Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Air Guitar & Conspiracy
My daughters are in on the conspiracy, I’m sure of it.
Almost two weeks ago, the Spirit surprised me with the following words in my head: “I want you to have more fun. . .with me.” Well, I’m having some trouble with that. I mean fun is for weekends and vacation, right? Fun is for kids on a playground and idiot youths on sleepovers. Fun is irresponsible. Fun is not productive. Right? Hasn’t anyone ever told you, with a bit of a sneer, “Hey! You’re having too much fun! Don’t you have a job or something better to do?!” Only they didn’t mean better, they meant harder, more responsible. And more quiet. Probably they meant something like, “Dear God, can’t you get yourself together and act like an adult?!”
The words were drenched with shame on you.
Well, if I’m ever going to live by faith, then, for me, that’s going to mean having more fun with God even around people who might think I’m being, well, bad, or less than the good I should be. Frankly, I don’t particularly like it when people draw the target of disdain on my back—you know what I mean? Have you ever caught a glimpse of someone giving a he’s such an immature idiot look to those who are the audience of your loony moment? It’s like that person is looking around at everyone except you in order to form a gang by shaping their opinion that you are, in fact, an immature idiot. Now, thanks to your looniness, everyone knows what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Let’s get to work, since Ralph, the epitome of immature idiot-ishness, isn’t getting anything done.
Honestly, I adore God, and that often reduces, er, liberates me into childlikeness, which is a really close cousin of childishness. And hasn’t Cousin Childish gotten a bad name? Between those two words, childlike and childish, entire nations have squared-off against each other and gone to war. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but haven’t you noticed how much fighting and shaming goes on by the behavior police over which is which? Over which is acceptable and which is not? I mean, who is to say? Childlike & Childish: A Paradigm for the 21st Century wasn’t a class offered at my college. Yours?
I know, I know. My favorite bible person, Paul, wrote about childishness, telling the Corinthians to knock it off.
9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child (infant), I talked like a child (infant), I thought like a child (infant), I reasoned like a child (infant). When I became a man, I put childish (infantlike) ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:9-12, italics mine)
But Paul wasn’t saying that they should quit acting like kids—stop playing around!—he was telling them (and us) to stop clinging to what we believed when we were imprisoned under the law! If they didn’t, they would be stuck as infants (Nepios, the Greek word) in immaturity—move on! Grow up. There’s a new covenant now where love is the greatest—both the receiving and the giving.
I’d say the church (and me!) is being infantish when it refuses to have fun with God because it’s busy being serious, as if seriousness equals maturity. It doesn’t. Often it means locked-down behavior, the end of funny antics and loony playfulness because The Scrutinizers have spoken. Thus saith The Scrutinizers. Paul meant that we must come away from a faith that keeps us in immature infancy (Nepios); he didn’t mean that we should leave the playfulness of childhood. It is unfortunate that we’ve attached an inaccurate meaning to the word, “childish,” and stuck it into our biblical interpretation. Nepios means “infant,” with regard to what one believes. It usually has nothing to do with behavior and everything to do with believing.
Let’s invite Cousin Childish back into the room, and praise him for his true identity. How ‘bout a round of applause for C2!
Anyway, over the last few days each of my daughters has given me something that has induced childishness in their father. I know God’s in on it, even if they don’t—it’s His conspiracy. First, Emma told me about a video where some guy prays wicked prayers for his former girlfriend, who recently rejected him. (Didn’t see it? Scroll down and look for “New Prayer Tips.”) I loved it, and, throwing off the heretofore well-fitted, I-must-be-serious-before-The-Scrutinizers cloak, posted it all over the place. And then this morning, Ellen gave me a Creedence Clearwater Revival CD with not only some songs I didn’t have (How did THAT happen?!), but one I hadn’t heard in eons—It Came Out Of The Sky. Have you heard it? Come on—it rocks! (Click on the video below.) And I’ve played it eight times already, ripping some fantastic air guitar, air drums and air mouth(!) during at least three of the plays. Maybe four.
So immature. Except that nobody could see. There was no one to scrutinize and shame me. And God loved it. He was on background vocals. He’s pretty good with harmony.
I’m going to go take our dog for a walk, and I’ll be bringing my iPod. CCR is about to be in concert on my head.