Christians and Humor….

This is the true purpose of satire: to mock power. It is, truly, the language of the powerless. From the biblical prophets, to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, to Swift, to Twain, to Orwell to our beloved Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, satire works best when the targets are the powerful and elite—be they institutions or people.

Jesus’ sharpest comments were always directed toward the politically or religiously powerful. Always. Indeed, you could argue that Jesus’ entire life—from being born in a barn in the midst of a genocide, to hanging out with prostitutes and drunks, to healing on the Sabbath and touching the untouchables, to riding into Jerusalem on donkey rather than a war horse, to healing the ear of a Roman soldier after it had been cut off by Jesus’ allies—was a stinging indictment of religious and political power.

Source: Christians and Humor: Thoughts on Making It Work.

The above quote is from a post on Rachel Held Evans blog. I am a regular reader. I have never seen such a clear picture of Jesus as a satirist.  I announce it frequently on my other blog over at RJsCorner that I am a huge fan of Will Rogers so am kind of disappointed that Rachel didn’t mention his name in her list. 🙂

As Rachel says Jesus’ sharpest comments were always directed toward the politically and religiously powerful. He was by his very nature the ultimate spokesman for the marginal, down-trodden and on the edges of our society. He spoke for those who had not voice of their own.  So, shouldn’t we expect Jesus’ church to carry on that task? To me the answer is a very emphatic “YES”, but sadly that just doesn’t seem to be the case.

It greatly saddens me to see the radical right political agenda so often espoused by many evangelical fundamentalists is being perceived to be the voice of the church. It total dumbfounds me how that came to be! Why were so many in this group so adamantly against providing healthcare to those who cannot afford it on their own? Why are so many in this group so enthusiastic toward the Ryan/Republican budget that balances the budget on the backs of the poor instead of taking it out of our bloated war-machine budgets?

I have a very strong belief that if Jesus were to return to us today he would have even stronger comments directed towards the politically and religiously powerful of today. Why aren’t they carrying the mantel for those on the margins of our society?

Another thing the church of today seems to almost totally lack is a sense of humor.  I think Jesus was a pretty fun-loving guy who could give and take a joke. He means for us to joyfully live out our lives as he taught us.  He would be disappointed that his church is more in the mode of hunkering down against the big bad world than engaging it full-on as he did. Even if it does poke fun at him once in a while.


Those Who Use Jesus’ Name….

They had turned the way of Jesus, I felt, into the club of the Pharisees, and they didn’t speak for me, even though their spokesmen dominated the dialogue night after night on cable TV. The terms “Evangelical” and even “Christian” had become like discredited brands through their energetic but misguided work.

I increasingly understood why more and more of my friends winced when the name “Jesus” was mentioned in public. It wasn’t due to a loss of respect for Jesus, but for those who most used his name. In spite of all this, few of my fellow pastors and leaders had the courage to speak out for fear of losing members or their contributions. For a while, I’m ashamed to say, I was among their silent number.

A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith (McLaren, Brian D.)

The above words are one of the things that anger me about today’s church. The ones who seem to have it right just will not take a stand against those who are polluting the name of Jesus!!

I know that the author of the words above is considered a “liberal” by many of the  fundamentalist evangelicals and therefore is not to be trusted with God’s word (their words not mine). Here is a little about what Wikipedia says about him.

Many of the books that McLaren has written, including the “A New Kind of Christian” trilogy, deal with Christianity in the context of the cultural shift towards postmodernism. McLaren believes this theology enables him to approach faith from what he considers a more Jewish perspective which allows faith to exist without objective, propositional truth to believe. He has also challenged traditional evangelicals’ emphasis on individual salvation, end-times theology and the prosperity gospel. He also creates an antithesis between personal trust in God and belief in his propositions:

“I believe people are saved not by objective truth, but by Jesus. Their faith isn’t in their knowledge, but in God.” – Brian McLaren

It takes courage to strike out against those who pollute the name of Jesus and there are many out there that do just that. They want to put one form of selfish message on Jesus to tell you that he wants everyone to be millionaires or other such things.

Ashamed Not to be a Heretic…

Source:Ashamed Not to be a Heretic: Harry Emerson Fosdick – QuakerQuaker.

“If the day ever comes when men care so little for the basic Christian experiences and revelations of truth that they cease trying to rethink them in more adequate terms, see them in the light of freshly acquired knowledge, and interpret them anew for new days, then Christianity will be finished.”

Here is an interesting post by a Quaker about a Presbyterian minister who was driven from the pulpit by fundamentalists in 1922 due to straying from the established doctrine of the time. He fought the first waves of fundamentalism put forward by William Jennings Brian. Harry Emerson Fosdick went on to become very famous for his sermons and books. Check out his books on Amazon. He still has more than thirty books people continue to buy. I picked up his book entitled “Christianity and Progress” on my e-reader for future reading. I look forward to my introduction to another religious person who was not ashamed to be a heretic.

. His most notable quote from that time was as reported on the post

“They call me a heretic. Well, I am a heretic if conventional orthodoxy is the standard. I should be ashamed to live in this generation and not be a heretic.”