fully God, fully humor?

Yesterday I did an interview that started with our need as “worldly saints” to enjoy the pleasures of earth, ran forward on the fact that Jesus is fully human, then spun sideways on whether or not Jesus has a sense of humor. The host was sure that he does. He said he could imagine Jesus touching a disciple’s chest and asking, “What is this?” only to smack the fellow in the face when he looked down. That seemed like Junior High Jesus to me. If true, it might explain why Judas finally turned him in.

Then last night I had a dream. I don’t put much stock in my dreams, and you’re about to see why. I dreamed that Jesus had begun making regular appearances to my group of friends. He would show up and sit around our table. He even came to hear me preach. But he never spoke, at least not to me. Someone asked why I didn’t try to talk to him. I said, “I don’t know what to say. How do you make small talk with the man who died for your sins?”

I remember dreaming that I didn’t care much for Jesus’ personality. He seemed plastic and bland. Sort of like the Jesus that Philip Yancey warned us about. I was glad that he saved me from hell, but he wasn’t someone I wanted to spend time with. He could be my personal Savior, just not my personal Savior. Don’t judge me. It was just a dream.

What is my takeaway? First, don’t eat chips and salsa and then peaches and cottage cheese before bed. If you do, make sure you take very good notes, whatever happens next.

Second, it seems that Jesus must have a personality. And this personality must be funny. Jesus is the Creator, so the proboscis monkey, aye-aye, and sucker-footed bat were his idea. He obviously has a sense of humor. But humor is often divisive. What one person finds funny another person finds annoying. Many jokes are bound to offend someone. Did Jesus ever have to say, “I’m sorry you took it that way. That’s not what I meant?”

You probably haven’t thought much about it, but I suspect that most of us assume Jesus’ humor is a lot like ours, only more so. Some people have an Uptight Jesus whose touch is about as light as whoever made that Super Bowl ad for Nationwide. Others may worship Clean Double Entendre Jesus, Limerick Jesus, or Punning Jesus. How is one Jesus going to satisfy everyone’s taste in humor and personality types?

The question itself betrays a narcissistic, psychologically obsessed, western perspective. Only a spoiled American would wonder whether Jesus will meet their emotional needs. It wouldn’t have even occurred to me if I hadn’t been dreaming. I have some more thoughts on this, but I’d like to hear what you think. If you comment, do so on the blog rather than Facebook, so everyone can join the same conversation.

Image by Moyan Brenn. Used by permission. Sourced via Flickr.

7 Comments

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  1. What does humor mean to a Christian living in a Muslim or other pagan country, and facing intense persecution for thier faith in Jesus Christ?

  2. Well, I would imagine they find some things funny. Just not their persecution. Neither do I.

  3. Humor can exist regardless of the situation whether its a terrible day at work or you are facing persecution for your faith. In fact I bet it has to exist to make the persecution livable.

    Thanks for the post I really enjoyed it

  4. I like your thinking here and have played around with this idea in my own head (a dangerous place), too, though without the chips and salsa. I once heard a psychologist explain that Jesus would have been perfectly balanced on the Myers-Briggs personality test: neither introvert no extrovert, perfectly balanced between thinking and feeling, etc. Needless to say, I was skeptical of his theology and his clinical skill, but I think he fell into a common trap: the inoffensive, bland, no-personality Jesus.

  5. That Jesus would be hard to warm up to. A bit plastic. Make a great administrator, though. What if instead of balanced, Jesus has the best features of all the personalities?
    Or what if this is all a new, psychologicalized form of liberalism? We’re starting with our psychological preferences and then projecting them upon Jesus? Rather than evaluate Jesus by Myers-Briggs, we should let Jesus set the standard for M-B.

  6. If Jesus truly had a sense of humor toward those who knew him during his 33 years of earthly ministry, does that offer proof that Jesus was definitely not a fundamentalist? 😜

  7. Some questions answer themselves. Of course, there is even less humor on the far left. Just try to make a joke there that someone won’t choose to be offended by.

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