“The way we live our lives is changed by genre. In Shakespeare, there’s a huge difference…”

The way we live our lives is changed by genre. In Shakespeare, there’s a huge difference between comedies and tragedies…A comedy ends with a wedding, and a tragedy ends with a death. Now catch this: ever consider that the only thing that makes a genre what it is in Shakespeare’s plays is what happens at the end? And the genre makes all the difference….when you know how it ends, it changes how you watch the middle, doesn’t it? … If you knew it was a comedy, and it ended with a huge wedding, it wouldn’t matter how sad or depressing or hopeless the middle was; you knew the whole thing ended with a party. And if you know it’s a tragedy, and it ended with death, it wouldn’t matter how funny, or happy, or likeable the middle got; you still knew it ended in death.

I was thinking about that, and for the first time I got something. In all my semipathetic, confused, and half-baked quasi understanding of God, the world, the Bible, and everything else in between, that’s the only way in my vocabulary to articulate as best I know how what I think Jesus is for humanity. Jesus changes the genre of his followers from a tragedy to a comedy. The good news is, we have a new end.

But the mess is, we’re still in the middle.

Faith is messy. We Christians like to create nice simple formulas for life, but the fact is we’re a mess. We are all broken and live in a fallen world. And that brokenness is present everywhere. So let’s be honest about it.

I recently finished reading “Messy: God Likes It That Way” by A.J. Swoboda. This is an excerpt from the final two pages, and one of my favorite parts. (Too bad you have to wait until the end for it)

The mess is we are still in the middle of the our own stories. Those stories are filled with joy, sorry, blessing, and tragedy. There is beauty in all of it, even the pain sometimes. The Prosperity (False) Gospel tends to gloss over this, and it does a huge disservice. I have experienced both tragedy and blessing, but through it all I know God is there. 

And no matter what happens in the middle, I have faith in how the story ends.

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