Only a clever Human can make a joke about virtue

The Screwtape letters

We interrupt our coverage of Al Franken to talk about…comedy.

If there has been one staple of modern humor from our cultural “betters” it’s been the willingness to belittle and berate Christianity. Over the decades we have seen stand up comics, TV and movies gleefully make Christianity the butt of jokes and insults galore. Nor has Christ himself been immune from bad jokes on Family guy to Jesus as a mythical figure on Southpark in a way that would have been unthinkable just 60 years ago. All of this is protected of course by the 1st Amendment in the same way that my critique of them is and while I am all in favor of rebuking such humor I would not dream of forbidding it.

Now I’m a big fan of comedy from the Three Stooges to Monty Python to Blackadder and I even admire the folks at South Park because they at least are willing to hit everyone equally (They are practically the only folks to hit Islam in the way they’ve hit Christianity) but as a person who has always insisted that the proof that God has a sense of humor is his creation of man it got me thinking. “Can one portray or reference Christ in a humorous non blasphemous way and still be funny?

I thought about it for a while and could only think of three instances over the last 40 years that meet this bill. They now follow in reverse order with the best job of not insulting Christianity, not perverting Christ message and still being funny. Here are are

#3 Mel Brooks The meaning of Life, the private dinner

It’s 33 AD and Mel Brooks is Comicus a “stand up philosopher” who with his friends have escaped execution in Rome and fled to Judea. On their arrival they get employment at an in where Comicus on his first day is assigned to serve at a private party.

Best exchange

Jesus: Yea Yea so you say, but one who sits among us has already betrayed us this night.
Various Disciples: Who? Who? Who Who could it be?
Comicus: [Pointing] Judas! [Judas jumps startled] Would you like a beverage try the Mulled Wine it’s terrific!

Now one might object to the “Jesus!” “What?” exchange but it’s such a mild thing that it doesn’t take away from the Humor or the comedy.

#2 Monty Python The Life of Brian Arms for an ex-leper 1979

Brian and his mother have just left a stoning and pass by several lepers begging along with one ex-leper

Best exchange

Brian: Who cured you?
Ex-Leper: Jesus did, sir. I was hopping along, minding my own business, all of a sudden, up he comes, cures me! One minute I’m a leper with a trade, next minute my livelihood’s gone. Not so much as a by-your-leave! “You’re cured, mate.” Bloody do-gooder.

The quick banter and physical humor of Michael Palin as the ex-leper is great but it’s the writing that makes this work. Jesus doesn’t appear in this sequence at all but the character of the ex-leper is not only funny, but biblical as you might recall from Luke 17 where Jesus cures 10 lepers and one of them comes back in thanks and Jesus exclaims in verse 17 and 18

“Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

I can’t speak for the other eight but as far as the Monty Python crowd is concerned one is wishing he still had a better begging selling point than being an ex-leper.

 #1  Mad TV 1998  Movie Trailer  Terminator 3  The Greatest Action Story Ever Told

Arnold returns as the Terminator is sent back in time to protect one of the most figures in history however the man he is trying to protect is not willing to dodge his destiny.

This is a complete winner. The production value of this skit very high for a TV show, it’s well written but most importantly there is not a single part of this skit that isn’t hilarious from the Terminator’s encounter with the wise men in Bethlehem, to the final line (“Don’t worry, he’ll be back.”) said to a wailing woman as Jesus carries his cross. Even more amazingly there is not a single scene that either mocks the Christian message nor perverts the message and mission of Jesus.

This is best illustrated by the best exchange and funniest scene Arnold/Terminator breaks into the last Supper repeatedly killing Judas while an increasingly frustrated Jesus keeps healing him while trying to explain that it’s necessary for it to happen for the salvation of the human race. The entire exchange is classic but his bit in the middle is just incredible

Jesus: Stop! Stop Killing Judas!
The Terminator: But he’s going to betray you.
Jesus: I know! Look look I’ve got a lot on my mind right now and you’re really starting to stress me out Ok? OK!

