Holiness Is Not the Same as Forced Solemnity
When I was in college I struggled a lot with being holy and being funny. Now, those who know me best may wonder if I’m particularly adroit with either virtue. But stick with me for a minute.
I used to have the notion that holiness meant forced solemnity. I remember as a camp counselor standing in an “affirmation circle” at the end of the summer to receive encourage from our peers. The quiet, reserved people were all dubbed “holy” and “reverent” while the ones that made the kids laugh received kudos like “hilarious” or “crazy.” No one to my knowledge was both crazy and holy.
Granted, I know that my humor has not always been edifying and college craziness can be decidedly unholy. But we must do away with the unspoken assumption that holiness is the province of one personality type. Holiness is not a temperament. It is not a forced seriousness nor a feigned religiosity. You can be funny or dull, quiet or loud, energetic or contemplative, amusing or pensive, and still be full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and all the other goodies. Do we really know if Christ was sanguine, melancholy, choleric, or phlegmatic? Maybe the Spirit mercifully kept much of our Lord’s temperament from us. That way we’d deify the Person and not the personality.
The hole in our holiness is not that we are missing pathological seriousness in the church. It’s rather that we are not nearly so serious about the stirring call and joyful possibility of being more like Jesus.