As I sat in church on Sunday, I was trying hard to achieve that particular frame of mind that churchgoers often seek…the oneness, tranquility and openness of spirit…basically going into receive mode if that makes any sense to you non-believers. But my attempts were squarely thwarted…by squalling babies!
Behind me were three kids; two of them were 2-3 years old and one was about 6. They were climbing the pews, making a ruckus and generally being bad little kids. They were noisy and rude. They were loud. The parents were incredulous and had probably long since figured out how to attenuate them. As we reached the most Holy portions of the service, an infant began to scream at the top of its tiny lungs. Another baby, seemingly answering, started a simultaneous scream/cry session on the other side. Soon a third chimed in. All I could hear was the scream of babies and the sound of the parents doing nothing.
When I grew up, things were different. We were expected to dress nicely at church. That meant no shorts & Old Navy tee, no mini-skirts for the ladies and jeans were a sure sign of a slob. Dress slacks and a nicely ironed shirt were expected. But these days, people might as well wander in from the beach with flip flops. Women dress provocatively…probably to snare or tease the single men who are lusting after them during the service. The guys wear shorts, shirts with witty comments and are generally offensive. Then we come back to the babies. When I was growing up…screaming babies had to be removed from the sanctuary…usually to the Church Nursery or some other Crying Room. Why is this courtesy ignored now? Are parents embarrassed? Lazy? Or do they think they are “entitled” to let their little Saint sing during church?
If I were in a position of power within the church, I would do something about all of this. Enforce the dress code. Remove parents with their crying infants. Discipline unruly kids and remove them. These crying babies and undisciplined brats really do detract from the worship…