Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 21st and Irreverence, Humor and Doctrine

As we have the rapture of true believers and the judgment of God upon this world nearly upon us - for the 5th or 6th time since I've been a Jesus follower, I am asking myself how much satire and irreverence I am allowed in response to silly doctrines coming from Christianity.

Is telling jokes about people who in some ways believe the same things I do like a Jew telling Jewish jokes? or when Christians tell jokes about silly things in Christianity are we perceived in the same manner as someone like Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris telling jokes about Christians? Will I just come off as rude because I look like an outsider to those whose beliefs are not the exact mirror of my own?

I find satire, and a bit of irreverence from God Himself at times in the Old Testament, and wonder how far I can take it.

After planning a Left Behind Party, and writing a desperately irreverent and humorous song I wonder how far one can reach toward irreverence, before it is perceived as unfaithfulness by people who don't understand. I am planning a rapture propulsion project and want to serve red Koolaid all to hint that the idea of being able to name the date of God's judgment or Jesus' return is both silly and potentially harmful to the faith.

But the question I ask myself and God is "how far can I go with gentle humorous irreverence?"

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I suppose until LIGHTING strikes ....

Anonymous said...

Satire is to social acumen what Aunt Janes crazy mixed up salt is to my ribeye .... makes a great thing ----- AWESOME!

Dennis said...

It's not like a Jew telling Jewish jokes, because when a Jew does that, he's really telling jokes on himself--on purpose. It's not like the anti-theists making fun of Christianity, because they have no dilemna attached to the behavior of any believers. I believe that for us, it's self preservation. It's a sane response to ridiculous pronouncements which affect us directly because they undercut our mission. Can't you just hear the people we want to reach saying, yeah, you guys may be cool, but you're the exception. I think what you are doing is a good way to signal that you stand away from horribly misguided people who, no matter what they call themselves, have nothing substantive in common with you.

K.W. Leslie said...

If we were dealing with the insane—people who simply can't help but follow Camping and the date-setters—then yeah, it would be wrong to mock them. Mustn't mock the mad.

But largely that's not what we're dealing with. We're dealing with people who have willfully chosen to not think for themselves, but follow Harold Camping's harebrained math. The Proverbs call those folks who spurn wisdom "fools."

So long that our mockery isn't bitter, angry, lying, vicious, slanderous, or embraces any other work of the flesh, it's okay to call fools what they are: Fools. It's okay to mock foolishness, so long that our mockery never becomes personal attacks. It's a fine line, but not too fine to see, and I haven't seen that you've crossed it.

John said...

"...but few are chosen"

MadPriest said...

Christ employed biting satire in his teachings and conversations. There were times when we would have called his humour cruel. And the story of Christ is irony from beginning to end. Most of Christian doctrine is ironic. Let's face it - Christianity is a joke.

Pastor Phil said...

Love these comments. I see I have irreverent friends too. :-)

Jarred said...

I have mixed feelings about this one. I think the idea deserves to be mocked. I'm not so sure about the people who believe it (or even Camping) do, however.

Some of Camping's followers have made some really bad choices based on Camping's teachings. Some of them will waked up on May 22 only to find themselves homeless, penniless, and disillusioned. And while one might be tempted to say they allowed themselves to be fooled (which is true), I'm still inclined to feel a great deal of sympathy and compassion for the state they find themselves in.

I read portions of an interview with Camping recently, and get the impression that he's more than a charlatan, but actually believes sincerely in the nonsense he's peddling. When asked multiple times by the interview of what he would do if he's wrong, Camping couldn't even consider the question, wouldn't allow himself to even think about that. So, to be honest, I find myself wondering what Camping himself will be like come May 22. And as laughable as I find his claims to be, my compassionate side hopes and prays he'll be okay when the rug gets pulled out from under him.

To put it shorter, I think the mockery goes to far when our mockery becomes a way to forget about the humanity of others.

For the record, I'm not saying that's what's happening on this blog, mind you.

Bruce said...

Phil, we are free to poke fun at the things that we believe and do and characterize ourselves. That tells everyone that we know the silly side of our own commitments. When you poke fun at Harold Camping, or Dispensationalists, or soul winners, you're pointing the finger and mocking other people, other groups. On the other hand, when you operate the "confessional booth", you are identifying yourself with Catholics and the whole of Christendom and the Holy Roman Empire, and saying, "I and My PEOPLE have done these things." The Left Behind program looks like you're saying, Would you look at those ignorant backwoods Bible believers, the idiots! That's how it seems to come across to me.

Pastor Phil said...

Thanks Jared, great thoughts. I understand the compassion element too, and hope there are people who can help those who acted foolishly to pick up the pieces of life and faith.

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Bruce,

You seem to be saying then that there is NO PLACE for satire and irreverence.

So how then do we speak to false declarations other than Bible studies which the non-Christian world does not have an interest in paying attention to? That is more my interest than anything else, and so in this way I view it as similar to an apology for the Crusades, only it is an apology with humor for the current activity of the churc.

MadPriest said...

hope there are people who can help those who acted foolishly to pick up the pieces of life and faith.

I know some good jokes that might cheer them up.

Pastor Phil said...

That was hilariously cruel Mad Priest.

Thorn said...

"Never mind,
those, left behind
but do beware,
those, right behind
you.

Even God reportedly talks out of his Ass."

Irreverence = irrelevance

It matters not one jot unless you're also one of the "deluded".

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Thorn, Interesting...not quite sure what you're saying though.

Thorn said...

It matters not one jot unless you're also one of the "deluded".