Not very long after I had started my journey as a church accompanist, I was invited to a seminar held by the church’s sound operators. The issue brought out was our church’s poor acoustic condition and how to deal with it. One of the speakers said that in most churches, the big problem concerning audio is not caused by the technical issues , it is the non-technical issues that get in the way. These days, the latter seems to be the cause of many damages done , in churches and other places as well.
One of the most crucial non-technical issues of living in a community is ethics . Ethics are shown in one’s etiquette. To be clear, Oxford Dictionary explains ethics as “moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity” while etiquette as “the customary code of polite behaviour in society or among members of a particular profession or group”
There is an assumption that these days people’s rules of etiquette is diminishing. Not only in children , but sadly in adults too . Even more sadly, this also happens in community where people’s ethics are supposed to be ameliorated because that place was built for religious services. Yes, I’m talking about none other than the church, and the servants, specifically. Contrary to the fact that ethics are being held high by business executives, ironically.
Ever seen these behaviours? Accusing another person for a mistake rather than giving an advice, shouting to another fellow in anger (which is unnecessary), discrediting another person solely on personal judgement rather than fact, and so on. These behaviour resulting in people got hurt and not a few chose to leave and thus we lost another member of the fellowship. Leaving another soul broken and damaged relationship. There are just too much arrogance and self-centeredness inside everyone of us.
H.B. London presents an argument on the fact that people these days are losing ethics , beside the influences of postmodernity and media . ” In my work as a pastor to pastors, I see ethical mistakes, financial integrity mistakes, and men and women disregarding one another and their families because success is so important to them. Sometimes I think we use God as J.B. Phillips describes in Your God Is Too Small. When we put God in a box and only pull Him out whenever we need Him, it presents ethical problems. When we speak, teach, and think for God, it is really not for God at all. It is for our convenience. We are simply using God as a crutch.”
Churc h is meant not only to facilitate worship services, but also to build fellowship. There should be a strong bond between the members so there is no need to blurt out ego and being unethical instead. There are indeed a lot of challenges for church servants, but that should not be the reason to be sarcastic. Problems should not be a reason to justify our unethical behaviour, even though we could argue that we did it to make things “better”.
I am glad to quote Tina Seelig on how to execute the right thing: “There is a significant difference between doing the right thing and rationalizing a decision that’s best for you. Your actions always affect how others see you, and, as mentioned innumerable times now, you will likely bump into these same people again. If nothing else, you can be sure they will remember how you handled yourself” See, impressions are indeed matter .
Another cause for unethical behaviour is lack of communication. This is a classic, devil’s circle problem that always appear anywhere. We tend to get to a certain goal fast, without including other people’s interest and capability in achieving it whereas the goal itself is mutual rather than personal. We need to take a little time to approach our partners in a friendly way to help us reach the shared goal. Although this is not an easy task, time spent being friendly is clearly not wasted, it is an investment for the sake of the healthy community.
For all the people who felt uncomfortable in the place where they should feel most welcome, for those who endured at the place where they have been personally discredited, let’s be ethical rather than a self-centered person. It is not too late.
Burchett, Dave. 2011. When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. Waterbook Press : Colorado
Seelig, Tina. 2009. What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20. Harper-Collins: New York