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 when you have a lot of extra time.
- 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. . . .
About the author:
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the Northeast Regional Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). For a number of years, the Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine was the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!
Leave a Reply