Monday, March 25, 2013

Confrontation Monday: Not giving up on laughter

Systematic Theology can be a pretty grueling class.

This is the class that is supposed to explain it all, or equip you to explain it all, or something. Our professor has this habit of lecturing for awhile and then taking a long pause and saying something along the lines of "Know what I mean?" I hardly ever do.

He actually left the following comment on one of my midterms: "I would replace 'precedes' with 'supercedes' to make the point that filiation carries more ontic weight than spiration. Know what I mean?"

Nope. I don't.

Anyway. Today's class was full of hilarity. Take, for example, our professor trying to explain the inexplicable nature of grace. "The person I'm closest to in the world is my wife. Do I understand her? NO! Does she understand me? She THINKS she does!"

Or the following exchange:

Prof: "Barth thinks every knee will bow. Wesley says if you don't walk with God, you burn in hell. ::long pause:: Am I wrong?"

::I raise my hand to ask a question::

Prof: "Dave thinks I'm wrong."

Me: "No no, you're not wrong. I mean, you could be. I don't know."

Prof:: ::cracks up for like 5 minutes::

Anyway. We all laughed and got through it.

Laughter is such a marvelous thing. I think it was C.S. Lewis who once said that the one thing the devil can't stand is people laughing at him. Humor can be subversive. It can unmask powers. It can save a day.

Don't get me wrong. Laughter can also be mean, sometimes. But even that meanness loses its power as we gain an ability to laugh at ourselves.

We don't picture Jesus laughing too much. But the Bible is just full of jokes (the Hebrew scriptures are in love with puns). I think Jesus laughed. I think when he caught Peter as Peter failed spectacularly at walking on water (but dude! He frikin' tried it! What a badass!), that he wasn't angry or disappointed. I think he and Peter shared a (slightly terrified) chuckle as Jesus said, "O you of little faith."

Today in Holy Week is called "Confrontation Monday." It's the day that we celebrate Jesus clearing out the temple. So laughter might seem a bit out of place, might seem a bit out of place in the theme of the week. But if you want to confront power, I'd highly recommend that you start by laughing at it.

There are points in this week that are no laughing matter. But the new week begins with life having the last laugh.

Today, on Confrontation Monday, I'm not giving up on laughter.

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