After taking Can You Pass an 8th Grade Science Test?, I listened to today’s Academic Minute with Dr. Peter McGraw, associate professor of marketing and psychology at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business: A Science of Humor.
AND yes, I immediately asked myself why I found the “science test” humorous :) Was it a violation of a norm when I had “a playful state of mind, cues that a situation is okay, a reason why the situation is acceptable, feeling that a situation is far away, or a low commitment to what is threatened.” Yes, all of what McGraw advanced in his Academic Minute (Note: I listened to and read the whole 2:30 of the Academic Minute).
But would I go a “step further” and consider it a form of “debugging” — How Humor Has Not Evolved (Christian Hempelmann. TEDS Weekends in The Huffington Post, 8/4/2013)? Although Christian Hempelman can really tell a joke, I don’t buy into the theory he’s advancing. Hoping I receive a review copy to consider it more fully ;)
This shifted from a “brief” ESN Facebook Wall to an ESN Blog post as the work of McGraw and Hempelman provoked this question, “If Christians struggle with the origins, value, and proper timing/use of humor, how about those seeking purely material causation for all of which surrounds and comprises us?” Then the below Christian wrestlings with humor/laughter, “popped” in my head:
- What is unique about the Christian intersection with (or at times lack of interaction with) humor?
- Was Jesus a “funny” guy? If so, in what manner as he gathered followers, healed, taught, faced off against opponents, and traveled with the disciples from table to table, town to town, across waterways, etc?
- Does God enjoy laughter?
- Is humor part of being created in the image of God and part of the life of the people of God?
- How do understand the relationship of laughter to the Fruit of the Spirit and teaching of the Word of God?
- Why does “proper humor/laughter” bring such joy, healing, life/renewal?
- It’s about time I give Coffee with Jesus (InterVarsity Press, 2013) by David Wilkie of Radio Free Babylon a second shot :) I’ll take it on our family’s road trip to InterVarsity’s MidWest Faculty Conference on The ‘End’ of Higher Education in Twenty-First Century America: Change and the Calling of the Christian Educator at Cedar Campus (Cedarville, Michigan — yes, that’s on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where I’m hoping the ice will have melted by the time I arrive!).
In a quick on-line search I particularly appreciated:
- A Theology of Humor by Cheryl Taylor, The General Council of the Assemblies of God: The Network for Women in Ministry.
- “Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life,” by James Martin by Harvey Cox (Washington Post, 11/25/2011). Yes, we mentioned James Martin’s book a few years ago on the ESN Facebook Wall ;)
- Charles Spurgeon’s Humor by Larry J. Michael (Evangelical Press Association).
- My take: Reclaiming Jesus’ sense of humor by James Martin, SJ (CNN, 1/25/2012).
- Thoughts on The Other Guys and a Theology of Humor by Joel Mayward (Youth Specialties, 8/24/2010). I know this is “for” Youth Ministry, but the question of “Why” we laugh at others (especially in our “cliches”) really hit home to me as I considered the academic journey.
- Toward a Theology of Humor by Will Adams (Will Adams Blog, 11/4/2010).
Do you consider joy, humor and laughter under appreciated values in the spiritual life? How about the academic life? What about proper humor and laughter? Currently I am
- listening to Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life (Villanova University, 2012) over some lunch. Note: If interested, save this 1:29:23 for the weekend and go with the shorter CNN piece (3:41).
- considering an ESN blog series on humor/laughter — maybe one to go alongside a summer series on How Popular Culture Portrays Higher Ed. And yes, some attention will be given to, “If Christians struggle with the origins, value, and proper timing/use of humor, how about those seeking purely material causation for all of which surrounds and comprises us?”
If you have thoughts/links on humor/laughter to share, please share. . . .