I’m pretty sure Jesus said “let the children come to me.”

I’ve been told that if I want to keep up with technology (thank you Ryan) that I should have a blog. So here it is. Now, with four children, it’s anybody’s guess as to how often I’ll actually write anything here, so we’ll just have to see how it goes.

So, I read something on a message board I frequent the other day, and it’s been driving me crazy ever since. The thought started out innocently enough—if your baby is crying in church, please be considerate of those worshiping around you, and remove him or her from the service until the crying has stopped. I get that. Personally, I may wait a minute or two to see if the crying stops in the church, before drawing further attention to the situation by climbing over those seated next to me and leaving the sanctuary with a wailing child, but if someone wants to leave at the first sign of whimper, that’s their business. It was the following quote, however, that really raised my hackles:

Which is why we don’t attend a church that allows babies in the service. Some people do find that offensive and when a deacon kindly asks them to take their children to one of the age appropriate rooms, we’ve had new people grab their belongings and march out totally ticked off. We have a nursing moms room and a sick child room both which have live video of the service. And of course we have classes for babies all the way up through junior high.

Parents also are given pagers which vibrate if they’re needed. I think expecting a baby or a young child to sit through a church service is unreasonable. It’s totally not fun for the child and it’s totally distracting for the congregants. Why not have them well taken care of in an environment with loving care takers, great toys and age appropriate stories and activities?

A church that doesn’t allow my children in worship?!? Are you kidding me? I would certainly be one of those parents leaving ticked off if a “deacon” ever told me my children weren’t welcome in church. Aside from the fact that as a visitor, I would never, ever leave my children with strangers, I just don’t understand this line of thinking at all. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t care for church nurseries (we even go so far as to attend a church that does not offer one, which is a huge relief to me!) or children’s church, whatever that’s even supposed to mean.

Maybe it’s because I come from such a liturgical tradition, but the content of the service (sermon, readings, etc.) aside, which I know can be difficult for both children and adults to grasp, there is so much to be learned from the act of worship. So much of our Divine Service comes directly from Scripture, and the familiar words of the liturgy and the hymns that we sing are ingrained in our children from before they are born–I truly believe each one of my children recognized the rhythm and flow of the service from hearing it every week in utero. Why would I want them to miss out on the act of corporate worship just because of their age? And while I look forward to church every week, let’s face it, it’s not supposed to be “fun.” Worship is not about us, and if we’re going there to have a good time, we have other issues we need to resolve, other than whether or not children should be there.

Learning to sit still is also not going to hurt a child, either. Everything in our society is so “go, go, go” from pre-school years on up; that time of sitting quietly in church on Sunday mornings can only only be beneficial for the body and spirit. And how is a child ever going to learn to sit and pay attention to the service if you don’t start them out right at the beginning? For my family, anyway, we’ll all be in church together, and if we ever run across a church that doesn’t support that, I can guarantee you we won’t ever be going back there.

OK, rant over.

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