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Monday, May 08, 2006

No Cell Phones in Church, Please

Darrell, over at SouthCon, says it best. Go here.

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11 comments:

Rob said...

For me, leaving my cellphone in the car would be dangerous and irresponsible.

If a medical emergency occurs in church (and they do, quite often), a cellphone is indispensable. While I'm a paramedic, non-paramedics will find the caller instructions provided by 911 to be invaluable as they wait for an EMS response.

Cellphones should be turned off in church or put on vibrate for those of us who must be on call for emergencies at all times.

BTW: I had EMS respond 5 times at my old church. It's why I got a cellphone. I wind up calling 911 at least once a month.

God has given me an unusual calling, I'll admit.

Rob of UnSpace

Darin said...

I gotta agree. My wife is often on-call for her company, which makes equipment for blood and microbiologic testing. If something breaks in the middle of a blood test, she doesn't have an hour...she has about thirty minutes or so, and that's about it. We've been very fortunate in that I don't think her phone has gone off during worship once yet, and there's been more than one time it's gone off as we were walking out to the car afterwards. But if it went off (on vibrate) and she had to leave, it wouldn't bother me. God gave her that vocation, and it's how she serves her neighbor.

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

I hasten to add this addition to my post. Certainly, a doctor or medical technician who is on-call is not offending anyone if they bring a cellphone to church. They have to be able to be reached. In fact, it would be wrong to ask them to turn off their phones. Keep it on vibrate, as you said. No prob.

But the other 95% of the population still should probably keep it off. I can say that of the handfull of times a phone has gone off in a service at my church, it has never been a person like you describe. In fact, people generally just scramble to get the phone and turn it off w/o even answering it.

John said...

Hi,

First off I agree cell phones can be very annoying. There can be many other distractions during a service too: children playing, screaming, fighting and fidgeting, people leaving and returning, distracting habits, inappropriate dress, overpowering perfume, and snoring to name a few.

Maybe a friendly reminder at the beginning of the service would be helpful for the cell phones. I don't think most people mean to be inconsiderate, people become preoccupied with life's daily activities and can forget to do things they intend to do.

As for leaving the cell phone in the car, there are two reasons other reasons that it may not be a good idea:

1. it could get stolen.

2. the temperature extremes in a car are not good for the battery or the electronics in the phone.

I would say leave it home, try to make sure it is turned off, or leave it on vibrate only if it is really necessary. A friendly reminder would be helpful, especially if it is a pet peeve. Pastor, you always say the maxim "we should always put the best construction on people’s actions". Singling someone out during the service for the phone ringing would not be in line with this maxim. I would recommend talking to them after the service in a friendly manner. We don't want to drive people away, and none of us are perfect. That is why we are in church in the first place. We are all sinners, we all need to repent and be forgiven. The hungrier we are for this message the less we will focus on the distractions.

Sincerely,
John

Darrell said...

Thanks for the link, Pastor Scott. I admit that there are legit reasons (medical and otherwise) for exceptions to the rule, but I maintain that, most of the time, bringing the cellphone to church smacks of pure irreverence. Besides, there were ways to deal with emergencies before the invention of the cellphone, and I think that most of those ways are still valid. Every church I've been in, for example, has it's own telephone in an office somewhere.

Funky Dung said...

For lack of an email address, I'll ask here: will you be attending the BlogFest on May 19th?

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Darrell,
Yep. It's offensive when people have so little regard for the sanctity of God's Word. Some people have no fear of God. They come to God's House with no more preparation or thought than if they were going to the football game.

There is a qualitative difference btwn the normal hubbub you get anytime a crowd gathers and when people just don't think to shut off their phones.

I love the Eucharist hymn that says, "Let all mortal flesh keep silence And with fear and trembling stand; Ponder nothing earthly minded, For with blessing in his hand Christ our God to earth descending Comes our homage to demand."

Or in other words, "shut up and listen."

When Christ is present in the Eucharist, we are CLOSER to God than Moses was through the burning bush.

How's this supposed to work: "O this is God's Word I am hearing. Ooops, excuse me. I gotta take this call."

Of course, there are exceptions. Righto. But those exceptions are not an excuse for a general lack of reverence.

Certainly, people make mistakes. I'm not suggesting we crucify anyone. I'm sure the person in Darrell's example was embarrassed. It's still wrong.

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Funky Dung,
Hadn't thought about it. I will look into right now. thanks for the reminder.

~Mark said...

"Or in other words, "shut up and listen."


~Amen!

organshoes said...

It amazes me, how cellphones have been granted such necessary status, and so quickly after their appearance. Like cars and television, is there life without them?
I hardly ever stop at the stop sign at our corner, without seeing an adjacent driver talking on a cellphone. One hand on the wheel, one holding the phone, the mind who knows where? I turn in line at the supermarket to find out what the person behind me said, only to discover she/he was talking on a cellphone, and not to me, and turn away quickly, as if I'm eavesdropping, or worse, as if I'd entered an occupied phone booth.
The use of them is rude beyond their ringing in church--or at graveside services (been there, heard that--and an obnoxious ringtone as well). They are great disrespecters of public places.
I wonder at people who complain about tele-marketers interrupting their dinner or TV watching, but who interrupt our conversations, or our golf game or just a quiet time, or choir practice! to take a cellphone call, or even just to look to see who's calling.
I know they're not going away, and that public behavior and discourse are likely on an unchanging coarsening path. Doesn't mean I like it, any more than I like exposed navels or pierced eyebrows. One certainly takes one's chances these days, entering the wide world.

RC said...

all i know is if i don't turn off my cell phone at church it messes with the sound equipment and that's no good.

buzz...buzz...

--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

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