Today I read a number of blogs that labored over things that happen during worship that might be distracting to the worshiper.
Worrying about whether or not our worship offering to God is distracting just seems silly. What is the Biblical precedence for this kind of thinking? I can't think of anything - sure there are passages that warn us about doing things for our own gain - but that isn't the same as worrying about being distracting.
When it comes to our worship offering we need to be concerned with excellence. Not whether or not person A or B is going to be distracted by something that is going on during the service. I have said this a thousand times: if somebody is distracted from giving God his due during our corporate worship offering, then the problem isn't the thing that distracted him in the first place, the problem is the individual's lack of discipline when it comes to worshiping God.
Back when I was learning to fly planes, I had an instructor who would jab me and throw things at me while I was working out particularly complicated problems. He did this while we were on the ground, he would do this while we were in the air. He would make me put on a hood and then make me put my head between my legs (as much as you can do in a little plane) then completely disorient the plane. Then he would say "OK, fix it. You have 10 seconds". So while I'm assessing and fixing, he would complicate things by hitting me in the head with the Snickers bar that he had in his pocket (this is probably why I don't like Snickers anymore).
While it was annoying, and even angering, it really helped me learn to focus in tight situations. Seems to me that if we want to make worshipers less distracted, the goal should be to allow more distractions during worship service (though, I'm not sure how to do this and accomplish excellence).
I'm on-call for my job for whole weekends and need to have the cell on vibrate as there's a requirement to return a call within 30 minutes. Fortunately Sunday mornings are usually very quiet times for what I do. I've a couple funny stories to relate about having a phone on vibrate, though both of these were from a few years ago when we had to use--get this--pagers!
The first was having the pager on vibrate in church and having it on the seat next to me. We meet in a school auditorium and the chairs are the folding metal ones. All of a sudden a loud rattle/buzz sound goes off and all there, myself included, are trying to figure out what it is. I finally figured it out after a few buzzes vibrated the pager enough to fall off the chair and land right next to my left foot. For the second story I must warn some people.
WARNING TO THOSE OFFENDED BY MALE BATHROOM HUMOR--DO NOT READ FURTHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I had to use the restroom before the service. The pager was in my shorts (summer in the desert with 105F heat) pocket. As I was doing business the pager goes off right against my foot. My brain immediately jumps to the conclusion that "there's a mouse in my pants' as I screamed at the top of my lungs and jumped up to chase it away. There were a few other guys in the restroom at the time. It took quite awhile to live that one down.
There is another thread on this floating around somewhere. I take a "smoke 'em if you got em" approach to technology in the hands of worshipers. Seriously, if the guy next to me is texting and it distracts me, it is my fault and my fault only. Same with anybody else who raises the complaint.
I do think (and I practice) that it is respectful to turn your sound off, and perhaps having a phone call right in the middle of the service is a bad idea. However, I'm not afraid to text good thoughts from the pastor's sermon when they come up - and no, I'm not going to wait because somebody else is offended by it. I'm not going to let ANYBODY tell me that I can't share the gospel because now isn't an appropriate time. When God excites me with the truth, I'm going to share!
though if i choose to text during worship, i should do it discreetly knowing that i could distract others. and if i dont care if i distract others, then i am not loving them as Christ does. i should at least try to be discreet about texting.
but if you gotta text, you gotta text. just be considerate, because being considerate is what Jesus calls us to be.
We put all kinds of arbitrary restrictions on what is and is not appropriate for our worship offering based on our own personal biases and feelings. Whether or not somebody texts during church is really a silly and pointless issue to make it into one is legalistic and something that pharisees concern themselves with.
and i hope you dont feel that looking out for the good of your brother is "legalistic", when thats exactly what we are to do anyway. so if its going to distract someone else, its better for me not to do it. paul addresses the very issue of stumbling a fellow believer. so its not really about texting in the end, the real issue is.......do i love my brother the way im called to, by seeking to NOT be a stumbling block to them. thats the real issue here.