Tuesday, October 04, 2011

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 we're being infantish when we refuse to have fun with God because we're 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! Can I get a witness?!

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? Click here.) 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 even 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 now and I’ll be bringing my iPod. CCR is about to be in concert on my head.



  1. Jackie Hyatt Lacy2:51 PM

    This was "fun" to read, now to look for my CCR cd's! :)

  2. Dave O'Brien4:23 PM

    Love Fogerty! Listening to "It Came Out Of The Sky" as we speak!

  3. Donna Tremblay5:39 PM

    Haven't heard this one before, but great music!

  4. Victoria Gaines10:53 PM

    Dude! And you didn't tag me for this?:-) j/k...pulling out my air guitar right now! lol....

  5. Sharon Stiles10:53 PM

    I am listening to this and getting a great mental picture of you playing the air guitar...and I haven't even met you in person :) blessings brother!!!!! ps. got the book this a.m. thanks :)

  6. Lisa Fowler11:01 PM

    Great song to happy dance to :-)

  7. Kathleen Quinn Lubahn11:01 PM

    I guess that's why I teach Preschool now.. although high schoolers are so fun!

  8. Steve Elsmore11:03 PM

    Like button is sooo inadequate, LOVE it. This is how I live!

  9. Kimberley Robertson11:04 PM

    funny music vid. and like CCR. time to have some FUN!

  10. Donna Tremblay11:04 PM

    I have the same problem with Talking Heads, that I love to hear every now and then, and The B-52's, childish or childlike, whatever, He sees the purity of our hearts and the pure...after all, he created fun! Take me to the River!!!

  11. LadyGrace Crow11:04 PM

    Love this post! Thanks Ralph.

  12. Donna Tremblay11:05 PM

    Love that PRAY FOR YOU song, hystereical!!!!! LOL

  13. Carol Grace Robinson11:05 PM

    Oh goodness Ralph, you should be more serious like me!

  14. Paula MakeSparkles Chambers11:06 PM

    I resigned from Adulthood back in 2009. Life is just to short to be taken so seriously.

  15. MaryAnn Pacheco Beulah11:07 PM

    Love it! :D

  16. Cathy Rheeder3:32 PM

    What an excellent early morning turbo boost,im in 5th gear & over drive!wooooo! Love ccr,love singing + dancing. Love it raph! Thanx.

  17. Daud Putranto3:32 PM


  18. Sherry Thompson3:33 PM

    LOl oh Ralph, I smiled big and giggled reading through this...I often say it is a conspiracy, I know it LOL jk around of course... Can I get a witness? Thanks Ralph... Dance dance dance play time... wow yep Let us all have some FUN :))

  19. Dottie Ryan3:33 PM

    Printing this off to read. Can't wait! :)

  20. Christa Durand7:08 PM

    Morning Ralph! I just spend some time around your blog etc. Please include me in your blog posts? I also hear His whispers of "LET'S HAVE FUN!!!!" I am in such a space of laughing and laughing (for nothing really) these days, its quite awesome!

    I want to put my hands on your BOOK very desperately. Has anyone in South Africa ordered it? Maybe Cape Town?

    Lastly, I know a Retha Badenhorst from our YWAM Cape Town years, was
    wondering if it's the same Retha who made a comment on your blogpost? She used to be involved in School of Biblical Studies here.

    Have a FUN day. And i do agree, you are an outstanding communicator, quite a GIFT!!!!

  21. Teresa Lynn Dennis7:09 PM

    Wooohooo! About a year ago a group of us ladies living at the tip of Africa went away for the weekend - on a retreat - it was one huge laughing session, with us regularly engaging in 'childish' behaviour as we enjoyed our God!! Going to share what you have written here with some 'childish' ladies this afternoon!!!

  22. Rodeen Williams7:09 PM

    Amen... Joy & fun should be lifted up more as a value we embrace--especially in the church...
    "For the joy set before Him..."
    The women at the tomb ran away with ecstatic (ecstasis) joy...
    Acts 2 -- Ecstatic joy at 9:00 AM ...
    "Joy is the serious business of heaven."--C.S. Lewis

  23. Dottie Ryan7:27 AM

    Well Ralph ...I don't know whether to pray for you- or join in on the fun. So I think I might just do both!! You are Krazy!! :)

  24. I really appreciate your comments, everyone.

  25. Jeanne Schlumbohm7:28 AM

    How true... lets just rest in Him and have fun in and through Him. Timely word!!

  26. Patti Renwick7:32 AM

    AMEN!! Just spent a whole week visiting with three beautiful women and to say we acted full of childish fun is an understatement. And you know who was in it all??? Our Dad!! Ralph...loved this post. Was that you I saw...walking the dog and doing a litlle hip hop?? It was cause I laughed in my imaginings!! God Bless us!!