Some years ago Fr. Patrick Smith, a friend of mine and a priest of this Archdiocese preached a sermon wherein he asked if the Church was a clubhouse or a lighthouse.

Many it would seem want the Church just to be a friendly place where people can gather. Many of these same people get angry when the Church shines the light of truth on something. They declare that the Church should just be open and inviting. They object when She is challenging and points to the demands of the Gospel.

But the Church has to be more than a clubhouse otherwise she is no different than a bowling league or the Moose Lodge. She is most certainly meant to be a lighthouse, warning of danger, giving light to those in darkness but also risking that some who are accustomed to the darkness,  will complain of the Light of Christ she reflects.

It was indeed a fine sermon and its message is essential and profound. I was mindful of that sermon when I ran across the video below from Ignitermedia.com which asks if the Church is a Cruise ship or a Battleship.

Many it would seem surely think of the Church more like a cruise ship. One that exists for my pleasure and entertainment. “Peel me a grape!” seems to be the attitude that some bring to Church.  The video does a good job listing how people think of the Church as a cruise ship by listing the questions many ask of a luxury cruise liner:

  1. Do I like the music they play in the ballroom?
  2. Do I like the captain and his crew?
  3. Is the service good?
  4. Am I well fed?
  5. Are my needs met promptly?
  6. Is the cruise pleasant?
  7. Am I comfortable?
  8. Will I cruise with them again?

It is a true fact that our parishes ought to work very hard to make sure the faithful are effectively served and helped to find God. Good sermons, excellent and obedient liturgy to include good music, a beautiful Church and dedicated clergy and lay staff. God deserves the very best and so do his people. However it also follows that the world does not exist merely to please me. No parish we attend will ever be exactly the way we want it. No priest preaches perfectly every Sunday. The choir does not always sing my favorites.

Some people stay away from Church and call it boring or say they aren’t being fed. But in the end, it’s not about you! We go to Mass to worship God because God is worthy, because God deserves our praise and because he has commanded us to be there. God has something important to say to us whether we want to hear it or not. He directs us to eat his flesh and drink his blood whether we like it or not. We must eat or we will die. Holy Mass is about God and what he is saying and doing.

The video goes on to suggest a better image for the Church as a Battleship. I was less impressed with the criteria they gave comparing the Church and a battleship and so I have added my some of my own as well:

  1. Is the ship on a clear and noble mission?
  2. Is the ship able to endure storms at sea?
  3. Does the captain submit to a higher authority?
  4. Are the tactics and moves of the enemy well understood by bridge crew?
  5. Does the bridge crew have proper training and experience?
  6. Are the general crew members equipped to succeed? 
  7.  Is the general crew well trained in the available weaponry?
  8. Does the general crew cooperate with the captain?
  9. Are they taught to be disciplined and vigilant?
  10. Are they rooted in (naval) tradition yet well aware of current circumstances?
  11. Are they at their posts?
  12. Do they take the battle seriously?
  13. Does the ship have adequate first aid and medical help?
  14. Is the crew properly fed?

Some dislike any military imagery in reference to the faith. But pugna spiritalis(spiritual battle) is simply a fact. We are besieged by the world, the flesh, and the devil. We are called to engage the battle and by God’s grace with through to victory.  Our weapons are the Word of God, the Teachings of the Church, the Sacraments, and prayer. We cannot win on our own but must work together under the authority of the Church which is herself under God’s care and authority. We are rooted in the wisdom of tradition and guided by the Pope and Bishops to apply that wisdom and our training to these current times. Peter’s Barque has endured many storms, yet has never sunk. She is a sure a steady ship on a clear and noble  mission.

63 Responses

  1. Paul Hughes says:

    These people who object to the military description of the church should just keep their bad ideas to themselves.

    When they have a church left after all of the rubbish they talk and cause throughout the church, have real fighters to thank for having a church left, [by the grace of God].

    Real christians are neither barbaric nor weak, and those ladida crowd are the current breed of weaklings.

