Letter from the Editor: We Could Use Some Childlike Adulting

Speak of summer, and most of us think of kids enjoying endless hours of friends, books, games, sports, movies, camps, and more. Those carefree weeks plant rose-colored glasses upon our young eyes, casting summer in a warm and hopeful glow.

Once childhood fades into yesterday, our summers look pretty much like the other three seasons. We take on adult responsibilities that don’t break with the summer sun, and play gets squeezed out. If that doesn’t crack the rosy glow, the troubles and cares of the world will. And throughout the summer of 2016, the groans of our broken world raged, both at home and abroad.

Childlike play, choosing to have fun, is a demonstration of faith, that God is ruler yet.

There is no return to a carefree life, now that we know what we know. Still, Jesus called us to be like children—to come to God with a trust that He can be trusted. Being childlike isn’t easy for us as adults. It must be nurtured, practiced. This issue of Christ and Pop Culture Magazine is a help to that end, with articles that call us to small joys through childlike play. One of those is karaoke. Tommy Welty explains how in his feature, “Fun Is the First Rule of Karaoke”:

“We need one another because the only thing God made in Genesis that wasn’t good was a man on his own. Even Jesus, the Son of God, was in need of friendship the night he was handed over to be crucified. Community has the ability to comfort and encourage even in the darkest of places. . . . [W]e are able to endure so much more together, when our hearts are singing the same tune. Singing those silly songs at the All Ages Karaoke Night at Danny’s on Douglas, where all are welcomed and every song cheered, I was given a glimpse of this kingdom where we are bound to each other and to God.

“Making music together truly has binding power. Humans are not meant for only private pleasure; we are, at our cores, meant for one another. Singing together has the ability to push away our fears and show us that we’re not alone.”

Karaoke may not be your version of fun, but what about games? In “Game Nights Filled with Family, Fun, and Fellowship,” Erin Wyble Newcomb peels back the notion that games are for children as she shares the benefits of family game night:

“The way we number the hours of our days demonstrates what we hold sacred, and we hope that these regular installments of game night illustrate our family values of teamwork, togetherness, and joy.

“There’s beauty in the simplicity of childhood games and there’s beauty in the complexity of adult strategizing, and the two need not exist in separate spheres. Indeed, game night reminds me that it’s OK to have fun and make pepperoni pizza once in a while, and that I’m not too dignified to hide myself in a giant pile of stuffed animals or a basket of dirty laundry.”

Adulthood has a way of erasing our ability to let loose for fear of what we might lose. We calculate our behavior to retain past gains or leverage future wins. But kids don’t operate like that, as Jeremy Writebol details in his feature, “The Kingdom Is Like a T-Ball Game”:

“This summer ritual of t-ball stands as one of the few pure joys remaining of our society. Innocents are gathered into a veritable comedy of errors as adults watch their developing, awkward, unaware, distracted, goofy children truly play an adult strategy game. As they field, hit, run, throw, and dance around the playing field, the childhood experience is brought to full bear.

“And we adults, as onlookers, can either laugh, clap, celebrate, enjoy, and smile at the display of innocent ignorance—or we can scoff, demand, shout, and break the spirits of children who will never be sufficient enough to vicariously carry the load of our misplaced dreams and success stories. T-ball becomes, in many ways, the portal into proverbial joy or the portal into a life of overbearing demand.”

Jesus was right (of course): Childlikeness is what we need. In this world of trouble, in our broken bodies, we need to remember who God is so that we remember who we are: He is our Father, we are His children. Childlike play—choosing to have fun—is a demonstration of faith, that God is ruler yet. Singing karaoke, playing silly games, watching kids play t-ball—these are pathways to childlikeness that we all need these days.

—Erin Straza