Tag Archives: hand raising

Anonymous Decisions

“Please bow your heads and close your eyes.”

For all of their bluster, fundamentalists are a private bunch when it comes to something as dearly personal as raising ones hand to give a non-specific response at the end of a sermon on a generic topic. There have to be some boundaries of personal space after all.

The anonymous hand-raising also gives the speaker the chance to speak “evangelistically” about the number of respondents. Not that most pastors would out and out lie but they might just claim to “see hands all over his room” when in fact exactly three people out two hundred have raised their hand and one of them is only eighteen months old.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus! Unless you’re making a decision at the end of the service. Then the protocol is “every head bowed, every eye closed, nobody looking around.”

Hand Raising

handsFundamentalists are not completely opposed to outward displays of worship but make no mistake that when a fundamentalist raises his hands in a service it is quite a different thing from when a charismatic tounges-speaking NIV-carrying Pentacostal does it.

The first major element of the fundamentalist hand raise is the duration. Hands must be shot up and put down within a five-count at the longest. Hands that linger aloft too long may be attached to a person who listens to CCM music.

The second element is the force. A hand must not drift upwards in an airy manner but rather be thrust up from the shoulder in a type of  forward-facing  ‘karate chop’ motion. Let not your hand give an uncertain gesture. And whatever you do, keep your wrist firm. Limp wrists are the devil’s tools.

The third important part of hand-raising is the accompanying yell. Bellowing “Preach it!” or “Shake that bush!” to go along with this motion removes all doubt that the hand-raiser is not waving or emoting but rather saluting in a stern and serious fashion.

These differences are as vital as they are subtle. Yet the distinctions can make all the difference between being a fundamentalist and being a happy-clappy, mumbo-jumbo, praise and worship compromiser.