Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"IT'S TOO LOUD IN MY CHURCH" by Phillip Carter

My dear Aunt Helen said to me last week that she has to stand in the lobby of her church when the music and the preaching is going on because she says its too loud for her in the sanctuary. I was singing with my group this past weekend, at a church where I serve,  and my wife comes in the sanctuary and waves at me to inform me that its too loud so I immediately told the house guy to bring the overall volume of the house down which was the right thing to do since I could not access, from where I was standing, if there was any one particular thing peaking out in the audience. All of us have our opinions as to when something is too loud or not and all of us think we're right so I am going to approach this from a technical perspective later on in this blog. It's a fact that listening to loud music for long periods of time can and will damage your hearing. Many of you reading this blog go to church on a regular basis and most of our churches are probably projecting our sound systems at high levels not realizing that our hearing is being damaged in the process. I am very guilty, as I am writing to you, of demanding more volume as I play or sing on Sunday morning due to the intensity of the music that I sing and/or play partly because I have trouble hearing myself. Gospel Music is demanding and when the energy comes so does the loudness.

When preachers, especially in the black church, get excited and raise their voices  they tend to get closer to the mic instead of backing away from it because of the excitement and intensity of their preaching. That's a normal thing but it can be harmful as well if the sound tech at your church does not take the necessary steps to control the volume. Many of our churches do not invest in people who have the knowledge to run audio equipment efficiently but we are quick to hire people to do other jobs, in our churches,which require competency. Audio Engineering is a skill which requires a lot of training. It's amazing to me that we entrust our ears to Deacon and Trustee so-and so on the sound board.  Are we that ignorant?  Whether you are in a small or a large church we must protect our ears while being able to hear everything we want to hear at the same time.

Technically anything above 75 decibels is considered loud and anything above 100 decibels is getting dangerous for long periods of time. If the noise gets to 200 decibels for any amount of time then loss of hearing takes place immediately.  It is true that all of us have our own noise thresholds. Its not too loud all of the time. Let's be honest. Some of us make those claims partly due to the fact that we don't necessarily enjoy the type of noise being made whether its music or the preached word. I remember growing up in church and every time I played a gospel song it was too loud but every time I would play a hymn (at the same volume) it was heavenly.lololololol.   The same old saints were talking out of two sides of their mouths.

IT IS possible to be intense and for the levels to be controlled at the same time. It's not always the musicians fault if the music is too loud. Your church might have an incompetent sound technician especially if your church has everything miked up. Your instruments might be placed incorrectly in the sanctuary. There are a number of reasons why things may be too loud in your church. Stop assuming and seek answers that make sense to the church and to the musicians. On the other hand, musicians should try to exercise some wisdom when dealing with their own volume levels, in church, especially if you are in total control of your volume. We must not let our personal liking's overshadow what may or may not be going on in our houses of worship. We must seek and implement solutions because there are millions of Christians who maybe suffering from hearing loss due to the Saturday or Sunday morning worship experience. 

You can refer to this table below from to give to your sound techs and your Pastors at your church as a reference.

Phillip Carter


Common Noise Levels and Typical Reactions

ActivityNoise Level [dB(A)]Apparent LoudnessTypical Physical Responsenew:quadratic equations, model answers
part of how to teach your child number arithmetic mathematics


Rocket launching180Danger level
Threshold of pain
Jet engine taking off
140Danger level
Military jet
Air raid siren
Hydraulic press (3 m away)
130512 times as loudLimited ability to hear amplified speech.
Noise may cause pain.

Can damage hearingafter  3.75 minutes exposure per day
Car horn
Propeller aircraft
Air-raid siren
120256 times as loudCan damage hearingafter  7.5 minutes exposure per day
Squealing pigs
Inboard motorboat
Typical night club
Unsilenced motorcycle (7m away)
110Over 128 times as loud!!Maximum vocal effort.

Can damage hearingafter  30 minutes exposure per day
Amplified Rock Music110-130 Over 128 to 512 times as loud!!Can damage hearingafter
3.75 – 30 minutes
exposure per day
Motorised/power mower
105Can damage hearingafter 1 hour
exposure per day
Jet takeoff @ 500m
Train horn @ 30m
Diesel truck
Pneumatic drill/jackhammer
10064 times as loudCan damage hearingafter 2 hours exposure per day
Heavy truck @ 15m
Busy city street
passing motorcycle
Lawn mower
Loud shout
Screaming child
9032 times as loudVery annoying.
Can damage hearingafter 8 hours exposure per day
Average factory
Electric shaver
Busy traffic intersection
Motorway construction site
Outboard motor
Alarm clock (with bell)
Freight train (15m away)
8016 times as loudAnnoying.
Motorway traffic @ 15m
Roadside traffic
Train horn @ 500m
Vacuum cleaner
electric sewing machine
Noisy restaurant
Conversation in a loud voice
708 times as loudTelephone use difficult.
Washing machine/dishwasher65
Light car traffic @ 15m
City or commercial areas
Noisy office
Normal conversation
Clothes dryer
Background music
604 times as loudIntrusive.
Quiet office502 times as loudSpeech interference.
Quiet residential area
Public library
40Arbitrary Base
 Reference Level
Leaves rustling
Very soft music
Recording studio
301/2 as loudVery quiet.
Threshold of sound perception101/8 as loudJust audible.
Threshold of hearing0N/ANot audible.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"Who's Going To Hell"

I used to think that the issue of "Speaking In Tongues" was the most confusing subject to gain an understanding of but ohhhhhhhh!! was I mistaken. The issue of  who's going to Hell is even more confusing and here's why. Depending on what church you go or what denomination you belong to there is a different interpretation out there as to the certainty of  Hell and Heaven and who will make it to which. It wasn't until I grew up and started visiting other churches that I realized that people and theologians interpret the Scriptures differently. That's why some Pastors don't like you and me visiting other churches because they do not want you or me to hear other interpretations which could be confusing. However I think its the various interpretations that ultimately lead us to the truth.

Everybody claims their right and everybody else is wrong on so many biblical issues. I do believe that the Bible is clear but we aren't. Some believe in Eternal Security that means "Once saved always saved" and others believe that Salvation is a process and that even though we accept Him initially, we have to continue to work on our salvation or we could lose it and end up in HELL. On one hand you have John 3:16 and on the other you have Hebrews 12:14. WHICH IS RIGHT?  I thought the word of God was supposed to be simple.

I can tell you that there is one common denominator in all of this and that is BELIEF. If you deny the existence and Lordship of Jesus Christ  your mansion in Heaven is defiantly on hold. I also know, based on my study, that it is possible for one to be saved and not sanctified. I think that many people confuse the two. Just because your saved don't mean you Holy.Well.... All the other stuff is debatable and I will leave it for the scholars and prognosticators of the Gospel and to comment on.