Laugh Christians and Take the Joke

What is it about us Christians that hold so tightly to the idea that we can’t make fun of ourselves or what we do? Growing up in the church, I was told that we shouldn’t joke about such things and that some aspects of the faith are to be off-limits/kept holy. While to this day I still think this way about some things and cringe whenever someone pokes fun at Pentecostal flag waving or if there are dancers in the aisles at a particular church, I still believe that we take ourselves MUCH too seriously.

As a young boy in the church, I grew up knowing that Christians were a bit up-tight, sensitive, and protective of certain things that should never be made fun of. This was and to an extent, still is a stigma of the Christian faith. Christians unwilling to take a joke when it’s directed at their practices, aspects of their belief, or even some deeply real truths related to how others see us, has left non-believers with this unfortunate image of Christians as unwilling to laugh at themselves or enjoy healthy satire.

Babylon Bee. That’s all I need to say for those who know the website. For those who don’t, the website has been called the Christian Onion. And I realize for some of you, and those who frequently misuse Onion articles, this may be too vague as well. The Onion is a satire website poking fun at life, politics, pop-culture, and world events. Satire has a way of pointing to truth in a rather amusing way.

sat·ire    ˈsaˌtī(ə)r/     noun
1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.

So, there’s that.

All caught up. Hopefully.

The Babylon Bee is not the only source to realize that we could all do with a bit of humor in our life when it comes to Christianity. Another popular source of sarcastic hilarity these days is a man by the name of John Crist. John is a comedian who does clean stand-up, and makes YouTube videos that push the conventional, stiff boundaries of “things-all-christians-know-about-but-no-one-talks-about.” Needless to say, if you like humor that sheds light on the Christian way of life, his stuff is quite funny. Top videos include: “Christian Mingle Inspector,” “How It’s Made: Christian Music,” “Christian Girl on Instagram,” “Millennial International: Sponsor a Millenial Today,” and “Church Hunters: Part 1.”

Again, growing up in an environment where you did NOT make fun of Christianity and then in 2012 moving to New Zealand for 3 years, a land where if you took yourself too seriously…you got brought down a peg. This was a way of life. Quickly, I adapted to this type of humor and learned not to take myself too seriously. I was able to poke fun at myself and at things I was told were off-limits.

[DISCLAIMER] I don’t poke fun, mock, or rip into Christianity maliciously. No. That’s not the point. Of course. The point was to make fun of everyday things that we experience, but no one talks about, in order to lighten the mood and make people laugh. Here are a few of my favorites as examples:

  1. “Man Stacks Chairs After Service Like Tetris Champion,”
  2. “Report: Closeness To God Linked To Constantly Telling Friends What You Gave Up For Lent,”
  3. “Local Man Relieved After Spiritual Gift Test Comes Back Negative For ‘Giving’,”
  4. “Mountain Climber Recovering After Decision To Let Go And Let God,”
  5. “Man Recommits Life To Christ Just To Put Altar Call Out Of Its Misery,”
  6. “Landscaper Accidentally Trims Church’s Hedge Of Protection.”

Some people take offense to The Bee and I think this has to do with the website pointing out the sobering reminders of the kind of baggage that we’ve dumped into Christianity, particularly American evangelicalism in the name of good spirituality. Ultimately, the Babylon Bee gives us a mirror and sometimes we don’t necessarily enjoy the reflection.

Personally, I like the rise in Christian satire and subsequent comedy. I think that there’s no real need to take yourself too seriously. This raises a good question though. Are there things we shouldn’t be making fun of? Does all of this go too far sometimes? Sometimes, maybe. Will I get smitted for making a bad joke, I don’t think so. But that’s easy to filter out. Take the good and leave the bad. Finally, as a person that laughs most likely more than anyone you’ve ever met, I feel we could all use a little more laughing Christians, ha.

“Local Churchgoer refuses to laugh at a joke made at the expense of a Disciple.”
“Self-proclaimed Christian Introvert relieved that local church bans long-standing practice of “Saying Hi to Someone You Don’t Know.”

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