Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why Indeed?

Last week Christy and I went to see a great movie. Now, maybe no one but me will tell you it was a great movie. In fact, if you ask the critics, they’ll tell you it was a C+ at best. If you hop on over to Rotten Tomatoes, you’ll find out that it only got a 21% on the Tomato Meter. Sure it was a chick flick, and yes, there were some cheesy one-liners, and of course you could smell the plot coming from about a mile away, but guess what? It was still a great movie... Why? Because, we laughed, we had fun and we were entertained and uplifted. I mean, movies are supposed to be entertaining, right? Our great date movie got panned by the critics because it was cute and predictable. It got panned because it wasn’t dark or heavy and didn’t deal with any ‘important issues’ but we loved it and smiled all the way home.

These days, in order for a movie to be considered good or worthwhile, it has to be good art... but who decides what’s good art? I mean, have you seen a painting by Jackson Pollack?! That guy’s stuff looks like a box of crayons got the stomach flu... gross. In the last ten years or so, movies that win awards and get good grades are more often than not base, dark, sad, violent, cruel and even depressing. Who decided that vile equals good? Who decided that sin equals daring and important art? Movies are supposed to be entertaining. I already know how backwards and messed up this world is. I don’t need to pay nine bucks to get depressed. But hey, that’s just the way this world is... and this treatise on movies is just my little ‘ole opinion, but it does remind me of something:

It seems like a lot of Christians are in love with sadness lately. I have been reading a lot of people that I totally love and respect who are really pumped about spiritualizing sadness. They say that sadness is honest, and that ‘the dark night of the soul’ is just about as holy as you can get. They say Jesus didn’t come to secure our happiness and that happiness is such a trite and fleeting emotion anyway that has little to do with true Godliness. This confuses me, because it seems like they like it; as in, they like being sad... Now, I’m not going to sit here on some kind of pedestal and pretend that I’ve got it all together or that I’m Mr. Joybells all the time, because I have dark days just like the next guy, but here’s the thing: I don’t like those days. I don’t like the way it feels to be sad. I don’t think the Holy Spirit lives in me to perpetuate despondency because sadness is somehow a good thing.

In John 15, Jesus said that He wanted His joy to be in me and He wanted my joy to be complete. In Philippians 4 Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, rejoice!” In chapter 1 he said that the only reason he was still on this earth was for their progress and joy in the faith, that their joy in Christ Jesus might overflow! Sometimes Christians say that joy and happiness are two different things... as in, they are totally sad, but they have the joy of the Holy Spirit somewhere down inside there... I don’t think this makes much sense, and I don’t think they can find a verse for it. 1 Peter 1 says that because we believe in Jesus, we are filled with an “inexpressible and glorious joy.” That doesn’t sound very sad to me!

In Philippians 4, after telling us to rejoice in the Lord always, Paul says this: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” You see, joy is a choice, and so much of it comes down to what you think about. Sadness isn’t holy, it’s sad, and when heaven is ushered in, it will be done away with finally and totally. Jesus has died for us to take away our sins, give us a place in heaven and in His heart forever and ever... as the old Christmas song, The Sussex Carol says, “Then why should men on earth be so sad, since our Redeemer made us glad?”

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