Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “Z” Is For “Zany”

30 Jul

old-english-lettering-9Men take life way too seriously.

Our jobs. Our lawns. Our sports. Our cars. Our religion. Pick your poison, dudes, but I bet there’s something in your life you could be accused of “taking too seriously.”

Well, I’m here to remind you that life’s too darn short to take seriously.

In the end, it’s just a job. In the end, it’s just a lawn. In the end it’s just a game and a car and a contrived set of rules and customs.

In this final installment of the Alphabet of Manly Virtues, I propose to you that Z is for zany. Let me explain.

What a fun word, zany. It means amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic. And ain’t that our God to a T?

Certainly, the world is full of serious things: War. Famine. Disease. Slavery. Malnutrition. Politicians.

But let us not match the seriousness of the world with in-kind seriousness.

Rather, let us respond with the zaniness of God.

Let us be goofy and silly and absolutely joy-filled.

Let us go into the world with love and whimsy.

Far too often we believe the only way to deal with serious things is with more seriousness. We put on faces of such reverence, such dour constitution, that we miss the beauty and zest of the life in front of us.

By all accounts, Jesus calls us to a discipleship not meant to be easy. He tells us that outright. We are called to go into the slums of the world to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Serious work, to be sure.

But here’s the thing: we misunderstand the word “serious.”

There can be joy in doing God’s work. In truth, He wishes us nothing but joy while going about His work. He loves the joyful giver, after all.

God is not a god of wistfulness. He is a god of wonder and whimsy. A zany creator who delights in His creation and loves it fiercely.

I sometimes imagine God as a wild-haired wizard who hoots and dances delightedly at his creation, screaming “Brilliant!” whenever something amazes Him – and EVERYTHING amazes Him.

He is zany and whimsical. How can He not be? Look at some of the wackiness seen in nature. A duck-billed platypus? Lady Gaga?

We take our God way too seriously. We take our religion way too seriously. We take our beliefs way too seriously.

I’m not trying to make you mad. (Well, OK. Maybe a little.) Rather, to get you to relax.

As men, we are so preoccupied with serious things. We worry about countless ideas, thoughts, and problems well outside the realm of our control. (Newsflash, dudes – the only thing we have control over is our reactions to everything else!)

Yes, yes. God is all-powerful. All-knowing. He is a jealous god, too. But most importantly, He’s loving. Like crazy loving. Think about it for a second: All have fallen short of the glory of God. Yet, he still said, “Look, here’s the deal, I’m gonna come down there and set you all free.”

So, what did He do? He humbled Himself, was born human, and allowed Himself to be hung on a cross to die for you and me.

Powerful stuff, to be sure. Serious, even.

But if you don’t see grace and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as anything but crazy, I think you need your head examined.

Remember the story of the prodigal son? Remember how, when the father (pretty obvious who this is) sees his youngest son in the distance, he hikes up his robes and runs through the field like a crazy man?

If you don’t know the historical context, then you don’t realize how much of a faux pas something like that would have been in First Century Palestine.

Here was a father who had vast wealth and resources running like a drunk vagrant toward his youngest son who, not months or years earlier, had demanded his inheritance up front and had squandered it on women and wine.

That is our God. Absolutely bonkers about us! Zany in his desire to have a relationship with us. Able and willing and wanting to forgive us our trespasses and sins.

The world is serious enough without our sourpuss ways adding to it. Instead, let us give in to the zaniness of life that God has given us, and even calls us to.

We are broken. We stumble and fall. We commit foibles and screw up continually. Yet, like the father in the parable, when we return, He runs like a madman out to greet us, with a bear hug and overflowing love and grace.

To me nothing epitomizes the whimsy and wonder of our God more than that.

-Tim Gallen

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Tim Gallen is a writer, truth-seeker, and legend in his own mind. He loves good stories, good words, and good beer. Oh, and his wife. Definitely his wife. Though he often goes smooth-faced, he’s been known to grow a mean beard. He shares fiction, poetry, and musings on life at timgallen.com. Follow him on Twitter or like him on Facebook.

5 Responses to “Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “Z” Is For “Zany””

  1. Chad Jones July 30, 2013 at 09:58 #

    Tim, I think you hit the nail on the head. Only a God of whimsy and wonder would make us, the world, everything, and call it “Good.”

    Only a such a God, after being crucified, and descending into the earth, would hot foot it back here to explain the scriptures to two dudes on the way to Emmaus.

    He is a God of whimsy and wonder indeed.

    • tim gallen July 30, 2013 at 10:06 #

      thanks so much for the kind words, chad! god is whimsical and wonderful, and oh so very good!

    • More Than A Beard July 30, 2013 at 10:28 #

      Thanks for stopping by and weighing in, Chad!

  2. Chris Morris July 30, 2013 at 13:46 #

    Tim,

    This is so awesome! We forgot that this is the God who made a donkey speak when the prophet wouldn’t listen. Who anointed a judge to kill hundred of men with a ‘jaw bone’. Who told Peter to walk on the water. He’s a wild and crazy God, not the humdrum serious sot we make Him to be so often.

    • tim gallen July 30, 2013 at 18:31 #

      you’re so right, chris! gotta love the talking donkey! our wild and crazy god indeed.

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