Monday, April 16, 2007

Young Families, Crying Babies, Limited Tempers and Meditation

Fragile Silence

Temper tantrum whines
Ineffectual restraint
Meditation lost

Gadabout loves children, but he is annoyed by the noises they make in church (and other public venues for that matter). This issue of crying babies during worship is a touchy one indeed. On one hand a congregation has to accept a family with young children because they need membership numbers, but on the other hand a whiney little brat kid who disrupts services will likely drive short tempered ordinary folks like myself out the door—for good!. Many churches have to walk a balancing act to keep both parties happy. And as you might have guessed, Gadabout has all the answers.

First off, most churches unwittingly bring Disruptive Baby Situations (DBS) upon themselves. By demanding young parents actively participate in services prior to their child’s baptism, pastoral guidelines disproportionately populate gatherings with whiney kids. On top of that, these young parents are proud of their DNA achievements and successful transition into adulthood. “Look at my beautiful wife, children and shiny new SUV; I have arrived. My wife and I are good Christians and are preparing our new family to receive Christ and perpetuate our collective belief system. We represent a strong and bright future, so if you don’t find our minor disruptions acceptable, then that is your problem to deal with.”

Okay, mister proud family man, here is what Gadabout has to say to you. Are you ready? No, I don’t find your cute newborn’s screaming during gospel readings, homilies, or communion very amusing. I find it insulting and destructive. Your depthless struggle to control your screaming kid negatively affects all of those around you. We loath you. Our dark side is exposed, and we start to sin in our minds. We no longer pray for world peace, we collectively pray for your immediate exit. During those endless minutes whilst you fidget and rock your vociferous Terrible Two, the rest of us are filled with a destructive irritability usually only found in traffic jams and endless corporate meetings. Thank you, Mister Family Man! Peace be with you.

I do have a reasonable tolerance level, and am certain that most others do too. I can endure discreet disruptions such as a momentary cry or sob, random gestures and dropping of objects like a Thomas train or coloring book. I absolutely cannot worship in a nursery room though. I plea and petition you for solutions to engender peace and eternal harmony. There shall be no confrontation with Gadabout since we are in a house of the Lord—that would be unacceptable. So I ask that you please take your child to the lobby, or other area where their whines and ear shattering screams of pain cannot be heard. Please, I beg of you.


Elizabeth said...

AMEN! :)

Anonymous said...

This goes back to common courtesy and responsibility; something lacking from 80% of the U.S. population. Wow, there's that 80/20 rule--again. It's amazing how many times that rule is enacted on a daily basis. 20% of the populous do the real work and keep this great country afloat, 80% of the populous are common slugs and offers no positive inputs to not only productivity, but every day life--I digress, back to the statement at hand.
My pastor actually talked on this topic a few weeks ago and offered this view. Tiny infants to elderly adults are all God's Children and as such, need to be welcomed into his service and experience. It's no different than if you attend a "southern style" service where "AMEN" and "Halleluiah" are shouted out as often as the wind blows. A baby cry should be welcomed as it tells us, we, the congregation, are growing; the church is progressing in the correct direction--doing God's will and new people are attending to praise His name.
I understood his point, but my upbringing brought me back to how this response started--common courtesy and responsibility. I actually think these two "nouns, or adjectives--pending how used in a sentence" are more-or-less covered by the 10 commandments.

Gadabout Jack said...

Dear Anonymous,
Gadabout will try a little harder to accept our youth, and all that goes with it.