A succession of late nights and early mornings left the babes restless and us ragged, so we hunkered down over warm baked scones and honored the Sabbath at home. With guitar in one hand and the Jesus Storybook in the other, folk-rock anthems rose over the speakers, and it felt a bit like church, it did.
Rain and leaves fell as spirits lifted.
The critic faulted the popular band for the sin of being ordinary. Proper rock ‘n’ roll, she said, should be transgressive, born of misfits, not church boys penning earnest odes to love and hope.
But when sex sells toothpaste and minivan moms wave tattooed wrists at carpool, exactly what kind of behavior is transgressive? The rock ‘n’ roll code may delineate the confines of cool, but such narrow tenets reward a lack of creativity.
(It’s kinda hard to be different just like everybody else.)
Wherever vice and apathy are prized, anything pure-hearted or sincere will be shamed. God forbid one emote something other than outrage or disdain. But to celebrate cynicism is to obscure the light and Imago Dei in us all.
The linguistic root of sarcasm to “to rend flesh.” Cut, pounce, wound, repeat. In a climate that hashtags hate and spreads viral gifs of every gaffe, could the most socially transgressive action be to light another way…a way out?
Few sights prove extraordinary along the course of cursing darkness–or inside its revelry, despite what rock critics claim. Animosity, irony, and derision are practically national pastimes, as culturally common as fantasy football or pumpkin pie lattes.
But to acknowledge the dark without despairing of it? To walk the valley of the shadow and succumb neither to fear nor fatalism, holding fast to life and love despite the ache of brokenness? What if the simple saints’ perseverance were the narrow–and novel–path?
In an age that rewards darkness, leaning into light is no ordinary pursuit; it’s a risky and redemptive act of hope.
Few scene are more commonplace than ones of tired thirty-somethings cupping coffee and beaming brightly at tiny versions of themselves. Our preschool pair flung arms wildly, spinning and punching air as the verse rang out:
Now I’ll be bold as well as strong And use my head alongside my heart
So tame my flesh, and fix my eyes A tethered mind freed from the lies
The carpet below our feet was dotted with crumbs and well worn, but as the children whirled like mystics, the ground revealed its nature. Passion and prayer lit the living room. Grace illuminated the grayest Sunday and our own next steps–wholly hallowed, every ordinary inch.