You’re More Like Kramer Than You Think. (Chatter letter from the Editor, Nov.)

If there’s any iconic character in American TV that epitomizes boundless energy, it’s Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld. Peter Goddard of The Toronto Star has observed, “[Kramer’s personality] is hard to pin down. A New York Times profile described Kramer as ‘cartoonlike’ in a piece with a headline calling him ‘Seinfeld’s craziest neighbor’…But he’s more than so much concentrated comic schtick. Kramer is an attitude.”

And his attitude is simple: if you have an idea, nutty as it may be, jump on it and never look back. Dive in. Now.

Kramer’s business schemes-turned-inventions include: a version of Moviefone, a make-your-own-pizza restaurant, Kramerica, the “oil bladder” for tankers, aluminum cans for cash, The Peterman Reality Tour, the Merv Griffin “show” in his apartment, the “Bro,” black-market shower heads, a necktie dispenser, the ketchup/mustard bottle, a coffee table book (about coffee tables), and a rickshaw business (with Newman) — to name a few.

Kramer has an endless supply of ideas, and fortunately for us (though not so much for his friends), an endless supply of energy to tackle them with gusto.

We TV-watchers might not have an endless supply of ideas or energy, but there is one thing we do have in endless supply, something we can’t reign in or mete out or budget for, and that’s worship. Worship is replenished in us moment-by-moment, hour-by-hour, day-by-day. We may not notice it, but it’s there. It’s always happening inside us, flowing through us like breath.

As C.S. Lewis observed:

The world rings with praise — lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game — praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars.

We’ve all heard the mantra “follow your heart,” but this is redundant. Who needs to tell us to do that? Following our heart is what we do by default; we follow the pulls and tugs of passions and delights, whether pure or stained. When we keep away from the activities/people/experiences we love, it’s not because we have lost interest but because we have found something even GREATER to delight in. We incurably praise. We move from worship service to worship service.

We can’t dampen the urge, the compulsion, the hunger, but why would we want to? It’s beyond us. What we can do is direct it.

David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, writes, “The Lord lives! Blessed be my rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted!” (Psalm 18:46) The Psalms call us to funnel our overflowing affection in the most legitimate way possible: towards the God for whom our worship most honors even as it most benefits us. God has given us a mind and a will to discern the world around us and exalt him in the midst of it. Or not. We choose how we spend our worship.

In the nine seasons of Seinfeld, no one could really figure out exactly how Kramer made money or supported himself. Despite mooching off Jerry’s pantry and wearing the same vintage clothes, Kramer had no stable source of income. His fly-by-night schemes never proved to be a good investment of his time and boundless energy, which is what made him hilarious and awesome. The show went on to win an Emmy, a Golden Globe Award, 2 SAG awards, and received many more nominations. Kramer’s ill-spent time and resources and emotional equity (read: worship) endeared him to us even as it ensconced him as an iconic TV character. But his example would make us — as followers of Christ — wasteful.

You have worship in endless supply. Spend it wisely.

(Just dive in. Now.)

– Julie

PS: What’s your all-time favorite Christmas ornament? That macaroni creation? A porcelain family heirloom? Chatter is planning for Christmas and we’re curious: do you have an ornament with special meaning? Tell us about it at chatter@irvingbible.org.

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