Wednesday, February 15, 2006

334 Must the church always be a follower?

It won't be next year, or maybe not even 2016, but eventually church musicians and pastors will wake up about the noise and volume of their CCM rock, hip-hop and heavy metal music and the damage the blasting loud speakers cause to hearing just as they realized the dangers of smoking and second hand smoke 20 years ago. Too bad they can't be leaders instead of followers in this important health issue.

When we joined UALC in 1976, every meeting room and event was filled with the blue haze of cigarette smoke (with the exception of the sanctuary). I'd grown up in the Church of the Brethren, so smoking was just a plain old generic sin--below adultery and theft maybe, but certainly right up there with swearing and drunkeness. But Lutheran smokers 30 years ago believed in "freedom in Christ," and you were considered a Pharisee if you mentioned it made your clothes stink or burned your eyes. I'm not sure what turned the tide, but gradually smokers went to one room to breathe each others poisoned fumes, and then outside, and now I never see anyone smoking on the property.

What I remember most about this very serious health issue is that the church was not the leader. It was the follower.

How many of our babies and children and teens will need to lose their hearing in the low and high ranges incrementally, to be tested and fitted for hearing aids by age 40? Noise in the church is the latest blue haze that Christians think they can't do without. "Give me Jesus, but don't make me change anything," could be our motto.

I actually shudder when I see young parents taking small children into our X-Alt services because the parents identify with the music and our leadership knows this is a way to fill the seats. People who will floss for dental health, do pilates and kick boxing for exercise, and watch their cholesterol and calories seem oblivious to protecting their ears.

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