Sitting here and mulling over my many impressions and conversations at this weeks conference (Piratkyrkan bibel – 2012). One conversation keep coming back. Saturday night we had a small conversation about Glossolalia, speaking in tongues.
It is my belief that everyone can speak in tongues, as I find it hard to believe Paul would express a desire that all would otherwise. I believe that tongues in itself is speaking rubbish and thereby occupying the conscious brain so that the unconscious can carry on a conversation with god. Or in biblical terms my spirit communes with the spirit of god.
“But I’ll feel/look/sound really silly?!” is the most common objection. Yes, exactly you will feel extremely silly, as silly as you do when you fall and shake on the floor, as silly as when you giggle hysterically and as silly as when you dance a silly dance on your own.
I think that this is the point, when Paul says that the “nonsense is wiser than human wisdom” (1 Cor 1.25a ISV) I think he is doing more than boasting of god’s wisdom, he is talking about the importance of foolishness. Foolishness is the cure for ego. When we choose foolishness over cool we deny our self-importance and we effectively kill the ego, the false self, the flesh.
When we make a spectacle of ourselves in public and refuse to let shame claim the victory but proudly announce that “I’ll become even more undignified than this!” then we, like David undress, or shed our masks and our ego structures, our titles and our importance and we, hopefully manage to just be.
Brene Brown, in her book the gifts of imperfection, talks about the importance of play and silliness as not only an invaluable tool to achieve authenticity, vulnerability and whole-heartedness but also as something hard coded into our DNA. Play is a part of what it means to be human, and I am not talking structured educational play, but wild, imaginative play for the sake of play alone.
Brown statse that “The opposite of play is not work but depression”
Laughter, song, and dance create emotional and spiritual connection; they remind us of the one thing that truly matters when we are searching for comfort, celebration, inspiration, or healing: We are not alone.
Laughing hysterically can make us feel a little out of control, and singing out loud can make some of us feel self-conscious. But for many of us, there is no form of self-expression that makes us feel more vulnerable than dancing. It’s literally full-body vulnerability. The only other full-body vulnerability that I can think of is being naked, and I don’t have to tell you how vulnerable that makes most of us feel.
The trouble is that when we refuse to play, when we “play it cool”, when we take ourselves to seriously we often betray our trues selves. Brené Brown goes on to write:
Betrayal is an important word with this guidepost. When we value being cool and in control over granting ourselves the freedom to unleash the passionate, goofy, heartfelt, and soulful expressions of who we are, we betray ourselves. When we consistently betray ourselves, we can expect to do the same to the people we love… When we don’t give ourselves permission to be free, we rarely tolerate that freedom in others. We put them down, make fun of them, ridicule their behaviors, and sometimes shame them. We can do this intentionally or unconsciously. Either way the message is, “Geez, man. Don’t be so uncool.”
So we need to be silly, whether it is by barking out in tongues, singing of key in worship, dancing silly dances, gazing into each others eyes, expressing our innermost thoughts. Vulnerability and silliness come hand in hand to free us from the constraints of societal norm and our own ego structures.
I’d like to end this little rambling post with the following one line poem from Tukaram:
If God would stop telling Jokes, I might act serious.