Not only is it absolutely hilarious but it fits in so perfectly with the scriptural anguish that Jesus is going through My soul is sorrowful even to death.” MT 26:38, MK 14:34 ” He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground.)” Luke 22:44 that it even becomes poignant reminder of what Christ went through spiritually to save man, in the same what that the Passion of the Christ on a much grander scale illustrated what he went though physically.

This is a pretty long list for a period of 40 years but as Lewis said through screwtape it takes a really clever person to make a joke about virtue and our culture and despite the high opinion people of today have for themselves, as a culture we are not as clever as we once were.

But if you can think of a skit or scene that fits the bill that I might have missed, feel free to include it is comments.

There’s a tremendous, oft sadly neglected richness in the English language all of us should use more often. I’m not referring to throwing maximum verbiage around in an effort to appear smart; rather, appreciating how even simple phrases can hold surprising depth. Case in point: someone is getting, or have gotten, the best of you.

The most common association tied to this saying is someone has bettered, or bested, you. He or she ran faster, jumped higher, got the promotion you sought, snagged the one your heart longed for, etc. He or she won, you lost, and you will not be receiving a consolation prize, make-up call, or participation trophy. Suck it up, buttercup. The next competition starts now.

Another implementation exists for someone getting the best of you. Namely, giving someone the best you have to offer: your experience, your support, your love. Sometimes this is gratefully received. Many times … well, not so much.

There are certain things we learn, or at least hopefully learn, as we pass through the years. A prime example of this is coming to grips with how we are best advised accepting the fact that we should not expect respect for our anger, this coming into play the first time during our tender years any of us throw a temper tantrum without reaping the hoped for reward. Unless a spanking was that for which we had a honkering.

We also learn, or should learn, to not expect respect for our tears, or reciprocation for our love. These are far more difficult to swallow. We are taught from the beginning to respect others, to honor the heralded awesome power of love, and that true love always triumphs while conquering all and overcoming all obstacles. Yet through bitter and often embittering experience we learn how love is often impotent, incapable of swaying others in any direction let alone one which we desire. Those who do not learn this, such as starry-eyed women unshakable in their pursuit of utterly undesirable men believing they can transform jerks into jewels, invariably have their ship of hopes dashed against reality’s rocks. You’d think this would be sufficient to teach us, but far too often we embody insanity by attempting the exact same thing while anticipating different results. The Biblical truism that pride goes before a fall is not exclusively reserved for the outwardly arrogant. It also applies to those of us who, while outwardly modest and/or well-intentioned, sadly overestimate our own ability.

It hurts when love isn’t returned. The illustration of a rejected Savior is hard to understand until we encounter a one-sided love of our own. The other person doesn’t look at you in a special way. He or she doesn’t soften when you’re around. He or she isn’t interested in a relationship on any level save perhaps that of casual acquaintance, one quickly forgotten the moment close proximity is no longer in effect. Perhaps the person does allow you to approach them, but even then only within his or her strictly defined and absolute, non-negotiable parameters. Held at arm’s length? Most definitely. Held in each other’s arms? Never. And yes, it makes life a living hell. An accurate description, for hell’s torment is not fire and brimstone, but rather separation from love.

The illustration in Scripture’s most misunderstood and misapplied chapter states that when I was a child, I spoke, thought, and acted like a child; in adulthood laying these childish things aside. It seems strange to think, believe, and act on the notion that there are times when laying love aside is an act of maturity. More accurately, not so much setting love itself on the shelf but learning how to be at peace with the fact others can and will disregard your love for them.

It hurts when love isn’t returned. There is no escaping, no denying the pain. If there is anything good to be drawn from these times, it is from the empathy gained for those also suffering; and how it makes more real our need to embrace — more accurately, allow ourselves to be embraced by — the nail-scarred hands belonging to the Man of Sorrows well acquainted with grief. He knows. He understands. He comforts. And He never rejects our love.

Never.

Many, many times someone getting the best of you is rooted not in their besting you, but rather you giving your best to someone who throws your best away. Forgiving those who have wrongly abused you is brutally difficult. But, it is the highest level of giving your best, one in which we have Christ’s hand on our shoulder as He says, “I know the feeling.”

