These events got me to thinking about things...YES, it was SO RUDE of me to have mouthed the words "Hurry Up" to a learning preacher...SO RUDE!!...It was...well, I can't say it enough...SO RUDE!!...however...I've been wondering since then about the times we have been chastised in church for not wanting to sit there for EVER to hear a long sermon...about the times we have been embarrassed in public for this or that (remember the post about the preacher answering my phone during a sermon?). Does it make me a bad christian...does it make me love God less...? I say no!! It makes me a person living in the world with life happening, and death happening, and babies who don't know any better needing food...it makes me HUMAN...yes, I'm going to say it...HUMAN! Just like the preachers who have a job to do to preach the word and help us along the path to understanding...I have a job to do in life.
I have read that the normal attention span of an adult is 20 minutes. OK...I've read reports from studies that teach a presenter to build their programs in 20 minute increments. Give the audience a break, change the activity...IF you want your audience to stay with you. I am a school teacher and I remember classes on just this subject. For kids it is shorter...like 10 minutes...but the point is the same...change it up if you want to keep your audience's attention. That is a study...a fact of life...part of the HUMAN condition.
The early church often met in homes and it could be a long event...BUT, it was scattered with singing, praying, eating...and hearing the word. It was the way it was done then...partly as people walked a bit to get there I would assume...partly because of the times...eating together...activities around the hearing of the word...Even Jesus fed the 5,000 as they were hungry...OK...that is what they did...it is an example...AND, in the church we attend...we sing, we pray...we sometimes eat together...and there is a sermon that typically doesn't run long...so we are doing that...
I know you've noticed that I haven't included scripture in this commentary. I could...ok, here's one...I Peter 1:22 "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart" Does that mean I don't love my brethren if I can't sit still for a couple of hours and listen, or that I don't love my brother who is preaching longer than my attention span? NO...It doesn't mean he doesn't love me when he goes long either...I just think there should be a respect for our HUMAN condition...on both sides...and be careful when we expect one or the other to comply. God made us free...it should be ok either way...OK, a weak point I admit, but a point none the less.
I love God, I DO, I pray constantly, I study to show myself approved, I work for my Heavenly Father in ways where my left hand doesn't know what my right hand is doing Matthew 6:3-4. I do not forsake the assembly, I love my brethren. I just can't sit still for long periods of time without loosing my focus...THAT DOESN'T MAKE ME WRONG OR BAD...it doesn't make anyone WRONG OR BAD.
So, in defense of the audience...we are HUMAN...we LOVE GOD or we wouldn't be there...WE JUST HAVE SCHEDULES and LIVES and RESPONSIBILITIES that encompass our duties as Christians and are part of living a Godly life. When the church service is scheduled to last from THIS TIME to THAT TIME...we gladly put it in there...but DON'T make us captive audiences and expect that we will glean every intent you had with the spirit you want every time!
PS...I could have written a BUNCH more...included a LOT of references and proof text...but, this was going LONG, and I don't believe in captive audiences...tee hee...
GOD BLESS us EVERYONE!!