Thanks to this new publication of Christian satire (by christians) I can finally catch up on the news that matters: Here are a couple of my recent favorites:
We’ve earned it. We’re a pretty ridiculous lot much of the time. The Bible tells us so. Paul reminds us that God chose “the foolish things of the world to shame the wise,” but here’s the catch. We’re not supposed to remain foolish.
One day last year my radio dial landed on a Christian radio talk show I actively avoid. But the two hosts were laughing. That caught my attention: Christians laughing on a news show? How refreshing! A break from the usual doom and gloom of Christian political commentary. I listened closer. They were discussing upcoming peace talks with two warring nations. How timely! They quoted the Bible’s prophecies that these nations would always be at war and then broke into derisive laughter and jokes at the leaders’ upcoming attempts to forge peace. Yes, that's truly funny. The entire show was a smug preemptive I Told You So.
Too many Facebook posts from Christians are equally presumptive and arrogant about a "Christian perspective" on national and world events. I don't read them anymore. We only lose friends and neighbors through such posts.
How did we get to be so arrogant and so humorless? I know we’re all caught up in what is probably the most tumultuous first year of any president. The stability of nations feels perilous. Wars are raging, slavery is rising, the environment is degrading. And so has it always been! In the midst of worse global events, endemic slavery and brutality, two men sat in a prison one night, both beaten to a near-pulp, and out of bloody mouths they sang praises to God. With shackles around his ankle and his own execution impending, that same man wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I’ll say it again---rejoice!”
Paul was one man armed with the dangerous gospel of the relentless love of Jesus Christ for the entire world. He was stoned for it, shredded for it, shipwrecked for it, imprisoned for it, and he never stopped telling us to Rejoice! Again I say, Rejoice! Not in the world, not in the news, not in wars, not but Rejoice in the Lord! (And every time we say "Lord!" We must think of the crucifixion. So we're to glory and be joy-filled before images of that Roman instrument of torture. That's the power of redemption!)
Yes, crying is often easier. And yes, Jesus was “ a man of sorrows.” Yes, Jesus wept. But there’s no doubt that Jesus also laughed. He feasted with sinners with such gusto and joy—he was accused by the Pharisees, a sober lot indeed, of gluttony and just generally having too much fun. I imagine some serious laughter there as well at the wedding feast when he waved water into the best wine anyone had ever tasted. And have we forgotten his hilarious hyperboles against the Hyper-Religious: you strain out a gnat and swallow a camel; A camel can squeeze through a needle easier than a rich man can get into heaven. You try to pick out a sawdust speck from your neighbor’s eye when you’ve got a 2x4 jutting from your own!
I’m with Jesus and Paul. Rejoice! Laugh at least occasionally! Count it all joy! And with that, get some historical perspective! Even if you’re a last days gloom-and-doomer look around. How many of us are in prison? How many of us have been beaten for our faith and face execution? We think we live in the worst of times, when by many measures we live in the best of times. Both times are causes for joy in the Lord. And maybe we can turn off the media long enough to remember that we’re the messengers of the greatest happiest news ever: God is on His throne. He rules over the nations. Death has been conquered! All of creation is being redeemed!
We’re living in a comedy, friends, not a tragedy, that ends with a massive jubilant wedding between Christ and his bride, the Church. We’re going to sit down to a giddy feast with our sisters and brothers. We’re going to sing songs, tell stories and jokes. But I’m not waiting until then. Jesus didn’t. I’m starting now. And I'm starting by laughing at us, because we are crazy-funny people.
Any good jokes to share, friends?