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GeoFee

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In the early days Churches were generally full and there were no microphones. Speakers learned and practiced projection of the voice. Now communities of very few persons seems unable to hear a word without amplification. Seems something of a learned dependency to me.
 

Mendalla

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In the early days Churches were generally full and there were no microphones. Speakers learned and practiced projection of the voice. Now communities of very few persons seems unable to hear a word without amplification. Seems something of a learned dependency to me.
Are you telling me that people with an auditory disability requiring hearing aids are suffering a "learned dependency"? That's who we're talking about here. I am definitely someone who could preach without a mike in a hall the size of my old UU fellowship but I used one out of consideration for those people. Our system had headsets tied into it that they could use to hear the service better.
 

GeoFee

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Hi,
Are you telling me that people with an auditory disability requiring hearing aids are suffering a "learned dependency"?
I am not. I am asking how we managed to have full churches without sound systems and now that we have sound systems our churches are emptier every year? How did the deaf and blind manage in the pre-tech days? My inclination is to think that folk were community minded and those who heard and saw shared with those who could not.

George
 

Mendalla

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Hi,
I am not. I am asking how we managed to have full churches without sound systems and now that we have sound systems our churches are emptier every year? How did the deaf and blind manage in the pre-tech days?

George
I don't think sound systems have any relevance to whether churches are full or not. Old churches arguably did have a sound system: Their acoustics. Modern churches like my UU fellowship that are often in general purpose halls (which are less expensive in dollars and time to maintain and therefore free up more resources for the church's mission) rather than purpose-built facilities require sound systems and they are doing no worse or better than ones that are in traditional churches. And the churches that are doing well, like the evangelical mega-churches, often have the most expensive, sophisticated sound systems of the lot. Those places have theatre- grade systems, vs. the corporate meeting systems most churches are using. The shrinkage in church attendance is about people, not buildings. If people were flocking to churches, we would not be worrying about buildings.

My inclination is to think that folk were community minded and those who heard and saw shared with those who could not.
And you would suggest that is better than them being able to see and hear for themselves when the technology exists to let them do so?? A sound system is very small investment for most churches. The systems used in corporate meeting facilities are quite enough for most churches and are not going to break the bank. It's a sound (pardon the pun) investment for an organization whose primary purpose is communicating to a room full of people. If you're going to skimp, there's better things to skimp on. If a church can't afford a sound system, they likely can't afford a building either and should be selling and moving into rented space (which will possibly come with a sound system).
 

Mendalla

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You know, I guess this is just part of your anti-institutional train of thought, George, so feel free to ignore what I said above. If your vision of the church is small local groups gathering in whatever space is available with no organization beyond that, you're probably right. They don't need a sound system. But once a church grows beyond a certain size, even a decentralized purely congregational one, it's going to need a large space and likely a sound system.
 

GeoFee

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Hi,
But once a church grows beyond a certain size, even a decentralized purely congregational one, it's going to need a large space and likely a sound system.
This would be my point of contention. I am aware that human being has survived thousands of generations without technological advantage. Lewis Mumford and Jacques Elul have explored the implications of advanced technology and find it problematic for human being in nature.

George
 

Seeler

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Taking our vacation trip late this year, we were travelling on two Sundays and missed church.

I look forward to church tomorrow when I will meet and hear moderator.
 

Ritafee

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I am aware that human being has survived thousands of generations without technological advantage.
Until the Industrial Revolution, the pipe organ and the clock were the world’s two most intricate and complex human-made artifacts.

A bit off topic ... I am wondering ... do they still use the pipe organ at all in the 'Big Red Church'?
 

BetteTheRed

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Tomorrow is our anniversary Sunday - 58 years! We're having Dr. Malcolm Sinclair as our special speaker, and I've got sandwiches to make.
 

GeoFee

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Until the Industrial Revolution, the pipe organ and the clock were the world’s two most intricate and complex human-made artifacts.

A bit off topic ... I am wondering ... do they still use the pipe organ at all in the 'Big Red Church'?
Yes. It is used now and then. Good example for helping kids learn about our place and purpose. Tell them that one breath blows through many different pipes to produce one song.
 

GeoFee

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This Sunday the lectionary offers Isaiah 1: 10-18 as a passage to share with the gathered community. A text that puts the prophetic tradition of Israel in a nut shell. Also speaks clearly to our own institutionalization of the Holy Spirit. God is not interested in ritual and ceremony. God is not interested in sacrifice. God is interested in a just distribution of resources necessary for the health and happiness of human being. This calls for a reconsideration of our priorities and commitments. A turning from passive acceptance of dominant ideologies to active resistance. This is what we see in Jesus, who calls religion and politics into question while serving the basic need of any other met along his way. Persons like Zacchaeus, a despised tax collector. For this he is crucified. This to silence him among the people of the land and not to appease a blood-thirsty deity.
 

Luce NDs

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This Sunday the lectionary offers Isaiah 1: 10-18 as a passage to share with the gathered community. A text that puts the prophetic tradition of Israel in a nut shell. Also speaks clearly to our own institutionalization of the Holy Spirit. God is not interested in ritual and ceremony. God is not interested in sacrifice. God is interested in a just distribution of resources necessary for the health and happiness of human being. This calls for a reconsideration of our priorities and commitments. A turning from passive acceptance of dominant ideologies to active resistance. This is what we see in Jesus, who calls religion and politics into question while serving the basic need of any other met along his way. Persons like Zacchaeus, a despised tax collector. For this he is crucified. This to silence him among the people of the land and not to appease a blood-thirsty deity.
Thus light and illumination appears to be buried in the mysterious fete noire of Jesus ... simulating a satyr as pseudonym ... and eternal attribute that remains a mystery for mortals! Imagine the hangers on of the alternate nature ... losing their grips! Some are quite pious and rigid however ...
 

mgagnonlv

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In the early days Churches were generally full and there were no microphones. Speakers learned and practiced projection of the voice. Now communities of very few persons seems unable to hear a word without amplification. Seems something of a learned dependency to me.
You have nailed part of the problem. But only part of it.

