Jump to content


Photo

Church of the Perpetually Lit Parking Lot

  • Please log in to reply
40 replies to this topic

#26 wirenut

wirenut

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1111
  • Joined: 21 Sep 2006
  • Loc: m'dale Pa

Posted 14 July 2013 - 09:35 AM

I agree shaming isn't going to help, but mentioning you're just trying to see all of god's glory may.

#27 desertstars

desertstars

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 42834
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2003
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 14 July 2013 - 10:27 AM

To the OP: Just an idea... See if you can get those in charge to turn off the lights one night and join you at your observing site. Arrange to have someone back at the church with his/her hand on the light switch. Let them get a sense for how the sky looks nice and dark, then make a call and have the lights come on. The difference should make the point as clear as it can be.

#28 csa/montana

csa/montana

    Den Mama

  • *****
  • Posts: 86521
  • Joined: 14 May 2005
  • Loc: montana

Posted 14 July 2013 - 10:41 AM

The old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words", certainly applies to this suggestion! Not only would the demonstration show how LP affects the night sky, the OP may very well interest others in astronomy!

#29 FirstSight

FirstSight

    Duke of Deneb

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 9909
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2005
  • Loc: Raleigh, NC

Posted 14 July 2013 - 03:03 PM

In recent years though, the church about a block west of me, has exercised it's right to keep it's parking lot lit all night, every night, with multiple unshielded sodium vapor lights, wiping out the view of maybe two thirds of God's universe.


These guys aren't trying to create a problem. They think they're solving or preventing one. Patience, persistence, and education, all offered in as polite a manner as possible.


Amen! I'd be very surprised if they intend to bother or offend anyone. The idea of offering to do a stargazing session is a winner. You can show them the problem, show that you're a reasonable person, and also let them know that you are around, serving as a volunteer security system/good neighbor that they probably didn't know about. My church just put up a 2nd on-all-the-time light because of one member's security worry.


All the above quotes to set up a key point: SOMEONE influential within the church perceived significant need to light up the parking lot, lobbied members and the board for it, and persisted in pushing for it until they succeeded in getting the lights installed and turned on. BOTTOM LINE: Someone influential within that church "owns" the notion that the lighting project was important, and may thereby feel a substantial vested interest in resisting any sort of change that implies that the project (or the need therefore) was a mistake, or that the way it was implemented was so flawed as to require wholesale change.

I'm not saying those who advise that the church leaders may turn out to be reasonable and amendable to persuasion (especially by a star party event) are wrong...that's exactly how the OP should start out going about approaching the problem. However, don't underestimate the potential for a faction within the church to mount resistance to change, even if the pastor etc. seem at first receptive to your approach.

#30 csa/montana

csa/montana

    Den Mama

  • *****
  • Posts: 86521
  • Joined: 14 May 2005
  • Loc: montana

Posted 14 July 2013 - 04:27 PM

It will not be known whether or not the person(s) in charge will react positively or negatively, until they are at least given the opportunity to agree or disagree with less/better lighting in order to preserve the night skies.

#31 mayidunk

mayidunk

    Don't Ask...

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 4043
  • Joined: 17 Feb 2010
  • Loc: Betwixt & Between...

Posted 14 July 2013 - 05:22 PM

Isn't it really up to the OP to simply contact the church, arrange to meet with the Senior Pastor, and then discuss it in a calm, and non-confrontational manner? It surprises me how many posts in this thread reflect a belief that the OP will not only meet with resistance to his request, but that he may even make an enemy or two in the process! The idea that the OP might want to consider coming out with guns blazing seems a bit heavy handed to me. The OP should just meet with the Pastor, explain his situation, and be ready for a little give and take if necessary, without being defensive, or belligerent, and especially without mentioning anything about religion at all!

So, rather than for everyone to jump to conclusions, perhaps we should just wait to see how the OP does when he meets with whomever is in charge? It has always been my experience that others will usually respond to me in the way that I expect them to. Why? Because my expectations tend to determine how I initially approach them, and the manner in which I approach them usually sets the stage for their response, whether good or bad. The monster I'm afraid I will face, in the end usually winds up being the one of my own making!

And so it goes...