    Paul

  2. susan s. says:

    Thank you, all you fighters. Especially for saving the Latin mass.

  3. Rellis says:

    I think a distinction has to be made here.

    Complaints about the liturgy and music being bad at 95% of parishes (especially in suburbs) is not simply about personal preference (though we on the liturgical right do happen to personally prefer sound liturgy).

    Rather, those complaints are about wanting the Church to follow its own rubrics. It’s not personal preference when all we’re trying to do is keep the Church honest. Say the black, do the red. Follow the rubrics. Bring the “ars celebrandi” to the standards the Church has consistently called for before, during, and after the Council. As Bill Parcells used to say, “do your job.”

    Finally, there’s no equivalence between the guitar Mass that Bob likes and the Gregorian Chant/Latin Mass I like. Mine is what the Church’s rubrics and tradition call for. Bob doesn’t have a leg to stand on, objectively.

    • Robertlifelongcatholic says:

      The relative is a rubrics cube. Think quantum mechanics and ride the wave.Christ was a metaphysical transcendence.of Plank’s constant “God Father”. We are spirit in the material world. Lose the ego and you will see that you are both arguing over the same dualist thing you can’t comprehend becasue you think your reflection you have narcistically become attracted to is the subjective reality of an objective observation you dualistically deny is of the same thing as you. I and My Father are One. The light shines among the darkness and the darkness comprehendeth It not.Narcissis fell in love with his refleftion and eventually drwon staring at himself in the pool. It was the Sun that creatred his illiusion and he was nothing more than the reflection of the Sun, Look through God[s eyes and you will see.

      • Ok Robert, what have you been smoking?

      • Rellis says:

        @Msgr:

        1. “Bob” is a hypothetical lefty on liturgy

        2. I’m not against diversity. I’m against violating the letter, spirit, and tradition of the rubrics. The Mass is not a tabula rasa–it has rules. I’m actually for restoring the diversity lost after the Council (e.g., the Dominican Rite).

        3. I never said a TLM was my preference (it actually is not). I merely said Gregorian Chant and Latin. I think these should be a regular feature of most Masses at every parish.

    • I am not exactly sure who the Bob you are responding to here. But I figure the Church is a large Catedral with a lot of side chapels. Perhaps some of the things many want to legislate should just be left to preference. I am glad I can celebrate the Old Latin Mass but I am also glad that others can find the Lord in other forms and expressions of the Mass.

      • Robertlifelongcatholic says:

        Msg. I don;t do drugs or smoke or drink. Trust me This is not as far out as one might think. Go look in a mirror and tell me what you see. Stare in your eys till you see your heart.

    • Peter Wolczuk says:

      In response to Robertlifelongcatholic I find his suggestion to think quantum mechanics to be very inspiring. When I heard that quantum researchers were looking for a “pilot wave” that caused light to react in different ways as it left a star (depending on how far the nearest matter was in which ever direction it was heading) I turned to Someone greater than a pilot wave for guidance; namely the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Very shortly after that I was made aware of how those had who worked in the marine industry since they were children on their father’s work boat could tell in which direction the nearest land mass was (even if it was out of sight) by the nature of the waves around them. One fisherman whom I’d worked for said that they looked more “compressed” if there was a land mass beyond them. So, it would appear that the sought after pilot wave may well be a compression of the electromagnetic waves (or other unknowns covered under wave/particle duality) between the star and the distant target of its light waves…and light’s reaction to it.
      One may well wonder what this has to do with the subject at hand but, I try to point to value I see in Robert’s post rather than to try and dismiss it by blaming all on a mood altering substance in the way that some blame addiction on the addict who is sickened by it. I apologize if my words have been flawed; or over-reactive by the fact that this is a touchy subject with me. I try instead to remember to thank God that He gave us the Twelve Steps in the 1930’s through Bill and Bob, with contributions from Father Edward Dowling and Sister Ignatia, to free those suffer by doing the work which He offered.
      As for the church being a battleship I am reminded of the armour of God as mentioned in the sixth chapter of Ephesians. At first I found great excitement at being offered the means to protect myself from spiritual evil by adopting the spiritual concepts mentioned. At no time did I see it as being about my power but, rather the power of God which I could earn by growing into these spiritual principles.
      This excitement resulted in my missing the point at the opening which tells me that our conflict is not with people. When I finally came to see this I thought how an enemy will often seek to divide and conquer. If I make my conflict with those among my fellow humans who give in to temptation; just as I have given in to some horribly self destructive temptation; then I am buying into an enemies attempt to divide and conquer. Unity and fellowship are necessary on a battleship or else all is lost. Perhaps this is why the “Our Father” includes the part,”…as we forgive those who trespass against us…” It appears as an instruction for survival. Eternal survival.

