Listen to the Rocks

[Estimated reading time: 3m3s]

Sometimes I join the Pharisees— “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

I have my reasons. Based on the conversations I’ve had with you, you have yours.

I overheard two pastors obnoxiously going on about themselves. Even with headphones, I couldn’t get any work done. The guy sitting next to me was also annoyed.

“I think they were religious,” David said once they’d left.

Oh God, I hope he didn’t hear that they were Christians.

The whole thing happened at the best time for me. Approaching peak cynicism, I was ready for a break. Not from the Christian faith, but from Christendom—the collection of fame-mongers using rubrics they invented in schools of thought they alone deemed wise.

“I tell you,” Jesus replied, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

But Jesus, they won’t keep quiet. If only they’d keep quiet for once.

Half of them are obnoxiously talking about how well they’ve served you while the other half rolls their eyes at the first half. I’m tired of both.

Like Moses striking the rock instead of speaking to it, the first half will honor their traditions instead of what you’re saying now.

Annoyed by the sound of rock-bashing, the other half will quit believing you speak to us at all. They’ll keep trolling and posting and “Actually, I read an article”-ing their way into an oblivion they’ll ultimately blame on you for not existing.

Sometimes, I wish both halves would shut up about shutting hell down or salivating at the concerned attention they get when they no longer believe in hell.

I found it hard to know if Jesus was right about what happens when Christians keep quiet…so I stepped away from them.

David became my friend. He was part of neither group. David was the rock I needed to hear. Christians weren’t going to keep quiet, so I walked far enough away to listen to the rocks for once.

This is what the rocks said over dinner:

  • The Busboy was a Bus-man. He was married and barely spoke English. I sat back in my chair as he felt safe enough to ask David for advice on buying a house. I watched David counsel him through the whole process and ensure that Bus-man knew David was in his corner. I watched a “heathen” navigate an immigrant’s journey to home ownership and was reminded of the folks who helped my parents do the same thing after we got to the States and all they knew to say was, “Yes” and “Coca-Cola.”

“Arvin, If I were in human form on the earth right now, this is exactly what I’d be doing.”

This is what the rocks said when my heart got broken:

  • On the day his longtime beloved dog died, David got a hold of me to see how I was doing. He’d found out I’d recently gone through a breakup and wanted to make sure I was okay. He was dealing with loss, yet able to offer himself to those he loved.

“Arvin, if I were in human form on the earth right now, this is exactly what I’d be doing.”

And this is what the rocks said after a fire:

  • Several people had just lost everything they’d owned. David stood next to a young orphan whose young life had just been reduced to a check from the Red Cross.

“Did you have a bunch of stuff up there?” David asked him.

“I had my Dad’s ashes in an urn in the closet.” the young man said.

I then heard David say, “Oh good! It’s not like they could get more burned!” before hearing the heartiest laugh from the young man.

“Arvin, If I were in human form on the earth right now, this is exactly what I’d be doing.”

While we walk around, spending that delicious mental health God gave us on doubting his existence or faithfulness or debating whether or not we can hear his voice, God’s speaking to the busboys and the brokenhearted and victims of loss through the lips of people who don’t even believe in him.

The rocks are crying out.

And if you’re one of his disciples, I hope you’ll consider keeping quiet for long enough to listen. You’ll accidentally hear the gospel. You’ll see the Saul-soon-to-be-Pauls of our time. You’ll hear the rocks cry out.

And let me tell you, their alabaster smells better than your filthy rags.

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