Good afternoon everyone. Before I start this post, I would first like to apologize for becoming philosophical so early in the afternoon, but I would really like to hear your thoughts and feelings on this matter to which I’m about to bring up.
This morning, I went to Bethel College’s first chapel of the semester. When I walked into the ER (not Emergency Room), I was expecting the usual Bethel routine: sing a couple songs, hear a mini sermon, and then be dismissed. Boy, was I wrong today.
After the usual announcements and a reflection about a professor who passed away earlier this week, the Vice President of Bethel stood up on stage and, with a stern voice, pretty much told everyone to behave in chapel.
He made references to people being on their computers during chapel and how he could see their faces being lit up from the computer screens while on stage. He also pointed out that people whistled during chapel while guest speakers were giving their testimonials. He also brought up people texting, tweeting, and facebooking during the speeches.
After providing the examples, he brought up what caught my attention the most. He said, “People tell me that this is the new culture.” (Meaning that it is acceptable to be on your computer, texting, talking to the people next to you, etc during speeches, meetings, etc). And this is what really grabbed me….he then said, “It is a culture of rudeness.”
Before I go into this any further, let me just point out that I am very much so connected to the world via my iPhone. My life is on my iPhone. I use my iPhone a lot even during church because my iPhone has a large print Bible that I can see clearly. But I have self control and I don’t need to check Facebook or Twitter during church or send a text message unless is was a big emergency. So I understand if people are using their phones to access Bible apps or a Bible on the web during chapels or church. I am not quick to judge people and don’t immediately assume that someone is on their phone texting or tweeting. I assume they’re looking at a Bible. “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” – Matthew 7:1. And if they’re not looking at a Bible app or web Bible, then that is an honesty issue between that person and God.
Having said all that, let me say this. I’ve been into some nice sit down restaurants like Red Lobster, Red Robin, and a slew of others and I see people texting while at the dinner table with very little to no conversation taking place. Are we really moving away from normal conventions of conversation?
But what I take great offense to is that if I want your undivided attention, I should be able to get it without you being on your phone texting or playing a game. It really is annoying because then I have to fight to get your attention. So please, just put your phone down for a few minutes and listen.
In a chapel/meeting setting, it really is distracting when someone is next to you during a time which does not belong to you in the first place. That time belongs to the speaker and God. Don’t become a stumbling block to others. If you don’t want to be there, then don’t be there. Don’t drag other people down who really want to be there.
I have been worried about this kind of behavior for a while now and it sounds like to me that the administration at Bethel…well at least from one person’s perspective…has had it with this kind of behavior and will now kick people out of chapel for texting, tweeting, being on their computer, etc.
To Bethel: If you want to kick people out for displaying that kind of behavior, that’s your policy and by all means, enforce it as you see fit. But please, make sure that the person is texting and not looking up the Bible or using a Bible app to follow along with the chapel speakers.
I am just as connected, if not more so, than a lot of teenagers and people in their early 20’s but please, exercise good judgement and use some common sense. Don’t be rude. After all, I’m sure if you wanted someone’s attention, you would want them to pay attention to you and no their phone.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Feel free to leave a comment. I will only approve insightful, intelligent comments. No hate or bashing of any kind will be tolerated.