A Theology of Fun

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To have fun in the face of evil and turmoil and ugliness is almost revolutionary.

Is your stole draped over your shoulders or tied around your neck? That’s a pseudo-serious question for all the pastor types in our Baptist world — and even for the laypeople. If you don’t know what a stole is, well …. I think we take ourselves too seriously. We need to laugh more, especially in church. Will Rogers is credited with the saying “If you can’t laugh at your religion then it’s not true religion.” That’s actually worth thinking about!

Our world is so full of terrible, sad and painful events. Just a quick look at the news is enough to make us all depressed if we paid just a little attention. Many of us who care about the world rage against this machine of evil, and commit ourselves to incredibly important movements — crazy things like the Kingdom of God. There are so many evils that we rightly need to confront: racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, human trafficking, payday lending, the list goes on and on and on. Every one of these evils deserves our attention and our seriousness.

In the long shadow of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday that we just observed last month, we should all recommit ourselves to the two fundamental aspects of the Beloved Community: justice and love. But as we confront the biting issues of our time as people of faith, we must refuse the inclination to become curmudgeons. We should declare a moratorium on surly Christianity! No one likes Debbie Downer Deacons (Google SNL Debbie Downer right now — you will laugh)!

And we really need to laugh. Maybe it’s just me that needs a good laugh, but I think we all need a good laugh break. I have more life experience than Scripture to stand on here, but there’s little that does more for my soul than a good laugh — to have fun. My kids are great teachers to me in the department of fun. Recently they all got a balloon for some reason or another. These were the simple balloons, not the fancy helium kind — just the kind that sinks straight to the floor. Nevertheless, my 4-year-old daughter might as well have won the $400 billion Powerball!

That thing is fun to her. “Daddy, you want to play the balloon game?” This is the made-up game where you hit the balloon back-and-forth and try to keep it from falling to the floor. You can play this game anywhere (and at any time). She asks me this question when I’m brushing my teeth in the morning and when I put down the mail in the evening. She is an expert at fun.

When I’m in good student form, I can learn a lot from her. Just this morning before breakfast, we played the balloon game in the middle of the living room — close enough to the hearth to be dangerous. Every time she hit the balloon she laughed out loud. Every time she laughed out loud the funnier the game was, and the more fun we had. By the time we were finished with our game — it took nearly three minutes — we were both ready for breakfast and ready for our day. The fun was on!

When you are in the middle of the living room early in the morning keeping a balloon from hitting the floor and you’re nearly 40, you just can’t be taking yourself too seriously. What a gift! She is truly a good teacher. This fun is so good and right it must come from God. It is innocent and good for the soul.

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SOURCE: Baptist News Global
Jason Coker

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