Mothers Using Church Baby Rooms to Avoid Sermons?

Mothers Using Church Baby Rooms to Avoid Sermons? February 7, 2018
I got nuttin’ this morning…………

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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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Law

    When I was a fundy I was voluntold that I would be in the nursery, regardless of whether I really wanted to be or not (and absolutely did not but women were essentially railroaded into nursery duty and not really allowed to say no). I had no children and still don’t and generally dislike babies and have no desire to be around them. But I used to volunteer on communion days because I got sick of being threatened with death if I took communion and had any unconfessed sin. And I got praised for doing nursery duty on communion day by a lot of other church members who thought I was making a great sacrifice! LOL.

    As an aside, Tim Bayly and his entire cohort can go f themselves.

  • bubbles24601

    Guys, I’m starting to think that women in this culture just can’t ever do anything right. /s/

  • Annerdr

    What? How could that be?! /s

  • Annerdr

    I went to church regularly when I had a newborn. Church service lasted an hour. My son, born small and making up time, nursed a lot, for a long time, frequently. For the first three months, he nursed 45 minutes at a time every hour an a half. For those doing the math, that worked out to 45 minutes on and 45 minutes off the breast. At no time did I have an hour during the day without nursing him. This is a actually when I stopped going to church, because I saw no point in going to church to nurse.

    The nursing took my 6 lb newborn to 90th percentile in height and weight by his 3 month checkup, but it was exhausting and time consuming to get him there. My baby weight dropped off pretty quickly, though. 🙂

  • Carstonio

    Radical familial autonomy? Imagine the irony if Bayly defended corporal punishment and fundamentalist homeschooling.

    Bayly practically admits that he sees the purpose of church as keeping followers in line.

  • Allison the Great

    First, they bitch about having more babies. When women do have babies, they say you can’t have a job because you need to take are of them. Then they bitch when you do take care of them. Goddammit, Bayly, you whiney little shit, make up your fucking mind! You know, there is something seriously wrong with a creed or institution that sees people of a certain gender as flawed and sinful who can’t do anything right.

  • Going to church with infants and toddlers is more trouble than it’s worth. However, in the fundie culture, if you don’t go to church you’re on the wide highway to hell or seriously backslidden depending on your particular denomination/congregation.

    And I’m sure Bayly would have an absolute cow if there was a woman nursing in church even if she was extremely discreet if he realized that’s what she was doing. I mean, there’s a breast there somewhere…

  • Lily Erickson

    So what are you supposed to do if the kid starts crying (as babies sometimes do)? The cry room in our old church was sound dampening, so you could take the baby in there, walk them around a little, nurse, ect. It also had a speaker that piped in the sound from the lectern, so you could still hear what was going on.

  • Ruthitchka

    My old church had a nursing/nursery room with a speaker, too. I guess Tim Bayly’s church was built in the Stone Age by “The Flintstones”, sans speakers.

  • Ruthitchka

    BTW, is “my dear Mary Lee” his ex-wife?

  • AFo

    These people really will complain about anything, won’t they? This is such a non-issue that Bayly has blown up as a “Clash of the Titans”-esque battle between good and evil. I know my dad personally hated having us in the cry room when we were little because he felt that the other parents let their kids run wild (I think he was exaggerating, but I don’t really remember), but sometimes it was unavoidable, so he grit his teeth and sat in the cry room. In case Bayly was wondering, that’s how a “real man” acts.

    Also, if people are constantly using the nursery/cry room as an excuse to not have to sit and hear the sermon, maybe, just maybe, the problem is not with the parents in the nursery, but with the one preaching the sermon.

  • Julia Childress

    Can you explain what a cry room is? It’s a term I’ve never heard, even though raised IFB & SBC (though long distanced from both). Thanks.

  • Julia Childress

    Years ago when I still attended a fundy church, I did nursery duty every fourth Sunday, along with one of my sisters. The sermon was piped in over a loudspeaker. As soon as the opening hymns were done, we turned the speaker off. It was really nice playing and singing with toddlers and having an hour to talk and rock babies, plus it was our FU to the minister that we couldn’t stand. I looked forward to fourth Sundays.

  • therealcie

    Maybe it’s not God’s word they’re avoiding. Maybe the words they’re
    avoiding are those of God’s shitty asshat preachers, like this clown.

  • Mary Hannah bates

    Why does anybody waste their time with religion if it is going to be this taxing. Shouldn’t it be something that is a joy and make you somewhat happier than you were before?

