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A Return to Silliness in a Song

Some time ago, I wrote about silliness  (and more recently here ), but I come back to it because I need it--and because I can't help it. Nothing is quite like the pressure of Self Importance, and I'm so much more likely to snap at you when, clearly, my agenda is The Agenda. So, let's try something. I'll set my agenda down if you will. Deal? I'll even set mine down first--there; it looks so much smaller on the floor, doesn't it? Now it's your turn--for we've made a deal, and we have a song to sing. Please, silly songs don't work all that well when our arms are weighed down. Good--I know you feel better because I do, too. Now for the song. It's called "A Song Best Sung to Little Ones," and it goes like this: Wiggle your toes and scrunch up your nose-- Yes, like that--for you have them! Your toes And your nose, now what do they knows? How to wiggle and how to scrunch! "And what of my stuffy bears? What of Their noses and wiggledy toes

A Long Quote From Chesterton

I spent some time recently writing about silliness. Since then, I've remembered one of my favorite quotes. It's from a book called Orthodoxy , by G.K. Chesterton. A book with that title doesn't immediately inspire silliness, I know, but -- as I've written elsewhere -- I imagine he wrote it with a smile on his face, maybe even while laughing aloud. The passage I have in mind is the final paragraph of the book. It is about Jesus, and joy, and sadness, and anger. I quote it in full because I wanted to type it and share it: "Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian. And as I close this chaotic volume I open again the strange small book from which all Christianity came; and I am again haunted by a kind of confirmation. The tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect, as in every other, above all the thinkers who ever thought themselves tall. His pathos was natural, almost casual. The Stoics, ancient an

Silliness Solidifies Relationships

On February 8th, I posted an introduction of sorts called "Toward a Manifesto of Silliness." Every week since then I've written about silliness, mostly as a way to meditate on and answer the question: What makes silliness important? My family and I talked it over, and here are our answers: "Silliness is a Sign of Joy." "Silliness is Important Because We are Silly." "Silliness is Just Fun." "Silliness Helps Bring Balance." Thinking on and writing about those answers helped this last silly answer grow -- I had an idea at first, but those initial answers shaped how I thought/think about silliness. It was a suspicion that began the day my youngest son and I played our game of nothing. Remember? All this began with nothing. Try to imagine: First, we sat side by side, the whole room bright from the sun. Soon, he draped his arms around my neck, and because of the faces we'd been making, laughter took over. His brothers were close by,

Silliness Helps Bring Balance

If you've been with us for the last few weeks, you're beginning to see what we feel about silliness. If you haven't been checking in on us, however, here's what you've missed: * We asked some initial questions about why silliness is important . * Firstly, we said, silliness is a sign of joy . * Secondly, we are obviously silly and obviously important. You are, too, if you were wondering . * Thirdly, silliness is just fun . Don't worry, we'll wait while you catch up on all that reading. ... Good, I'm glad you're back! We're just giving another answer: Fourthly, silliness is important because it helps bring balance. I hope you know we're being earnest, if not completely serious. That last sentence made me smile, and I needed it at the moment. You see, even though all this writing and posting amounts to little, there's a feeling that begins at the back of my mind when I think I'm doing something good, especially when I'm glad about m

Silliness Is Just Fun

A small look back at what I've shared so far reveals the moment all this silliness began: It was after a game of nothing my son and I played . The game stuck in my mind for some reason, and so I asked the whole family, "What makes silliness important?" They gave their answers, going round the table quick-like, and I was stunned by the ease with which they replied. First answer: "It's a sign of joy."  And it is. Second answer: "Because we are silly."  We are. Silly. And important. Then came the third: "It's just fun." So here we are. I still use the Bible my youth group leader gave me in junior high. It's an NIV Study Bible with helpful notes and explanations. Sometimes I see the notes I wrote in the margins and cringe; other times I'm thankful to have a history of my errors, my growth, and God's faithfulness. As I thought about my son's answer -- It's just fun -- I remembered a small note I jotted down next to Psal

Silliness Is Important Because We Are Silly

Where have we been so far? In my introductory post,  Toward a Manifesto of Silliness , I wrote that I asked my family: "What makes silliness important?" The first answer: Silliness Is a Sign of Joy . Today, we're meditating on our second answer: Silliness is important because we are silly. As I explained about the first answer, this one also found me at a loss. It was a probing kind of answer, and, as we'll see in later posts, it's where I'm headed with all this nonsense. But hang with me here for now. Isn't the circular nature of this answer fitting? Silliness is important because we are silly; we are silly because it's important. As an argument, this circular kind rests at the peak of hilarity -- it's silly. And yet, the very nature of what we're discussing here requires a deep presupposition that can't be explained anyway. So we're fine with circular if you are. "Look around you," my son seemed to say. "Aren't WE s

Silliness Is a Sign of Joy

In my introductory post,  Toward a Manifesto of Silliness , I wrote that I asked my family: "What makes silliness important?" A second passed, and one of my sons said, "It's a sign of joy." When I ask questions of my family -- my sons especially -- I anticipate what they might say in the hope of finding some wisdom to impart, of finding a teaching moment. This rapid-fire answer caught me off guard. I don't know why, really, but I wasn't prepared for the speed at which he answered or for the force of the answer itself. JOY! He may as well have shouted it. Upon reflection, I don't know what I was prepared to hear instead. Yet here I was, receiving wisdom unawares; it was the kind that strikes you on the mouth -- and you smile at the truthful ring of it. Of course! I've had time since then to think about what the little sage said, and I keep coming back to this promise God made to his people long, long ago through the prophet Zephaniah: "On tha