Christians need to learn at least one poop joke—-Day #18 out of the 30 day challenge to blog

At least one.

The community of protestants are known for many things, but humor isn’t one of them. Rich Mullins said one, “I used to take myself way too seriously, and now I’m just serious about not taking myself serious.” We need more of that.

Did you know a nick name of St. Francis of Assisi, by his contemporaries was…le jon gleur de Dieu…which means “the clown of God.?

Did you know that the first poop joke recorded in the Bible was in 1 KINGS…when Elijah, said to the prophets of Baal…”Where’s your God… taking a shit?” (DLS paraphrase version)

Which sidenote: if you believe all ways lead to God, don’t ever read the bible. Because this one story alone in the 18th chapter of first Kings will blow that theory into the water. Because not only is there only one God, but he also likes to prove that he is…and as Elijah showed us it seems sarcasm was a great tool to show that those who thought Baal was truly a god…were nincompoops…

So yes, I like to say…the first poop joke was spoken by Elijah.

In college when I traveled around with my sketch team The Color Green, I and a few other friends would from time to time get up and preach the gospel of Jesus. Our weekends would be filled traveling all over the midwest and the south like gypsies. When it comes to poop jokes this one church in Northern Indiana always comes to mind.

We did the show, it went fine, and a really sweet older lady come up to us after words. If I recall her name was something I can’t remember, but I do remember her saying…but you can call me “Bee”…she was very sweet, saying that this church “needed something like this”…I’m not really sure what she meant, or maybe I did know, and now I’ve since long forgotten…Anyway, weeks later I got a very serious letter in the mail from the pastor. They were were patting us on the back for preaching the gospel, but had to relay the fact that their congregation was very disappointed in our “coarse humor”…my first reaction…was “What did we do? Oh, crap…” Because they may have been right. We may have messed up…but thankfully they gave us an example…they said…”You joked about poop, and pee” during one of your comedy sketches….”Christians shouldn’t use that type of humor,” he went on to tell me…”it’s inappropriate. “

I remember I was so mad. It would be years later that I would know the scriptures a tad bit better…and when I realized what Elijah was saying to the prophets of Baal…I would go…”Dang, I wish I knew that then”

I was angry at that guy, and that letter…and then I thought of bee who was maybe the oldest lady  in the bunch…who came up and gave us hugs and love. And in that moment I went…what is it that this lady has, and/or saw in us that the rest didn’t…Out of my anger I think I used to say…well maybe she just loves Jesus more…or she’s just more loving and compassionate than the rest…But with the passing years…I’m convinced it’s something else…I’m convinced what she had that the rest of the congregation didn’t was….a sense of humor.

I remember an occasion in high school. For one semester, and only one semester I went to a Christian High School, as if there is such a thing…but never the less, that is what it was known for. It’s a holy sales pitch I suppose…anyway…I remember once I really made everybody uncomfortable by performing a christmas sketch at a banquet…and in the sketch we pretty much had a Christmas dinner with every cliche dysfunctional family member you could imagine. We were 16. We had a drunk vet, that would occasionally re-enact the war, and a drunk santa…come to think of it…I don’t think there was any sober people in the sketch…the theme was simple…you can’t pick your family members…but love em’ anyway…(i still need to learn that lesson)…any who….I remember it ending…and there being silence and not much clapping…my only thought at the time was…”oh, we bombed” but I would come to learn it was much more “serious” than that. The following monday I was called into the principle’s office…and he told me how the material was inappropriate and offensive…I remember what I was thinking at the time, and it still makes sense to me…”this is bullshit”…

Anyway, after I got a good “talking to”…the subject switched…to the principle telling me that comedy, and performing had no place within the church…I remember what I was thinking, and it still makes sense to me…”this is bullshit.”

There were times throughout my comedy and performing career where I made choices that flaty were inappropriate and wrong. I regret those choices, though I’m not sure had entirely false motives…I was following my conscience at the time…and even though I was wrong at times…I was making wrong decisions with the heart to be a light in the middle of the darkness…as one pastor friend told me…”David you’re always gonna catch flack because you’re not afraid to get dirty”…

At times I’ve been very wrong, and as time passes I learn it…but I’ve always wondered why are so many people in the church so hung up…is it that they truly have a holy understanding of what is appropriate or inappropriate…or are they merely addicted to people pleasing and instead of living by their conscience and following the holy spirit…they play it safe and make their decisions not out of a conviction of the Holy spirit…but out of what people will think…and specifically the religious.

