Friday, March 18, 2011

Faith and Fun

These pictures are not from the St. Patrick's Day party we went to tonight. But they capture the same spirit of innocent fun that I thought I might mention in this brief post. Tonight reminded me of the experience that first made me recognize that Christ is real, and that continually reminds me that He is not just an idea but the Person who is really at the heart of my life.

I did not begin to take Christ seriously in my life because I had a mystical vision, or some kind of paranormal experience. I discovered, in a new way, that Christ was real when I met a group of friends who really followed Him, and who also lived life with exuberance, vitality, interest, freedom, and joy. People who were able to be themselves without constraint, who were glad to be alive, who were ready to give and sacrifice themselves and also to have fun, whenever having fun was the appropriate way to respond to the reality at hand. And it is often appropriate, because real human life is full of so much that is ironic, so much that is beyond our control, unexpected, petty, burdensome, so much that is a little bit ridiculous.

In front of real human life, some are cynical, while others are distracted, detached, or sad. The miracle in front of real human life is cheerfulness, an innocent spirit of fun that is not dislodged by life because it knows the place of everything. It is a playful wisdom. It is joy.

This is what converted me to Christ. Not scrupulous religious intensity. Not intellectual brilliance. Not the desire for a safe place to hide. What converted me was meeting a group of people who believed that it might be possible for life to be fun after all--and that the laughter of children was not a deception destined to end in disappointment. Not because life is easy, but because there is Something that makes every minute of it worth living, even embracing with joy.

This is what converted me to Christ: the miracle of human beings who were glad to be alive, who were full of hope, who were not afraid.