“Emo,” for folks who don’t know, is a style of music often defined as “punk with emotion.” It’s roots go back much further than current bands like Panic at the Disco and Dashboard Confessional, but those are two examples if you use a loose description of the term. “Screamo” is where you mix emo with yell singing and “Ice Screamo” is what my two year old did the other day when the homemade ice cream man drove down our street with his dang hypnotic music. (What a horrible joke. Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week. Make sure you take care of your waitresses.)
Although short for “emotion,” emo music typically doesn’t pull from the entire rainbow of feelings. It tends to be kind of sad, kind of gray, kind of dark, kind of painful. And in the last year, I realized that’s how I tend to look at God.
I discovered that I am better at weeping with God, than I am at dancing with Him. I am great at coming to Him when the world has fallen apart and things are all broken and clearly beyond my control. When the puzzle of my life is missing the edge pieces, I am more than happy to empty my box with Him. But when I’m happy and things are going well, I at best send God postcards that say, “wish you were here!”
I’m not sure why I do this. I think on some level, the moment I get a taste of goodness, I get a little intoxicated on pride. I can go from “God is awesome” to “Jon is awesome” in about 1.2 seconds. I actually think I might hold the East Coast speed record. And so for the last few years, I’ve created this image of God that is very emo. He’s cloudy and weepy and downtrodden and when we get together we listen to old Cure songs and REM’s “Everybody Hurts.” Then we write some really bad poetry together and put the Counting Crows “Raining in Baltimore” on repeat while we lay in the fetal position. Good times, good times.
That started to change when I read something in the book of Psalms. Although I rarely quote the Bible on this site, these verses are too super fantastical to ignore. Here is what Psalm 126:1-2 says:
When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”
Wow, that is sick. They were like men who dreamed. Their mouths were filled with laughter. When is the last time you heard a non-Christian say, “I’m not a Christian but you have to admit they sure do laugh more than anyone I know. The church is so full of laughter.” I’ve never heard that.
That’s why I write silly things on this site. That’s why I’ll write rap and lessons about how to hold hands and a million other mildly amusing things. Because that’s part of our faith too. Can you believe we get to serve a God that uses laughter as a way to show the nations His love?
God is emo sometimes. There are storms and pits in our lives. But there is also laughter and joy and big, ridiculous dreams.