Again, it goes back to what I said, previously, when I mentioned how Christians often become list Christians…I don’t do this, and don’t joke about that…and I’m fine…Throughout the years when I remember these moments…do you know what I never remember…I never remember anyone asking a simple question…”What’s going on in your heart?”…Which I think would have been a healthier question….and I would often wonder…”Have they never read in scripture where it talks about how ‘Men look at the outside…but God looks at the heart.”

Off all of those experiences I often remember going…why is it that so many Christians I know have a giant stick stuck up their ass?

In the book Ruthless Trust Brennan Manning says,

“Clowns are instruments of grace imploring in the voice of God, “Lighten up, ragamuffins!”…”Their somersaults, back-flips, and unpredictable high jinks timer with our straitlaced logic, which alleges that ultimate significance be found in the tangible, the visible, the perishable. Their spiritual direction to us follows the counsel of the psalmist: “Look up at the Lord with gladness and smile (Psalm 40:16)…As we stare at their outlandish costumes, we recognize a lighthearted, whimsical stance toward life. As we respond to their offer of unaffected graciousness and sincere friendliness, our inflated sense of self-importance rushes out of us like air from a pinpricked ballon.”

Much like my view of cussing, I have a similar view on joking. We can point to verses in scripture that warn away from coarse LANGUAGE…and coarse JOKING….and of course those who are followers of Jesus want to be like Jesus…we want to be Holy…we want to do everything we do with honor and glory to God (1 Cor 10:31)…but again…where is the list and where are the exact directions for us to follow…Let me go ahead and tell you so you don’t have to flip through the 66 books yourself…there are none.

Of course there examples of humor in the bible…but no where will you find…here’s how you joke…and here’s how you don’t joke…Here’s what you can joke about and here’s what you can’t.

I have Chrisitan friends that wouldn’t be caught dead saying a swear word…and probably thinking joking about farting is unholy…and then I know the total opposite…and his name is Justin Eubanks.

St. Justin makes the criminally insane feel uncomfortable…he would make Louis C.K & Amy Schumer blush…yeah, he’s that reckless.

And many would go “Oh, man Justin …how could you…” But let me tell you about what I love about this Reckless saint…He doesn’t hide. You could search his entire house and you couldn’t find a religious mask if you tried….and here’s where I’m at on the whole thing…I would rather you…as the spiritual director of Brennan Manning, Larry Hines once said…”Be who you is…because if you ain’t who you is…you is who you aint…”That’s not an excuse to be rebellious to your Lord & Savior Jesus…but I would rather you say a few cuss words and a few inappropriate jokes any day of the week versus be a “pretender in the spirit”…because as the scriptures say…God seeks people who would worship him in spirit and in truth…

I remember the day I realized that this problem with the Christian Community having no humor had become an epidemic…it probably always had been…but in my naive experience I had no experience with contemplating on the subject…It was the day I went to church…and there was a sermon on “Joking”….and I went…”Only the church needs to have a sermon on what you can and what you can’t joke about.” The pastor gave numerous examples of biblical examples of where you can find humor…And I couldn’t help but internally go…”this is a stretch”….not that the pastor wasn’t genuinely trying to be helpful…but to draw a diagram to humor….echoed for me the scene from the movie Dead Poets Society where Robin Williams has his students on how you can judge what “good poetry” is…he even drew out a diagram…and when the student was finished reading…he said…”Excrement”…now rip that page out of your book….”

