September 6th, 2004

monk john

An Epiphany if you will

So I was talking with poorheather about the things that bug me about Christianity, when it hit me...

Jesus never laughs.

I've never seen a portrayal of Jesus where he sat around with his apostles, disciples, friends, family, etc., and told a joke. Or laughed at something silly he'd done that day. Or gently teased his friends, the way all friends do.

How did that happen? How did Christianity become so...humorless? Why do people follow a religion that lacks humor?

I grew up in Miami in the 70s and early 80s. My parents knew a lot of Jewish folks, including ones with pale numbers on their forearms. They all laugh a lot. It's like humor is a central tenant of being a Jew. Buddha laughs.

But Jesus? I never see it. Or read about it. I can read about him getting tortured, I can see it happening in the movies. But where can I see him laughing? He was human on earth, right? How can you be human, and care about people, and love them, and never laugh? Even people who know they're going to die tell a joke, even a sick joke. The closest you come is, ironically, Dogma, where Chris Rock's character talks about a Jesus that had a gentle humor, and found great joy in hanging out with his friends.

That Jesus, I like.

But the humorless martyr, just killing time until Golgotha?

No thanks. Maybe that's the center of my problems with Christianity. It is, at its heart, humorless, and people who are humorless are, well, not anyone I want to be around.

If there is a Jesus, I think that's probably going to be his biggest disappointment in his people.