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Thursday, March 05, 2015

"Dad, you owe me 5 bucks."

“Dad, you owe me 5 bucks.”

I had just finished speaking and it was right after the service when Kami made this matter-of-fact declaration.

“For what?”

I was trying to think about the service and where I may have used her for an illustration in the sermon.  I have made an agreement with my daughters to pay them $5 anytime I tell a story about them in my message.  I couldn’t remember doing that though.

“For embarrassing me with that rap you did at the end of the message.”

I was finally locking into her line of logic.  But she was misinformed about the aforementioned agreement.

“I am not responsible to give you $5 for simple embarrassment or I would be broke.  That’s just for specific illustrations using your names in stories.  Sorry, sucker.”

She shook her head and said, “You still owe me 5 bucks.”

I hugged her longer than she would have liked and replied, “You know you loved it.”

She was referring to an old O.C. Supertones song called Unite that I decided to rap.  It was just the chorus. “Unite, ignite, and spark a light that burns so bright the sight will blind the minds of this our modern times.”  I repeated the chorus twice just for good measure and got the band to spontaneously give me a funky beat and catchy hook to make it feel more legit.

I got to thinking the last couple days about the infamous rap I’ve been getting heckled for all week since I spit it out there for all the church to hear.  I had my hand in the air bobbing it up and down, the whole bit.  I closed my eyes and just let it go.  Even in the moment there were split seconds where my brain would say, “What are you doing?  This is so dumb.”  But in the same moment I would feel a freedom that felt boyish and innocent, like I was returning to life before the disease of self-consciousness.

I had several people talk to me after the service saying almost the same exact thing: “I would never do something like that, but I love it when you do.”  It wasn’t until about the 3rd time that I heard the same sentiment that I wondered: “Why are people drawn to something that they would never do?  What would happen if we would let down our guard, not take ourselves so seriously, and show the world around us the more unrefined, unedited part of ourselves?”  It’s fascinating to me that people are drawn to humanness, but everyone is scared to be human.

I heard someone say recently that often when we think we’re making a fool of ourselves, we’re actually probably making a human of ourselves.  I think that might be true.  We’re so scared of appearing foolish or childish that we unknowingly are shielding the world from that which is most appealing and alluring about us…our unadulterated self.

Never before have I gotten more feedback on a message.  Never before have I gotten more Facebook messages.  I got more follow-up comments from teenagers and children in that message than the last year combined.  I had more grown men come up and give me a hug after that message than any other sermon bar-none.  What is it about unfettered freedom--even silliness--that attracts us so?  Why are we more drawn to things that are down-to-earth than out-of-this-world?

When we got home, behind the demands for compensation for embarrassment, my daughters really wanted to let me know that it was their favorite sermon ever!  Aly even said to me: “Dad, don’t be offended by this but most of the time I drift off when you’re speaking, but this week I didn’t do that once.” 


I don’t plan on rapping every week and I don’t think rap is even the main issue, it’s losing yourself, dropping the act, and letting people see you relax into your skin.  That which is most embarrassing is often most endearing.

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