Deacon Paul and Helen McBlain, members of St. Joseph Parish in Collingdale, have been married more than 50 years and have seven children and 21 grandchildren.

Deacon Paul and Helen McBlain, members of St. Joseph Parish in Collingdale, have been married more than 50 years and have seven children and 21 grandchildren.

She says:

Ruth says: Isaiah and I have long adhered to being a good neighbor. Most of our neighbors are respectful of their and our property and recognize boundaries.

There is one neighbor who lives behind us that presents difficulties and we are at odds about how to handle this situation. I say we should just ignore the guy. Isaiah says we should call him out for the various infractions that can, at times, make our lives irksome.

Isaiah will retort: “Ruth, we cannot allow him to get away with what he does.”

I think we should ignore his disrespect and if he does something unlawful to call the cops. After all, he may be a nice guy who just needs to understand what is expected in our neighborhood.

“Let each of us please our neighbor for the good, for building up” (Romans 15:2).

He says:

Isaiah says: When this joker starts to play his “music” loud while he is outside I try to ignore it, but the “music” (more like an animal making noise) really is distracting and annoying.

He also will allow his Terrier-type dog to bark for long periods of time, especially around the dinner hour. We have a screened-in back porch where we often will eat dinner if the weather is suitable, but with that dog whining and barking, we cannot concentrate on a decent family conversation.


I also get annoyed occasionally when he has friends come over and they sit out on his back deck playing the loud music and talking loudly until the wee hours of the morning. Some of the language floats up to our back bedrooms where our kids are and I do not appreciate the four-letter words and cursing I hear.

This “neighbor” has never said “Hi” or acknowledged us as neighbors. At this rate, I am ready to storm his home to tell him exactly what I think of him, but I also realize that would provoke more bad behavior.

All I would want is for this fella to tone the noise level down with what he plays on his boom box and with the dog and the friends. I honestly do not mind him having a dog, or playing what he perceives as music or having friends over to talk … even late into the night.

I do mind the constant barking, loud music and bad language. I honestly do not think I can take his misbehavior for another year, especially with the summer ahead.

“Anyone who inflicts an injury on his neighbor shall receive the same in return” (Leviticus 24:19).

What do they do? 

Isaiah and Ruth should talk to their other neighbors to see if they feel the same way. The loud music and dog barking on a regular basis is not very neighborly. Perhaps a few neighbors could go to him together and let this disrespectful neighbor know just how they feel and to politely ask for him to tone down the loud noise and let the dog back in the house so he won’t bark as much. This would be a polite and respectful approach.

The committee of neighbors can also point out that the use of foul language, spoken loudly enough so that others can hear from bedrooms, is not acceptable in this neighborhood.

If that does not produce results, a visit to the police department would be in order to ascertain what can be done to remedy the situation. There are different laws and approaches depending on the community and the police practices in various communities. Find out what ordinances this loud person might have broken.

The dog should be licensed and police normally do respond to neighborly requests to ask owners to stop the howling. Loud parties are usually rare and appear to be so in this situation, but the language being used is not an acceptable part of a normal, boisterous party. You should not have to close windows and put on A/C just because you are protecting your children from unwanted phrases.

“If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good” (Romans 12:18, 21).