Liberation By Humiliation

[BY BENJAMIN ESPOSITO]

I love Dance Dance Revolution. There, I said it. Yes, I’m embarrassed to admit I find joy in bouncing up and down on that pad, eyes riveted to the stream of arrows scrolling up the screen in front of me. It’s not that the game itself is humiliating, it’s just that I am a student at an institution of higher learning, a young adult who thinks deeply about contemporary issues in our world. I spend time wondering how to deal with poverty and injustice in third world nations, how best to pray for the global church, and how to improve the quality of my spiritual life.

And yet, strangely enough, that Playstation game has had an effect on my spiritual life, an effect I was not expecting. I was afraid to play DDR the first time I saw it, because of the seemingly inherent potential for embarrassment. I mean, I am a musician, and if I went up there and did badly, if I stumbled over myself and couldn’t keep the beat, it would be a blow to my ego, for sure. The more I played, however, the more I loved the game, often simply because I was making a fool of myself.

It’s almost a spiritual discipline for me. It’s great to think deeply about the issues of our world, but I’ve found too much seriousness can rob my joy and leave me spiritually listless. It’s easy for me as a Christian to fall into the trap of other-directedness, to base my words and actions on what I think will present me in the best light to my peers. I lead a pretentious life in a lot of ways, scared that I or someone else may discover the awful truth that despite my best efforts, I am an absurd being. I take myself far too seriously.

Dance Dance Revolution reminds me there is great joy in freedom from the controlling influence of others’ opinions. I know that even if I do all the right steps and get a perfect score, I will still look ridiculous doing it. And this knowledge, for some strange reason, is profoundly liberating.

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