Christians love to pick and choose their favorite verses. Just ask a Christian some time about a favorite verse or passage, and get ready to settle in for a long listen. She or he will go on at length about how the words speak to them, and how these are more meaningful than other passages. You’ll soon get the impression that you’re being proselytized.
Oh, it’s true. The verse evangelist – technically known as a versangelist – wants you not only to understand but to become a fellow believer. They’re not at all that interested if you have another take on the verse. Join them or risk being misunderstood, pitied, perhaps even shunned. Get active and join in the movement, or get out of the way.
Yes, to a versangelist’s way of thinking when it comes to singing their favorite line in a praise song there is only one way to join the movement …
What’s that? You thought I was talking about Bible verses?
Praise Singing Dogmatics
Versangelists are dogmatic about their favorite lines in praise songs, taking them as instructive for proper praise activity. But their inconsistency is baffling to me.
Just last week I was at church and the song we sang had the words “We stand and lift up our hands.” Lots of people dutifully raised their hands.
That’s fine by me. People like to raise their hands, although not everyone who sees them understands why. Back when I was in law school a friend said perhaps they were thinking it got them closer to God. (That’s silly, of course. Everyone knows it’s the bigger the hair the closer to God; nothing to do with hands.)
No, I think it’s because they take the song as an instruction manual. They see the words “We stand and lift up our hands” on the screen and think, “Hey, I can lift up my hands just like the song says. This is easy!”
I’ve had conversations with those versangelists, too, usually as they stand next to me in church and notice my arms down at my sides. “How can you not raise your hands when singing those songs, those lines?” they ask.
So I ask them to tell me what they expect me to do when we get to the next line? “We bow down and worship him now.” I didn’t see anyone bowing down, not even the handraisers. What gives?
Picking and choosing, that’s what it is.
Well I refuse to be a picky chooser, and keeping my hands down is a show of solidarity with all the other counter-versangelists out there.
Well, that and the fact that I’ve not mastered the art of raising my hands without feeling like I’m back on the disco dance floor from my high school days.
[Here’s a handy hand-raising guide from Tim Hawkins:]