  • SAO

    Notice Bayley thinks his sermon is a “proclamation of God’s words.” Not just a sermon. Certainly not Bayley’s words. Oh, no,it is “God’s words.” Further, women go to the children’s room to because they are avoiding “being convicted of sin.” Because God is not going to tell Bayley that he’s sinning by thinking every thing he says counts as “God’s word.” Nope, God is going to pick over trivial things the women have done, like, say, having babies and toddlers too young to sit still through a sermon they can’t understand.

    I really don’t see what benefit Bayley thinks small children are going to get from a sermon they don’t understand. All it becomes is tedious background noise. He’s teaching kids to hate church before they are old enough to actually get anything out of it.

  • texassa

    These people are simply the worst.

  • FanofNeri

    “Rebuking or disciplining or changing her precious children” really makes it sound like he wants to be able to beat other people’s children who ‘misbehave’ in some way and that is terrifying.

  • bekabot

    1. Welcome to part 18,002 in the bot’s ongoing effort to demonstrate that in the Fundagelical world a woman’s children aren’t thought to be the appropriate targets of her motherly attention(s), but her husband is.

    2. Plus, for God’s sake, Mr. Bayly, don’t be such an inconsistent squish. If you’re going to exclude the women from the congregation, exclude away, but don’t expect them to hang around wide-eyed and breathless once you’ve told them how badly they fit in there. If the Word of God is not their destined province and if looking after babies is, then it’s only reasonable that they should move out of the pews (where they’re just taking up space) and into the nursery (where they really belong).

    3. “Issues like these are among the reasons people are abandoning churches in droves.” Couldn’t agree more. You can’t blame women for leaving spaces or places they’ve been told to quit cluttering up, especially when/if their particular forte is supposed to be…doing as they’re told.

  • Evelyn

    It’s a room separated from the main sanctuary, either adjoining with a big window and speaker into the main space, or down the hall with closed-circuit TV. The idea is that noisy babies/kids can be taken there by parents, so that they don’t disturb the congregation, but the parents can still hear/see the action in the main space.

  • Saraquill

    If a baby fills their diaper ten minutes into the service, I’m not forcing the kid to marinate in excrement. Nor do I think the congregation wants to hear/smell the child’s misery.

  • Saraquill

    Every 45 minutes? I hope you didn’t experience cracking or other unpleasantness.

  • Saraquill

    QF people really love overlooking the “no idolatry” part of the religion they proclaim to follow.

  • Annerdr

    No, just exhaustion. Breastfeeding went smoothly once we figured it out.

  • bubbles24601

    You’re to never allow the kids out of your sight or let anyone else ever change their diaper because they’ll get molested. But if you want to take them out of church to the nursery you’re skipping the sermon. Obviously the only solution is to be in two places at once.

  • Julia Childress

    According to his church’s website, she is the one he still owns.

  • persephone

    This is why churches are failing. Women have been the foundation and strength of most churches, but the continuous ill treatment and demands are driving them away. Sure, there’ll always be some women who don’t question, or who buy into the magical thinking, but that number is dropping. Instead of finding out about what women need, these asshats focus, as usual, on their manly manliness menz, and double down on abusing women.

  • Anonyme

    Maybe they just can’t stand listening to you bloviate, Timmy.

  • Anonyme

    IKR? It seems like they’re always coming up with a new way to shame women. Take Nancy Campbell, for example. In the last NLQ post to feature her toxic bloviating, she told women they weren’t WALKING cheerfully enough.
    If we took a shot for every time a fundie found something new to shame women for, we’d all be dead long before now.

  • paganheart

    And yet…I’d bet Timmy would be the first to complain and shame, if one of his sermons was interrupted by a crying child whose mother was just trying to do as Timmy asked, staying in church instead of going to the nursery…not to mention the shaming looks from other church members (and should mom try to quiet baby by breastfeeding, well…see Lori’s rant from yesterday.) Talk about a no-win situation…

