That’s what the mother behind me called it anyway.
We were about six rows from the back of the room. She had two little children with her. I can’t tell you details, being too polite to turn around and stare, but one of them seemed to be about four, the other about two.
They were fidgeting, and suddenly the mom and the two children slipped out of the row and walked quickly to the back of the room and out the door.
I thought it was about the noise. One of the two had been talking. When they came back, I realized that it was probably about the bathroom.
The mom ended up right behind me, with the younger child on her lap.
There was a little more talking. Then I heard the mom whisper kindly, “shh, you’re in church.”
I know she meant well. I realize that when a large group is gathered and someone is speaking, there is value in the group being comparatively quiet so that everyone can hear as much of what is being said as possible.
However, I realized that another answer to the question,
Q: Why isn’t church more involved in building relationships through social media?
A #1 We are.
A #2: Because we don’t think we can, or need to.
A #3: Because we don’t think of church as a place to talk.
I’m not picking on the mom, not at all. She’s doing what moms and dads have done in many churches and many denominations.
“Don’t talk in church.”
“Don’t run in church.”
“Don’t say that in church.”
We have been talking like that about church for generations.
And then, we come to social media where the point is to talk: to argue and chatter and laugh and pick on each other and share and do all the things that don’t feel like sitting in a meeting.
To the extent that church is the meeting, social media of the electronic kind doesn’t fit well with church, any more than social media of the whispering or telephoning kind. To the extent that church is the people, the conversations that happen between people in the hallway after the service, the questions about how your dad is doing and when we can get together and thanks for helping me this week, then the church is already involved in social media.
I think that lots of people think of church as the meeting. And it keeps church as the people from building relationships, because time spent on relationship feels like time NOT spent on church.
And to that 2 year old and her mom, I’m sorry I didn’t stay after the service to visit. To find out who you are. To develop relationship. To say “that’s okay, I remember what little ones are like.”
To show your daughter that it is great to talk as church.