There are those who believe that science and religion are incompatible and that you can only embrace both by doing so as “separate and unrelated realities.” Personally, I think that is a cop-out by people who do not want to put in the hard work of developing a consistent worldview.
As difficult as it might be to work through the relationship between science and faith, I believe the interaction of humor and faith is often even more difficult to negotiate. I love humor but confess that I often have difficulty integrating it appropriately with my faith. All too often my attempts at humor are either lame or register pretty low on the sanctification meter.
On November 23, 2006 my favorite Fort-Worth Startlegram staff writer, Terry Lee Goodrich, wrote an article on religious humor and quoted my dear wife Susan. I would post a link to it, but I think it is one of those articles that require an online subscription for access.
Unfortunately, those in the “inspirational” greeting card industry seem to struggle with the connection between faith and humor even more than I do. Susan picked up on this in her interview so I post her comments here:
Susan Stilley, 39, of Fort Worth, a mother of four and the wife of an ordained minister, said she was tickled by a religious humorous card she received one Christmas.
“It was the nativity scene with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in the stable and the three wise men bringing their gifts,” she said. “One wise man turns to another and says, ‘Frankincense, you idiot. I said frankincense!’ Another wise man is standing there with Frankenstein by the arm.”
But she was offended by a card in which a wise man exclaims “Jesus!” after smacking his head on a beam of the stable.
“I felt it took the Lord’s name in vain,” Stilley said. “It’s easy to cross the line from humor or harmless satire to blasphemy.”
Well, we didn’t send out any physical Christmas cards this year, but I want to send out a virtual card to all my blogger friends. I thought I would share my favorite humorous Christmas card. It is based on a 1632 work of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669) entitled The Anatomy Lecture of Dr. Nicolaas Tulp (1593-1674) and is part of the collection at the Mauritshuis Museum, The Hague, Netherlands. The original work is oil on canvas and measures 169.5 x 216.5 cm. However, I prefer the knock-off below:
We have good intentions every year about sending out Christmas cards, but we always seem to be running too far behind to get around to the task. This year we are running behind on just about everything…including getting presents wrapped.
Yesterday Parker was lamenting that he only had three presents under the tree. So, thinking I was being smart, I asked him if he knew how many presents Jesus got from the Wise Men.
“Well, if Jesus only got three, shouldn’t you be happy with three.”
“I would be happy with three if the three were gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
I hate being outwitted by an eight-year old.