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Posts Tagged ‘Adversity’

by Jordan Hathcock

You have heard the idea of: “Unity within Diversity”. I’m all for it, but as a collective church (conservative to progressive), I don’t think we are truly desiring this to be a reality. We have our reasons, right? It can come from all sorts of certain expectations regarding how we all want church to look like. We desire it all to be nicely wrapped in one ideological bow. If we come to a schism in which this bow is being unwarrantedly unwrapped, we are going to have some problems when it comes to unity. Or it can be due to many religious traumas that we experienced regarding a plethora of unhealthy church practices. What are we to do? Well, I think both fears can be faced and conquered by (wait for it) HUMOR (didn’t see that one coming, huh?).

We should be more inclined to have unity within adversity. We all have our mountain of shit when it comes to our personal and corporate issues as a Jesus community. To come to a place of growth, stepping into the space of humor helps us get there. Cause let’s face it: If we don’t allow grace for ourselves and others to experience true freedomthen forget about healing and liberating the world (not to say that is our full responsibility…remember Jesus?).

Now as a church (when I say church I mean anyone who claims to be a participant in the Jesus way–not a particular denomination within Christianity, FYI) we need not to be the world police but instead, a light on the hill (I.e., an example). We are not going to be a perfect little community doing everything right but maybe more of a community showing grace to each other in the bad and good times? How about we let go of the stress of doing church right and become keener to our sense of humor. New physiological studies have found comedy to be the most effective when it comes to any type of stress:

“Two new studies from the Stanford Psychophysiology Laboratory demonstrate that, in the face of stressful imagery, comedy is a more effective coping strategy than solemnity – and positive, optimistic humor is more effective than cynicism. ”https://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/august/humor-coping-horror-080111.html

Doesn’t this tie in beautifully with our fears regarding church unity? A big part of becoming a place of unity (I.e., Grace filled) is when we overcome adversity together. Overcoming adversity can be a very challenging and stressful obstacle, no doubt. There really isn’t anything like going through the relationship gauntlet within the community context (especially a religious one…yikes). I think when we step into a space of humor, we are more susceptible to having fun. Look, I know forming a healthy Jesus community is not all skittles and rainbows. It’s tough work to say the least. But by understanding that to play within this community setting is a huge step in doing healthy community.

Pastor and author Peter Hiett spoke about how the judgment of God is actually fun. He puts it like this:

“We battle division with communion; we battle evil by passing the ball; we battle the void with the presence of God; we battle desecration with creation; we battle death with Love and when everyone loves, all is Life, and everyone that’s anyone wins the war.

And so why does Peter Hiett not have more fun?

He thinks it’s his responsibility to win that war.

It turns out that God has already won the war so that Peter Hiett can enjoy playing the game.

If you’re not having fun, don’t just make more rules about passing the ball—that’s religion.

Instead: Let this day, be “that day.” Let God judge you at the tree in the garden.

Watch him pass the ball. Watch him win the war and you will join the game that is a dance and has no end, for it is the end and the beginning; it is the Judgment of God—not death, but Life eternal.

PS You are his trophy. . . and he’s already holding you. So, enjoy the game.” https://relentless-love.org/sermons/the-death-of-fun-religion/

Can we enjoy the church game? Is it possible or even fathomable? What Heitt hits right in the head is this: we can be a people of joy, if we want to believe that the God, we follow is a God of joy. To impossible? It’s back to the whole fear factor of God, isn’t it? Do we believe God is love or fear? We must not take ourselves too seriously if we ever want to be a people of abundant life. As Alan Watts said: “Everyone takes everything to do with religion seriously. And you must understand that I am not a serious person; I may be sincere but not serious, because I don’t think the universe is serious.” Maybe we need more sincerity vs judgmental seriousness? Whatever the case may be, I think it’s time to start having fun and laugh within this faith we call Christianity. The fate of the world might depend on it (or not, just trying to be hyperbolic, ok?).

Jordan Hathcock began writing as a regular guest blogger and has been a great addition to the site. He also writes at his own site called Hazy Divinity He can be contacted by email at: jrhathcockss@gmail.com

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