Cellphones and Caskets

Pardon me while I rant (I don’t do this often).

Have we come to the place in America where being “connected” is more important than being respectful? I am convinced that cell phones are a blight on our society. I know, I know, a lot of good is done with them, it’s easier to get in touch with people in an emergency, business deals move more quickly, etc., etc.

But why is it that many people who have them feel compelled to talk on them at any given time for no good reason? I was behind someone on the road the other day who was driving in the left hand lane at the scorching speed of 40 mph (in a 55 mph zone). When I finally was able to get around her what do you think I saw? A cell phone that looked like it was permanently attached to the side of her head. Church services are regularly interrupted by a cell phone going off that someone forgot to turn off. And we don’t have traditional rings anymore, nooooo, we have every song imaginable that can be downloaded for a “personalized” ring-tone. Try bringing home the conclusion to a Sunday morning sermon while some red-faced church member nearly destroys a pew trying to find that cell phone playing “Staying Alive”.

Technology forecasters predict that in the not-to-distant future cell phones will actually be able to be surgically implanted in their owners head. Anyone who would do this should seriously consider having something else implanted in their head.

I am not ranting at random here, there is a good reason for it. Yesterday I helped conduct the funeral of a 32-year-old man who had died after being in a coma for 3 months. The family was very distraught. During the service, cell phones went off three times. You would think people would turn them off before they came in the chapel. Of course, it’s possible that they forgot, but even so, the first one should have given them a clue to turn theirs off, but noooooo, three lucky people got to do the curly shuffle while trying frantically to turn off those cursed things that were cranked up to maximum volume.

The worst part? The first one that rang was actually answered by the woman who owned it. She carried on a brief conversation while the other minister was trying his best to bring comfort to the bereaved. Had it not been a funeral service, I would have been tempted to implant it in her head.

Can I submit that there is nothing more rude and disrespectful than this? Have we come to think so highly of ourselves as to honestly believe that the person calling us must absolutely talk to us that very second? Will the stars fall if we don’t answer that phone? I say, turn the thing off. Leave it in the car. Better yet, leave it in front of the tire, THEN forget about it.

I am sorry to vent this way, I really don’t do this often. But if this is happening here, it must be happening elsewhere, too. Folks, let’s not let connectivity cause us to be rude.

I feel better now.


23 responses to “Cellphones and Caskets

  1. preach it brother
    You are not alone

  2. Well Gordon, I can’t say I blame you for being upset. I was talking with my wife about it over supper, and we both agree; It’s a very disrepectful, uncaring, and unkind thing to leave a cell phone on so that it might ring in a funeral service. How much more so for actually talking on one for a few minutes! If it was my mom or dad’s funeral, and I saw someone talking on a phone, I would go ask the person to leave. Someone that important shouldn’t really be at someone else’s funeral in the first place. πŸ˜‰

    It seems to me that quite often people turn their cell phone on, and turn their brain off!

  3. It’s very frustrating for the pastors, and distracting to everyone else to have phones ringing during services. It’s always inappropriate at church, and outrageous during a funeral.

    We were almost side-swiped twice in less than a minute last Friday by 2 women drivers talking on their phones.

    Where is all this leading?!

  4. Gordon,
    I completely agree with you. Not only is it disrespectful at a funeral, but it is even more so in worship to our Lord.
    I told someone the other day, “I think we need to post signs at the entry of our churches which read, “CHECK YOUR PHONE AT THE DOOR” and have places to put them, turned off. That may not win any popularity contest, but maybe we could gain more respect for the time of worship.
    Just my thoughts.
    Some more. I drive a School bus during the school year, and you probably would not be too surprised to see the number of people who run the stop arm with flashing red lights, because they are attached to their cell phones.
    I too appreciate them, but if I go away to enjoy myself, like playing golf, fishing or a walk, that phone will stay in the car, or at home. The same with church.

  5. I know this is really a serious thing, and I agree completely. However, I have to say that your writing style about this made me literally laugh out loud. I especially loved this line: Try bringing home the conclusion to a Sunday morning sermon while some red-faced church member nearly destroys a pew trying to find that cell phone playing “Staying Alive”.

    Like I said, I know it’s serious, but it struck me as one of those things that makes you laugh while it drives the point straight in. Great writing, Gordon!

    steve πŸ™‚

  6. Maybe you should get the number of your congregation and then give them a ring from the pulpit!

  7. maybe you should pray for a miracle. I dont know in the realm of…
    God rining one of the offenders one sunday and saying something like
    “Hi this is God, I dont come into your house to use the phone. How about a little manners huh?”