  4. Jack Barry says:

    The Church as it functions today is more like a barge, lacking effective propulsion, steering, and communications. Voluminous output from the Vatican and others of the hierarchy in recent times show woeful ignorance of how deep the water is, how high the waves are, and which way the wind is blowing in their environment. The only similarity to a battleship is armor intended to be impenetrable. The attempted analogy is an insult to those who have braved the vicissitudes of life at sea in battleships. (The 14 questions are excellent. Thoughtful, honest answers to them in forms applicable to the Church would be illuminating.)

    Jack B
    Columbia

  5. Annie says:

    This reminds me of the parable of the life saving station that I heard as a United Methodist.

  6. Nick says:

    I can understand why people object to the battleship imagery. It makes the Church seem frightening or warmongling. But as you said, we are at battle with the princes of darkness! :)

  7. Brendan McGrath says:

    When it comes to nautical metaphors, I tend to think that the Church is a lifeboat.

  8. Vijaya says:

    Great analogy. When my husband and I were going through RCIA year before last, I just knew that we will be challenged, without knowing specifically how, and we were. Of course, the trials do not stop. If anything, we are more aware of the battles we must fight because to do nothing would be wrong.

  9. crazylikeknoxes says:

    One of the best homilies I can recall was based on the following quotation from John Paul Jones, “I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm’s way.” The point of the homily, of course, was that Peter’s barque needed to be that sort of ship, for it must necessarily go into harm’s way.

    [As a gratuitous aside, the priest who gave the homily invariably wore sandals and a brightly-colored stole, resembling a Hawaiian aloha shirt. I have no inkling as to his politics, but he had no aversion to or difficulty with employing a military metaphor/imagery.]

  10. Will says:

    The focus of a cruise ship is luxury and comfort, and even if salvation may involve those things, it is not the crux of what it means to be saved from sin. There is struggle and hardship involved, even on a collective level. The focus on the church being like a cruise ships smacks of a church that seeks anything but change through being challenged. Any church under persecution that adopts the cruise approach will sink to the bottom of the sea.

    Wouldn’t the battleship analogy, however, be focused too much on the expectation of crisis or disaster?

    My feminist friends would respond to this blog post by saying something along the lines of “Well, your analogy is ok for men, but what about us women? It all seems to anthrocentric. What about healing, spiritual nourishment, comfort and support from a female perspective?”

    My pacifist friends would respond to this by saying, “The church should have nothing to do with the military. War and all that comes with it are evil and unnecessary. The church a living body, not a machine like the military would want to treat it. The analogy is insufficient.”

    http://honorandillrepute.blogspot.com/

    • Well, like any analogy, it captures one facet of the diamond. There are obviously many others. By the way I know many women who love the battle analogies. But I see your point. Incidentally I wonder if the proper word for what you describe above would not be adrocentric. Anthropos is inclusive whereas andros is gender specific. Just wondering.

    • Jim says:

      I agree. Neither analogy is exact, and both fall short of capturing the essence of the church. In some respects the church can be compared to each, but in many other respects, the church isn’t like either.

      That’s just my 2 cents worth.

