I did some research on the internet and found the word inertia connected closely to the word torpor. A search on the word torpor revealed the following quote.
"We find the most terrible form of atheism, not in the militant and passionate struggle against the idea of God himself, but in the practical atheism of everyday living, in indifference and torpor. We often encounter these forms of atheism among those who are formally Christians."
~Nicolai A. Berdyaev
Inertia, torpor, and indifference aren't new struggles within the Church. These elements have been around for a long time. The question becomes, "Are we going to be content with having these elements firmly entrenched within our faith communities without trying to do something to lessen the detrimental effects of living this way?" In searching for some insights in regard to this topic, I began reading a book entitled, A Faith Interrupted by Alice L. Camille & Joel Schorn. It didn't take long for the authors to address these topics in a very direct way. They summed it up by using the word mediocrity. On page 10 of the book the authors stated:
"With a deep sigh, we admit that the church displays its share of mediocrity (or worse) in local celebrations of Mass and the sacraments and in preaching most of all. Those who come to the church looking for spiritual nourishment or moral guidance have sometimes been simply bored to tears by an indifferent and passionless ritual. Some of what passes for religious instruction may also be badly led, poorly explained, or barely funded. Adult religious education is often nonexistent."
Since I am a member of the clergy and have a leadership position in the Church, this stinging critique certainly gives me plenty to ponder. It wasn't that any of this was news to me, but seeing it in print and stated so succinctly made the point hit home quite effectively. As I attempt to put this statement in proper context, I recognize that society and culture have changed significantly in the last 50 years. In many ways people have dismissed, replaced, or ignored the norms and mores that were firmly in place for generations. However, I do not believe that we can subsequently throw up our hands in despair and allow the Church to be an irrelevant institution in our midst. Indeed, quite the contrary, it calls us to a renewed awakening of the power of the Holy Spirit in our personal lives and in the life of the Church. This renewal isn't just for the clergy and leadership; it is for all of us. How do we resurrect an internal fire within ourselves if we have allowed a fire that once burned brightly to simmer to a faint glow off in the distance? How do we change ourselves (before we start looking at ways to change everyone else around us)?
As I sat down and began to write this post, I was a bit disheartened at the many ways we struggle as Church. We certainly have our share of challenges to proclaim the Gospel faithfully and effectively. The bright spot is that we can look forward in hope, because we know we have plenty of room to grow and improve. We have not "maxed out" in our ability to share the good news of salvation. There is ample room to replace some negatives with positives. Move over inertia, complacency, apathy, indifference, and torpor. Here comes a real zest for life. Here comes vitality, vigor, and vivaciousness.
"I have come that you may have life and have it in abundance."