Attitudes That Do Not Square with the Christian Faith: Sillyness
But too often we simply sail according to the world's compass. I can't count the number of times I've heard a pastor tell a joke to "warm a congregation up." I'm all for personal connection with one's audience, and I myself enjoy a pastor who is warm and engaging, but I'm not sure why Christians think they need to be silly in order to connect with one another. Pastors aren't comedians. There's nothing in the Bible that would lend us to think that there's anything funny about preaching. There may be occasional humor in a sermon, but to strike a silly pose is to rob the pulpit of its solemnity and its power. Moving from services to everyday life, so many young people today think and act like life is one big joke that circles through all of one's conversations. I'm amazed at how foolish many conversations I have actually are. With men, especially, or more specifically young men, I'm struck by how often and how quickly common interactions turn ridiculous or silly. Such dialogue cheapens life and robs it of meaningfulness. I'm all for being lighthearted, but we've sacrificed lightheartedness for sillyness in the current day.
Sillyness and mockery prevent us from seeing people as dignified beings made in the image of God. Futhermore, these postures subtly trick us as they leave us thinking that life is fundamentally funny and easy-going. This is far from the truth. Life is difficult, and sin is real, and Satan is whisking people to hell every second the world turns. There's nothing funny about that. Such a reality should not rob us of joy, but it should infuse us with a seriousness that respects people and treats life as a meaningful exercise. The next time you contemplate a ridiculous youth group event, pastor, or you crack your fourth joke in an otherwise serious conversation, young man, think about the approach our Lord took towards life, and remember your mother's words: "Wipe that silly grin off your face!" There's a place for laughing in our lives, but there's also a considerable place for seriousness.