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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Confessions of an Antibulletite

I think I have a bulletin complex.

When I walk into a church sanctuary, I do not want a church bulletin! Sometimes, in order to not offend the usher, I'll walk in first, take the bulletin, then turn and hand it to my wife. Then she already has one as she walks past the usher, and we at least cut it down to a single copy for our household. I'm not sure why I have this obsession. Perhaps it's because I'm a not only a nonconformist, but also a recycler, and a member of the paperless society. I don't see the use for bulletins anymore. All the song lyrics are up on the projection screen in most churches now, and, somewhat sadly, any need to mark the pages ahead of time in a traditional hymnal has become mostly a thing of the past. Knowing the order of service is unnecessary, so long as it's one of the majority of Sundays where I'm just a participant. Most of all, the reams of stuff that some churches print up in their bulletins are better reserved for e-mail, or some other form of distribution outside of the worship service. The Star Tribune (the paperless online version!) posted an amusing article on church bulletins today. It's fun reading, but I also think it suggests how bulletins are just one more distraction from Sunday morning worship in today's over-programmed protestant churches.

Whaddaya say? Am I just ranting about nothing? Well, then at least this is the blog for it! On the other hand, couldn't churches just try a moratorium on printed handouts, give it a few months, then see whether they really miss the expense and the mess?

Uh-oh! Here's an update! I have just offended the Coalition of Cheesy Church Photographers (CCCP). My suggestion could lead to loss of employment for photographers and graphic artists who create pastoral scenes of colonial-style churches and still-lifes of bread, wine, and ripples on water for church bulletin covers. Down with antibulletites!


Lee Shelton said...

I see two viable solutions...

1. Project the bulletin contents - order of worship, hymn numbers, announcements, etc. - onto a screen in the front so that everyone can see.


2. Have chuches set up a LAN so that those who want to can walk in and download the bulletin directly to their Blackberries, PDAs, or cell phones.

Whaddya think?

I can only see one problem: How will churches monitor attendance without that little tear-off sheet that's filled out and placed in the offering plate? The solution to that, I suppose, would be RFID technology to scan everyone as they walk through the door. But since Big Brother will be tagging all of us in the near future anyway, it shouldn't be too difficult to implement such a system.

Jennifer said...

Interesting. I've now heard a few people who "have a thing" about said topic. I had never thought about it until someone brought up their beef about bulletins. But you make a very persuasive point.

Still, I do like to know the order of the service. I don't know why. Maybe I just like looking forward to what hymns might be part of our service, I like seeing the title of the sermon and anticipating the words of truth going to be spoken from the pulpit. But I can see how sometimes bulletins might be superfluous - and I'm sure church budgets could be helped by reducing their paper outage in that regard.

Ummmmmm, is the Coalition of Cheesy Church Photographers in any way affiliated with Crummy Church Signs (CCS)? Ha-ha, painful, I tell you, PAINFUL!

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