Two expressive hands, punctuating sentences with either callous, dismissive waves or dour, exasperated shrugs. That’s what I remember about my recent exchanges with friends of mine. Somehow the conversation turns to the benefits of this preached sermon or a visit to a recent church and of their own volition, like lawyers in court shouting “objection!”, my hands are up and waving.
The day will come when my friends’ eyes, upon seeing my objecting hands, will roll. On that day I’ll look at my friends apologetically while my hands, like family members that say awkward things at inappropriate places resulting in seat-shifting silence, continue to rant. I’m not sure if my friends will forgive me, but I do hope they understand: my hands weren’t always this way.
Originally my hands spent days wading in the urban churches of New York City, and they were safely stifled by a lot of the problems that the younger generation faced. Oh sure, my hands would complain but only for issues dealing with moral ambiguity or the need for boys grow up. Most of the time, my hands decided to merely add their expressive amen’s to my preaching, a very subtle support and one that most folk didn’t seem to mind.
Yet this last couple of years my hands have been wading through the churches of the rural blushing suburban waters. They’ve enjoyed sitting with an older crowd of a different generation and cultural background, very often with no urban exposure. Such a situation would be fine in itself, leaving the hands folded in silent prayer or at worst, asleep in coat pockets.
But the fact that the rural blushing suburban hands clap and amen to their prognosis of the problem of modern churches-that being its lack of New Testament Principles or a general apostasy-is what make my hands shudder under the strain.
The problems are being overly simplified, my hands mutter. The problems are being masked by reasoning that should not be, my hands gripe. And then, my hands protest: heavenward, or in a downward spiral, pointedly, angrily, occasionally confusedly-but always expressively.
So if you see me coming your way: I’m sorry in advance. You know hands. You can’t really get rid of them and when they start their raving its hard to stop them.