As someone who drives for about 6 or so hours a day. One of the ways I pass the time is listening to podcasts. Many times it is a sermon, leadership or personal growth podcast. But there are times throughout the day where my mind just needs a break so I listen to sports or something for my amusement like The Happy Rant, which is three guys just riffing on all things life, culture, Christian culture (oh no!) and sometimes sports.
As I was enjoying this week’s episode while jogging on my way, they mentioned how someone called them out and said it was time for a break. This Happy Rant critic called them out for being mean and compared them to the movie Mean Girls. Oh the irony!
As my feet were pounding the treadmill, and my ears were listening to these false claims of meanness. The question I started asking myself is, has our Christian culture become so serious that we can’t sit back, have some down time, rant about life with a flare of sarcasm and satire?
Let me slam on the brakes and take a detour here, this week in our Sunday School class (yes we still call it that), we were studying the story of Deborah, Barak, Jael and Sisera (Judges 4-5). ***Spoiler Alerts**** Take a break and read it if you haven’t, but in the story we see Deborah, a prophetess and judge, call out Barak to raise an army because the Lord is going to use him to lead his people out of captivity from King Jabin, his henchman Sisera, and the 900 iron chariots of the Canaanite army.
Barak tells her I will go if you come with, Deborah says ok but the glory for the victory will be given to a woman. While they are on the battlefield, it appears the Lord sends a torrential downpour and the chariots become immobile and the Canaanite army fall by the sword, but Sisera ends up fleeing on foot into the tent of Jael, supposedly to hide. Jael gives him warm milk, covers him with a rug and a tent peg through the temple of his skull. Uh yeah you read that right.
What does this have to do with downtime, satire and the Happy Rant? Probably nothing but jump with me to chapter five of this saga. In chapter five we read of Deborah’s song, which is a song of victory and an epic piece of poetry. But after their freedom from captivity, they broke out in song, songs of joy, songs of freedom, songs of rest and I would say some down time.
In this down time I believe they may have chatted about the victory God gave them. How God, through Barak and Jael conquered their enemies and how some of the tribes stayed home. Check out this scathing rebuke of the tribe of Reuben,
Among the clans of Reuben, there were great searchings of heart.
Why did you sit still among the sheepfolds, to hear the whistling for the flocks?Among the clans of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.
The tribe of Reuben is described as chilling out in the fields listening to the whistle of the flock, just thinking, while the rest of the nation is at war.
But if you read further in Judges five we get even more, what our society would consider pretty harsh,
“Out of the window she peered, the mother of Sisera wailed through the lattice: ‘Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?’
What we see here is a satirical, should we dare say, a sarcastic comment in Deborah’s song concerning Sisera’s mother waiting by the lattice for her son to come home.
Satire and sarcasm is a literary genre used throughout scripture, which even Christ used. How can we forget when Christ says take the log out of your own eye before you take the splinter out of your brothers eye. or who can forget when Christ calls the Pharisees white washed tombstones. This is funny, a flare of sarcasm and it spotlights the great truth which is being conveyed.
Can you go too far?
Of course you can, just like you can go too far with eating, spending and almost any other amoral aspect of life. But who decides what is too far, me? You? A stranger I have never met? Or God?
I would venture to say it is the Lord. I know when I have gone to far, cross the line, the Holy Spirit inside flashes the warning lights of conviction, but not only that I have a wife and friends close to me who pull me aside and let me know when I have crossed the line.
We live in an outrage culture, there seems to be something to be outraged about hourly. I don’t know if this has rubbed off on the church, or the church influenced the world, but this kind of living is exhausting. Which is why I love this amazing new invention, when we are watching or listening to something we decide has crossed the line, we can reach out and hit the stop button and go about our day. At the same when we are physically and mentally exhausted from the day, we can sit back, listen to a podcast, watch a show or sports and take a break, rest from being so serious and enjoy life for a minute or two.
There is my rant for the day.
Until Next Time
For those who are exhausted from work and need some rest, take a break