Folks here’s the deal…the real problem in the church isn’t that they don’t know how to joke properly…or joke in a holy way…it’s that they don’t know how to joke at all…they need to experience the freedom of being silly, of being a child, of skipping with child-like fervor…I sometimes wonder if Jesus had many meanings when he said to his disciples…”Unless you learn to be like one of these you can’t enter the kingdom of heaven.” I sometimes wonder if he was saying…”If you really want to follow me…you surely can’t take yourself too seriously”

There is nothing wrong with wanting to glorify God with how you joke…but here’s my two cents…1) Be free, and be silly…let the Holy Spirit knock you upside the head if you’ve stepped out of bounds…and like anything in life where the scriptures aren’t specific…like “Don’t murder”…or “Don’t lust after your neighbors wife”….you have to love Jesus more than the thing you want…whether it’s a vice or a virtue…because if you love that thing more than Jesus you’re wrong and un-holy anyway…even if you never say a cuss word or joke inappropriately…because like God said…everyone can think you’re holy on the outside….but I know the truth…..and number 2) Don’t judge your brother…he may be wrong…or he may be right…if he’s wrong on the outside…he may be innocent on the inside because, like a baby that’s new to the world…”he just doesn’t know any better”…and you may be right on the outside…but inside you love HOW YOU JOKE…and HOW YOU TALK…and HOW HOLY you are…and HOW HONORABLE you are…more than Jesus…where the guy or gal that jokes inappropriately (if it really is)…loves Jesus on the inside more than anything on their outside.

Do you ever wonder why…more pastors don’t preach on the verses…”If you don’t forgive, you won’t be forgiven…” or “the same measure you use to judge…you will be judged”…Here’s what I think…those verses boggle their brains and scare the shit out of them…so they skip it, or minimize it….especially if it doesn’t fit into their theology in a nice and clean little compartment.

I know I’m a bit of a broken record…but again…I’m not encouraging you or trying to mislead you into joking with a wicked heart…but what I am saying…is that you may have clean language and never joke at all …and have a way more wicked heart because you drowning in your own self-righteousness than your brother who when he or she talks the way you do…make you go…”how dare they…” So be careful. Be gracious. Be forgiving. Because while those verses I mentioned above also scare the shit out of me…I know deep in my soul I need a shit load of mercy, grace, and mercy no matter how much or how little I talk, and joke, and be a silly clown.

Let me end with a little dangerous contemplation. Take it with a grain of salt. And again, listen to your own leaders at your local church, and your church communities before you take some random ragamuffin’s blog to the bank on what you should do or not do…BUT…

I think God wants and, dare I say, even takes joy in you being FREE more than he does in you thinking your RIGHT…Most of us are “living lives of quiet desperation” because we are wearing chains of religious obligation…and fear of what a religious community thinks and says…even if what they think or say you should do or shouldn’t do…isn’t even found in scripture.

Go where you find life. Ultimately I believe it’s Jesus (John 14:6)…but in Christ I am free…and while no one should use grace as a license to sin…most of us who are Christians or have spent more than five minutes in the church…aren’t trying to honor God…we are trying to honor and respect religious folks who have very high opinions of what we should do or not do..not because it can be found in scripture…but has been found in “what I’ve always been told….or thought…or is safe”

Be a little unsafe, be a little reckless, because honestly as your brother in Christ…all I really care about is that you are genuinely finding life in Jesus…not only taking your “bad” list to Jesus…but also your “good” list to him…and laying it down at his feet…and saying I want you above my bad…I want you above my good…I want you above me…and maybe it’s at that very place you can find the answers you and all of us are seeking when it comes to what we should or shouldn’t do…and at the end of your life you may found out you were right about something things that you always thought you were right about…and then again you may find out you were wrong…but in reality…no one is going to stand before God one day…having reached a point where they had it all right…in every practice, every word, and every theological stance…

And this is where my hope lies…I think at the moment when we stand in front of our Heavenly Daddy, the Holy King, and his Unconditional Loving Spirit…I don’t even think we will care what we were right about…or what we were wrong about…all we will care about is …as Rich Mullins would say…”Being His”…”Being God’s”….”Being His Child”….And in that moment you will want everyone …”good” and “bad” to join you…and you won’t be thinking about so and so the ragamuffin who cussed and joked like a sailor…in the warmth embrace of your loving Father…you will finally see them, rightly, …you will see them as a fellow “beggar at the door of God’s grace.”

So as Rich Mullins once said…”Go out and live real good, and I promise you …you’ll get beat up real bad…but in the end it won’t matter if you got a few scars…but it will matter if you didn’t live.”

And for heavens sake…at least learn one poop joke before you die. Why? Because that shit is funny.

David Leo Schultz

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~ by David Leo Schultz on October 23, 2015.

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