More religion... Our meeting is trying this thing where you wait until someone brings a microphone to you before you speak.
This is to make things more accessible. It makes sense. I am loud but others are not. I can hear but others cannot.
I support accessibility. It means that people who speak very softly can still be heard. It means that people who can't hear well can still hear messages.
Only I am really not really that open about the presence of microphones in meeting for worship. I just want to be.
I wonder how many people who feel moved to speak will NOT speak because they don't want to be miked. I know it can be a chilling factor for me.
And I know that sometimes when people stand to speak, they wait until the message is fairly fit to burst out... and they cannot/will not/do not wait for the microphone to make its way across the floor.
Here was my experience today. It was unexpected.
I stood to sing. That was not unexpected. Well, let me rephrase that. Often in the past I would sit to sing without the microphone. But I am joining in the spirit of trying out this new thing. Also, for those of you who have met me, I can be a bit rule bound.
So I stood to sing.
This followed my usual pattern of hearing a song in my head over and over and over again like a mantra. And only after my heart starts to pound and my hands start to shake do I determine that is has "risen to the level of vocal ministry." So I stood.
Part of the reason that I did not stand in the past is that I am shaky by this time. It is hard to sing and stand and try not to shake. But I am trying to follow the rules.
So I stood to sing. And I waited for the microphone. And as I held the mic my voice crackled and I wanted to cough or clear my throat but I thought I might blow out the speakers.
And I was conscious of the spitty sound of my plosive consonants. And the hissing of the sibilants.
But mostly I was conscious that my hands were shaking. As I tried to hold the microphone. I was afraid I might drop it. I wondered about the theological implications of a mic drop during Quaker meeting.
I wrapped my hands tighter and spared quite a bit of energy to still the mic. Made it through the song. Sat down. Handed off the mic.
But instead of feeling calm, I got the shakes. For the rest of meeting. And partway into fellowship.
Usually I feel shaky, I sing, I feel calm. But I think I was unable to let go of that shaky quaky energy while I was singing since I had to focus so much of my energy on not dropping the microphone.
I told this to the microphone holder after meeting. An unexpected happening. But I thought she should know. She would of course have been willing to hold the microphone for me. As would any of the voluntary mic runners.
But I didn't know this was a service I would have required. Would not have requested it. Or welcomed it, I don't think. It might have felt oddly intrusive to have someone holding a mic for me. As if I were being interviewed.
For all that "vocal ministry" is public speaking... or public singing... it is intensely personal. And somehow private. And having someone else holding the microphone doesn't strike me as something that would feel right.
I want the messages of the light within to be available to all. I want there to be one easy answer. I looked to see what other Quaker communities are doing. Essentially they are saying, "There is no easy answer."
I could have told them that.
Quaker, teacher, parent,