Yes. You read that right.
In lieu of more serious posting, I thought I’d take a breather with some introspection about in-church massaging. You know, the person sitting three rows in front of you whose hand never stops caressing the back of their significant other.
Suddenly, your eyes are riveted to the patterns being made on the back. You forget what the sermon is about and your finger slips from the place your pastor told you to mark in John 2, as you wonder if they are writing a secret message. Did I detect number sequencing? Will they move to full-head massage?
So, obviously I’ve been distracted by this. But I’ve also been guilty of it (in small amounts). Mr. TommyD and I are arm-around-the-shoulders people… this seems much more acceptable to me.
From Stuff Christians Like, here’s the People Against Massage In Church (PAMIC) Manifesto:
1. The difference between a pat and a massage.
We recognize and respect the need to pat someone on the back. Sometimes, it’s good to say “Hi” or “Good job” or “Your chair is currently resting on my big toe” with a small tap on the back. We support that. But when you pat more than four times and then linger, you have now crossed into massage territory my friend.
2. Circles are great for cheerios, not church.
We recognize and respect the need to lay a hand on someone as you say hello or want to show your spouse support during a prayer. But when you start rubbing in a circle, a square or any other geometrical shape, you are now giving a massage. That’s not a big deal right? Wrong. Your rotating hand is creating what we call a “circle of distraction.” People around you will not be able to focus on the sermon as they instead become hypnotized by watching you. God hates that. It’s in Numbers or Exodus I think.
3. There are consequences if you try to massage us.
The members of PAMIC are attractive and funny and Godly and often smell very nice. Please don’t get confused by those four things and think it’s OK to ever give us a back or neck rub during church. If you do, we can’t be held responsible if you suddenly find yourself in some sort of karate arm bar lock, a sleeper hold or at the bottom of a wicked leg drop.
4. Don’t confuse not loving in church massages with not loving life, Jesus, our spouses etc.
You will assume, based on our plans to rid all churches, in all countries of “during church massages,” that we are not loving people. Perhaps you are rubbing someone’s neck as an act of worship or praise or affection. It’s possible we held hands with our spouses as we walked into church. We might give back rubs at home. We could be amazing “snugglers” but when it comes to touching folks at church, we follow the Bible. And there’s not a single example of someone in the Bible giving someone else a neck or back rub while Jesus taught. I dare you to find me a verse that shows someone massaging someone else while they listened to the Sermon on the Mount for instance.
Is this extreme? Perhaps, but few great revolutions started quietly. We will not go peacefully. We will march and protest and launch thousands of PAMIC Attacks. (A PAMIC Attack by the way is when you squirt someone that is trying to start a during church massage with a squirt gun full of vinegar.)
Non-massagers of the world unite!”
Don’t worry, for those of you proud in-church massagers, in the interest of fairness, there’s a manifesto for you too. So, ‘fess up, are you an in-church massager? Or do you sit, transfixed by the cheerios formed in the rows ahead of you?
This does raise the larger issue of distractions in church. What should be stopped/removed because it’s too distracting? Crying babies? Fidgety children? Whispering? Coughing? Massaging? I lean toward a liberal view of noise and distractions during the worship service. I figure, it’s the body of Christ, we’re not going to be perfectly quiet. Although disrespectful loud teens are my one caveat. What’s yours?