Have you ever sat in a meeting with a boss droning on and on and on and thought, oh, please, shut up; and then wondered for an instant if you said that out loud?
Droning sermonisers are not limited to the meeting room. The original speaker who held villagers captive through sheer social expectation was the clergyman; for what humble villager could get up, half way through the Sunday sermon, and stalk down the aisle to the exit, proclaiming: this is unedited, unentertaining drivel, Vicar, and you should be ashamed of yourself for expecting the village to listen?
One would be a social pariah, possibly condemned to the unforgiving flames of Hell. And in the early days, quite possibly arrested and clapped in the stocks.
Yet clergymen were not the most powerful members of the community, and thus a little piece of apparatus began to appear in the churches who depended on the bounty of the local gentry.
Yes: I happened upon one at the Cirencester church of St John The Baptist. I took a picture badly, and it blurred, but now I can find no other pictures of the timer and must rely on this one. It is another reason to return, along with the desire to find out how long it will time for.
For some of these timers could go on for two hours.
Phil has launched weekly video magazine programme for the people at the airline he works for. It is a telly programme. It has taken off as well as one of their great airliners, and he swears it is because the whole weekly offering is kept to two minutes.
That is the perfect time for the modern attention span, it seems.
So how does the thoroughly modern clergyman handle such flightiness?
Well, as it happens, there’s an app for that.
Lauded in ChurchTechToday, Podium Timer is the equivalent of that sand timer, all teched up for the 21st Century. No more droning on and on and on: now Podium Timer can give you time elapsed and time remaining at the sweep of a finger. And you can choose which colour you want the time to be. Purple, perhaps, for lent, or a festive red for Christmas.
You can watch the demo here.
Now the leading edge sermon need never prompt yawns and inward groans.
Though I notice its demo uses twenty minutes, and has not quite reached the heights of a two-minute sermon.
Give it time.