Den of Thieves

I heard loud music emanating from inside St. Stephen’s in the Field. I was under the impression that Freedomize (or as they later called themselves, “Freechurch”) met in there. That was the last place I had seen them. They were one of only two churches in the entire GTA, as far as I knew, that had significant numbers of young people.

The throbbing beat didn’t sound like Christian music. The people outside didn’t look like Christians. I had just been passing by, but I wanted to know what was going on, so I stepped inside. I saw that the floor was empty; all the chairs had been cleared away, and a handful of guys with long, frizzy beards were milling about. Some of them were tending to a stereo that was blasting music from the front of the small sanctuary, and others were up in the balcony–laughing raucously, smoking and drinking in the pews.

They turned it into a club.

As I walked out, I passed straight in front of a ragged-looking guy who stood outside the doorway, with a giant, frayed beard. He rocked awkwardly and automatically to the beat, looking at no-one and nothing in particular, his cigarette trailing smoke each time he swung his hand. He looked like more of an automaton than anyone I’d ever seen inside that church when it had still been used as a church.

*

When I was in Ireland, I stepped inside a giant cathedral in Dublin to find myself staring at an array of information desks, leaflet racks, and cheap trinkets. I blinked, unable to process the scene.

It cannot be pretended that these old church buildings were meant for anything besides the worship of God. They groan when they are used for something else. They remind us that we have lost our faith.

It cannot be ignored that we have nothing to replace God with: we have nothing but leaflets, alcohol, and drugged swaying to the beat.

It’s horrifying.

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