If you asked any group of people outside the church to define the church in just one word, what would that word be?
Sure, all of those (and more) are possible (or impossible). If you ask that question you will get a butt load of answer, both good and bad – but, I would bet my last dollar (OK, my last $.25, because I could use the last $.75 for a small Pepsi) that no one, no one, would say “funny!”
Come on, let’s be honest here, to those outside (and to most inside) the church we have may be known for a lot of things, but funny is not one of them. I can’t think of one person, not a single one that I have ever spoken with who told me that they see the church (or their church) as a fun and funny place – not a single one. You know it, I know it and they know it – the church is not a fun and funny place – why?
I think it comes from the twisted idea that Jesus was serious (he never joked around) and our faith needs to be serious, so in turn the church needs to be a serious place where we are fed that serious faith – and serious pastors are required to do the serious feeding. Now, I am not talking about the ever obligatory opening silly joke a pastor tells in the introduction to their sermon, as if that makes him a standup comic. Most of the times those jokes are not very funny, and quit often they are insulting to people who don’t think like they do. Generally speaking, Christians act as if they were baptized in lemon juice and pickled in the church.
For me, humor is very important. Now, I will be honest enough to say that writing about being funny is kind of like asking a friend to “be funny” – it loses something in the telling, but I will give it a shot.
Jesus was a funny guy. I think humor is subjective and depends on culture, but yes Jesus was a pretty funny guy. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line we lost the jokes (even though I think they are still there) and started to take Jesus’ words as “serious.” If we look at it in a cultural way, when Jesus talked about the kingdoms building there kingdoms in mustard plants, people go the joke – and the laughed. Sure, there is a message there, but that message is centered in humor. It’s like in a thousand years; we take everything John Steward says as serious.
I think we need to laugh more, and become known as a funny place – but that’s just me.