When you take a quick look around Moody on a weekday at 11:15 a.m., you’ll quickly find that the interest level in Chapel is low. It’s no secret that 50 percent of those attending are only focused on their smart phones and have no interest in what goes on down on the floor.
Then there is the 25 percent engrossed in a conversation to decide what sounds best for lunch. And finally there’s about 25 percent, who are actually invested in Chapel, or at least being respectful of the speaker’s time.
Now this is not another plea to pay attention in Chapel or make it a priority, but this is to bring awareness to the disturbance that leaving early presents. Clearly it is unrealistic to expect everyone to be totally invested every day and it’s understandable a lot of students come to ACU for other reasons than to become spiritually disciplined.
However, with that being said there is no reason people who have sat through 29 minutes of a 30 minute chapel should get up early and wait impatiently by the card readers for Chapel to be dismissed.
This trend is most common on praise day or Immersed Chapel, because people tend to think they decide when Chapel ends. They get up and start a mass Exodus while the worship leader is trying to start another song. Unfortunately this problem is magnified by the repeated thud of chairs swinging closed, as three hundred people stand up simultaneously.
People can argue that they have to get to the Bean or Campus Center before the crowd because they have class at 12. In some cases, I can sympathize with that. But leaving at 11:29 instead of 11:31 is not a significant enough difference; especially if after getting up early you stand at the bottom of the stairs and talk for fifteen minutes.
Thirty minutes of Chapel is extremely doable. At Baylor, they only have chapel Tuesday and Thursday, but the chapels are a full hour long. Even though we have to get 55 credits at ACU, it’s easier than it has ever been. Not only does the Chapel Office give out exemptions for various circumstances, but if Moody isn’t the place for you there are plenty of small group chapels on Tuesday and Thursday and all kinds of evening opportunities throughout the week.
The bottom line is, if you’re going to sit there for the majority of Chapel then what is a minute more? Why get up and cause a disruption when Chapel will end by the time you get to the bottom of the stairs?
It boils down to respect and character. This issue isn’t something that can be regulated, so it rests on the ACU student body to make the difference.