Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The democracy of the adjustable pulpit

One of the things that struck me in my recent visits to church is the oddness of the our pulpit. The bishop controls the height with a switch near his seat (at least in large American churches). I think this would be very strange to a visiting non-member.
I like how the pulpit in our church is not reserved for just the bishop, but is in fact open to anyone (once a month at least) in the congregation. The fact that it is adjustable means that we are not just accepting this, but actively encouraging full participation. This is one of the many democratic features of our church that I like (and I'm not just saying this to stave off Nate's criticism of whining in the bloggernacle).
However (you knew this was coming), I don't really think that primary children should be encouraged to bear their testimonies during fast & testimony meeting. Sure, it's cute, and they seem to enjoy it, but what's the point? Do they really have testimonies? Is repeating what your parent whispers in your ear faith-promoting? I find it a bit creepy.
But that's the price you pay when you live in an open society (so to speak). I guess all having free access to the pulpit is worth a few kids drooling on the mike.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you that children have no testimonies, and that they shouldn't be exploited for our amusement on Fast Sunday. I think this subject has been discussed in one of the blogs before, but can't remember where I read it.

I also wish people wouldn't talk so much about how they are so glad they have the knowledge that our church is so much better than every other church out there. It's amazing how many people get up and say this on Fast Sunday, and it sounds so arrogant.

Not many people focus on their testimony of Christ, which is what Fast Sunday is all about. Isn't it?

Anyway, the adjustable pulpit is also really embarrasing for short adults, too.

NFlanders said...

That's a really good point, anonymous. It must be a little humiliating to have the pulpit be lowered way down when you get up to talk. I never thought about that before. The really tall guy always gets a chuckle.

I was actually really impressed this weekend at church with Christ-content of the testimonies. I was paying close attention because of Jonathan Max Wilson's experiment last month, and most of the testimonies were completely Christ-centric with relatively little mention of the restoration.

Rusty said...

Kid testimonies are great for a laugh (the inevitable yelling "I WANT TO BEAR MY TESTIMONY..." and the mother pulling his face back from the mic), though I'm undecided on whether we "should" or "shouldn't" allow them to do so.

In our ward we have a guy who sits in the front row every week and any time anyone's mouth is even remotely away from the mic, he stands up in the middle of what they are saying and reaches up over the front of the pulpit and adjusts the microphone so that it goes directly to their mouth. The first time he did it everyone sat their stunned (what? the speaker can't adjust it himself?), but now we are used to it. The guy is missing a few screws (oh, there are many stories, including the testimony of the miracle belch).

NFlanders said...

The story of the Miracle Belch sounds like a good one, Rusty. You should post it on your blog.
I don't think we should *ban* kids from speaking in testimony meeting, but I think we should discourage their parents from encouraging them (if that makes any sense). Once one kid goes up, suddenly every kid in the chapel wants to do it too.

yddy42 said...

The one conducting F&T meeting in our ward always says something like: "We invite all those who can bear their testimonies by themselves to do so"

Eddie said...

A few years ago the church sent out a letter stating that Primary-aged children are welcome to share their testimonies during Primary, as I guess they have a testimony meeting in there (having skipped Primary I know very little about it). This was about 3-4 years ago, and I don't think I've seen any little kids up in any of the wards I've been in during that time.

It is cute, as Rusty said, but there's also a time and place for it.