Monday, March 30, 2009

No Babies in Church PSA

I found this video on a pastor's blog I follow. His church seems to be doing some really good things and I enjoy reading what they have going on. This video, while very creative and funny, disturbed me a little. The girl in the video is the pastor's daughter and it seems that they actually showed this video in one of their services.

Having been the parent of babies who make noise during service I have been on the receiving end of dirty looks from other adults who seem annoyed at your child's presence in the place of worship. I have also felt excluded from the place of worship and therefore the worshiping community when having to leave the service and sit with the other parent "lepers" in some far off place where we won't disturb others. I understand that babies can be distracting but can't we as ADULTS get past the small amounts of noise and allow the parents of these small children to continue to worship with us? I would like some feedback and response on this from those who think babies should not be "distracting" during worship. Help me understand please!


Kelly Lawson said...

Well if they showed it in church, I bet it made parents of small children that saw it feel very singled out and alienated... if it were me, I'd feel very hurt. We've all jingled our keys at our babies or given them paper to play with. And most parents feel embarrassed and singled out enough as it is, when their baby doesn't behave perfectly.

I see the argument they are trying to make, however. I just don't think this is the best way to address the issue.

Yet... a church with a theology of worship that sees worship as community-- makes room and allowances for a little noise from kids, because that's what kids do. And it doesn't detract from the worship experience.

Now if a baby is crying and carrying on and being unusually noisy or fussy, I am betting that the majority of parents will know when it IS time to get up and take their baby out.

I don't know. This video has a very unwelcoming feel. I have to be honest, though. Had I seen this video a year ago, before I had a baby, I would have just chuckled and not thought much about how it comes across.


jason said...

I was excited about making an exciting point - but Kelly stole all of my thunder.

As the parent of a small child, I am SUPER sensitive to this issue. For me, this video did nothing but call attention to it making me feel pretty much like an outcast, which we know isn't what Jesus did at all.

There are already a kragillion things separating us and making us feel like unfit losers, why is it necessary to pile on with this?

Jess said...

This video is VERY disturbing. I agree with all of the points that Kelly made. I can understand the "distraction" as I know I have found myself thinking, "get that kid out of here!" However, as a parent of small children, would be really offended if that was shown in my church.

From the perspective of the annoyed, I have a close relative as an example. He HATES noisy kids in service and thinks it's the parents responsiblity to leave when they get out of hand. To his defense, he raised 4 kids, before there was childrens church and kept them all quiet for the whole of the service. He doesn't understand parents that choose to have their kids with them, if NONE of them are getting anything out of the service.

I also understand a parents apprehension at leaving a child in the nursery. Germs, uncontrolled crying, if they work, they don't see them a lot during the week...etc. There are a lot of things to consider, and I think this church over steped the line.

Josh Dahm said...

I'm a bit disturbed at the underlying assumption that a worship service is a place to collect information. The way they'd remedy having you miss a portion of the service is to give you a CD of the sermon. How messed up is that?! You can get "notes" from someone after the "lecture". Ridiculous. If something happens is worship, it's contingent on being together. There is no substitute for a community at worship.

Carol said...

I have to say that I haven't seen much in the Bible about separating the "important" adults from those "distracting" children so those adults can get some real worshiping done! I would say you could probably find some pretty good support for the exact opposite actually. Get rid of all that distracting adult stuff and get back to being a kid so you can really worship! Jesus had much to say about being like a child and about not hindering children in worship. There is also much about the responsibility of parents teaching their children in the Bible, but I haven't found much about the responsibility of the Church teaching or raising or caring for children in there. Common sense says if you want your child to learn something, you need to model it for them, not just tell it to them. For example, a child learns how to smoke, drink and swear by modeling the behavior of those they WATCH in worldly places. How do we think they are going to learn to worship the Lord, sing His praises, pray to Him and the other behavior we WANT to see in them if they are sent to some other place away from the adults we want them to emulate? It's not the sort of thing the world is teaching them every day! I believe we need more teaching about what the Church is supposed to look it looks for groups of believers to come together as one family and worship together...not as a sterile experience, but as an outpouring of love. (my two--or maybe four--cents!)