As I was growing up I was somewhat indirectly trained to place people into one of two categories. These two categories would function as filters for my world. I made a valiant attempt at shoving everything and everyone through the eye of one of those two needles, the openings of which were never large enough to filter anything but my own concepts of right and wrong, safe and unsafe, or good and bad.
Is this music Christian? Is this movie a Christian movie? Has that person accepted the Lord as their Savior? Are they Christian? The obvious implication of each question being that the music, movie, or person may not be Christian. Subconsciously, the filter of non-christian was equated to unsafe, wrong, and bad. I couldn’t listen to non-christian music because who knows where that would lead. Probably sex and drugs and everyone knows sex and drugs are bad so that’s definitely off limits. I couldn’t watch non-christian movies because that would allow the world in and the world was bad. I couldn’t hang out with other non-christians too much because they’d lead me astray, and if I did hang out with them I had to be trying to witness to them the entire time.
My young mind was like water being poured into a glass, shaping itself to the container of someone else’s worldview. Now in my mid 30’s the water seems to have found too many cracks in the glass to remain inside it. The rumors of a place called “the ocean” have it longing for home.
Yesterday I took my nearly twelve year old son to see Brian Regan. If you don’t know who Brian Regan is then you’re missing out. He’s a comedian known for his goofy facial, or rather full body expressions and the uncanny ability to take the everyday situations we each face and make them hilarious. He can find the absurd in the common and accentuate it to a point of clarity that makes me wonder how I didn’t see it before. He also makes me cry laugh to the point of nearly peeing my pants. My son and I sat through the seventy five minute set and laughed non-stop the entire time. Brian Regan is considered a clean comic. He said “hell” maybe twice the entire night and not one of his jokes even hinted at anything sexual so I had no moments where I felt regret for bringing my son along at his young age. He could understand the jokes as well as I could. It was a great time of father & son bonding. What I began to feel in the crowd though was something I hadn’t experienced before.
The performance was held at the Wharton Center in Lansing, Michigan and the auditorium was packed to capacity with people of every background just wanting a night out to relax and get a laugh. As Regan worked through his set I watched the room. With every punch line I felt closer with the people in the room. The volume of laughter at moments was deafening. What began as a night out with my son to watch one of our favorite comedians turned into a transcendent moment shared between a few thousand people.
Everyone person in that room was different. Each had their own beliefs, backgrounds, and past experiences that had shaped them into who they were. I knew nothing about anyone else in that room, but I knew everything about the people.
We were one. There was no Christian or non-Christian. One more crack in the glass. If I’m honest, the glass isn’t holding much anymore. I didn’t see anyone in that room as Christian or non-Christian. I saw each of us as the beloved. We shared a moment in the comedy of our humanity, and in our humanity we found the spiritual that bound us all together. We are human. We are connected. We are all loved.
I can’t put words together which capture what I felt completely. It was like we were all innocent kids just having fun. Free of trouble. Free of pain. If only for a moment. All to the glory of our God and Father. He loves us all, and through the skill of one of His children we felt it for a moment. All of us, even the ones who wouldn’t have fit through the eye of my non-Christian needle got to have the experience, if only for a moment, of being fully known.
This isn’t a theological discussion. This is a discussion on our humanity. My heart grew for humanity when I felt our connectedness. I wanted each of those people to know our Father. Like the water escaping my cup and pouring into rivers and streams, restless till it finds the ocean, we are each restless and seeking our home. He is our home. We belong to Him. Can you see it? Our humanity is our connectedness. Our humanity is the spiritual thread that ties us. The spiritual isn’t just the unseen. It is flesh and bones. It is right before your eyes. We can touch it with our hands and see it with our eyes.
We are loved.
How’s that for a review of a Brian Regan comedy show?