NOTE: This post was first published in abbreviated form at the author’s personal blog.

The_Death_of_Socrates
The Death of Socrates (1797) by Jacques-Louis David. Socrates was “invited” to kill himself.

by baldilocks

At American Thinker, First Amendment activists Matt Patterson and Lindsey DePasse point to known history, show how to analyze it and how to draw conclusions from it.

The Greek city-state of Athens had no constitutional protections for people who advocated notions radically at odds with prevailing wisdom.

The result: Socrates was put to death for “corrupting” the youth.

Four hundred years later, the Roman province of Judea contained no constitutional protections for wild-eyed preachers who advocated radical alternatives to established political and religious orthodoxies.

The result: Jesus was crucified for claiming to be “King of the Jews.”

Sixteen hundred years later in Italy, there were no constitutional protections for thinkers who discerned profound restructuring of metaphysical realities.

The result: Galileo Galilei was tried and sentenced to house arrest by the Catholic Inquisition for advocating views contrary to Church doctrine.

Four hundred years later, the United States of America did provide constitutional protections of speech and assembly, allowing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to lead a movement that changed laws and expanded liberty for millions.

Socrates, Jesus and Galileo lacked governmental protection to say crazy things. As a result, they were put to death or imprisoned by the government for saying crazy things.

True, Dr. King also met with an untimely end, slain by a fellow citizen who denied him his constitutionally protected freedoms. But the others were killed or imprisoned by the government because they had no constitutionally protected freedoms.

That is all the difference in the world. And it is a difference that Dr. King died for.

Of course, no ancient history is taught in most public schools, much less the simple compare/contrast analysis displayed above. As a result,

A 2015 Pew Research survey found, “Four-in-ten Millennials say the government should be able to prevent people publicly making statements that are offensive to minority groups.”

Let that sink in for a moment: 40 percent of Millennials favor explicit, unconstitutional censorship of “offensive” speech. The same Pew survey found that 35 percent of all Democrats and 33 percent of all women “say the government should be able to curtail speech that is offensive to minorities.”

When the government comes after the First Amendment, look for it to come for the rest. Some argue convincingly that it’s too late. We’ll see.

Related: Condition: Unknown, Unknowns

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game (click on left sidebar image), was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>baldilocks

sacrificial-lamb3by baldilocks

In the wake of the Islamic terrorist attack on Orlando’s Pulse club–an establishment with a primarily gay clientele–online activists of the Organized Left and those who have been duped by them have taken the opportunity to blame Christians for it. Sounds crazy, does it not?

But this has been the pattern them for every mass shooting  since the 2011 Tucson, Arizona shooting. That Christianity is being blamed for the acts of a Muslim isn’t what matters, however. That the victims–49 dead and 50+ wounded–were primarily gay isn’t what matters. That’s this was an attack on the liberty of Americans by a death cult isn’t what matters. That President Obama–once again and along with his ideological brethren–is loath to blame the innocent and amenable to overlooking the guilty isn’t what matters.

And it’s not even Christians who matter. It’s Christ who matters.

All this morning, I’ve seen people assert that the Bible also advocates death for homosexuals–even from Christians. In an effort to repudiate this assertion, unlearned Christians assert that Mosaic Law is ignored and done away with. But that isn’t what the Man they claim to follow said.

17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.

–Matthew 5:7

People who don’t bother to read the Old Testament do not get the context of what Christ meant when He said that. In the Old Testament, a lamb without defect was a sin-offering for the people, sacrificed by a Levitical priest. Christ’s purpose was to be the final sin-offering: to be the final Lamb foretold of by all the prophets, to be sacrificed for all sins–to fulfill the Law once and for all.

I’ve had to correct so many people about this and I thank God for those opportunities. And if someone who is hurting because of what happened in Orlando–or for any other reason–finds this out, grabs hold of it in faith, and is comforted by it, then His work is done. Once again.

And that is what matters.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>baldilocks