I remember at one of my former churches, there was one lady that I scheduled quite often to read one of the readings. Her voice was soft – she was 90 years old after all, but she took the time to pronounce each word clearly. The result is that we could hear her well, as long as there wasn't someone making noise around.

Today, we have a few problems :
– Voice projection. Many people don't know how to do that, are too shy, etc. My parents (86-90 years old) had "speaking clubs", but only for those who wanted to develop their speaking skills. I (60 years old) went through high school at a time when we had 5 or 10 oral presentations to do in class each year. My children (19-23 years old) had 1-3 to do each year. So some people don't even know they will be shy.

– Speech (elocution) vs room properties. That's an even more serious issue. Young people typically speak way too fast for public speech, especially in a church. Younger folks have always spoken faster because, well, they are young. But apart of that, they are used to professional recordings (radio, movies, Youtube, etc.) recorded in a non-echo environment. (If you want to hear what I mean, just listen to a CBC broadcast when they are broadcasting from city hall or a metro station rather than from their studio.)
People need to take the time to speak clearly. And in most churches, you... have... to... speak... like... that because of the echo (feedback). And an empty church has more echo, hence one needs to speak more slowly.

– Many modern buildings are not well designed to carry voice or music without amplification. They are dead spaces. And in old buildings, we have often removed or stopped using the pulpit. Those high pulpits weren't the best for vision, especially if you were sitting in the first pews, but they were ideally located for voice projection. The Roman Catholic mass and Anglican Eucharist used to be celebrated with the priest's back facing the people; yet in many churches, the acoustics were actually better for that than for the priest standing at the altar and facing the people.

– Our liturgy has changed. The Roman Catholic mass was in Latin. The old Anglican rite was using the Book of Common Prayer (old English), with a much more standard repetitive form than the current service. And quite often, many prayers were sung by a choir. So the only spoken parts of the service were the readings and the sermon.

– People and people's expectations have changed. It used to be normal to lose some parts of the service. We were ok following more or less the service the book. The bell was rung at both elevations to warn people so they would stop whatever they were doing (or daydreaming) and would watch the elevation. And if you were deaf or hard of hearing, it was just too bad. Nowadays – shocking – people want to hear it all!

– We have people sitting everywhere, alas. Even if there are only 50 people in a building that could sit 500, people will sit all over. Maybe we should turn on the lights in only the first rows of the church to force people to sit in the first 5 or 10 rows!

I would say I have done lots of public speech (church, work, community) with and without microphones and I can do both equally well for up to 150-200 people, depending on acoustics. Still, I generally find that using the microphone improves on the listeners' experience, especially if the sound system is decent.
 

Luce NDs

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Imagine bare in the streets and whipped down ... like the story of Ahab and Jezebel ... and Ur that respects nature was thrown to the dogs!

Sound familiar with business dogma ... where everything must be UR innated upon? Trumped whimsey ... Canna 'n ism!
 

GeoFee

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Is the Church called to conform to prevalent norms and standards or to offer an alternative? My preference is for the latter.
“Western society has accepted as unquestionable a technological imperative that is quite as arbitrary as the most primitive taboo: not merely the duty to foster invention and constantly to create technological novelties, but equally the duty to surrender to these novelties unconditionally, just because they are offered, without respect to their human consequences. Lewis Mumford
 

Mendalla

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Is the Church called to conform to prevalent norms and standards or to offer an alternative? My preference is for the latter.
I would agree to a point, but sometimes those prevalent norms and standards are actually good things and then the Church should adopt them. For instance, I would suggest that not adopting contemporary standards for accessibility is, in fact, failing in its mission to be inclusive. And supporting LGBTQ+ may be conforming to current norms and standards but that is because current norms and standards have actually embraced the "alternative" in that case.
 

BetteTheRed

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We have a number of people who use our assisted hearing devices (basically headphones attached to a wireless amplifier to the sound board). It allows them to hear any amplification that goes through the soundboard straight to their ears, so it really means that if everyone uses a mic, they hear the entire service. I cannot imagine that it is better for a number of the population to enjoy only a part of the service? Seems deliberately non-inclusive to me.
 

Luce NDs

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The one liner is no alternates ... thus exclusion exists as an option to the Golden Rule!

Of course there is the concept of the Road Less Travelled ... Lilly Pud Ins ...
 

Mrs.Anteater

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We have a number of people who use our assisted hearing devices (basically headphones attached to a wireless amplifier to the sound board). It allows them to hear any amplification that goes through the soundboard straight to their ears, so it really means that if everyone uses a mic, they hear the entire service. I cannot imagine that it is better for a number of the population to enjoy only a part of the service? Seems deliberately non-inclusive to me.
I also would find it a waste of money if churches would have to be build as big cathedrals in order to transmit the sound better.
on the flipside, why is it that people who wear hearing aids often seat themselves in the pew at the very back of a church?
Do they not feel worthy of being in the forefront or do they not want to be seen having a nap?
As one with two hearing aids, I place myself where I get the best of it. Often, normal hearing people don’t get what it is like to not hear properly.
 

Luce NDs

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We used to have a hearing aid loop that only one family would take advantage of ... all others suffered avoi dance ... as they pranced when suggesting they move into the loop! Stoic piosity ...
 
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