While preparing for a talk next week (called, “God and Creativity: is Christianity bad for the arts?” – more on that next week), I came across this article over the regularly-excellent Relevant Magazine.
The Biblical Basis for Fun by Adam and Christine Jeske
I don’t have much to add, other than, “Yeeeess!”
Fun is an important part of the way I live my life, and the way I go about the work I do. But sometimes I feel like it doesn’t sit well with people. Maybe they think I’m not taking things seriously enough, or that I’m a bit immature. Whatevs (as I would normally say to them). But Christians don’t really have a reputation for being ‘fun,’ and our attempts to change that are usually fairly cringe-worthy. I guess there are justifiable concerns about avoiding immorality and being sober-minded. But I actually think the way we think about fun says a lot about what we think about Jesus…
I think the problem is that our view of fun is lacking. We equate fun with the wrong things. We think it means trivial, or selfish, or running after material pleasure. But what about joy and celebration? What about joy and celebration? As the Jeskes say in their article, “fun is not escaping from reality—it’s entering in more fully.” Seriously fun.
As I read about Jesus in the gospels, you can’t help but notice that he’s a lot of fun. He’s the guy who brings gallons of amazing wine to a wedding party. He’s the guy that people drop everything to spend time with. He tells hilarious stories. Sinners and tax collectors invite him to their parties, and children flock to him. Is that how I make Jesus sound when I tell people about him? When I talk about Jesus, I’m ultimately inviting them to a party with him that will last for all eternity. Do I make it sound like one of those family occasions where you stay for as long as you’re obliged, but no longer than that?
When we squeeze the fun out of life as a Christian, we squeeze the truth out of the gospel. Knowing Jesus should make life more fun, not less! Yes, the gospel is deeply serious. It’s about life and death. The reality of our sin and God’s judgment is serious, and so is the fact that Jesus died to reconcile us to God. But while it is serious, it’s also GOOD news!
And shouldn’t news as good as this produce the kind of lightness of heart that allows me to enjoy the amusing details of the world we live in? It secures my identity so I can laugh at my own foibles and awkwardness. My acceptance and reputation come from Jesus and what he’s done, not from me, so I embark on adventures without the crippling fear of failure. And I can look at the hilarious, intriguing world I live in and see the meaning behind it, because I know the one who made it. That makes it more fun, not less!
As the Jeskes put it, “if we have fun, we will follow Jesus better, we will know him more, we will be more effective in our service to Him and the world.” I agree completely. So I pray I’ll be able to live a life that’s fun enough to point to the reality of the gospel, and which entices others in to enjoy it with me!