Why church is loud

Church here in Honduras is loud. Well, it depends. There
seems to be a continuum between Catholic and Pentecostal. The closer to
Catholic, the quieter. The closer to Pentecostal, the louder you need
to have that mic.

I was in a service with about
20 people, in a small room, and yet the pastor was yelling into the
mic, with the sound system at full blast. At times, the mic cut out,
and everyone could hear just fine. I know someone who wears earplugs to
services because they are too loud.

But why? Here are some reasons that have crossed my mind:

  • A pastor was asked why church was loud. He replied, “It says so in the Bible.”
  • It’s
    used to alert people around that a church service is going on, who
    then, theoretically, they will come in.
  • It’s
    used to drown out competing churches, or in the case of one retreat I
    was at, the bachata coming from a nearby bar
  • It’s used to enhance the emotional experience, or help people feel “the Holy Spirit.”

It’s
probably a combination of them all, plus other reasons. But the idea
that it is used to enhance the emotional experience kind of scares me.
When does it cross the line into creating a false sacred experience?
When does making sure the music is at the right level cross the line
into manipulation? Recently a Ugandan pastor was caught with an
electric shocker the government claims he was using to convince people
he touched that they were having a sacred experience (Link). I’d say that crosses the line. I
know I felt manipulated when a pastor put his hand on my forward, with
his hand shaking forcefully. I’d say that it is good to create an
environment where one can meet God, but it goes too far to create the
meeting with God itself.

Posted in Honduras 2007, old blog

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