This morning I was over at Tim Bayly’s Out of Our Minds War Horn archives looking for one of his many focused on hyper masculinity pieces because I’d found a hyper masculinity graphic that is too good not to us, and I found this – When Not Having a Nursery Becomes Confessional.
The entire idea of providing an official church nursery varies so widely from place to place. The role of children in the church itself is a hard one. Some churches have elaborate nurseries staffed with hired folks who specialize in child and infant care. Others think that everyone should be in the main church without nurseries, quiet rooms or nursing rooms, but most fall somewhere in between.
It’s really what best suits the needs and desires of the community, and it should be. It’s not a foundational bedrock Biblical thing. But trust Tim Bayly of War Horn to try and make it that.
What’s Bayly got a bee in his bonnet over today? He is accusing mothers of using the nursing rooms to avoid sermons. Gee, I wonder why someone might want to avoid a condemning and judgmental voice dumping verbal lava all over them. Here’s the thing about verbal lava, that voice of angry loud condemnation….the pain isn’t over in a second. It clings to you, stays with you for a long time, popping up to sting again and again.
Now I’m not saying with a 100% certainty that this is what’s happening in the churches that Bayly thinks the women are avoiding the sermon. It could be anything going on, exhaustion that makes concentrating on the sermon difficult, genuine needs of the child. It’s hard to have a baby or toddler just simply sit without squirming or fussing that long. It’s just not natural for a small child to be that restive that long. Which is why places to take a child are so helpful in a public worship space.
I just keep thinking about a woman, maybe struggling with depression or low self-esteem or simply having a bad day, exhausted from the constant demands of motherhood, seeking out that room with her child as a refuge, an oasis, where she can rest temporarily and being judged by the pastor for doing so. Looks like spiritual abuse from here.
Let’s not start judging the needs of mothers and children in the church and just be grateful they are there in the first place. Issues like these are among the reasons people are abandoning churches in droves. Who wants to be judged for their decision to remove a crying baby from the sanctuary.
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