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It's a jungle out there

I suppose Monk is a bit of an acquired taste.  In our “we’re number one,” winner-take-all culture, Monk is the equivalent of the Chicago Cubs.  Having said that though, I suspect there’s a good many people who are absolutely hooked on the show as soon as they see his insecurities and obsessions on display in the shows’ opening moments accompanied by the Randy Newman song, “It’s a Jungle Out There.”

It is a jungle out there.  And not everyone is or can be a lion (whether they want to be or not).  Whatever Adrian Monk might be, he’s certainly no lion.  What he is though is a non-lion who gets by.  He is a survivor.  But he doesn’t do it alone - he’s helped by lots of people who are patient with him and his idiosyncrasies.  From his personal assistant, to the chief of police, to his psychiatrist; they accept Monk for what he is while also calling forth his best qualities.  Those qualities enable him to do what they are unable to do – solve the case at hand.  I can’t help but think that it’s a model for community – those who are strong in certain areas helping those who are weak and then the weak turning around and exhibiting a strength that the strong don’t have.

Monk is one of us.  He’s been wounded (He lost his wife in a car-bombing that he believes was meant for him).  He struggles with personal issues.  He struggles in his relationships - he’s not always likeable and rarely is he easy to get along with.  But the same eccentricities that haunt him allow him to help others.  He is a wounded healer. 

And in the end, that’s why characters like Monk can not only entertain us, but if we’ll allow for it, they can push us in the direction of hope and inspiration.  They convince us, not of our sin and weakness (a good many people need no convincing of these things), but of our possibilities.  They cause us to think about, hunger, and practice true community.    

In the end, we can say all of these things about Monk because their truth has been witnessed in Jesus.  True community is anchored ultimately in Him.  He is the model of community.  He told His disciples to love one another “as I have loved you,” (John 13:34).  His love was persistent, courageous, and sacrificial.  He is also the means of community.  People who cannot be united by politics, lifestyle, or personal preferences have found common ground at the foot of the cross and by the empty tomb.  At communion, they take emblems representing His body and blood - given to bring them together.

It’s a jungle out there to be sure.  But somewhere out there in that jungle is a safe haven, a paradise where people have been brought together to care for each other.   The Lion from Judah stands watch.  Swords are beaten into plowshares and people work together to bring out the best in each other.

That can’t be bad, can it?
 
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