Sometimes it is OK to laugh at ourselves.
I am Reformed, as most of you probably know.
When I say that, I don’t mean the pop-reformed, conference going, almost five points, know a little bit about beards and micro-brews and read John Piper once.
I mean actually Reformed – I hold to the historic reformed confessions. I belong to a real Reformed denomination and submit to the authority of fellow elders.
But sometimes we need to laugh a bit at ourselves. Sometimes I feel that a real weakness in our tribe is the struggle to be human beings. It is almost like those who belong to Reformed churches are actually cyborgs trying to access their “human interaction” programming modules.
You can tell whenever you try to engage them in normal human activity. There is a bit of a stare, almost eye to eye but not quite. The beard quivers a bit, and after a split second that is just slightly too long, they say something that is ALMOST appropriate – but not quite – to the situation.
This phenomenon is only observable with normal human behavior. If you start a conversation quoting Owens or Edwards or even RC Sproul, they can almost come across normal.
But anything outside of their programming, they can’t quite seem to click.
Sometimes the human interaction module malfunctions completely. Take these examples.
I visited a Reformed church when I was in my early 20s. I knew one person there. That person came up to me after the service with a group of his friends. They stared just past the top of my head and shuffled their feet awkwardly. I said, “Hi, I’m Sam.”
The leader of the gang said, “Are you Reformed?”
I said, ….”yessss……”
He said, “Do you believe that God ordains the reprobation of the wicked as well as the election of the righteous?”
See? They human interaction module malfunctioned. It is a common error message that flashes in unexpected places.
A few years later, a young man visited the church. He was poor, on his own, on the verge of being homeless. After the service, he asked a group of men where he could go to buy some food.
Conversation stopped. Awkward shuffling. Eyes slightly unfocused. Pending malfunction. Prepare for error message:
“Ummm. We don’t shop on Sundays. It’s the Lord’s day…” And there it is…
I think one of the best things we can do is just be human beings. Jesus became flesh and is not ashamed to call us brothers. He is the express image of God in the flesh and he came to redeem us in the flesh – to restore us as actual human beings with feelings, tastes, emotions, artistry, joy – and hungers.
We long for beauty, for significance, for respect, for intimacy. We long to simply connect.
Let us not be ashamed of just being human. Let’s listen to music. Let’s read CS Lewis and resist the urge to say “Actually, he was wrong on…” Just enjoy it.
We really don’t have to have a life and world view on the music of Dean Lewis or Passenger. Let’s just be human, enjoy it, praise God for the forgiveness of sins and join the human race.
I think this is what Solomon meant when he said,
(Ecc 9:7-10 KJV) 7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.
9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.
10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
2 responses to “On being human”
Ahhhh Sam, this post is so wonderful you just got me doing a Pentecostal jig up and down the aisles and hollering hallelujah!
I am teasing you, I come from some fairly reformed and staid Presbyterians. When I was a teen ager, our youth pastor had a sleep over for us in the basement. In the middle of the night he suddenly decided we should all go into the sanctuary for some pajama praise. And we did, we worshiped in our PJ’s and we laughed and we learned how to never let that, ” human interaction module” malfunction.
The humanity of Jesus is one of the most beautiful gifts to receive. He is with us in everything, He has walked there Himself, and He loves us even in our frailty and weakness.
“Laughter is good medicine.” Keep laughing, Sam, and we’ll all keep praying. 🙂