As long as you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve probably heard the song “What Does the Fox Say?”And if you are one of those rock dwellers, see the above video to catch up. It’s an absolute absurdist joke of a song/video by Norwegian duo Ylvis that’s meant to be one. The real joke happened when it became an international phenomena.
Through the narrative of the song, we are taken through the known sounds of different animals (the cow goes moo… etc). One mystery remains… we don’t know what the fox says. Our vocal sherpa then takes us into the mysterious unknown. The journey goes through many different nonsensical attempts to figure out what the fox actually says. Yet in the end… some things are simply a mystery. Sometimes the questions in life are more important than the answers.
I think this speaks to a deeper theological narrative that we encounter when we encounter God. What Ylvis is teaching us here is that there’s a beauty to mystery and those things we experience, yet can’t quite grasp. You may hear the fox one way, while I hear it another. Is either right or wrong? No and that’s exactly the point. When you look across the Christian landscape, there are many different songs being sung in different styles and tempos. It’s easy to assume yours trumps the others or that your song is right while the others are wrong.
So next time when you’re tempted with the familiar denominational/group/tribal urge to think your brand is better than another brand. Just remember we’re all experiencing the same God in different ways. Some of this is due to diverse backgrounds, geographies, socio-economics, cultures and/or simply different vantage points. Let’s respect one another and realize that there’s beauty to the mystery. There’s a beauty to the song passionately sung in different voices and tunes. When you feel that urge to judge or be self-righteous… simply as yourself, “What Does the Fox Say?” If anything, you’ll be magically carried to a whimsical place where it’s hard to be serious. In that place, it’s easy to laugh at yourself in the process – and that’s healthy.
Embrace the mystery and diversity we all share. Learn to laugh and resist the urge to kill what little shalom* we have in this world for the sake of feeling ‘correct.’ Grab on to that frailty of this thing we call life, and simply smile while you walk down the street today and hum this tune – you never know what you’ll experience once you drop the weight of assuming your always right.
* shalom – the state of peace or well-being, of living in harmony with one’s community and the with the earth.