Nothing kills joy like sexy or cool

Justin Moffatt

Herald Opinion writer, Lisa Pryor, has decided that she is done with celebrating weddings that are sexy, but joyless. 

Her opinion piece in the Herald today, What a pity the bridal whirl has turned into 'So You Think You Can Dance', is an interesting look at modern life through the lens of Joy.

It reminded me again what I have long suspected, that Joy is the New Black. Of course, you can make anything the 'New Black' if you can find a few people to nod while you say it.

But I suspect that Joy is back on the map. I recently have driven past two billboards using the word Joy in advertising. One was a luxury car commercial: 'Joy is creating more out of less'. (Travelers on the Anzac Bridge will be able to report on the exact wording).

Joy is the new Black.

Pryor identifies dancing and singing to make her point:

What makes me most jealous, though, is the dancing. Recently I became acquainted with the thrill of Jewish wedding dancing, where the purpose seems to be to whirl each other around so fast that someone is bound to lose an eye or dislocate a shoulder. . These joyous, timeless antics . seem to show up what is wrong with contemporary, Western dance-floor culture. Too much, modern dancing is about trying to come across as sexy or cool. And nothing kills the joy of dancing like feeling judged, especially on the grounds of sexual attractiveness and trendiness.

I'd call that a simple and insightful observation. Dancing is meant to be an activity of joy within community, and yet we all know that its Western form is at its base about an individual looking sexy. And so a genuine expression of community becomes a tired expression of self.

Pryor then turns to singing. She listened to a speaker, 'whose topic dealt with rebuilding our singing society'. She says:

Dennis talked about how, two generations ago, singing was an everyday activity for Australians, whether around the piano or the fire. He lamented how singing gradually became something you only did if you were good at it. His talk made me ponder places where singing lives on as a communal, amateur activity.

Pryor can only summon up Karaoke as an example.


Is that it?

I can think of another place. Where I will be with this post goes online: Gathered with believers and singing with his saints.

Those of us who trust Jesus have everything valuable in life: faith, hope, love, grace, forgiveness, justification, justice, assurance, confidence, peace and hope. In short, we have God.

I wonder whether a way to appeal to not-yet-believers will be through the lens of joy. We will need orthodoxy (right doctrine). And orthopraxis (right living). But also orthokardia (a right heart).  Churches are communities that obey God when he says in Colossians 3:15-16:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

A Professor of Church Music in the United States once said:

A group who sings together becomes one and remembers it’s story . Congregational song is creedal, because the words of familiar songs help shape a congregation's theology and music summons them in a time of need.

Anyone nodding?