Monday, November 21, 2011
Where has all the good humor gone?
Bill Keane’s “Family Circus” comics entertained readers with a simple but sublime mix of humor and traditional family values for more than a half century. The appeal endured, the author thought, because the American public needed the consistency.
Keane, who started drawing the one-panel cartoon featuring Billy, Jeffy, Dolly, P.J. and their parents in February 1960, died Nov. 8 at age 89 at his longtime home in Paradise Valley, near Phoenix. His comic strip is featured in nearly 1,500 newspapers across the country.
You can read all about it here....
I report this only because Keane was a faithful Roman Catholic. Schultz began as a Lutheran and by the end of his life had no church home yet for most of his career as a cartoonist his Christian faith infused itself into his work. Keane even more so.
Those who complain that Christians have no sense of humor need to read the old Peanuts or Family Circus strips (Family Circus goes on in Bill's son Jeff). Faith and humor are not opposed. I mean real humor. Not the vulgar, biting, mean-spirited, and inevitably overtly sexual comedy that seems to predominate things now. The good humor that puts down no one and raises everyone up...
Christians are and should be people of this good humor. I have for most of my ministry kept a joke board outside my office. In my first parish it began because of the tension and conflict I inherited upon becoming Pastor there. I felt humor could be therapeutic. I still think it is. Nearly all the cartoons are overtly religious, often making a point but in a funny way, for the cause of orthodox Christian faith and life. I love that our Synod President can tell a good story and a good joke. We need to laugh a bit more at ourselves and I have found that one way to unite people is self-deprecating humor (remember Reagan's popularity and famous wit?). So it is with sadness that one more good humor man is gone and I pray the Lord will supply us with more... we need them!