A Deep Reverence & A Sense of the Comic

“In democracy both a deep reverence and a sense of the comic are requisite.”

– Carl Sangburg

In honor of Independence Day on Sunday, I’ll be posting quotes about patriotism, our country, and our systems of government. Here’s one from Sandburg, an American poet. I agree with this one wholeheartedly, and I think it applies to most other human systems. Life is full of important things that we should take seriously, because they matter very much — but not too seriously, because they are full of flawed human beings and will frequently be ridiculous. For example, government, friendship, marriage, parenthood.

If we don’t take them seriously enough, we ignore them, take them lightly, let them fall by the way-side. All of these things need a lot of work, and they are easy to get wrong. Taking them seriously means recognizing that. On they other hand, if we take them too seriously, we start getting offended, we can’t cope when strange or bad things happen, and we can’t laugh at ourselves. Really, we start taking ourselves too seriously. The goal, as always is balance.

Is there another word beside “serious” to describe our attitude here? That one just doesn’t seem right.


One response

  1. Maybe “proportionately”? It is with seriousness as C.S. Lewis pointed out that it is with love…if we take anything more seriously than God, it is that we don’t have Him in His proper place in our minds. If God is who He says He is, the sovereign Lord who calls us to work for Him, then we do our best but trust Him for the ultimate outcomes. I think it’s generally the mistaken idea that the world rests on OUR shoulders that leads to what we call “taking things too seriously,” which should maybe instead be “taking things out of context.”

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