Thursday, March 19, 2009
#70 Hands-free headsets
They were once only worn by McDonald’s drive-thru workers, infomercial hosts and Janet Jackson, but now microphone headsets are becoming a standard fixture during sermons at non-denominational churches.
The reasons for this aren’t entirely clear. The headset could be a logical progression from the pulpit of yore which had a microphone attached to it, after which came the microphone that the pastor clipped to his shirt so he could walk around while talking.
But maybe even that restricted movement. The pastor of a bible, community, or otherwise non-denominational church does not want to be confined to one spot on the stage. He wants to gallivant about and engage his audience. Maybe he hopes this will help them pay attention better. But we don't really know. We can only be sure that microphone headsets are popping up like mold spores on a dirty keg.
When you listen to a sermon that is amplified by a headset, it can mean only one thing: that pastor intends to roam. He will use his hands a lot and gesture for emphasis. He will dart about then abruptly pause for effect when he wants to let something sink in. He will even at this point probably say, “Let that sink in. Just let that sink in for a minute.” or "You checkin' with me?" (These are not phrases you are likely to hear at a Presbyterian, Methodist, or Episcopal service. Only the non-denominationals utter them. Well, and the Baptists.)
The headset also renders the pastor's hands free for grand gesticulation when he makes a big emphatic statement. “Jesus DIED for you!” “Are you ready for THIS?” “You can TITHE your way out of debt!” etc.
But the big mystery lurking behind the headset is “What is the earpiece for?” Is he receiving direction from his producer? Is he getting orders from the drive-thru? Is Steve Martin feeding him lines to say to Roxanne? This mystery is unsolved and the case remains open.
(All right, except for this guy. This guy actually needs a headset.)