Why the violence of the metaphor?
(the metaphor… of severed hands and disembodied eyeballs, that is.)
Or at least, why the visceral-ness?Firstly, the metaphor where hands and feet, eyes, and ears… parts of the body… represent individual Christians.. is taken from the Bible, where Paul writes using the metaphor of “the body of Christ.”

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body…

Sadly, I think many Sunday School lessons “inoculated” a certain segment of American churchgoing children against experiencing the intensity of the metaphor.
(After all, when we teach Sunday School to kids, we love something that’s nice and “concrete.”)
Fast forward to today, and lots of those children are grown up.
When they hear “the body of Christ,” maybe they think of:
An oversized posterboard ‘ear’ costume.
Or perhaps a nice foot drawn on green construction paper.
But if we hear, (or read) “If one member suffers, all suffer together,” I think it should conjure up images of:
Atrophied limbs.
Invasive surgical procedures.
Tissue damage.
Organ failure.
I think this second set of imagery is more appropriate.
We’re talking about health here.
The health of Christian communities: churches.

I have high dreams of how much good God does through the church.
I want to dream & take action.
I want to pray & see God take action.
And I want to bless and be blessed by others who hope for these things, too.
(And maybe even some who don’t!)

…Whoops, got carried away there a bit!
Back to the metaphor of choice.
More credits are in order.
Secondly, this more specific metaphor (a hand disconnected from a human body) is taken from the book “How Church Can Change Your Life,” by Josh Moody.

Thanks to that publication*, I now have this image emblazoned on my mind:
A disembodied hand writhing around on the floor.
And now, so do you. (You’re welcome!)

So I ask this question:
What if I see a severed hand on the floor?
Will I just note it and calmly go about my own business?
Will I just think, “Oh, that’s unusual,” or will I assume something terrible has happened?

What if I see a friend (or even an acquaintance I barely know) who once was connected to a real church – leave?
Will I just stand by and say, “He’s just doin his own thing.”?
Will I assume it’s “no big deal,” or will I think there’s something to grieve over?

* actually, the pamphlet version, which preceded the book.


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