Did God Laugh?


Humor - what a gift from God.


To us today it does not sound all that blasphemous to intertwine humor and our faith. In fact, humor is used to defuse tough situations, make a comment or two on current political climates (seriously, how else would SNL survive), and to remind us of the joy God desires for each of us.


Most likely blasphemous for his time, Luther is credited with saying: "When I was unable to chase away the devil with serious words or with the Scripture, I often expelled him with pranks."

Last year I attended an international conference through the University of Chicago called the Enhancing Life Project. On their website they explain the project as such: “Given the expansion of human power through technology, genetics, ecology, and other fields, the endangerment and enhancement of life are dominant themes in the global age. The Enhancing Life Project aims to explore this rich but unexamined dimension of human aspiration and increase knowledge so that life might be enriched.”



This was a remarkable group of scholars that tackled many issues. Obviously, I was drawn towards the theological conversations - in part to see research that was about a course I took in seminary with one of my favorite professors Dr. Leah Schweitz. She spoke about how, through creation and the environment in an urban setting, we can enhance the theological and spiritual lives of people.


My academic advisor Barbara Rossing spoke about hope and life - and how we can use hope in our theologies to inspire a better life forward.


All real great stuff, but I walked away with one question:


“What about humor? If we are to enhance life, especially through faith and theology, what about humor?”




And then it occurred to me, there is no passage that said, “and God laughed.” There is no book in the New Testament of the jokes Jesus told. There appears to be a void in laughing and humor.


But we laugh. It makes us feel good to laugh and it makes us feel alive in so many ways, so why does it seem scripture is void of humor?


So, I was thinking, if Luther was so willing to pull pranks on the devil, he must have been a funny guy. That drove me to looked up a few things he said about humor:


"Laugh at the enemy and find someone to whom you can talk... or drink more, or make a joke, some merriment or any other joyful thing. Sometimes one must drink more, play, make merriment and even risk a sin during all this, in order to show abhorrence and disdain to the devil, so that he is not given any opportunity to make a thing of conscience out of small matters…” (Laugh, drink, play … if that’s Lutheran sign me up)


"If I am able to bear the grudge of the devil, of sin and of conscience, I will also be able to bear the grudge of Katie von Bora." (I wonder if Mrs. Luther laughed at this)


Humor - what a gift from God.


Yours in Christ,

Pastor Jason

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