    Even in the generally friendly, tolerant and progressive ELCA church where I sing, I’ve seen parents get dirty looks from other parishioners (almost always older ones) when a baby starts crying or a toddler melts down during a service, forcing a shamefaced parent to take a little one out. In our case, the “cry room” is basically the narthex, which is separated from the sanctuary by doors with large windows, which do a pretty good job of muffling the sound. The narthex is also equipped with speakers, so parents can still see and hear what’s going on in the service. (Something that must be foreign to Timmy’s church, as others have noted…) Our church also has a nursery in a separate building, where parents can leave their infants and toddlers during the service, where they are cared for by trained volunteers. Sometimes I think said grumpy parishioners would prefer all parents leave their kids in the nursery, but unlike Timmy’s church, our pastors leave it up to parents whether or not to bring their kids to the service. (Our Associate Pastor, a mother with two sons under 5, leaves her boys in the nursery more often than not!) Among those who bring their children to the service, I think some just prefer to keep their kids with them, but I know that other times, they have to cap the number of children allowed in the nursery because there aren’t enough volunteers available, and the church has to adhere to correct adult-to-child supervision ratios.

    I know there is a big push in fundieville these days to keep children (and by extension, their mothers and other women) in the sanctuary at all times, getting rid Sunday School, nursery and the like. Part of me wonders how much of this is driven by a need to control the flock, and now much is driven by shrinking church budgets. When you add up the costs of buying toys and supplies, and training and background-checking volunteers (or even hiring staff), nurseries and Sunday schools get expensive. Perhaps that’s a cost that Timmy and his ilk are no longer able, or willing, to bear…

  • Allison the Great

    So they’re playing the sermon in the cry room? So the mom is actually hearing some of the sermon in there? So what the hell is Titty Baby Bayly complaining about?

  • Emersonian

    WTF seriously? In our church, the audio from the service is piped out into the social hall so those who need to leave the sanctuary can do so and still hear; this is not effing rocket science, it’s a relatively affordable accommodation to run sound to another room in the building. This helps with nursing, fussy babies, restless toddlers, and oh yeah–kids/adults with ASD or sensory issues who might just need to get away from a crowded room for a bit. If all the moms in the congregation exit right when your sermon begins every week, I suspect the problem lies with the preacher, not the kiddos.

  • Jennny

    In the UK, churches are even more desperate to find strategies that stop them haemorrhaging members. As usual someone has come up with a new super-brilliant-surefire way of attracting and retaining families which is not to separate children from parents because so many children are in daycare all week and parents don’t want to spend part of their precious weekends away from them too. I don’t see evidence of revival using this technique in secular Britain and don’t think I ever will.

  • Mimc

    I really could not agree more. The idea that not only does everyone sin but that we sin every single day and if we don’t have anything to confess then we are liars is probably the idea I’m most glad to be rid of. As well as being judged for dressing too immodestly and too legalistically on the same day. Now apparently if I brought my baby I could be judged for disrupting service it he cries and I stay or for avoiding the sermon it I go. No thanks. Also don’t cry rooms pipe in the sermon anyway?

  • Melody

    Well, all I can say is: more power to them if they are… Taking care of babies is useful, listening to sermons (often) is not.

  • Melody

    But that would mean doubling the amount of women (clones of everyone) and that might cause them (the men in charge) to have a revolution on their hands 😉

  • Melody

    ^^^^This. There were often crying babies at church (when I still went) and the mothers didn’t take them to the nursery so it would disturb the service somewhat. I have family members that went to other churches who had very good rules in that regard. Kids did not go to church services (apart from the kids’s ones) until they also went to school and had learnt to sit still and be silent for an amount of time. Either mum or dad went to church, the other one stayed at home with the youngest kids and, as these churches had evening services too, in the evening it would be the other way around. Problem solved.

  • Jennny

    I’ve just remembered that my DD goes to a fundy church where 7 couples have had a baby in the last 18m, the creche room is much used therefore – but apart from when mums are b/feeding, dads take their turn at taking little ones out to play there. Bayly would presumably have a fit if he saw a dad changing a nappy or spoonfeeding pureed food to his child in the creche. We’re over here in 2018, Timmy, whenever you care to join us!

  • Melody

    Like floating, or bubbly (like little kids) or even hopping?! I know what women could also do though: jump out of their skin! Perhaps that will be enthusiastic enough for their tastes 😉

  • Sandpirate

    I left the church years ago, but have gone a few times when a friend invited. When I did go regularly, and often to several different churches for various events, most of them had this feature. It either went to the nursery, social room or both. This was back in the mid-late nineties and it was common then. I’m sure even more so now.

  • AFo

    Well, you see, she may be hearing the sermon, but her attention is not on the glorious figure of Tim Bayly, who has deigned to let women hear what he has to say. He needs them under his eye at all times to make sure they are appropriately shamed into silence and submission.

