Like many these days, I have taken a liking to Jimmy Fallon. Like him or not though, it is undeniable that he has fun when he is doing his show. I think that “just some people having fun” is the great appeal of his show and a secret to his success, if you will. As I was watching a few clips not too long ago, I can across this one of Jimmy and Billy Joel having fun singing “do-op” with an iPad app, and it hit me that in this 4 minute video on a secular show, by two men who I have no idea of their personal beliefs regarding God, they give an incredible apologetic for the God of the Bible.
Christians are skilled at giving a defense of the really tough topics like life, death, suffering, good vs evil, the historicity of the resurrection, and a few more to be sure, but we are woefully skilled at joining the good things of life with a good God. When we share Christ we are quick to ask things like, ” Aren’t you miserable? Aren’t you ashamed? Don’t you feel bad for all the bad you have done?” and on and on. This works great with a general population that has a good moral compass, especially if that moral compass is Biblically based as it was up until recently in the Western world. Here is the problem though, increasingly in today’s world, people do not feel as though they are really that miserable. They don’t feel the shame of sin in the same way they used to. The self esteem movement has worked and people don’t really think they are all that bad. I see it daily here in Sweden. People have a general sense that they have a pretty good life here and don’t really need a whole lot from life, especially a God. I have heard time and again the refrain “Maybe I would need a God if I were really poor or had some kind of really bad problem.” To be sure, the gospel speaks to this and plainly so. But to a world that doesn’t yet accept that we are broken and need of a savior, perhaps we need to have a different starting point. After all, does not the Bible start off with “And it was good” before it moves on to the Fall?
In Acts 14 while in Lystra, Paul’s points out the goodness of God in giving us “food and gladness” when beginning his argument for as to why Jesus is the Christ. Yes we live in a sad state. Yes we need to saved. But in a world that does not want to listen to that, isn’t it worth asking, “Life is really good isn’t it? Who you have to be thankful to for all these good things?” Is it possible that this nagging question could lead some one to interact with the goodness of God in a new way and eventually turn to him?
As I watched Jimmy Fallon do-op with Billy Joel, I saw in these two men enjoying life, the best apologetic for the modern world. Here are just a few observations which to me confirm the truth of the Bible. Fallon begins with stating his excitement that Billy Joel is sitting in front of him and that he is honored to get the chance to be with him. Have we ever stopped to ask “Why?” would he get butterflies around such a man who sings songs if life is a result of time+matter+chance? I assume that Fallon has appreciated Joel’s music for years, that he sees in him creativity and talent that is rare. But it is not rare in a random sense, as seen in Joel’s looking for what key to sing in as they begin. It is rare because it is practice coupled with raw talent. And where does this talent come from? But wait, if time+matter+chance be our god, then laws that we can count on, math that produces music coupled with creativity and the human voice box shouldn’t create something to be enjoyed, should it? This is not to mention what music can do to a soul is it? It is truly more than notes and words, it is joy, it is pain, it is human experience. And this is just the first 30 seconds.
Take for a moment the app that Fallon uses to loop their voices. It is no chance encounter. Someone had to make that app. But it didn’t just start with someone deciding that it would be cool to make an app. This app has its roots in a worldview that we live in a world that is governed by some laws and in understanding those laws we can like a master vinedresser, produce an amazing amount of fruit. As science grew out a men and women who worshipped a God of order, then a foundation of knowledge expanded to the point that a few app developers could use the outstanding advances in technology so that two grown kids could simply enjoy the sound of each others voices. For us to think that such advances in technology and knowledge are possible in a world whose foundations are time+matter+chance is to check our better senses at the front desk of the reason hotel. Instead of giving thanks to a benevolent being who has given us these things for our enjoyment, we turn to the gods of our own invention, deciding for ourselves what is and is not.
Fallon and Joel make this point beautifully without even knowing it, which in my mind makes it the best apologetic. It is not philosophical. One does not have to study for years to “get it”. We all experience it every day. We live in a world that has goodness, joy, love, and hope. It is a true but perhaps tired apologetic that tries to explain that we need a savior to restore these things, but it is a fresh perspective that all can appreciate: But to whom will we thank for all that is good? Of all the possible worlds that could have existed, we live in a world where God chose to create us where we would enjoy food, love, laughter, and simply being.