Thursday, October 26, 2023

With Those Who Laugh

Our culture - and those we love - gives us plenty of opportunities to engage in things that, in our private life, we would never choose for ourselves. As we saw a couple of days ago, the long-standing Christian tradition has been to vocally protest, to stand against things, but this only gives our culture reason to know us only by what we are against. Or maybe, like we saw yesterday, we participate, but we do so with a grumbling spirit, making sure that anyone who might see us knows that we don't want to be here and we would never do this on our own. But, as we said, that isn't really any better. Nor is either the way of Jesus. 

So what, then, do we do? 

There are Christians who whole-heartedly just affirm everything they get into in the world. They call it "love," but it is no such thing. We don't need to spend a whole lot of time talking about what Jesus would say here - because we know that while He loved everyone, He refused to leave them as they were. He didn't just take things as they already came; He always sought to make them better. More holy. More of what they were intended to be. 

Which leaves us back at the question - what do we do?

And I think, we do what love invites us to do. 

We go into the places and engage in the things that love tells us to engage in. And that doesn't mean that we have to enjoy them - though not enjoying them is not a reason to grumble, either. And that doesn't mean that we affirm them - our presence is an affirmation of the one we love, not the thing we happen to be doing. And that doesn't mean that we don't continue to guard our hearts. Certainly, we must remain mindful of the things that we let become part of our lives, even in a temporary sense. Even in the name of love. 

Here's my approach, and take it for whatever it's worth: I have a lot of opportunity to engage in media that isn't my thing. TV shows, movies, music. Whatever. I've even had a couple of folks very excitedly show me some Tik Tok videos. It is what it is. If you were to set up a camera to follow me around all the time, you would find that I would never choose any of these things for myself. They aren't my thing. They aren't the kind of thing my heart is really into. 

But these are my people. These are my folks. These are the ones God has given me (see Jesus's prayer in John). And for that reason, I engage the media. There is nothing unclean in this world for me. 

And while I'm engaging the media, I laugh. I dance. I cry. I hug. Whatever it moves the person I love to, I'm right there with them. 

I'm not laughing because I think it's funny. If you watch me, I'm rarely even watching the media; I'm watching the one I love. And I'm laughing because they are laughing. Because I love watching and hearing them laugh. Because I love that they have joy. I'm dancing not because this music is my jam or because I'm particularly into it, but because the person I love is dancing, and I love that for them. I do! I love seeing them get their groove on and let go of themselves and just have fun. So...let's dance. 

See, in anything that culture invites us to engage, there is a fellowship opportunity. There is a one anothering. There is something about it that draws us closer to someone made in God's image, a brother or sister (by blood or not) that we are called to love. 

Jesus knew it. 

And that's enough for me. 

My niece thinks I won't enjoy this television show she was talking about. She's probably right - I probably wouldn't enjoy it. But I would enjoy being with her. I would enjoy watching her enjoy it. I would enjoy the opportunity to engage with her as she enjoys it. 

And there's not a single dot or tittle in the Bible that is against that.  

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