I’m Having Too Much Fun, Please Persecute Me!


FussbudgetI see so many unusual trends in the blogs I read. Certain memes travel around the Christian blogosphere in a never-ending game of tag. One of the ones I have observed from the very beginning is the tendency for some of the hardline Evangelical and Fundamentalist blogs to loathe anything that smacks of being fun because “the underground Church in [fill in a country here] is being persecuted.”

This is not a post to poke fun at fussbudget Christians who can’t remember the last time they had a good belly laugh. Nor is this an attempt to diffuse the awful trial of persecuted brethren around the globe. But no matter how I try, I can’t understand the wish of some fellow Christians in America to hammer anything that smacks of frivolity or simple human enjoyment of life. I especially don’t understand their unspoken desire to be persecuted in return as if persecution garners “salvation points” that will counter all those “I laughed one time” strikes against them.

This is what the Bible says:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
—Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 ESV

For us American Christians, our time of persecution will certainly come some day. And while it is true that too many of us have made an idol out of entertainment, this is the day that the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it. Tomorrow may indeed bring mourning, but today is good. Let us cherish those days while we have them.

{Two side notes:

There is a tendency in some circles of Christianity to overspiritualize our daily lives. God gave us senses and many gifts to enjoy those senses with. I do not merely possess a spirit; I am also body and soul. There is a harmony in those three, for God has knit them together for our pleasure and His. We dishonor Him if we do not enjoy life to the fullest. I see too many pinch-faced Christian ascetics who seem to hate the very air they breath. These folks couldn’t have fun if you gave them a lifetime pass to Disneyworld.

There is a tendency in some other Christian circles to contextualize sspiritual experiences merely by what we can sense and feel through our bodies, or what we express through our souls. Obviously, this other side of the coin does not represent the whole coin, either. Yet, many of the younger Christians today seem to be trapped in sensory faith or intellectual rigor. The spiritual world cannot be appreciated for what it is alone.}

I believe that we do err on the side of fun, though. Frivolity can be overblown to the detriment of our souls. A simple reading of Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish virgins should tell us the value of being sober and ready:

Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
—Matthew 25:1-13 ESV

I can appreciate an argument that Christians in this country are entertainment-aholics, but the solution to this is not asceticism. There is a time to soberly prepare and a time to rest and enjoy life. The truly spiritual man can do both. He understands that today he may be laughing with friends and next week be forced to give account of his love for Christ before the authorities, his fate sealed.

I’m profoundly thankful that I’ve not known stiff persecution in my life. I’m also thankful that I’ve been able to laugh and enjoy life. One day my lot may not be so fortunate and the knock comes on the door in the middle of the night. For this I must be prepared. But I’m not praying for persecution to come—only that I might be ready.

True wisdom comes in discerning the times. To laugh at the funeral of a young adult cut down in the prime of life is foolish. To cry at a silly joke is just as foolish. May God help us if we can’t distinguish the one from another.

8 thoughts on “I’m Having Too Much Fun, Please Persecute Me!

  1. lindaruth

    My Grandma Myers stands out in my mind as an example of a Godly woman and she had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed life. She did not take herself too seriously. She was a fiercely competitive Scrabble player, took a lively interest in the world around and had a beautiful smile. Grandma knew suffering and pain, but she also knew joy. We laughed a lot at Grandma Myers’ house.

    The evening after her funeral, a bunch of us cousins (we were all teenagers) had a wonderful water fight — it did not seem the least bit disrespectful to be running and laughing and Grandma would have loved it.

  2. Humble Pie


    I think I can speculate as to where you�ve been getting your posting ideas as of late. I might be wrong but I�m still willing to put in a guess.

    Sometimes it�s hard, even if I agree with the content, to be bombarded with the same, I don�t know, would the word be tone, over and over again at certain blogs?

    I have to say, your blog isn�t that way. I can read a post and completely disagree with your point of view yet enjoy your writing and then move on to your next post and think… wow this man is extremely intelligent, as I read. I like that I can�t pigeonhole you. I don�t always know what your take on something will be. It�s usually a fresh approach not a point of view that�s already been over done.

    What I�m attempting to say is that, not only are you a gifted writer who doesn�t seem to take the gifting for granted, you also have a point of view that few bloggers seem to have.

    Thanks for challenging my thoughts once again!

  3. Gaddabout


    I think the Googlers might actually be people in Hayford’s own church attempting to find criticism. I used to do that. As a member of the Vineyard, you had to be on guard against the latest attack. Since many of those biggest critics seemed to be in my backyard, it was important to stay abreast on their latest accusations of heresy.

    You should know all too well how theological reputations are borne: this guy studied with A+ theologian, so he’s OK, even if he completely agrees with A+ theologian. This other guy studied with El Liberal theologian, so even though he’s a five-point Calvinist, he’s obviously corrupt.

    There are whole books written to impugn a pastor’s/teacher’s/writer’s character by associating them with undesirables. This includes nearly the entire library of books written by — and pardon me for mentioning names — Hank Hannegraf. This is basically the anti-cult book industry gone awry. Calling X preacher a heretic is a great way to sell a book, and Matt 18 has apparently been tossed out the window, along with grace and charity.

    So, no, it doesn’t surprise me to see a cessationist quoting Tozer, because they’ve been quoting Edwards for centuries to criticize pentecostals and charismatics (yes, we actually had some before Azusa Street).

  4. Gaddabout: “This is basically the anti-cult book industry gone awry.”

    �not to mention much of xtian blogdom, which seems to have a certain amount of peevishness about it.

    Honestly, I’ve never read anything by Tozer, but I have read the Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, who was the subject of a famous sculpture by Bellini which, as I recall, depicted her account of her vision of being pierced with a flaming arrow by an angel. Now I am plowing through Vinson Synan’s fascinating history textbook entitled “The Century of the Holy Spirit: 100 years of Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal”. Yes, there was plenty of build-up going on prior to April 1906.

    While I am not worrying too much about it, I suspect that the very fact itself that I am admitting publicly to be reading such books will eventually land me on many a Flame List. Oh, well.

    Lindaruth, your account makes me miss my grandparents very much.

  5. Seriously now (heehee), can’t I just put smiley face on this comment block and call it good? 🙂
    Thanks for this. I like to think my Savior was a man of joy. In fact, I believe He said He wanted His joy to be in me.
    We all need to have balance in our lives and in our blogging. It’s really hard to achieve in life so that makes it difficult to achieve in anything we do, including blogging. May God and His Spirit guide us.

  6. Gayla

    Hi Dan, I linked to your site thru Brad, The Broken Messenger.

    What a great post.

    Was it not God who created laughter and smiles in the first place!? 🙂

  7. Anonymous

    Hi Dan,

    On the subject of funny, your quoting Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 in response to Christians who think fun is no fun, smacks of “Footloose”. You know the 1980’s Keving Bacon movie where he cites Ecclesiastes to finally convince the no-dancing town (lead by a no fun preacher) that indeed there is a time to dance.

    Then they have a good old time dancing and everybody went “Footloose.”

    I like Footloose theology.

    Well, I better finish my sermon now, I’ve got to preach it six hours.


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