May I think out loud for a moment…
You may have noticed this already, but sometimes I can be goofy. My wife says, “joyful.” Friends say, “loves to laugh.” Skeptics say, “quirky.” I call it goofy.
There is an ancient quote, as true today as when it was written, “laughter is good medicine.” This quote is my life’s motto. If I can laugh or help someone else laugh, I will do it — even if that means a splash of self-depricating humor.
As a teenager, neckties were my rebellion against the systems of private school chapels and cultural etiquette. I have a picture of myself wearing a bright blue, VeggieTales, Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything tie while shaking the hand of a former North Carolina senator and vice-presidential candidate. (I would tell you the name of the senator, but we North Carolinians would rather forget about that one). I also had a nice collection of Monét ties that I wore regularly, but my wife burned them after we got married.
I have, also, been a regular consumer of comedy. If you run into me at work while around the coffee station, you will hear a quote from The Cosby Show, Brian Regan’s standup routines, or some other comic genius.
As the lyrics of my favorite song point out:
The more I laugh,
he, he, he, hee,
The more I’m a happier me… (from the movie: Mary Poppins)
At this point, you may be thinking, “Wow, this post is random.” It might be. But I think I have a point, and I think it’s good.
Christian culture is not very joyful or happy. Christian activism is even worse.
Sometimes I understand. After all, human trafficking is not funny. Women enslaved in brothels is not humorous. I didn’t laugh when I was in Honduras hearing stories about starving children. Jokes about disabilities are almost always inappropriate. I get it. I don’t think we should make a joke out of something serious. But making fun of the causes or people affected is not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the activists. I’m not sure if we think we are more important than we are or that we have an unhealthy view of what it means to fight for social causes. I don’t know — but I think our seriousness is draining. I think it hurts more than it helps. I know that I get tired of it.
I’m tired of serious people running Christianity. I’m tired of hearing the terms “culture war,” “apologetics,” and “fighting for our rights.” Why? Not because those topics/terms are unimportant, but because of the way we approach them — with a serious face and a clenched fist.
Many times, I’m just as guilty.
I know that I’m good at taking myself, my job, and my life too seriously. My desires to “make a difference” and “change the world” often mislead my brain and my emotions. Instead of embracing the adventure and humor of life — I try to make it overly important and deep. When this happens, I always end up burned, as in burned out. Yes, I know “burned out” is a cliché, and that as a writer I’m supposed to avoid clichés — but it’s a good one. It’s what happens every time the fuel runs out.
Maybe you’re the opposite. Instead of taking yourself, your job, or your life too seriously — you approach all three apathetically. Maybe you need more intentionality and focus. Maybe you need to make your life mean something. I know people like this. They spend a lot of time on the computer. They know a lot about sports. They discuss TV shows and movies more than reality. They are really good at video games. They can navigate a smartphone without looking. They need to grow up and smell, well — something. (I was going to say “the bacon” but I didn’t want to use two clichés in the same blog — as they say, don’t roast the pig you need to cook later!)
Here’s the point: many Christians need to lighten up. I know that we think we are important because we are fighting for God, but we are important because he says so — not because of what we do. I know that we are trying to protect “truth” like a masked guardian in the dark night of culture, but that doesn’t mean we can’t also make fun of ourselves and our own hypocrisy. I think if we lighten up a bit, we might find life and our work to be more enjoyable.
Here’s the other point: some Christians need to get serious, and live for something other than a screen! Get out of mommy’s basement and live a life that matters!
Maybe the difference between living life and living life is a touch of humor.
Do you still think this post was random, or did I bring it around? Do you agree with the point and the other point? Don’t worry, I wrote this entire blog with a very concerned demeanor. I didn’t smile once.