[Not] Funny the Way it is

Posted: October 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

Carter Beauford of Dave Matthews Band is my favorite drummer, and the main reason I listen to DMB’s music. While the music of Dave Matthews provides great enjoyment, it also keeps me on my guard as I listen because I disagree with 90% of their lyrical content. No amount of mesmerizing hi-hat stickwork can change that. Case in point: their song, “Funny the Way it is.” Check out the first portion of these lyrics:

Lying in the park on a beautiful day
Sunshine in the grass, and the children play
Siren’s passing, fire engine red
Someone’s house is burning down on a day like this

The evening comes and we’re hanging out
On the front step and a car rolls by with the windows rolled down
And that war song is playing, “why can’t we be friends?”
Someone is screaming and crying in the apartment upstairs

Funny the way it is, if you think about it
Somebody’s going hungry and someone else is eating out
Funny the way it is, not right or wrong
Somebody’s heart is broken and it becomes your favorite song

The whole song contrasts the easy, free, happy lives of some and the painful, poor lives of others. Some people live luxuriously, eating out and enjoying time with their family while others wonder why they should bother to go on living after deaths in the family or other deep heartache. What explanation can there be for such disparity of experiences? Why is life so unfair? Well, says, Dave Matthews, it’s really not unfair. It’s “funny the way it is, not right or wrong,” he says.

This summarizes the secular humanistic explanation of life’s joys and tragedies so prevalent in America. It’s all the roll of the dice, a cosmic chance whether you live in North America or South Africa. It’s not an accident some people starve to death or millions of people die from AIDS. It’s not an accident because there’s no purpose to begin with. There’s no ideal, no standard, no sense of “things ought not be this way.”

But it’s not funny the way it is! It’s intensely grieving that other human beings are afflicted in such deplorable ways. One day, all things will be restored for those who are in Christ, and all will be new and perfect, but that day has yet to come. And until that day, we rejoice with those who rejoice, but we also weep with those who weep. Until that day, our beloved fellow human beings suffer cancer, death of parents, children, and friends, car accidents, paralysis, strokes, heart attacks, divorce, dysfunction in the family, abuse, and countless other woes. As much as some people would like to deny that life was intended to be some other way, observing afflictions obviously compels people to think about the hard questions of life. For some, it’s easiest to just dismiss it all as coincidence. It’s funny the way it is. For others, seeing atrocities spurs them on to vehemently deny the existence of God. For example, Richard Dawkins seems to have made it his quest to teach that if God were real, all the catastrophes and human suffering in the world make Him a vengeful, unjust God. Either way, suffering compels people to make a conclusion. The issue confronts everybody at some point, and I think the fact that we can’t comfortably shake off this feeling that something isn’t right about the way things are vividly shows how man is created in the image of God, with a longing for redemption. It’s not funny the way it is. It’s really, really sad sometimes.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” -Revelation 21:1-5

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