    I joke because if I responded without humor you would probably have to remove my comment. Mobile phones where they are not welcome are one of my pet hates.


  8. Thanks everybody for your moral support.

    Msdee, Rob, Seeker, I’m glad we are of a kindred spirit on this. πŸ™‚

    TA, there’s nothing like a cell phone ringing in the middle of a backswing is there?

    Steve, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I employed humor this time like a boxer uses gloves.

    Michael, I would probably be more effective with some if I did what you suggested.

    MDM, I knew there was something about you I liked.

  9. Oh, my, that is just so awful. My friends, well, one anyway, can’t understand that I don’t have mine on all the time. I turn it on to use it and then I turn the thing off. I finally got one of the pay as you go ones. With my other one, one month I used it all of 13 minutes…didn’t quite justify the rate and all the taxes…people just have no couth anymore…II have no idea at all if that makes any sense, “no couth.’

  10. Rant away!

    we got rid of our cell phone!

  11. Truth man..truth!!

    Nothing wrong with putting the truth out there with some zeal.

    God Bless.

  12. You have vented a vent that I would have vented had I thought of venting it before you vented.

    We need some emergency cell-phone manners taught, fast.

  13. Word up, my brother!

    Just recently, I had a cell phone go off while I was speaking. The owner of the phone nearly killed themselves getting out to answer it. Then returned to their seat only to be called again about 3 minutes later by the same caller.

    You really should consider ranting more often. Looks like you hit a nerve here. :o>

  14. Its good to hear you on a soap box now and then…lol

  15. I just wanted to say that I am with you Bro. Gordon on this subject ! I have one but I carry one because of my health problems !But you can rest assured that mine is turned off before I get out of the car ! Besides I couldn;t forget if I wanted to because of 5 little mouths that are constantly every sunday morning saying PAPA don;t forget to turn your cellphone off ? I love it when they learn important things in life . But we have to plant the seed first ? Too many adults are setting the examples for thier kids when they drive or at church or Funerals ? Just plain disrespect ? Have a good day and I might could share one of my bloodpressure pills if needed ? BLESSINGS RON.

  16. Beverly, you make perfect sense.

    Jel, it’s kind of liberating isn’t it?

    Randy, glad to have you here.

    Joe, did you reach your “vent” quota on that one? πŸ˜‰

    Cameron, I did happen to think of a good use for cell phones after reading your latest post, but it probably wouldn’t be as much fun.

    JG, as hard as I try, I just can’t seem to stay off of the soapbox forever.

    Bro. Ron, thanks for turning yours off, and I may need to borrow one of those pills if something like this happens again.

  17. I’m old enough in ministry to remember when the most rude act an attender could perpetrate was a watch alarm going off during a sermon. Right on the money, Pastor Gordon. Thanks for saying what so many ministers are feeling. In golf terms….”YOU DA MAN!!!!”

  18. I must say that I am a huge fan of the cell phone…
    [[{{((ducks to avoid the stones))}}]]

    No wait! hear me out.
    I use mine quite often throughout any given day. However, my phone is set to vibrate when I get a call. No one hears it. No one knows I am getting a call. I don’t have to rush to shut it off. I just ignore it if I am busy at the time.

    Most later model cell phones have the vibrate feature. Why can’t folks just use that? It’s like the guy whose car horn goes off to let him know that he locked it properly. That’s all fine at 3 in the afternoon. But 3 inthe morning? There is no need for it. Disable the useless thing.

  19. LOL…i think cell phones are satan’s doing. I’ve never had to ask for so much forgiveness….and don’t get me started about the idoi*….’nice citizens’ who drive and talk, weaving all over the road!

  20. Bro. Tony and Matthew, thanks for the encouragement.

    Danny, if everyone did like you I wouldn’t be writing posts like this. (It’s all their fault) :o)

    Bonnie, you gotta love those citizens.

  21. thank you for your kind words in my blog. i like yours too.

    i believe that there is a place and time for everything. unfortunately not all people know this. it is definitely disrespectful to leave it on during funerals and much so during service. in our church, there’s this big sign up front that says “PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CELLPHONES DURING THE ENTIRE SERVICE. THANK YOU” living in the texting capital of the world, “rudeness” is epidemic. we shouldn’t just put the sign up for everyone to see that says “DON’T DRINK & DRIVE”. there should also be a sign that says “DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE”.

  22. I attend a small church but we have a simple rule. If your cell phone rings, pizza’s on you. We’re having a nice after church pizza lunch today thanks to a forgetful member.

    This might not work at a larger church so maybe you should rant at them a little.

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