Wednesday, June 04, 2014


I attend a Quaker church.  When we meet together on Sunday mornings for worship there are two periods during our corporate gathering when anyone who cares to can speak to the congregation.  The first of these periods is called "God Stories."  This occurs at the beginning of our meetings.  During God Stories, people can share their good news or bad news or prayer requests or accounts of what God has been doing in their lives.  This helps us to stay connected with one another and be aware of what is going on in each other's lives.  The second period when anyone can speak is called "Open Worship."  Open Worship is the heart of our Sunday morning gathering.  It is to us what the Eucharist is to Catholics.  During Open Worship we sit together in stillness and silence in the presence of the Lord, waiting and attentively listening for God to speak.  If anyone feels that they have an inspired message to share, they do so, while the rest of us listen carefully and respectfully, discerning what God's message is for us.  This can be a very profound and holy and reverent experience.  Often, through the vocal ministry of people scattered around the room a very clear message from God emerges.

Because there are people in our church who are hearing impaired, we utilize a hand-held wireless microphone and assign someone each Sunday to microphone duty.  During God Stories or Open Worship, if someone wishes to speak they raise their hand and the microphone is brought to them.  Frankly, this is a bit of a hassle, but we do it because we want every voice to be heard by every one of us.  We value one another that much and we believe that God can speak to all of us through any one of us.

In every church I attended prior to becoming a Quaker only a select few had access to the microphone.   Predominantly it was the pastor.  He spoke, we listened.  Access to the microphone was closely guarded.

A microphone is a tool but it is also a symbol.  It can be a tool and symbol of control and domination and narcissism or it can be a tool and symbol of humility and mutual respect and openness.  It can be a tool and symbol of exclusion or of inclusion, of hierarchy or of egalitarianism, of limiting God's ministry or of widening God's ministry.

A microphone is a powerful thing. 


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