23 April 2007

Joy to the World!

Babies are born knowing how to cry, but they have to learn how to laugh. Every mother knows this: By 2 months her baby can smile in response to attention, and by 3 or 4 months she begins making imitative noises. But real, honest-to-goodness belly laughs don’t occur until 5 or 6 months. Crying comes right out of the gut; laughter requires context.

What makes a baby laugh is the essence of all humor—a sense of unexpectedness. A baby’s life is basically a serious business of getting needs met by adults who carry, feed, dress and change him. Then one day there pops around the corner of consciousness a truly antic figure, well past toddlerhood yet far short of adolescence.

This figure hangs upside down, makes faces, grunts like a chimpanzee—and it’s hilarious. Mother may say, “Stop acting silly, Jimmy,” but Baby is shaking with uncontrollable mirth. Smiling and talking are learned responses, but laughter comes out of nowhere and takes him by surprise.

A baby has to understand congruity to recognize incongruity. From such unsophisticated beginnings his sense of humor is on a speedy track to underwear and potty jokes.

Like everything else, humor is corrupted by sin and too soon becomes cynical, bitter, or mocking. It’s the way Sarah laughed at the prophecy of her coming motherhood: “A bag of bones like me swelling up like a dewy young bride? That’ll be the day.”That was the day, when Sarah laughed again. This time for joy—and for surprise, because she had been around long enough to know that this is not the way things work in the world. She named her baby Laughter, for “all who hear of it will laugh with me.”

G.K Chesterton once made a similar comparison between paganism and Christianity. Paganism was usually rated a religion of joy and Christianity of sorrow, but in truth it was just the opposite. Paganism has taken the world’s measure and knows that life is sorrowful business at heart; therefore, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we will die.” But Christianity recognizes that a world of hurt is surrounded by a universe of joy.

Our faith teaches a three-personed God so full of love He could not keep it to Himself. We know the foundations of the earth were laid “when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). Our God saw the end from the beginning, calculated the sum of blood and pain and destruction and death and abomination—and still considered the whole creation enterprise to be worth its cost. Joy is fundamental; grief is a passing shade.

One notable occasion during His earthly life, the Man of Sorrows, rejoicing in the Spirit, looked heavenward and cried out, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children” (Luke 10:21). The “little children” were the 12 disciples, who had returned from a mission trip all agog that the demons obeyed them in Christ’s name. Like, wow! No jaded cynicism here: These were boys who could still be surprised, babbling like babies at the wonders they’d seen. Jesus knew the grief that lay before them. But he also knew the hilarity.

No sorrow on earth has ever come near the sorrow of the cross; no abandonment has ever equaled that suffered by the Son; no necessity was ever so grim as that which put Him there. Yet He endured it “for the joy that was set before Him.” We who believe are little children, just experienced enough to be surprised. Yes, care weighs us down, but the irrepressible joy of the universe occasionally pops out and reveals itself, and our youth is renewed…. “There was some on thing,” Chesterton wrote, “that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.” While low in the grave he lay, the world was not surprised; this is its way. But up from the grace He arose, and the world was turned on its head.

Joy to the World
Don’t let anyone tell you that Christianity is a religion of sorrow
Janie B. Cheaney
World Magazine
April 14, 2007

01 April 2007

I sat down to write a long, industrious, educational post for my blog.

But the only words that would come out of my fingers were...

...stinkin’ messed up.

...because that’s what I think of a current condition that I see. It’s this situation where a guy has not made any move in a relationship (possibly because said relationship has been around about...two weeks?) and the ever-patient girl makes the first move by asking if he likes her. Guy replies, “Sure!” (hey, it’s flattering to have someone who wants your attention) and boom, the relationship is off too a rip...roaring...start. That right there doesn’t seem right to me. Don’t ask me why: it sure is easier on the guy to not have to do any awkward, “So...uh...do you like...................................cars?” moments when he really wants to ask a girl if she likes HIM (not cars). But is that how it’s supposed to be? Is it really the right way to go, just because it’s easier?

I thought God designed men to be the initiators in a relationship. It seems to me that guys dread having to make the first move and girls jump on it. But there’s a consistent pattern of guys making the first move and girls who are able to follow coming together, getting married, and sticking together for life...whereas when a girl initiates, it’s usually because of something much less serious than actually caring about the guy. My argument with the theory that girls can initiate because it makes it easier on guys is simply this: Guys who are decent, upstanding young men will move forward in a relationship when they see real growth in it. They’ll take the relationship seriously. Girls tend to be very fluttery as to the condition of a relationship. Sometimes we really are incapable of gauging just how serious it actually is, due to healthy young imaginations, a good dose of self-pity, and a less-than-optimal sense of self-worth.

If you’re a guy whose parents say it’s ok for a girl to ask you out, I pity you, because in doing so, your parents are most likely trying to make it easier for you to get into a relationship...a potentially disastrous and heartbreaking relationship. They’re trying to make it easy on you, and that isn’t the real world. The real world won’t be easy on you.

I welcome challenges, critiques, and comments on this idea/theory/thingy I’ve mulled over the past week or so.

tobyMac In the Air

I had a dream last night about the other side
And I must confess that it was quite the ride
I had a dream last night and the fact that you weren't there
Gave me quite the scare
People were afloat all around me
Yet their weightless state never seemed to astound me
Everything was grand till I noticed one thing
That you, my friend, weren't on the scene

I've been workin' all morning trying to spin my dream
Cause I just can't believe you weren't in my dream
Remember you and I said we would paint the sky
And the leaves on the trees and the stars at night
We made beats and we even wrote rhymes
And played golf, I think, a million times
Now we never got around to spiritual matters
But we sure made time for our mindless chatter

I wanna see you there
In the the air
One day we'll be singin' hallelujah

I wanna see you there
In the the air
One day we'll be singin' hallelujah

Hello, wassup (wassup), how ya doin' (just fine)
I was sorta wonderin', could we make the time
(Just kick it) why not at our usual spot
Latte's in May, mine cold, yours hot
(So where we goin') much deeper than our usual chat
(Like who's beats is weak and who's beats is phat)
Nah, my man, this some next level junk
(Like when we discussed if Tiger Woods could dunk)
Just meet me there, seven o'clock, rain or shine
With a fat cup of bean and a wide open mind

This song scared me! How many of my friends would I not see if I were to have a dream like that tonight?