Courtesy of Thanksgiving Day episode of The Mockingcast:
If the Gospel is ever experienced for the ridiculous good news that it is, then laughter is soon to follow it. And this is mostly because humor is, in part, an expression of relief. Steve Brown describes it perfectly in his story about a woman who, after years of hiding a moment of infidelity from her husband, suddenly feels the (spontaneous!) need to admit it to him. Though nervous, she decides to do it.
“I saw her the next day, and she looked fifteen years younger. ‘What happened?’ I asked. ‘When I told him,’ she exclaimed, ‘he replied that he had known about the incident for twenty years and was just waiting for me to tell him so he could tell me how much he loved me!’ And then she started to laugh. ‘He forgave me twenty years ago, and I’ve been needlessly carrying all this guilt for all these years!’ Perhaps you are like this woman who had been forgiven and didn’t know it.”
Her laughter is the laughter of the forgiven. It stems from a simultaneous flood of relief (“He forgave me twenty years ago!”) and a corresponding lack of self-seriousness (“How ridiculous that I carried this around for so long?”). A sense of humor comes from the ridiculousness of your happy outcome, and the fact that it had nothing to do with you.
Humor and hyperbole are, then, delicate ministers of God’s good relief. In various ways, either through satire or self-deprecation, humor is a way of uncoupling the truth from its sting. It is a way of including oneself on the wrong side of the righteousness equation. It is a delightful willingness to be wrong, because you can afford to be. It also allows us the privilege of disarming the stings against us, to find humor in things around us that might have offended or wounded us before.
Humor can also be used as a form of gracious misdirection. It is a chance for the forgiven to put on a clown suit in love, for the sake of deflecting another’s judgment. This is precisely what Christ does for the woman caught in adultery, lining out a distracting drawing in the sand for her team of accusers (Jn 8:6). If we are so lucky, we experience the same willingness to play the fool, to feel the great pricelessness of God’s wonderful gift, and thus to ham it up at no cost to anyone.
In the realm of the Law, we must keep face. In the realm of the Gospel, we can laugh at our own faces in the mirror. In the realm of the Law, we must tediously craft emails with the right balance of seriousness and brevity. In the realm of the Gospel, we’re free to say precisely the ridiculous thing that comes to mind, without fear of what brand of trouble our words may bring. While the Law incites us to point our fingers at others in blame, the Gospel provokes us to return the pointing finger back to our chest, and shrug our shoulders, and laugh at the absurdity.
 “The Laughter of God,” When Being Good Isn’t Good Enough (Keylife, 2014).
 Surely humor is part of what is meant by the meaning of pure love “casting out fear” (1 Jn 4:18). When we are out of the realm of fear, we are into the realm where self-ridicule is easy.
If you were a child in the 1980s, then you probably heard terrifying rumors about devil worshipers in the woods. Remember? They sacrificed your pets and danced around fires? Remember how no one ever actually saw this happening but we were all terrified?
Well, consider this post a warning to all those fools running around in scary clown costumes. Y’all better not be real. Because if I get word that you are anywhere in the vicinity of my children, I will hunt you down and kill you. Best to consider this piece of writing exhibit A in my trial for your murder.
Just when I thought they had run out of gas… Click here to read the whole thing:
WASHINGTON—According to an alarming new report published Monday, roughly half the population of Heaven is composed of total assholes who begged for God’s forgiveness at the last moment before dying. “Our data show that 50 percent of the inhabitants of the Heavenly Kingdom were total… sleazebags on Earth who waited until their very final breath to plead with God for mercy,” said report co-author Janet Ryder, adding that a survey of celestial records confirmed that one of every two residents of the eternal paradise willfully lived sinful existences and shamelessly committed immoral acts before seeking clemency in the closing seconds of their lives. “What we found particularly interesting is that those who truly committed themselves to God by leading lives of virtue and doing good works are actually outnumbered by hate-filled scoundrels, petty criminals, and murderers who humbled themselves before the Lord and turned from their wicked ways at the last possible moment to con their way into Heaven.”
Abraham Kuyper once said that there’s not a microbe in the universe that Christ doesn’t look at and declare “mine”. It feels like American political combative discourse makes the same claim today. Whether it’s chicken sandwiches or late night television, everything is turning shades of red and blue, which will likely lead to us all becoming increasingly black and blue.
I’m a political person. I’ve donated money to a presidential candidate this year. I watch lots of cable news, I sometimes take perverse delight in the combative rhetoric. I’d like to say political infotainment is a guilty pleasure, but I feel…
Can’t let the day pass by without acknowledging it in some fashion. Would love for the Trekkers out there to weigh in with their favorite moments. For example:
As the country takes a well-needed breath and digs into some synchronized diving and canoe slaloming, let us all take three and a half minutes to soak in Mary Carillo’s epic badminton rant from 2004. Your mental health will thank you:
P.S. Deadspin followed up with Mary a couple years ago. Priceless.
If you watch only “Major” golf on TV like I do, it means that you limit your golf viewing to the four Majors (Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, PGA). My favorite day among the majors is coming up Sunday. The final round of the US Open always falls on Father’s Day–the perfect license for a full throttle veg-out session on the sofa. I’m not a golfer, but I find the Majors compelling, mostly when I hear the affable Irish commentary of David Feherty. He doesn’t sound like the other (rightfully ridiculed) dime-a-dozen commentators who speak in hush tones lest they…