Monday, January 17, 2011

A Joyful Heart is Good Medicine

So, what is Christian humor? Does such a thing exist, or should it? Shouldn't we all be morose repenters and worshipers all the time? Nah. Don't even want to talk about it. But I did wonder what forms "Christian" humor takes and how it serves the body of Christ. My first supposition is that to many, "Christian" means anything "clean," that is, the opposite of what are universally considered "dirty" jokes. My second supposition is that a large part of "Christian" humor consists of embarrassing typos or misstatements, which almost by definition implies unintended innuendo, which contradicts supposition #1. My third supposition is a lot of Christian "humor" is the pseudo-inspirational angel/little kid/cute animal theme epitomized by "Family Circus" and "Precious Moments," done over and over again and designed only for warm and fuzzies, not humor. So I proposed to check out these suppositions; in lieu of doing actual research, I did a Google search.

After a superficial amount of thought, I found that while the suppositions are pretty solid, they're too broad. For instance, within supposition #3 there's also a strain of jokes with the theme of smugly putting unbelievers in their place. But there's also a broader statement that can be made: "Christian humor" is generally lame (although here's a link to a website that contains some actually clever Christian humor). I guess this fact would also fall under supposition #3, but it takes in the first two as well. I mean, how often can you read bulletin bloopers before you begin to know exactly what to expect?

So what's the point, anyway? When taking up "The Job," I wanted to use humor in the same way the world uses it, not only simply for entertainment value but also for its therapeutic value. It's well-known that, at least in the Western world, people use humor to help us get over traumas, and certainly the story behind "The Job" would tap into that. But I knew that what is typically considered Christian humor would shut the book off from the general reading public, so I sought mainstream uses of what is considered funny (by me, anyway.) I wanted the humor to be sharp and insightful, bringing out points that showed where Joe B.'s mind and emotions were going. I also didn't want it to be lame.

More on all this later.

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