#32 FirstSight

FirstSight

    Duke of Deneb

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 9909
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2005
  • Loc: Raleigh, NC

Posted 14 July 2013 - 09:32 PM

Isn't it really up to the OP to simply contact the church, arrange to meet with the Senior Pastor, and then discuss it in a calm, and non-confrontational manner? It surprises me how many posts in this thread reflect a belief that the OP will not only meet with resistance to his request, but that he may even make an enemy or two in the process!


WADR both you and Carol misunderstand the purpose of the advice some of us have given. Agreed that the OP should start by making a tactful, constructive approach to the pastor. Agreed that neither he nor we will know what the church's response will be until after he has actually approached them.
1) It's indeed quite possible this will lead to the church and its leaders being willing to work out a mutually acceptable solution to the issue, with little to no opposition from any faction of leaders or members within the church. So I agree he shouldn't be presumptiely pessimistic when he approaches them.
2) Nevertheless, there is alternatively a quite realistic possibility the OP will encounter resistance, most particularly from the folks within the church who cared enough about the light project to feel invested in it. By anticipating this possibility before approaching the church, the OP has a much better chance of tailoring his approach in ways that helps disarm potential opposition before it arises, by makeing him come off to them as respectful of their concerns and willing to find a reasonable accomodation that satisfies their needs, while still reducing his LP problem.

He's only going to get ONE chance to make a positive first impression with the SEVERAL people he will need to successfully influence to achieve any kind of mutually acceptable solution. Simply presenting constructive ideas and hoping for the best from human nature, while ignoring the potential internal political dynamics that may exist within the church with respect to the lighting, is naive. I'm not discounting the possibility that may be enough of itself to lead to a positive, satisfactory solution...but OTOH the better the possibile issues are thought through BEFORE making first contact, the more likely the chance is of disarming any potential opposition before they get their back up against it, and of reaching good solution with them.

#33 Wade J

Wade J

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 395
  • Joined: 27 May 2007
  • Loc: south dakota

Posted 14 July 2013 - 10:04 PM

I grew up in small town Iowa (a town of 800 people). Back in the 1970s we had 4 churches in town and a good number of people would belong to each church. The last thing you want to do is to be confrontational in a small town that you live in. I agree about talking to the church and letting them know the problem. It would be great to put it in monetary terms that they could save a lot of money and help the environment by only having the lights on in the evenings that there is a church event. They probably would be willing to change if they could save money and the environment.
Also the idea of saying that if they have the lights out and it is dark enough for me to observe that I would love to host a star party for one of their youth groups is a good one.
If this route fails I believe in the be nice and wait a bit and try again. Living in a small town is a lot different then a city and it requires a different approach.

#34 amicus sidera

amicus sidera

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4144
  • Joined: 14 Oct 2011
  • Loc: East of the Sun, West of the Moon...

Posted 15 July 2013 - 07:53 AM

Living in a small town is a lot different then a city and it requires a different approach.


Very true. Having lived most of my life in one such hamlet or another, I'm well aware of how remarkably easy it is to torque off the locals, who seem only too happy to focus their anger and hatred on anyone they deem a troublemaker, whether the label is merited or not. Sadly, small towns seem to attract and/or produce a sizeable percentage of comparably small minds.

It might be wise for the OP to focus on the fact that the offending lights are shining into his windows, rather than interfering with his stargazing; if the church fathers are anything like the general public, they may well get the impression that the OP is an astrologer, e.g., an occultist of sorts in their minds, and not an astronomer... needless to say, a misunderstanding of this nature will tend to get things off on the wrong foot.

Hopefully the OP will be able to reason with the church fathers, although it has been my experience that, in general, reason is not the strong suit of the individuals tasked with running churches in this Laodicean era. One should also be aware that, for the most part, the elders, and not the pastor, run the church... and, in addition, to be aware that the elders are in turn run by the elderettes.

Fred

#35 FirstSight

FirstSight

    Duke of Deneb

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 9909
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2005
  • Loc: Raleigh, NC

Posted 15 July 2013 - 08:21 AM

+1 to the comments about small town dynamics and the importance of taking that into account in dealing with the issue. I grew up in a small town.

One should also be aware that, for the most part, the elders, and not the pastor, run the church... and on addition, to be aware that the elders are in turn run by the elderettes.