      Cynthia
      http://cynthiawalston.livejournal.com/625.html

  11. crazylikeknoxes says:

    The debate about military imagery seems a little silly to me. Metaphor is not substance. Love poets use military imagery, it does not make them soldiers. Mystics use erotic imagery, it does not make them sex therapists. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, he was not promoting herbalism. We should move beyond this.

    I would also add that (it is my understanding that) the Church allows for pacifism as well as just war. If the Church does not force a choice, I decline to make one. As practical matter, I have more respect for the pacifism of a Dorothy Day than I do for much of what passes as “just war” militarism. In substance, I suspect she was tougher “soldier” than most us. (N.b. having respect for a person’s position does not mean that you agree with it.)

  12. David says:

    How aboutr a trinity .
    Cruise ship Truth will set you; free … inner peace and tranquility
    Battleship … clear battle against the world, flesh, devil … purpose of life … repent, absolute moral standards
    Hospital ship … Healing, humility, penance … supernatural grace

  13. Mike Rooke says:

    The idea of the Church being a ship or the barque of Peter goes back to the earliest times and may have had its origin in the concept of an ark. Clement of Alexandria (c150- c215AD) endorsed symbols for as being suitable for a signet ring “And let our seals be either a dove or a fish, or a ship scudding (running before a gale) before the wind , or a musical lyre, which Polycrates (c500BC) used, or a ship’s anchor, which Seleucus (c.358-281 B.C.) got engraved as a device; and if there be one fishing, he will remember the apostle, and the children drawn out of the water…(baptism)” .

    Polycrates was associated with a legend of a lost ring swallowed by a fish that was recovered when the fish was subsequently caught. However that ring has been described in one account as having an emerald and some think it may therefore be a reference to a namesake, Polycrates, who was a second century bishop of Ephesus. St Paul writes of singing and music in Ephesians 5:19 speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual canticles, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord.

    There are many early references to bishops and rings but the earliest reference to a Pope having the Fisherman’s ring is in a letter of Clement IV written in 1265 to his nephew, Peter Grossi. The writer states that popes were then accustomed to seal their private letters with “the seal of the Fisherman”, whereas public documents, he adds, were distinguished by the leaden “bulls” attached. From the context it may be that Clement of Alexandria was referring to a Papal ring.

    St Paul speaks of the anchor of hope in Hebrews 6 :18-19 …..we who have fled for refuge to hold fast the hope set before us. 19 Which we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm,….
    There is a lamp in the form of a ship with the Apostles Peter and Paul cast in bronze, late 4th-early 5th century in the Uffizi Museum in Florence.

    Connection with our Blessed Lady and being a guide to the tempest tossed church goes back to the earliest times as evidenced by the sentiment in the writing of Transitus Mariae which although declared apocryphal by Pope St. Gelasius (492-96) it does bear witness to great devotion to Our Lady. “Often here in Rome she appears to the people who confess her in prayer, for she has appeared here on the sea when it was troubled and raised itself and was going to destroy the ship in which they were sailing. And the sailors called on the name of the Lady Mary and said: ‘O Lady Mary, Mother of God, have mercy on us,’ and straightway she rose upon them like the sun and delivered the ships, ninety-two of them, and rescued them from destruction, and none of them perished.”

    St. Paschasius Radbertus (786-c860) wrote “ Mary, Star of the Sea, must be followed in faith and morals lest we capsize amidst the storm-tossed waves of the sea. She will illumine us to believe in Christ, born of her for the salvation of the world”

    The hymn Ave maris stella (Hail star of the sea) can be documented to late C8th or early C9th and some attribute it to the poet and hymnologist Venantius Fortunatus (c530- 609 AD)
    Hincmar Archbishop of Reims (806- 882) spoke of Mary as “a star of the sea assumed into the heavens”.

    Hermann von Reichenau, (1013-1054) also known as Hermannn the Cripple wrote the hymn Alma Redemptoris Mater
    Loving mother of the Redeemer,
    gate of heaven, star of the sea,

    That hymn is also referred to in the Ancren Riwle c1190 and also by Chaucer (c1340-1400) in the Prioress’s Tale.
    Hermann von Reichenau is also attributed in writing Salve Regina.

