Monday, October 20, 2008

Why so serious?

It should come as no surprise that I have a wicked sense of humor. I am not fond of cruel humor, potty humor, or anything that picks on people who can't defend themselves. Everything else, though, is pretty much fair game. I especially love intelligent, witty humor that takes ordinary things and turns them upside down. George Carlin was awesome at that, and I am astounded at Eddie Izzard's commentary sometimes. I love comedy that makes me think.

This weekend, I started a new book, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore. From the back cover, I give you the synopsis:
The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years--except Biff, the Messiah's best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in this divinely hilarious, yet heartfelt work. Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior's pal may not be enough to divert Joshua (Jesus) from his tragic destiny. But there's no one who loves Josh more--except maybe "Maggie," Mary of Magdala--and Biff isn't about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without at fight.
I'm a couple chapters in already, and I can't put the book down. Seriously, this is good stuff. It's enlightened, witty, and makes me think about what life must have been like way back then. I can't believe someone actually thought this stuff up!

But when I try to explain the book to people, I'm met with disgust or horror. Somehow the 'Gospel According to Biff' is absolute blasphemy, should be burned or banned, and isn't worthy of a mere chuckle. The book was never meant to be read and believed literally. The author wasn't trying to narrate Jesus' life or change Christianity around the world. It's called humor. It doesn't demean Christ's life, work, death, or resurrection in any way. In fact, having the ability to laugh about Biff's narrative helps me to appreciate Christ even more.

I realize faith and religion mean different things to different people, and I respect that completely. I know people like to take these subjects very seriously, too. I do that as well. Heck, I have a 2nd blog dedicated to taking religion seriously, openly asking questions, being ready for harsh criticism. I know what serious is, and I'm working diligently to filter through all of the muck that is Christianity. You show me someone who takes it more seriously than I do, and I'll hand them a gold star. But being so invested in the seriousness gets me no where. Books like Lamb show the lighter side of creativity. Even though Lamb might not be divinely inspired, I bet God was laughing His holy ass off while Moore was writing the book. Two thumbs up from me!

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