  • Evelyn

    Plus, it’s not uncommon for moms to have mom time and turn off the speaker.

  • IM

    I’d rather listen to a screaming child, at least they might grow up to become pleasant people, unlike Timmy.

  • Almost a chimp

    Not just himself, but any old ‘brother and sister in Christ’. Because it’s perfectly normal for random strangers to be undressing or disciplining children. What could possibly go wrong? Especially in a culture that regards abusing their own children as perfectly normal.

    Yet another reason why churches should be like public bars – no kids allowed until they reach the age of majority.

  • Almost a chimp

    Who cares what the congregation wants! Change that stinky nappy right there in the pew. If anybody complains, blame God; His design, His fault.

  • Almost a chimp

    The churches are failing because people are realising that religion is bollocks. The Bayleys of this world are just speeding-up the exodus.

  • Almost a chimp

    That’s no help to those who do leave the main room to escape the service.

  • Almost a chimp

    Just one baby between the seven couples? :-))

  • Almost a chimp

    Amen to that! ;-))

  • Emersonian

    We’re Unitarians; if you wanna escape the service you just go out and make a beeline for the nearest coffee shop, and no one gives a rat’s rear end… 🙂

  • Mimc

    If it’s this blowhard talking who could blame them?

  • Jennny

    Oops, I’m a grammar geek – and have done university proof-reading in the past, so my error is not excusable, more caffeine before morning comments is needed obviously !

  • persephone

    It’s been found recently that it is women leaving the churches that is really undermining them. Church officials have been wringing their hands, because they know that when the women finally leave, there’s no one else, because it’s usually first the husband, then the kids, and the wife last.

  • Aibrean

    The first part of your comment reminded me of my sister’s confirmation, when a baby started crying in the middle of the bishop’s sermon, which led him to tell a story about another occasion this had happened to him. The child’s mother stood up to leave and he said ‘you don’t have to leave, the baby’s not disturbing me’. She replied ‘maybe not, bishop, but you’re disturbing him’. I heard him tell the same story on another occasion, and I am fairly sure he found it in a book of jokes. The general attitude to crying babies/ toddlers when I was a regular churchgoer was that they should be at home, especially the younger ones. There was definitely no crying room, nor had anyone ever thought of it as necessary. I spent a large part of my brother-in-law’s brother’s ordination chasing my two-year-old nephew around the church carpark. It’s a very long service, and the attention span of a two-year-old? Not so good. Although honestly, I was just as happy to be outside.

  • Wonder

    How long will it take before someone comes along to shame women for walking too cheerfully and thus tempting the brothers?

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    I recall drawing and writing on the back of the flyers/cards that the church had put in the back of the pews with the hymn books along with some rather convenient pencils, my mom used to hand some to me shortly after we got there and took our seats up in the balcony seating area…my parents didn’t typically choose any main floor pew seating for whatever reason. Keeping me occupied was the only way that my parents were going to have half a chance at not being distracted or having to chase after me because I got up and wandered around looking for something to do that I found more interesting.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    Wait, isn’t divorce like…a huge terrible sin and something this guy (plus the rest that are like him) thinks should be made a criminal offense? A friend’s dad was very involved in his church youth program that was similar to Boy Scouts (royal rangers I think it was called) and after my friend’s mom filed for separation without mentioning then waited to get it ‘rubber stamped’ and made preparations to move out but only told him about it a week before she was leaving when she had the papers in hand…his church told him that he could no longer be involved in the youth program because of the legal separation (with the divorce finalized over a year later.) And this was a non-fundy church.

    This guy needs to update his business card so it reads
    Timmy…the hypocritical sinner…Bayly
    Where it has his name printed

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    Bayly probably would need to chain and padlock the doors to the sanctuary to keep people from escaping, which would be a fire hazard and cruel, so NOBODY LET HIM SEE ANYTHING ABOUT THESE POSSIBILITIES just in case.

  • Morgan Lefaye

    What one church I went to did was to have a nursery AND pipe the sermon in from the sanctuary upstairs. No fussy babies disrupting services and mother and child don’t miss out on the sermon.

  • Taya

    Or never have the bad luck of being born a girl in one of those groups… seriously, it’s so bad in some places that mothers kill their infant daughter’s genuinely to spare them what they themselves have lived… it’s beyond sick.