    St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) wrote “ If the winds of temptation arise; If you are driven upon the rocks of tribulation look to the star, call on Mary; If you are tossed upon the waves of pride, of ambition, of envy, of rivalry, look to the star, call on Mary.”

    Hymnologists such as Fr John Lingard (1771-1851) who wrote a loose translation of Ave maris stella as “Hail Queen of Heaven the ocean star” were hardly on a cruise ship.

    Lingard who was born of recusant parents and attended the English College at Douai, France, to commence training for the priesthood. Narrowly escaping attacks by mobs at the time of the French Revolution, he returned to England in 1793. The war with France in 1793 led to British property in France being confiscated including Douai and staff and students were imprisoned till 1795. A number of temporary sites for study were found in the North of England and eventually this led to the foundation of Ushaw College near Durham in 1808. Lingard although not yet ordained was a tutor. Lingard wrote a 10 volume history of England while resident at Hornby near Lancaster. His historical method was to check primary sources. He wrote that one of his chief duties as an historian was: “to weigh with care the value of the authorities on which I rely, and to watch with jealousy the secret workings of my own personal feelings and prepossessions. Such vigilance is a matter of necessity to every writer of history … Otherwise, he will be continually tempted to make an unfair use of the privilege of the historian; he will sacrifice the interests of truth to the interests of party, national, or religious, or political.” Lingard was accorded no recognition by the British intellectual establishment during his lifetime but his historical method is now recognised and his works have been republished. Norman Davies ( Europe a History) in a forward to Edwin Jones’s book “John Lingard and the Pursuit of Historical Truth” wrote “This book confirms the view that the search for historical truth, despite the obstacles, is not a waste of time or effort. It restores Lingard to his rightful place in the pantheon of British historians. And it shows that the British historical tradition is even richer than most of us were led to believe.”

    The lines of the tempest tossed Church referred to earlier were penned by Frederick William Faber1 (1814-1863) wrote “O Purest Of Creatures” which in the second stanza contains the reference to the Church being a ship at sea.

    Deep night hath come down on this rough-spoken world.
    And the banners of darkness are boldly unfurled;
    And the tempest-tossed Church — all her eyes are on thee.
    They look to thy shining, sweet Star of the Sea.

    Faber was of Huguenot descent, attended Harrow, Balliol and University College. Torn between Calvinism and the tractarian movement advocated by Newman he was ordained in the Anglican Church in 1839 and subsequently became a Catholic priest in 1847. In 1849 he was sent by Newman to found the Oratory at King William Street, London, and was appointed its superior. In the humble chapel there, once a tavern, Faber laid the foundation of his future works. Faber’s hymns, composed especially for his services, display a combination of accurate theological doctrine, fervent devotion, musical rhythm, and true poetic talent. The Oratory was removed to South Kensington in 1854, and there Faber spent the remaining nine years of his life. The famous Catholic church now on that site was built between 1880 and 1884. The community of priests is “The Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri” or Oratorians. The church is popularly but incorrectly known as ‘Brompton Oratory’. St Philip (1515-1595) was devoted Our Lady and so the church is dedicated to The Immaculate Heart of Mary.

    The barque of Peter is neither a battleship nor a cruise ship. The aboard down through the ages followed the Ocean Star and in doing so provided us with example.

    • Wow, this is quite a thorough treatment. I am mindful of another old hymn that says, “When the world is tossing me like a ship upon the sea, though who rulest wind and water, Stand by me.”

  14. Sally says:

    I learned in my youth that we are Soldiers of Christ.
    So, yes it is like the military.

  15. Bender says:

    Cruise ship or battleship?

    The Church is an Ark.

    An Ark filled with all sorts of diverse creatures, all kinds of people — some we like, some not so much, some that are pretty, some that are not. It is loud, smelly, hot, stuffy, and over-crowded. And happy are those who are on the Ark, and happy to have those other people on board, because it saves us from death.

