Sunday, April 10, 2011

Iconoclasts: Sheldon Cooper and Coach Taylor

Yesterday was a very productive day for Dayann and myself. I read a chapter referred to me by my professor to help frame my thesis...and I watched the entire third season of Big Bang Theory from the comfort of our bed.

This is why God made Saturdays.

If you do not know this show, it is a sitcom about two roommates, one neurotic theoretical physicist named Sheldon and the other an applied physicist named Leonard. Leonard is in love with the non-physicist Penny from across the hall. All characters have to accommodate Sheldon, who is so brilliant in his physics that he has no understanding of social conventions.

As we watch the show all day, it is interesting to see ways that we both mimic the voice, phrasing, and mannerisms of Sheldon. Sometimes we mean to, as to make a joke of something in our home, but most of the time it is not conscious.

I was also aware of this when I would watch Friday Night Lights and slip into "coach-speak". If you are among those who watch the tv series (which I descibed to Dayann as a soap opera for men), you know the cadence and tone and deliberation he uses. For the record, talking to your (and more specifically, my) wife like Coach Taylor is not recommended.

One last example, this one from real life. There is a woman in our life group who we enjoy spending time with. She consistently has wonderful insight and has been hospitable to our group since we launched last year. Her and Dayann have connected and I like to listen to the two of them when they start going.

Since we have started spending time with them, I have noticed Dayann's speaking pattern shift notably. There will be times (4-5 a week) that if I didn't know better, I would think that she was mimicking our friend from life group intentionally. There is a voice--difficult to explain-- that fits our friend and has made its way into the manner in which Dayann talks.

As I thought about this, I saw how dominant personalities shape our lives as we adapt our patterns of behavior to match theirs.

With so many things vying for our attention, it really takes an iconoclast to break us out of our routine and stimulus overload into living life differently.

If we stop to think, we can all imagine people who we have unconciously mimicked our life after. Children learn acceptable behavior from their parents, students from their teachers, peers from their peers, etc, etc. To break out of these established patterns, it takes a deliberate focus on someone who is living decidedly different.

As Christians, if we desire to live our lives like Jesus (mimicking him, as "Christian" means "little Christ"), we have to spend time with him-- essentially in the gospel accounts and with people who have journeyed on ahead and have spent time in his life. He is the iconoclast of iconoclasts, as he lives in such a radically different way that when even a glimmer of his life is reflected in our own, people notice.

Who in your life have you mimicked (consciously our not)?

In what ways will spending time with Jesus reflect into your life?

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