Sunday, February 03, 2008

Mixed bag Sunday: music, Russian, and multitasking

Our new pastor, Eric Waters, has a degree in Russian. He even worked in Russia--Siberia, I think, and that's where the Lord tracked him down and claimed him. Now this eastern, Ivy League, former Catholic, is a Lutheran pastor. Maybe I'll brush up on my Russian and some morning (if they let him preach at Lytham Rd.) I'll just go through the greeting line after church and say something brilliant, but with a bad accent. His installation is at 3 p.m. today. The community/congregation is very excited. He's getting a doctorate in something--Bible related, not Russian.

There are some people who apparently don't know the Prelude is part of the morning worship service, and they use that time to catch up on friendships instead of preparing. As the organ music swells, their voices get louder. And more distracting. I hate to be a nag (actually, I don't), but I wanted to produce a loud SHUSH! That's the librarian in me. Or is it? How do you feel about whispering, chattering and giggling during worship?

During Advent I was serving communion with another woman. Behind us a row or two was a woman who whispered during the entire sermon--but only the sermon. I suspect she was praying in tongues, but I can't be sure. I don't know if she didn't like the topic and wanted protection or if she was praying for the pastor, but I thought my co-server was going to turn around and toss a hymnal at her.

Sometimes we think these distractions just bother us more as we age, but studies have shown that really, no one does well with multi-tasking. You're far better off to remove some of the distractions and focus on the task at hand. Even your teen-ager who truly believes she needs music blasting directly to her brain through ear buds, the TV on, her e-mail screen up on the computer, all while text-messaging her girlfriends when studying for the algebra exam, is just kidding herself.

I have nothing "noise emitting" turned on at the moment, but if I sit quietly and don't type, here's what I distinctly hear: to my left is a forced air register so I hear the air; to my right is the Compact CPU, and from time to time it pauses and gurgles; outside my room and from my husband's office I hear something that sounds like chirping, and I know that it is what his TV sounds like funneled through the stairway; on this floor in the kitchen, I can hear when the refrigerator kicks in. These are not noisy appliances and they all are in good condition. Then if I shift a little, I can hear my clothing, and then the thump of the cat as she jumps off my lap onto the carpeted floor. Boomers and gen-x'ers probably hear a lot less since they were raised on rock.

If I turned on the TV, CD player, radio, or an Internet broadcast, all that other noise would still be there. At one of our church services (I don't attend that one) the music is so amplified a jet bearing Jesus for his return could land in the parking lot and no one would hear it in the service.

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