...On his first visit to our church--at the ripe old age of one week--he was passed around, cooed over, gazed at, nuzzled, and loved. When he began toddling, he toddled all over the place, wandering freely around our gathering space while we sang, listened, prayed, and discussed. He has shouted out the names of his friends from the balcony in the middle of a sermon. He has walked around the guy making announcements. He has been quite literally at the center of our worship on many a Sunday, walking around like he owns the place.
Carla Barnhill, in the book An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, pp. 53-54
First, for the sake of disclosure, I am not and have never been a parent. I have been around children a good bit, and, of course, at one time was a child.
In regards to the above, here goes...
I find it hard to believe that the writer thinks that a newborn being "passed around, cooed over, gazed at, nuzzled, and loved" is somehow an experience unique to emergent (non)churches, yet it does read as if she think the experience is something that only happens in such places. Seriously, if a newborn is taken into almost any church worth it's salt, it'll get much the same treatment. I've seen it happen.
Now, let me ask...when did teaching children basic manners and etiquette, and discipling them to enforce those weapons, become a bad thing? I mean, seriously, is having a child shouting out a friend's name in the middle of a sermon something parents should be encouraging and allowing? Would they allow their child to do the same in a classroom, or at a speech, on in a movie theater?
Dealing with children's antic with wisdom is important. I question the wisdom not only of allowing and encouraging such behavior, but writing a portion of a book encouraging parents to let their kiddies make a ruckus while a preacher is preaching.