Banality in worship and prosperity

You’ll notice a correlation between these things. People who are well off don’t care if their churches are banal and ugly, they don’t care if their liturgical music sounds like a bad rock band, they don’t care about any of it.

People who are poor, on the other hand, do not build banal churches. Their masses are usually beautiful and reverent, and their churches are the prize of their communities. Indeed, if you travel through certain parts of the American plains, you’ll notice that the only buildings which rise above the plains are the churches.

Modern people tend to be befuddled by this. Why would people who live in squalor be so concerned with building beautiful churches. Most moderns who consider this are at a loss to explain it, and consequently they usually dismiss such poor as ignorant people whose outlook is so obviously wrong that it is beneath their contemplation.

Getting beyond modern arrogance, the reason is fairly straightforward. People who live in dirt houses need something beautiful in their lives, something that stands apart from the ordinary troubles of life. This is why they are so concerned with building good churches. On the other hand, those who are well off materially have no need of such respite, so they’re happy to make their liturgy as banal as everything else.

One might also put it in terms of the extreme poor being more concerned with the things of God because they are less attached to the world. This is also valid. Either way, you can tell a lot about the people who built a church by how it looks.

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