Fred hits the nail on the head about the need to go into approaching the church with awareness of how its internal dynamics may influence your chances of success, however constructive, reasonble, and attractive the proposals you present may seem.

#36 csa/montana

csa/montana

    Den Mama

  • *****
  • Posts: 86521
  • Joined: 14 May 2005
  • Loc: montana

Posted 15 July 2013 - 08:26 AM

WADR both you and Carol misunderstand the purpose of the advice some of us have given.



I did not misunderstand the purpose of the advice given; rather I would assume anyone in this situation about to approach someone about their LP, that they definitely have the knowledge that the reaction could definitely be less than positive, and be prepared in their presentation to cover all the bases possible. :shrug:

#37 Kfrank

Kfrank

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1820
  • Joined: 20 Dec 2008
  • Loc: Northern Colorado

Posted 15 July 2013 - 10:45 AM

Living in a small town is a lot different then a city and it requires a different approach.


Very true. Having lived most of my life in one such hamlet or another, I'm well aware of how remarkably easy it is to torque off the locals, who seem only too happy to focus their anger and hatred on anyone they deem a troublemaker, whether the label is merited or not. Sadly, small towns seem to attract and/or produce a sizeable percentage of comparably small minds.



Bingo!!!!

#38 mayidunk

mayidunk

    Don't Ask...

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 4043
  • Joined: 17 Feb 2010
  • Loc: Betwixt & Between...

Posted 15 July 2013 - 11:49 AM

I also agree with what Fred said about being prepared. My point was merely that, when going into a negotiation one's mindset has the very real potential of influencing how the other person perceives us, which can have a very decisive effect on the outcome.

Edit: One other thing I probably should have added earlier is that, the crux of the matter is no matter how hard you may try to keep your mindset from affecting how you present yourself, or your case, your mindset is going to reveal itself in the form of non-verbal communication, i.e., by way of body english, certain tells, the tone, and inflection of your voice, and the manner in which you deliver your words. Those to whom you present your case may not be able to quite put their finger on it, but they can usually tell when something just doesn't seem quite right, and that's what puts them off. (Think the first televised Nixon/Kennedy debate.)

Sheesh! As I get older, I seem to find it a bit more difficult to express myself, which tends to get me in trouble! :foreheadslap:

:)

#39 bumm

bumm

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 613
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2011
  • Loc: Iowa

Posted 16 July 2013 - 10:15 PM

I grew up in a larger city, and I've spent the last 38 years in this small town... I disagree with the notion that small towns attract small minds. Maybe a higher percentage of "individualists," but people are very similar everywhere I've been. Often, bigger cities seem to be composed of many smaller neighborhoods that function socially almost like small towns themselves.
I think the main thing to watch out for in a small town is stirring up hard feelings... It's a little harder to disappear into a crowd, and you tend to see people on the street more often. A spat can be more likely to become a grudge.
As some have pointed out, the people involved in planning this lighting disaster probably have some effort and pride invested in it, and may even feel like they're doing the community a favor by lighting it up. I feel my best chances to make an improvement will involve a generous dose of tact, ie, "letting the other fellow have my own way."
There have been a number of good comments and suggestions in this thread. I'm definitely going to make a move and try to improve the situation, but I feel it may be best to keep my eye out for an opening to bring it up instead of just approaching someone out of the blue. Thinking...

#40 obin robinson

obin robinson

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2658
  • Joined: 25 Oct 2012
  • Loc: League City, TX

Posted 17 July 2013 - 04:38 PM

I was thinking about this thread a while ago. If I were the OP I'd go to the church and say "hey could you turn that light off? I can't sleep at night with it on!"

When they say "close your shades" say that "I like a little bit of starlight and I don't want a pitch black room." Don't even mention astronomy. Chances are they don't realize just how annoying that light is.

obin ;)

#41 Thomas Karpf

Thomas Karpf

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1769
  • Joined: 09 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Newington, CT

Posted 31 July 2013 - 02:18 PM

Does this church have a large, well heeled congregation? It might be worth including some figures on
xxx lights times
xxx wattages times
xxx hours per day times
xxx rate for electricity
= xxxx thousands of dollars per year additional electricity.

If you don't get many visitors showing up in the wee hours of the morning, isn't there something charitable you could do with that money?






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics