A post on facebook got me upset because the person was all upset about the use of tablets and cell phones in church. Saying the people shouldn't have them there, that they should use a regular bible and notepad.
I tried to show grace, I really did. I tried to call for understanding, but I don't know that I was heard because SOMETIMES I think people have an agenda or an argument and they don't want to hear the flip side.
So this here below is my tablet. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 9.7 inch. It comes to church with me every Sunday and EVERY single service I go to. It comes with me to meetings, field trips and anywhere I think I might have to pay attention and remember things. Places where having focus and not distraction is important. If it doesn't come, then my cell phone does (has the same programs, just not as easy to use).
I said "this helps me to pay attention to the sermon". When I started I also had my physical bible with me but now I just use the bible app on my phone and/or tablet. My son will read along with one, I on the other. :) We highlight, we pay attention and it works for us. :) He's learning to take notes and to pay attention to the sermon. When he was little I drew little pictures on a paper to help him remember.
I have attended services were people are somewhat less than kind... where I've had the tablet literally SLAPPED out of my hands by angry people. DON"T PLAY GAMES IN CHURCH. Then I explain that I wasn't playing games, I show my evernote app, I show my sermon notes and my bible app and I TRY HARD not be hurt. I try hard to say "hey.. this is an aid to me just like your bible and your notebook are an aid to you". I don't always succeed in being kind and polite. But I DO try to.
It's not like I'm laughing, it's not like I'm texting, it's not like I'm sitting down not singing, I am ACTIVELY participating in the worship of God. But my tool of choice, of necessity, it my tablet rather than a pen and paper.
I'm not doodling in a notebook (been there... did it for years as I tried NOT to be the highly distractable daydreamy person that I am). I'm not reading other scripture and ignoring the teaching that God gave to pastor that Sunday (also did that for years). I'm paying attention actively.
Is it easy to lose my focus and what to check my email or a message that comes through? Yup. BUT ... it's funny how it works. I don't. I see them come in, and can make a mental note, but unless it's a horrible Sunday for me... where I am distracted by people turning a page in their bible, or by the wind going through the trees outside, it is NOT a distraction for me. Then quite frankly... it's just a mess and hubby can tell just by a glance at me that I'm a goner... But MOST Sundays...it's a choice right?
A WHOLE LOT of things are a choice when it comes to a person's behaviour in church on Sundays.
I've been in churches where I see people going through their avon books, where I see children/youth reading novels, playing with toys, colouring pictures etc. I've seen adults sleeping, texting, and what not have you. I'm not talking the quiet toys that people use with wee children, I'm talking children/youth 8+ years old. I've seen people drawing pictures in their sermon notebooks that have NOTHING to do with the sermon.
I've seen it. I know it can be a struggle. I have TOTALLY BEEN THERE. And I know that MOST people aren't me. Most people aren't distracted by the things can set me off into nothingness....
But you know what? In MOST churches the sermon is 15-20 minutes. If people can't pay attention for that length of time then they have bigger issues than I have. My sermon length is 40 minutes. AND 90% of the time with my tablet I HEAR the sermon and I remember it. It's so totally cool. You have NO idea how very cool it is.
It's been such a life-saver, spirit lifter and boon for my soul to FINALLY have the tools that I need to really worship the Lord on Sunday mornings and not just feel like I am going through the motions.
Do I still have bad days when NOTHING is going to get me to focus? For sure. But those days are fewer now. Partly age, partly experience, partly tools at hand.
I honestly don't know what it is about the tablet that does it for me. But it works in a way that pen and paper simply didn't.
It's taught me to show grace to others and how they manage to retain focus in different situations and not do what's been done to me... with the slapping of helpful tools out of my hands and the angry tones imparted.
Watch, listen, ask before administering judgement that may be completely unfounded.
The question that needs to be asked is this: Where does your heart lie? When you come to services...where is your heart? Is it on learning from the Lord? Is it on embracing his glory and singing it out the world? Where is your heart? Ask that question of yourself, and then ask it of those that may be struggling with what they should be focusing on. :)
What helps YOU in a service?