Archive for Sunday, April 1, 2012

Faith Forum: Does God have a sense of humor?

April 1, 2012

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Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel, Chabad Jewish Center, 1203 W. 19th St.:

Of course He has a sense of humor, as the verse clearly says in Psalms: “He who sits in the Heavens laughs.” In fact, to prove it to us, He created the duck-billed platypus. And to those still in doubt — He created man.

One of my most beloved verses is the one describing us humans as being created “In the Image of G-d”. This statement means that we were formed as a reflection of our Creator’s attributes and characteristics. This cannot be taken to mean that we literally look, feel or think like G‑d does, because He has no form and is not limited in any way. Rather we are like a one-dimensional reflection of a real object. From the reflection we can have an inkling of the original, but the reflection is surely nothing in comparison to the real thing.

This is expressed in many ways; some physical, others psychological and still others are purely in the spiritual realm. The gift of a sense of humor prevalent among humans is one of them. When you and I find the strength to smile or crack a joke in the midst of a dark and dreary day, this is a direct manifestation of G-d’s gift of humor.

When I think of humor as a gift from above, it makes it so much easier to be happy at all times. Since we now know that happiness is not somewhere out there; it actually rests within, in that part of us that is forever young and forever giving — our soul, which was hand-crafted — with a smile — in the Image of G-d.

— Send email to Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel at rabbi@JewishKU.com

The Rev. Matt Cox, pastor, EastLake Community Church, 2734 La. (South Junior High):

God most certainly has a sense of humor. I grew up hearing the joke “Just look at the platypus” as if weird-looking animals are proof of God’s comical ability. I suppose that’s possible.

But a sense of humor is something the faith community desperately needs. If we believe God made us in His image, and we have a sense of humor (regardless of how corrupted the sense can get) then it stands to reason that God does too.

The bigger issue is that humor and fun have been pushed to the side in exchange for a sense of religiosity. It’s our temptation to take ourselves so seriously that we miss the entire message and purpose that God put us on this planet for in the first place: to love, encourage and enjoy others and leave the transformation up to Him.

We’re imperfect humans. We shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously, but rather take God seriously to give us proper perspective.

However, Jesus used humor many times during His ministry — but in our over-analytic, let’s-make-things-more-complicated-than-they-should church culture, we miss it. When Jesus used analogies like “First get rid of the log in your own eye” or “if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake?” He wasn’t trying to over-spiritualize the moment. Jesus was being funny. He was using sarcasm to make a point.

But we miss that because most of us are too busy obsessing over the Greek word for “log” as if we’re all supposed to go on this linguistic treasure hunt, getting caught up in the weeds of the words.

Yes, God has a sense of humor. And the first step to realizing that is to stop taking ourselves so seriously.

— Send email to Matt Cox at matt@eastlakelawrence.com.

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