The Babylon Bee lampoons evangelical culture and teaches us to lighten up, already.
I don’t know why, but Protestant evangelicals have had a hard time with humor, whether creating or enjoying it. Maybe it’s ancillary to us abandoning the arts. Late night TV is owned by practicing Catholics Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon. No one tells a good Bible joke like Jim Gaffigan, who even refers to his wife as a “Shiite Catholic.” But we, whose claim of “faith not works” should have let us off the hook back in 1517, are so obsessed with working out our salvation with fear and trembling that we have a hard time laughing at ourselves. Until recently, the only humor sanctioned by the Westminster Confession of Faith was the church-bulletin blooper. And one can groan only so long before that tuna hot dish belches back up.
Of course, there is humor in the Bible. Take Job’s snide reply to his accusers and Jesus’ stinging comebacks to the Pharisees. Or how about Paul’s satirical rant in Galatians about circumcision? (I hope no one took him literally). But we got into the habit of reading every verse as if Charlton Heston were bringing it down Mount Sinai. This may be the most cogent argument the Catholic Church had for keeping Scripture out of the hands of the peasants: We wouldn’t get the jokes.
There have been a few pilgrims in the crusade to make Christians lighten up, already. The Wittenburg Door, may it rest in peace, was the Mad Magazine of Christendom. Then the internet came along and opened the floodgates of all sorts of Jesusy humor. (I’ll leave aside the “bitter ex-Christian” sites. They’re like stepping in a Taylor Swift-Katy Perry feud.) Ship of Fools still offers some the best caption contests ever. And Lark News, the first satire …