Keeping Your Joy In An Angry World

You can prove your point but you just might lose your joy.

We live in a time when everything is political and everyone is angry. The coffee we drink, where we buy it from, the games we watch, the music we listen to, and the movies we go to have all been infected with this strain. If we’re careful, we can escape with our joy still in tact. But if not, we will become bitter and miserable creatures moving from one outrageous incident to the next.

I spent Memorial Day with my wife and two sons. In the words of the American poet O’Shea Jackson, it was a good day. It was also an incredibly offensive day. Not offensive to me or my family, just to those who have given in to the politicization of everything.

The day began with my wife and I working out in our garage. We lifted weights while listening to rap music.

After that we went through the drive through at Chick-fil-a and bought chicken biscuits for our kids.

Our next stop was the theatre where we watched Solo, which we all thought was excellent.

On the way, we enjoyed the music of Jason Isbell, Leon Bridges, and John Mark McMillan.

Later that day I cooked out and we watched Golden State play Houston in game 7 of the NBA Finals.

I know, or at least know of, people who would be terribly offended by every aspect of what made our day a good one. There are those who would have hated our workout music, not because they don’t like rap, but because they don’t agree with the political views of the rappers we were listening to. Some would have come close to melting if they had been in the car with us at Chick-fil-a because they think the business is run by backwoods, religious fundamentalists who are against love. Some would have told us not to see Solo or listen to Jason Isbell because it’s all just a vehicle for liberal propaganda. “And what are we doing watching the NBA?! That’s just a bunch of overpriced athletes who hate our way of life,” they might remind me.

Conservatives love to refer to millennial progressives as snowflakes. Sometimes, there’s good ground for this. Like when their parents call their college coach to beg for more playing time, or when they need therapy dogs to help them deal with an election that didn’t quite go their way.

But some conservatives can be the exact same way. If you don’t believe me, watch how they react the next time Lebron James says something political that they don’t agree with. You’re not likely to hear, “Well, that’s his opinion and he does have a few good points but overall I disagree with him. Now let’s watch him carry his team to a championship.” Instead, you’ll get, “Shut up and dribble.” Most of those folks never told Tim Tebow to, "Shut up and run."

The consequences of politicizing everything is that it severely limits what we can enjoy in life. Too many conservatives miss out on true beauty or greatness just because they don’t agree with the producers of that true beauty or greatness. And too many progressives miss out on a really good chicken sandwich because their “tolerance” keeps getting in the way. As a result, we find ourselves only cheering for what happens to land in our circle. That’s a sad place to be.

I’m not going to give you any spoilers. Solo was a fun movie. I enjoyed it and so did my wife and kids. We couldn’t quit talking about it for an hour after it was over. But to read what people were saying about it before I saw it, you’d think that Chewbacca was waving a rainbow flag and the Millennial Falcon had a Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For Obama sticker on the back of it. Neither one of those things happened. Oops. Sorry for the spoiler.

Conservatives, before you’re left with only watching movies about Christians who get in debates with their atheistic college professors and old clips of Tim Tebow’s games, learn how to appreciate beauty. Just because someone votes differently than you doesn’t meant that they don’t offer something worthwhile.

Progressives, what you eat for lunch tomorrow doesn’t have to be a world-changing decision. Just eat. If you hate what the founder of the restaurant believes so badly, what better way to show off your tolerance that we keep hearing about than to bite into a delicious chicken sandwich?

I am a Christian. I am in favor of a drastically limited government. To state the obvious, my entertainment options can be a bit limited. There are some things that I just have to stay away from. And there are other things that I can enjoy, even if the creators don't check all of the same boxes that I do. The Bourne movies were a lot of fun. I’m not letting what Matt Damon said about guns get in the way of that.

One of the first times I came home from college, my pastor asked me how things were going. I told him that I was astonished to find that there were people on campus who thought differently from me. Some of them were just flat out wrong.

That’s when he hit me with a bit of his Talapoosa, Georgia wisdom.

“Jay, you just have to chew the meat and spit out the bones.”

We would do well to heed that advice today. Don’t let the politicization of everything keep you from enjoying anything.

Just chew the meet and spit out the bones.

Unless of course you’re eating a Chick-fil-a sandwich. In that case, there are no bones. Just delicious, lightly breaded meat.

Enjoy!

Comments
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DrJeffreyP
DrJeffreyP

Chew the meat and spit out the bones, what great advice. In the words of Rush, "Right on! Right on! Right on!"

Reaganite
Reaganite

Good article, Jay, but LeBron and Tim analogy, not so good. All Tim ever said was that he loved Jesus. :) When I went to Hollywood to sign books, it was great because there was no shortage of people to witness to. No one attacked me, but when they discovered that I had core principles that I would not sacrifice to sign a movie contract, they looked at me like Scotty had just beamed me down from the Starship Enterprise. :) I met and talked with Truett Cathy at a prayer breakfast I sponsored long ago. What a nice man! He not only made good chicken...he was the real deal.