    There are some who do not care to be with all these loud and smelly people, and so they set themselves apart. But in their comfort and elbow room, they put themselves outside the Ark. Perhaps they do not need the Ark, perhaps they are so good and perfect themselves that they are impervious to the flood waters, or perhaps they can build their own boat.

    However, the wise ones are those who rejoice in the Ark and are happy to have a place on board, even if it is in the lower decks. These are happy just to have a place, especially because they know that they did not deserve the ticket that had been given to them.

  16. Robertlifelongcatholic says:

    I would say the Church is like a boat in that it is the means to an end. Some use it in many ways over the course of their journey. Never a cruise ship, for this jouney is by no means a pleasure trip, but one of safe passage through a turbulent sea with blessed times of calm water only to be challenged and theatened with circumstances beyond our control.Our battles are with ourselves, secularism; religious zealousness, and commitments to a material society that deceives and betrays our best intentions. The water is wide, I cannot cross over, and neither I have wings to fly. Build me a boat that can carry two, and we shall flow, my love and I. In the end the good captain goes down with his ship, and God commends him to the deep. May God have mercy on our souls. Life sometimes swallows us to such depths that only God can save us.

  17. sandra says:

    yes it is a battleship,we are on board,accounted and stand ready at our post. For he comes like a thief in the night.DRILL DRILL DRILL!!!!! military brats & cowgirls dont do cruise ship.

  18. Kaylan says:

    The title of the article caught my attention on a e-newsletter! Very cool title and very correct. It immediately made me think of the term: CHURCH MILITANT, since that is what we are spiritually!

    Wonderful article! I have passed the link to all my friends and lists. :)

  19. Joyce Stolberg says:

    The Barque of Peter is essentially a fishing boat. Remember Vatican II’s statement: “The church on earth is by its very nature missionary since, according to the plan of the Father, it has its origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity #2).

    Yes, it is a working vessel,low in amenities but high in productivity — or at least it should be.

    • Daniel says:

      Thank you Joyce for binging this back to a Scriptural (and VII) basis. Boats figure frequently in the Gospels in the ministry of Jesus–but none of them are battleships. Jesus rode in the fishing boats of his disciples and used them as an analogy–that he would make fishers of people. It seems to me that a fisherman is a very diffreent image than a soldier, and Jesus was also pretty clearly opposed to the occasionally militant ideas of his (often obtuse) disciples. I’m not a flaming liberal, but there’s a lot of esogesis going on here, and peoples’ desire to make Jesus or His Church into a militaristic organization are heard pressed to find their justification in anything but the weak human desire to impose violence as a supposed solution to evil.

      • Daniel, please be aware, this is a light hearted metaphor meant to answer the silly cruise ship notion some have. It is an otflanking of the cruise ship wiht a battleship. Don’t miss the humor. I think you and some others are taking the battleship image entirely too seriously.

      • Daniel says:

        Msgr, You may have meant it with some humor, but judging by the comments most people seem to be taking it quite seriously and even using it as “ammunition”. Metaphors and analogies are very powerful reference points which help people to frame their thinking–obviously Jesus employed them frequently. Some tend to take analogies literally. For instance, the analogy of the Church as a” bride of Christ” has long been used as a strong justification for an all-male, strictly heterosexual priesthood, but I suspect you would not condone a relaxed understanding of that metaphor…I think balance is critical here.

        • Rina says:

          Although I would’ve preferred if you went into a lttile bit more detail, I still got the gist of what you meant. I agree with it. It might not be a popular idea, but it makes sense. Will definitely come back for more of this. Great work

      • Well. OK, but in the end military imagery is not bad. It is used in the scriptures, and quite thoroughly in tradition. Calling the Church a battleship is according to me somewhat humorous hyperbole, but military imagery for the Christian is surely acceptable. Looks like a good blog for next week! Stay tuned.

  20. Cynthia BC says:

    When I was a teen the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” was popular at Confirmation. It’s occurred to me that it’s been years since I’ve sung it at church – maybe the battle image isn’t PC anymore?

