Happy Independence Day, everyone! I love my freedom to write whatever I want on my blog and appreciate your freedom to not subscribe or make comments.
So, waking early on Sunday mornings is harder for me in the summer than winter. Probably because, like the sun, we stay up late all summer long. I’ve written about how I love Sunday afternoon naps (see Sunday Kind of Music). I don’t like naps on Saturdays, though, because I always startle awake. Groggy, I assume it’s Sunday morning and, because of the afternoon sun, I think I’m late for church. Making matters worse, I usually dream during Saturday naps about church the next day.
A few weeks ago I dreamt on Saturday that I’d arrived at church on Sunday morning and my audio director was informing me that we couldn’t use any of our wireless technology—microphones, guitar inputs, monitors, etc. He said the FCC had issued a ban on the use of any wireless devices in the 700 MHz range. We had a few wired mics, so we weren’t completely debilitated. But our pastor refused to use a wired handheld mic to preach with—it would throw off his groove—so we allowed him to illegally use his nice, comfortable Countryman earset mic, while we became tangled in cords.
The service was going extremely well. Worship was particularly engaging, the congregation even more responsive than usual. Perhaps the lack of wireless signals allowed the Holy Spirit to cut through the radio waves. People were visibly smiling during the offering (see cheerful giving). Everybody laughed at the right times during the video and cried at its twist at the end. And even the announcements had an edge to them. Our pastor, on fire, was bringing it with his sermon. People couldn’t wait for the altar call. You could see them on their toes like sprinters at the starting block.
But all of a sudden, there was cacophony backstage, where the musicians usually rest after a grueling 20-minute set. Outside four Black Hawk helicopters touched down, and special operation forces raided the back entrance, right near our stage door. Needless to say, we and the congregation were stunned when our pastor was apprehended by Green Berets and taken toward a waiting chopper. While being dragged away, he cried out indecipherably, though I understand he was trying to blame the sound tech—who was hiding in the control room on the media ledge—for allowing him to use his special mic. By the way, I’ve heard he takes it everywhere, even sleeps with it, because it makes him feel like Andy Stanley (a pastor at a megachurch in Atlanta).
A few vocalists and I followed behind—at a safe enough distance to not be arrested ourselves—and waved at him like he was boarding a cruise to the Bahamas. As the choppers flew away, corn fields bowing in reverence, I awoke from my dream/nightmare.
Actually, I didn’t dream any of this. But parts of this story are true, including the FCC regulation. Many of us are enjoying the switch to digital television with sharper clarity on our high definition TVs. (We don’t have one, but there’s one on my wish list.) TV used to broadcast in the 700 MHz range, but since that was transitioned, the government has allocated that range to public safety entities as well as to … hmm … commercial providers (like cellular companies). So while AT&T and Verizon buy up frequencies with the proceeds of texting overages by teenagers from sea to shining sea, churches and other users of wireless devices have to repurchase everything they’ve been using.
As we celebrate Independence Day in our “land of the free,” I’m thinking about how my music budget is going to be decimated by replacing all our mics. A nice Treasury/FCC joint effort in a bailout for churches throughout America would be good. Or maybe we just won’t replace any of ours. But after the freedom of a wireless mic, wouldn’t mic cables signify a return to bondage? As in the song, I want to roam like the buffalo about the stage, not just 15-20 feet. Could you envision buffalo only allowed a 20-foot radius in which to roam? Further, who wants to call my pastor and tell him he no longer gets to be Andy Stanley?