The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


August 13, 2007

Would you text in church?

How about at a church meeting? Churchwide Assembly, for example? Voting members at the August 13-14 ELCA Churchwide Assembly heard Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson jokingly warn them against using a Blackberry or phone to send text messages during assembly business. "I can see from the way your arm is moving whether you're sending text messages," he said.

I half expected to see a page tap me on the shoulder for the two text messages I'd sent. I knew I wouldn't have sent a text message in a smaller meeting-- say, a church committee meeting. But it's quite handy to be able to get messages, seemingly without disturbing anyone.

A recent AOL survey of 20 cities on e-mail addiction shows that people in Atlanta are most likely to check email in church. Twenty-two percent of Atlantans admitted they'd glance at an email device during a service. Nineteen percent confessed to checking in both Houston & Denver. No one in Minneapolis reported checking email in church.

Would you check your phone for a text message in church? Church council? Would you admit it?

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