Saturday, September 25, 2010

Laughing Jesus

As you enter our church office, the first thing you see is a painting of Jesus in the middle of a deep belly laugh. Virtually everyone comments the first time they see it... "I've never seen a picture of Jesus laughing like that..."

That says something about our theology. We see Jesus in prayer, in tears, dying on a cross, throwing over tables in the Temple, fighting with the religious hierarchy, even with children on his lap or a sheep over his shoulders, but never really laughing, never deeply enjoying anything. If Jesus lives that way, then we think we should too. Life is full of suffering and conflict with little room for joy, wonder, or genuine encounter of the other.

Mt friend Jon, posted this irreverent video the other day. When I saw it on his site, there was only one comment, complaining that a post like this doesn't take Satan seriously enough. I won't go down that path, but I will say the comment missed Jon's point. The folk who made the video obviously have encountered a Christianity in which Jesus never laughs, doesn't enjoy much at all, and interfaith relationships are always framed in terms of violent conflict. What a sad and empty version of the Christian faith that is...

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