Awkward church moments – aren’t they the best? I was around 14-years-old, passing the sacrament at my L.D.S. Ward, laughing with my friends in front of the whole congregation (big no-no). Why? Oh I don’t know, maybe it was due to the fact we were adolescence, attempting to do a “holy” thing but really the only thing that was holy was our love for laughter with friends? I can’t really remember what triggered it, all I recall is the feeling of guilt (due to getting scolded by leaders and parents) instead of the total unbiased freedom of joy. Yes, I get there is a time and place for everything but I also can’t help to see why we can’t include comedy in our rites and rituals? Is it due to the fact that if we indulge in the act of laughter it will produce the infamous act of irreverence which leads to sin (gasp!)?
It reminds me of the famous line from Tommy Boy from the master himself, Chris Farley:
Were you watching Spanktravision? Or were you watching that funny comedian, oh what’s his name, Buddy Wackit. Hey, there’s a pretty girl out there, maybe she goes out with one of the yankees…Richard, who was your favorite Little Rascal? Was it Alfalfa, or was it Spanky, hehehehehehe, sinner.
It’s funny how, if looked at with a comedic lens, some sins are kind of hilarious. I think that this outlook can be very healthy when it comes to encountering ones sin issues and others. It allows us to step back and get a perspective that removes us from our baggage which then helps us encounter grace (a free gift of abundant love). I understand that this idea of sin has brought a lot of damage to others when it comes to one’s worth and mental health but I still believe this word plays a role in our reality.
The definition of sin in the Bible is missing the mark. This does hold true to an extent. But, if we dig more deeply, I think we could say sin is “a misperception of oneself in reality” (more on this later). So, what is the “mark”? A perfect state of being (in the sense of doing nothing wrong)? Living a perfect life free from lying, stealing, cheating, killing, and “spanking the monkey” (hehe)? Drum roll please…dumdumdumdumdum…NO! It’s not any of those things, in my opinion.
***Side note: While we are on the topic of “spanktravision”, masturbation is definitely off the list since there never was a command against it in the bible (fun tidbit ). But I get the warning. When we use it as a form of “unrelational” pleasure with no other loving partner involved (i.e., pornography) it can lead to broken relationships (even though this might not be the case for everyone: context is everything). Even then, this is not what I’m referring to when it comes to sin.***
The mark definitely prevents those actions from happening. But it’s not those acts specifically. Then what the hell is it? Well people, the freakin mark is LOVE. Love is God and God is Jesus and Jesus said: You (the rest of us) are gods (John 10:34). Not gods in the sense of becoming what the serpent succeeded in tempting the Adam and Eve with (i.e., a relationship NOT based on partnership with others in order to create peace, love and mercy but a relationship based in greed and selfishness)–but in the the way of what Paul referred to as fellow heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17–Authentic Connection).
I’m not taking away the seriousness of missing the mark of love. It’s a big deal. Jesus was executed because of our denial in the importance of trusting in love. We scapegoat the victim in order to secure our violent social structures and individual egos. We choose violence instead of love. We will accuse all day long to keep our domination systems in place. The spirit of accusation is what the Bible calls the satan.
We are all created in God’s image. It’s the process of seeing the divine in us that we become aware of the “mark” (Theosis). SIN IS NOT TRUSTING IN HOW GOD SEES US: AS BELOVED! When we trust this, we have a change of mind and return to our true self (aka Repentance). When we don’t, this “un-trust” leads to all the consequences (war, murder, theft, cheating, environment damage, racism, gun violence, etc.) that hinder us to fully becoming the True Human race.
When we find ourselves accusing others to gratify our desires of righteousness (being in “correct” standings with our tribe) then we fall into the trap of the satan. It’s bye bye fat head from there. Oh, but not so fast there buddy boy. As a participant in Christ, I believe Jesus showed us how to break free from the bondage of sin into the liberation of grace. To live a life fully lived by loving your enemies! Let’s face it. If we embrace our sense of humor, we smile down on our enemies not make war with them.
This is how the world is healed from sin (which brings salvation). We come together to help the least of these. Jesus saves us from the accusatory lifeless cycle of sacred violence into the beautiful flow of shalom and forgiveness. Not only for the human race but for the entire universe. This is where our misperception of ourselves in reality comes into play. The reality of God is love which brings peace. This way of Jesus will bring healing to ALL the nations. His Spirit is flowing through all of his creation NOW. But, in order for the universe to trust and participate, it’s up to his participants, here and now, to represent his beautiful way.
In the end, according to close family and friends and even Chris Farley himself, the lack of love (not the side effects of sin) is what pushed Farley to an early death. Sure, the unhealthy lifestyle was a major factor in Farleys overdose but the root cause of it all was him not feeling loved. May we all find humor in our bones and come to the realization that we are all beloved NOW rather than later. It’s all about presence (what better way to encounter this than laughter?)…because life is too abundant to waste it. Chris Farley’s sense of humor still is bringing joy in this crazy world. This is no accident. Humor coincides with love. The two cannot live without each other too long as Mr. Farley said himself:
This notion of love is something that would be a wonderful thing. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced it, other than the love of my family. At this point it’s something beyond my grasp. But I can imagine it, and longing for it makes me sad.