Here’s a couple of articles I’ve read recently that both touch on potentially distracting stuff that happens during a church service.
Do you take notes?
In A Noteworthy Sermon?, the author writes:
As I sat listening to the sermon at church last Sunday morning, I was struck by a big division. Some folk were scribbling earnestly in notebooks as the end of 2 Corinthians was unfolded for us. Others just sat listening.
He goes on to give some points in favour of and against note-taking. I found the latter interesting, never having considered why a pastor would ask the congregation to refrain from taking notes. Personally, I’m in the just-sit-and-listen camp. I cannot claim any high ideals behind my decision, however: I simply fell out of the habit of taking notes.
Do you use your smartphone/tablet?
Here’s the opening paragraph of The Texture of Screens Amidst Communities of Faith:
As more people make the move from regular cell phones to smart phones and tablets, many want to use the “smart” features during worship services to access the Scriptures, take notes, and even interact with the pastor. This has led to an ongoing, though fairly quiet debate about the proper place of such devices in church.
The author proposes three reasons why we find electronic devices so distracting, along with some helpful recommendations. I appreciated his stance—neither “get rid of them” nor “get used to it”. I also identified with some of his cynicism 🙂
Notes, screens and me
From my personal experience, I’ve not found note-taking to be a hindrance to concentration. However, for most of my Christian life I regarded sermons solely as containers for information, so maybe it was good that I stopped taking notes. Nowadays, most of the notes I take are from MP3s that I can listen to endlessly, and occasionally I even turn them into blog posts.
As for gadgets, I’ve not developed adequate resistance to the draw of shiny screens. I probably care too much about my image to be caught using my device for non-biblical purposes during a service, but I rather prefer to keep as far away from that temptation as I reasonably can!