Thursday, June 18, 2009

Guest Blogger asks a serious question

Today's blog is an inquiry from my older brother, Doug McCown, who serves as an elder in the congregation were he attends. I'll add my answer and his to below the question and let you add yours as comments.

Please think about your worship to God...what things distract you? Discuss what you do to put these distractions aside as you worship. Also, discuss what you can do to help others keep their focus on God.

Please keep these comments focused on the actions and not on any particular person. (i.e. Don't say, "Doug never buttons his top button when he wears a tie, so it gets crooked." instead say, "crooked ties and unbuttoned top buttons really distract me from worship.) Please feel free to tag others when you start responses. As you read each of the responses - think what you do to distract others and how you can overcome that.

Doug's answer: One of the most distracting things to me is "bathroom calls or water breaks" during a short one-hour service. Obviously, I can easily dismiss these issues with children under 5 and elderly with incontinence - but others distract me. It is especially true when I can predict the exact time in worship that this will occur. What do I do to prevent this from being a distraction??? I try to avert my eyes, but I have already been distracted. I try not to think about it - and it often works and allows me to refocus.

Scott's answer:
1. Internal distractions of my thoughts. These may concern things I think I need to get done or things I forgot to do. As a preaching minister, sometimes I am distracted toward what I am about to say when I should be focused on the song, prayer, sacrifice of Christ, etc. To get re-focused requires me to "pinch" myself internally and concentrate ore on what is going on at that moment in worship

2. External distractions for me tend to be adults and older children who should have better control, getting up too frequently to refresh or relieve themselves. Again as a preacher, this is not fair to me, I cannot leave for the restroom during my own sermon ;-).

Well what about you?


Anonymous said...

Honestly, nothing much happens in worship that I consider a distraction. The same Spirit whom I worship dwells in the people who are "taking a break," the kids who don't know what to do with their hands while waiting on the table, etc. As the community gathers to worship, I'm not convinced that it is tremendously healthy for me to "focus" on what I'm doing to the exclusion of what WE are doing. What was once a distraction is now a reminder that every single thing we're supposed to do in worship is a "one another" thing, not a "me and God" thing.

I try not to distract others from their worship experience too much, because I know my understanding is in the minority. But I do look around a lot, and smile at people a lot. I say, "Thank you, [name]," to whoever brings communion to me. I do my best to "discern the body" around me, without being disruptive or making a fuss.

in HIS love,
nick gill

Anonymous said...

Interesting idea to say, "thank you" to the one who serves you communion. I like it. Yet I am sure there are those who find that distracting. While in Latin America on a mission trip I recall thinking some young people behind me who were whispering were being very disrespectful. When I looked closely, though, I noticed they were actually reading along aloud with the scripture that was being discussed. They were more focused than I was.

Anonymous said...

I responded anonymously none of the other options seemed to work. (D.McCown)