This will have to be a fast post, as I’ve got several things to do this morning, but after reading some of the Tweets during last night’s S—r Bowl (don’t want to infringe the copyright), I have decided that many people of faith have a humor-ectomy at some point after their conversion. I’m not sure when this happens, or why, but for some of my brothers and sisters the only unforgivable sin is laughter.
There’s nothing that these humor-fasting folks can’t make holy. Doesn’t matter if the topic is as fluffy and ridiculous as a championship game for a sport played primarily in America yet deemed a global title, they’ll find some way to add the trombone of sadness.
It really struck me last night, in the midst of the Big Game Blackout, when approximately 4 billion Christians decided that the world needed 30 minutes of extended metaphors on darkness, spiritual blindness, evil, pain, suffering, and the efficacy of being the Light. Sure, some of my less holy friends made jokes about the outage, but far more people commented on the “message” of the moment: the message being, apparently, that we should always be on the lookout for Debbie Downer.
I’m the opposite. I sat there and tried to think of as many good jokes as possible. That says something about me, I’m sure – probably something unpleasant – but mainly it just means that in the face of absurdity I like to laugh. It’s sort of my family’s main way of dealing with the world; we subscribe to the idea of “If you ain’t laughing, you’re crying, and ain’t nobody got time for that.” My grandfathers taught me the power of a good laugh, and I incorporate humor into my teaching and writing because it helps make connections.
Heck, if you’re a parent, you know full well how powerful laughter can be. Either you laugh at the stuff your kids do, or you waste your life seething. I would prefer to teach my children laughter rather than unending rage. Maybe it’s just me.
Is there a time when humor is inappropriate? Absolutely. I’m not talking about being jester all the time. But the converse is true: we don’t have to be serious all the time either. Solomon said it first, but The Byrds made it culturally accessible: to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to laugh is included in the “everything.”
I believe that we can look at our daily lives and find ample evidence for the grace and power of God at work. I think we can stare deeply into the sadness and seriousness of life and find God’s truth; I believe equally that we can look into the joy and laughter of life and find His DNA as well.
So relax, Serious Christian. Have a laugh. Find a funny. It’s okay. And for you newer Christians out there, don’t feel like you have to cut off your sense of humor to be holy.
Honestly, it’s probably the opposite.