What’s So Funny About God?

With images of sober-faced priests, sour-faced Puritans, and stern-faced evangelists firmly embedded in our corporate psyche, it can be rather jarring to ask the question in the title of Steve Wilkens book, What’s So Funny About God?

Wilkens faces another challenge. The few books about humor and theology are decidedly unfunny. He combats this trend with a light, breezy style that enhances rather than hides his content.

Standard categories of humor are embedded in our theology. We have irony (the Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign right after he feeds five thousand), political satire (the gross excesses of the Persian Empire in Esther), reversal (the happy surprise of Easter), paradox (life comes from death; we are both saved and sinners).

Then there is the incongruity of the “high and low, animal and exalted” wrapped up in God’s most amazing creation—human beings made in his image. We are astounding spiritual beings who also poop. No wonder Gnostics didn’t believe Jesus became human. They had no sense of humor!

In addition, amidst his insightful comments, Wilkens liberally sprinkles in jokes (relevant to the points he is making). A few favorites:

Two cows are standing in the field. One asks the other, “Are you worried about this mad cow disease going around?” The other relies, “Why should I be? I’m a helicopter.”

Medium-sized church building for sale. Sleeps four hundred.

Saying “I’m sorry” and “I apologize” usually mean the same thing. Except at a funeral.

The book finds the funny in Christmas, Easter, everyday life, and the end times (“Does This Eschatology Make My End Look Big?”). The thing about comedy, which is also true of this book, is that it sneaks in deep truth when we aren’t looking. Among these is the discovery that not only can we love God, we can also enjoy him.

photo credit: Robert Owen-Wahl (Pixabay)

Author: Andy Le Peau

I've been an editor and writer for over forty years. I am passionate about ideas and how we can express them clearly, beautifully, and persuasively. I love reading good books, talking about them, and recommending them. I thoroughly enjoy my family who help me continue on the path of a lifelong learner.

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