you are new (which might mean several years in a quiet town community versus a few months in a city where people come and go all the time?). And don't join with the idea of getting all the other people to see the world in a new way after decades of doing their own thing their way. Or, join and be the 'junior partner' for a good while, til they start asking you for your opinion.

    I've found it much more satisfying to do innovative and creative projects outside of the parishes. If I go sing, I sing what they sing. If I want to sing stuff I love, I organize a recital for myself.

    That's a slightly raked-over-the-coals cynical take, and perhaps reflects mostly on my lack of patience and different expectations based on having worked in business in big cities, with start-ups, where innovation and moving fast are considered qualities, not liabilities. Nobody's into that style of management at the local parish. They are wonderful folks, but they have their own way of doing things, and I best just let them handle things. :)
    Thanked by 2Elmar chonak