I love Fun.. I especially love the wacky period at the end of the band’s name. But my Word doc has the green squiggly line under the two periods of that first sentence. I hate that green squiggly line — it’s not fun. It’s there to tell me that I have bad grammar. Not this time, Word doc! I shall right click and ignore you!
Fun.’s (okay, now there’s a red line! Once again I shall ignore…) Some Nights is full of philosophical and spiritual gold. It asks questions about identity, friendship, violence, and the purpose of life. But, for me, these words stand out the most:
My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she calls “love”
When I look into my nephew’s eyes…
Man, you wouldn’t believe the most amazing things that can come from…
Some terrible nights…ah…
That stanza gets me every time. We don’t know exactly what happened to his sister, but we know she had a terrible night with someone she loved and that terrible night produced a child. Although we are left to guess what exactly happened, the words here speak to the paradox of violence and pain, amazement and wonder that is life. There is no excusing such terrible things that happen, but there is a certain disposition of trust and hope that’s invoked in those words. Despite experiencing brokenness, betrayal, and pain wrought by human violence, we can trust that amazing things will overcome the terrible evil in our world.
It reminds me of what Paul wrote in Romans 5:20, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”
My progressive friends have a hard time with the word “sin,” but I think we need to reclaim it. It’s an ugly word, but I’m convinced that we need ugly words to describe the violence we experience. The word “sin” claims that something isn’t right in God’s good world. Terrible nights shouldn’t happen. When Paul used the word “sin” in Romans 5, he was reflecting upon the terrible death of Jesus. That death was an example of the increase of human sin and violence. But Paul was convinced that sin and violence never have the last word, because where sin increased, God’s grace abounded all the more.
Trusting in God’s grace creates a disposition toward the sin that we experience. Grace doesn’t excuse sin, but it does mean trusting that the most amazing things can come from some terrible nights. God is creating new life by defeating sin, not by mimicking sin with God’s own violence and destruction, but by overcoming sin with the abundance of grace. If we trust in God’s grace, it can begin to change the way we respond to sin and violence. We are not only set free from mimicking it with our own violence, but we are set free to overcome the terrible evil in our world by participating in God’s abounding grace.
Fun. and Paul provide the assurance that sin doesn’t have the last word. Grace does.
Adam Ericksen blogs at the Raven Foundation, where he uses mimetic theory to provide social commentary on religion, politics, and pop culture. Follow Adam on Twitter @adamericksen.