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A bad customer experience in a local church 1 star review

#1 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 02:38 PM

This happened last week and I've been thinking about it ever since.

I went to a baptism last weekend. It's a relatively large church in a suburb of Copenhagen. Your typical generic Danish church, 700ish years old, made out of brick and tile, big open room with arched ceilings, wooden pews, choir in one end and an altar in the other.

It was an awful experience. And more puzzling, I remember visiting the exact same church two years earlier for the big brother's baptism and it was just the same.

The room was not even a quarter full but there was a cacophony of children wailing and fidgeting, people coughing or murmuring to one another, loud echoes from people's feet on the wooden floor, etc. To drown this out the church had installed small speakers down the sides of the walls. But the sound wasn't loud enough and the mic quality wasn't sharp, so you couldn't understand half of what the priest was saying, nor could you tell what the choir was singing but that's mainly because of the archaic way these people sing these terribly outdated songs in a giant open room with bad accoustics.

On top of that the Priest seemed pretty pissed and didn't want to be there. He started out berating the audience because everyone didn't stand up when he and the parents entered. Then he had all these acerbic remarks in between the ceremony parts, saying things like "You'd think the birth of a child would be a cause of celebration" or "People think the birth of their child will bring them happiness. But what really does bring people happiness now a days and did some bit on materialism or something like that. And he ended the whole thing with something like either him or we not really caring and let's just end it here and then he just stood there looking at us for a second and started walking down the isle, with the family scrambling after him.

It was a thoroughly weird experience. I'd have been pissed if I'd paid money for the ceremony.

Which made me think about what churches really are about now a days. Now, of course, your milage may vary from church to church, priest to priest but it just felt like such an antiquated experience.

Terrible service where the priest and helper dude was clearly dissatisfied with the heathens in their church who were unfamiliar with the churches traditions and didn't share their reverence for a crumbling religious institution.

And a facility that just feels utterly unsuitable for the purpose it's used for.

As a person who's studied service design and customer user experience, there's so many things about that experience that could have been optimised. A smaller room, better sound isolation, more comfortable seating, better speakers, preferably a bunch of large TVs hanging around the room with instructions, like what the days program is, what song or sermon is next, maybe some scrolling text or lyrics so you don't have to frantically flip through a book with a thousand songs most don't know how to sing.

And just a more understanding form of addressing a crowd that doesn't hinge on the frustration that the general public in Denmark doesn't give two shits about Church ceremonies.

And maybe this is just me but some kind of epic light show on the baby fountain, maybe with some dry ice smoke and some Dolby Surround sound angel choir when the kid gets dunked in the water would also be cool.

This post has been edited by Aptorian: 12 September 2020 - 02:40 PM

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#2 User is offline   Garak 

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 08:10 PM

Sounds pretty standard. I'll never forget the wedding where the priest was talking about how the woman shall do as her man commands and they are both the slaves of god. Then one of the other priests went over and made the gesture for "money please". This despite the fact that the service had been paid for, didn't matter, they wanted more during the damn thing.
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#3 User is offline   Tiste Simeon 

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Posted 12 September 2020 - 09:01 PM

Ugh. Anyone acting as God's representative should at least pretend to act like they've read and taken on the words of Jesus.
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#4 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 05:05 AM

I'm just wondering if the rituals and surroundings are actually holding e church back now a days.

Imagine if you had an ordinary theatre like set-up, with a stage, podium, etc. Instead of having people sing old songs and recite ancient vows, what if the priest just talked with the audience?

Start out with a prayer to get the religious stuff out of the way and then just have an ordinary talk, using the teachings of Christian figures and moral philosophy as a guideline for the service.

I know priests in Denmark already spend a part of their Sunday service talking about current events but imagine if it was more like a lecture and people could actually discuss and ask questions?

I realize for the devout church goers this may not actually be what they're looking for but I have a hard time seeing the churches gaining many new practitioners if it's kept as insular and old school as what I usually see when I get dragged into a church.

I had a lot of questions about the ritual of Baptising the kid that I would have loved to ask the priest. Though perhaps part of the problem is that religion is about faith and not so much asking questions.

This post has been edited by Aptorian: 13 September 2020 - 05:07 AM

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#5 User is offline   Tiste Simeon 

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 07:30 AM

They should be open to questions. For example "Where in the Bible did baptising an infant come from when it's set forth as the decision of the believer?" Ie it should be something that a person makes as a sign of their faith.

Holding onto tradition just cos is a dead end.
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#6 User is offline   Traveller 

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 11:10 AM

I had a similar experience. The baptism was held at easter though, and the priest was so clearly thrilled to have this massive turn out that he went on and on for ages, until everyone was hot, bored and agitated. My kids are patient to a degree, but they were almost clawing their eyes out it was so bad.

Plus, inviting a load of atheists to a church ceremony, then watching them struggle through hymns - it's all so deeply uncomfortable and unpleasant, why anyone would want to celebrate like this is beyond me.
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#7 User is offline   Macros 

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 01:13 PM

A mates wedding a few years ago, the minister turned the sermon part into a borderline rants about gays and how marriage should only ever be between a MAN AND A WOMAN, capitalised because they shouted that part, literally.

Part of the reason Nuala was so happy with us getting married the way we did was it did away with a load of parts of the wedding set up that are 'traditions' and actually have no basis on anything written in the big book (see, "traditional" wedding vows, not found any where in the Bible)

I agree with Tiste quite a bit on this front, not many so called Christians have any fucking clue what their religion is supposed to be like, and just use it as a crutch to prop up their shitty ideals, cherry picking bits of the old testament, which is literally an unchristian book, it's pre Jesus, it's fire and brimstone it's not forgiving and forgetting.

Anyway, church, and THE church as an entity is not a good thing, it gives power to people that don't always use it in a good way and begets "traditions" that have nothing to do with the book and jesus' teachings and everything to do with money and population control
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#8 User is offline   Garak 

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 02:49 PM

They won't go for people asking questions because then they can't keep a tight a grip on power. Over here you even have priests telling you which party to vote for - generally one of the more corrupt ones because they bribe the priests.The church also doesn't pay taxes, the priests are paid a salary by the goverment (and they get the money to upkeep or build churches from the goverment) and they still ask for more money left, right and center. Plus a bunch of them were Securitate informers during the Communist era. As far as I know they never apologized for closing their doors in my city, leaving revolutionaries to be gunned down on the steps of the cathedral. As an institution their only goal is to keep themselves fat and happy, the people should do as they are told or burn in hell. It still works for them here because people are highly religious and keep getting suckered by them.
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#9 User is offline   Aptorian 

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 12:45 PM

I can see how my above sentiment might be a problem in more hardcore religous countries where the Church is an integral part of society. Or at least clinging on to that role by it's sweaty paws.

But in a place like Denmark, which is about as secular as you can get, I'm surprised there's not more rethinking going on. A lot of Danish priests already admit they don't actually believe there is a god or a heaven and hell. But they do believe in the teachings of the bible and the value of the Christian institution. Something I can somewhat follow. The notion of a state philosophy, not a state religion. An institution that symbolizes and teaches about a certain moral philosophy and world view that creates structure and hope. Imagine these priests graduating from their Theology studies and instead of donning a frock and doing sermons every once in a while, instead they'd assume the role of the teacher and guardian? Like a greek school of philosophy where you could show up and listen while more knowledgable and passionate people debate? Or just share positive ideas about faith?
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