Foolish people should not be proud
And rulers should not be liars! (Proverbs 17:7, International Children’s Bible)
Paul told me, the other night during a marathon and often-hilarious Coordinators meeting, that Peter Weir imported Croatian fishermen to be the ship’s crew when he filmed Master and Commander because Americans cannot look natural on film. The Croatians would actually ignore being filmed and look like real people, whereas Americans are always aware of the camera and visbily change when they sense one. We have apparently bred “posing” into our children. It is instinctual now.
Therefore, conforming to the wisdom of the proverb above can be tough. We’re uncomfortable with who we are. Turn on the camera and we lie. We are not ourselves, we are an image. One of the first things we learn as a baby is to pose. By the time we enter college we have mastered being a resume. If we drop out of that nonsense we form a band or an emergent church and strike an anti-pose pose.
One would think that Christians would rejoice in being saved from the damnation of living as a piece of imagination and be real. One would think that we would be content with being exposed as foolish and would stop being proud as a means to cover up our emptiness. Jesus, the great I AM, graced us with the freedom to be who we truly are, just like he IS.
We are not always that happy. We think life is like God, the great parent, pointing a heavenly camera at us all day and we are uncomfortably trying to smile. We bring a friend up the stairs to worship and we can’t help warning them that what we do is “kind of weird,” since we’re sure it probably won’t look right.
Maybe this goes double for the leaders. Like the proverb says, they should not be the chief liars: posing for their audience and performing Christianity for them, acting like the paparazzi are looking for them all the time so they’d better keep their clothes on. If the leaders lie like that, they teach everyone else to lie, and the whole church is less an incarnation of the Spirit of truth and just another film clip.
I know this is on my mind because I watched Bosnian and Serbian TV last week. Their airwaves were filled with American TV or knock-offs. (The knock-offs were the best). I didn’t realize that our country’s main export is probably brilliantly-produced images: Mickey Mouse, CSI (and every other crime show), John Wayne films (they have TCM). And I even ran into the Gaithers beaming themselves into Sarajevo.
Let’s be real. We may be foolish people, but we are saved foolish people. Tell them, “Yes, our meetings might seem weird to you; talk to Jesus about it — he’s OK with what we’ve got, honestly shared.”