    “Onward, Christian Soldiers”
    by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924

    1. Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war,
    With the cross of Jesus Going on before.
    Christ, the royal Master, Leads against the Foe;
    Forward into battle See His banners go!
    Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war,
    With the cross of Jesus Going on before.

    2. Like a mighty army Moves the Church of God;
    Brothers, we are treading Where the saints have trod.
    We are not divided, All one body we,
    One in hope and doctrine, One in charity.
    Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war,
    With the cross of Jesus Going on before.

    3. Crowns and thrones may perish, Kingdoms rise and wane,
    But the Church of Jesus Constant will remain.
    Gates of hell can never ‘Gainst that Church prevail;
    We have Christ’s own promise, And that cannot fail.
    Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war,
    With the cross of Jesus Going on before.

    4. Onward, then, ye faithful, Join our happy throng,
    Blend with ours your voices In the triumph-song;
    Glory, laud, and honor Unto Christ the King;
    This, through countless ages, Men and angels sing.
    Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war,
    With the cross of Jesus Going on before.

    Hymn #658
    The Lutheran Hymnal
    Text: Matthew 16:18
    Author: Sabine Baring-Gould, 1864
    Composer: Arthur S. Sullivan, 1871
    Tune: “St. Gertrude”

    • A great hymmn. I love to play it on the organ too. The Pedal part has a wonderful marching and cadence in the refrain

    • Cynthia BC says:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzIAK1Uv-CM&feature=related

      I didn’t have time this morning to find a recording of the hymn. The organ in this video appears to have about a zillion stops.

      • Wonderful! I may feature this is a post next week!

      • Priyanka says:

        Couldn’t agree more Faith! I knew lots of friends groiwng up though that had great christian parent, attended church regularly and still fell away from the church. If I take my kids to a baseball game, it does not make them baseball players. I believe that having your kids in big church regularly teaches them that its okay to disconnect and that church can be boring. Could it be that what is being taught is not life applicable enough? Could it be that you cannot learn to serve your parents God with out it being your own? Could it be that perhaps the church needs to rethink their strategy? Yes, the question was directed at what the “Church” should do. I believe the problem may lay though that Parents too heavily assume the church is doing the right thing and teaching the right way. Again, the “this is the way we’ve always done it” approach. This topic should be discussed more often amongst parents! Keep the Convo going ladies! : )

  21. teo matteo says:

    a military metaphor for our Church? i like it… i recall my bishop giving me a slap at my confirmation. “you are a soldier for Christ”.

  22. David La May says:

    How about a fishing boat?

  23. Patricia Cornell says:

    The Catholic Church reminds me of a heart monitor……the ups and downs of the line shows the body is still alive. The feasts and of Jesus Christ. When I was a Protestant, as I look back over 25 years and more, the heart monitor was a straight line, no ups and Saints’ days, days in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary….in short, a straight line…….in my own experience, boring and not alive

    I became Catholic and the heart monitor went up and down, up and down, all year long. I had so much to learn and unlearn and relearn. I love it…..challenging and hard and I love it. I moved from N. CA in 2009 for the specific purpose of finding a community of Catholics…..I found it and no more yearning for the community…it is here in St. Louis, MO. Praise God! If you dare, join me at 10 AM Sundays at the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest Oratory at Ohio and Gravois, in the South County. Park around the church and !

  24. Judith Forbes says:

    Thanks for this analogy – perhaps we need to be reminded often that the kind of “ship” the Church resembles takes on a variety of forms and purposes – including worship, fellowship, discipleship. As a Presbyterian I am reminded of Calvin’s words, “Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness.”
    Let’s encourage one another in this voyage, rather than pick holes in the imagery that may be helping one of us at a particular time!

  25. Books says:

    I think the church takes on different roles at different times. Sometimes it is even a cruise ship with cannons.

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    http://www.thebooknexus.com

  26. Ian R says:

    I like the article, as a protestant I sail with a different fleet, but it is good to hear from a fellow soldier and brother in Christ and arms.

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