Saturday, September 8, 2012
We laugh at irreverence...
A friend sent on this quote. I did not find it on my own. But it is so darn true. We love to laugh even when our laughter comes at the expense of those things most sacred and holy. I am not saying we should not laugh at ourselves -- we should - but dare not laugh at things sacred and holy. It is one thing to laugh at ourselves and our foolishness. It is quote another to laugh at the things of God as if they were not sacred but profane, not salutary but merely impotent. We need to make sure we know the difference.
I reported here over the years about times when I have gone to District or even Synodical events only to sit in my chair and endure the mocking of the latest and greatest guru of this, that, and the other, while he or she made fun of my Church (not the Lake Wobegon humor that laughs at our foolishness but the mocking of our sacramental identity, our liturgical expression of our confession, and our reverence for the means of grace. It is not funny when the laughter mocks the faith.
I know Garrison Kiellor says that Lutherans love not to take themselves or their things too seriously but I, for one, don't know where we got the idea that we can learn something from those who mock our values, belittle our confession, and make a joke of what is sacred and holy. Make fun of ourselves yes but not of God or the things of God.
There is, at least, one caveat. Sometimes we make fun of ourselves as cover or relief for taking seriously the flaws and failures of our sins. It is surely easier to laugh at sin than confess it. But repentance does not take lightly our wrongs or it will inevitably lead us to take lightly what God has done to forgive it (sending forth His Son to die in our place). We can laugh at our foolishness and there is plenty of fodder here to keep us laughing but we dare not laugh at sin or use humor to deflect the pointing finger of the law that calls us to account. We take sin seriously. We take redemption seriously. We take the means of grace seriously.
Respect is not a common virtue today. Our language is vulgar (sometimes even in church). Our behavior is crude. Our comedy is blasphemous. Our dress is casual -- for our comfort instead of the honor of the occasion. Our need to laugh greater than our desire for repentance. I like laughter. But the problem we have is that irreverence keeps going further and further and it has become a consuming fire that has left a trail of destruction of our once sacred institutions, truths, practices and shrines (both in and out of church).
God will not be mocked. We may think that there is nothing wrong with a little irreverence but it may be a costly delusion. Again, don't get me wrong. The people who know me know I love a good laugh. But not over things sacred. The Mass is not a comedy monologue and the job of the preacher or liturgist is not to entertain. It does nothing to assist the holy purpose of God's calling us into His house to mock or belittle that house with irreverence. It does just the opposite. It deprives us of the one serious thing that we dare not mock or make the object of humor.