Humorous edification and a talking donkey: Luddite Chronicles 5

My last Luddite Chronicle argued that real books are like the Energizer bunny (click here).  It elicited an interesting comment from Simon: “To be honest, there’s no spiritual edification in this blog post.”

First, I commend Simon for commenting on one of my posts.  I’d love it if more folks would comment.  Even if you disagree with me, feel free to follow his example. (I assume Simon thought the absence of spiritual edification was a bad thing.)

Second, to be honest I appreciate his willingness “to be honest” in a way that’s gracious.  Other commenters have expressed disapproval less graciously.

My response to Simon’s comment are below in italics:

Simon, I believe humor is edifying.  (Although, you may not find any humor in my post.) 

I firmly believe that humor is good for the soul, and the God who spoke to Balaam through his donkey (Num. 22), I suspect, agrees with me on this point.  (Although, one could certainly argue that my Energizer post, in fact, lacked humor.)

Also, I firmly believe technology is one of the biggest idolatries of our time.  I’m trying to defame this particular idol, to make us question why we always need the newest and best (and most expensive) technology.  Sometimes I make my attack on technology explicit.  Sometimes I try to be more subtle.

One of the things I’m trying to do with these Luddite Chronicles (here’s Post 1 (Intro), Post 2 (Newspapers), Post 3 (Smartphones are dumb)) is to get people to think about how the latest technology is both a blessing and curse.  I’m focusing on the curse side because too much is made of the blessing side.

I can’t speak with confidence about the idols of others, but I would assume that people who frequent the blogosphere are more susceptible to techno-idolatry, than the non-blogging community.  Sometimes idolatry needs to be bashed directly (see Judg. 6 and this post on Bulls and Baals), but other times it can be defamed with humor, parody and trash-talking (see 1 Kings 18 and this post on Baal’s bowel movement).  I hope my attempts at making fun of techno-idolatry cause people, including myself, to reflect on how nothing (not even a new iPhone) other than the God of the universe will ultimately satisfy us.

What do you think–was the energizer bunny post edifying?  Is humor edifying? 

Image from http://www.unlikelypastor.com/archives/90

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10 comments

  1. Humour is useful and welcome :) at least to this one reader.

    On technology as idol, while I recognise and agree that technology can be idolised, it is not in and of itself an idol. So I’d appreciate more thought about what sorts of relationship with technology are idolatrous and what are not… What I read seemed nearer to idolising the codex than demystifying the e-book :(

    PS if you do not already read him John Dyer Don’t Eat the Fruit is good on these issues.

  2. I don’t find any record of Jesus ever joking around as though humour is marketable as intrinsically virtuous. It’s part of the human condition, so when he says something plausibly funny to his original hearers it’s merely a pedagogical device like calling us to imagine a guy with a log protruding from his eye pointing at a guy with a speck in his eye.

  3. If I understand your point correctly Trish I agree. I couldn’t imagine Jesus writing a blog entry on humour being good for the soul. Jesus never once addressed humour in the biblical record. In God’s word Jesus did address a vast array of topics that were good for the soul and others that were bad for the soul. Paul did admonish about foolish jesting though.

  4. Dave, I read all your blogs, and I found the one e-readers/e-books both funny and thought-provoking. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking we “need” the newest thing; thanks for challenging that common assumption and challenging our technology idolatry. :)

  5. I also enjoy your posts as well as your humor. I think we do need to be discerning on how we spend our money in addition to how we view technology. Perhaps we could buy a less expensive phone without all the bells and whistles so that we can give more to those who are going hungry.

    That said, I am looking forward to reading your book which I recently purchased on my Kindle ;)

  6. One of the funniest stories in the Bible is Jonah. Jesus calls it the only sign for his evil and adulterous generation and I suspect he was ridiculing them after the manner of Psalm 2.

    My son and I recently discovered one of the many signs in Jonah when he was imitating me spitting nails at my computer because I could see right through all the bugs in the software I was using. (Mind you there were work-arounds). I heard him with his angry words and I told him to calm down or otherwise implied it – and he said “I had wondered where my own anger came from, now I know.”

    And what has this to do with Jonah? The sign of Jonah’s fury. He may be chosen, saved, part of the great congregation, a prophet, and a famous person, but he doesn’t seem to have control of his anger. I wonder if the chosen in all ages behave like this? Too bad – whatever they think they know, they really haven’t figured out the cost God pays to be with us.

  7. Trish, it’s difficult to know from the stories in the gospels how Jesus viewed humor. Humor is largely culturally conditioned. Puns don’t translate well. As you noted, the log-in-the-eye story is perhaps the best example of Jesus’ sense of humor. But he was accused (falsely, I believe) of being a drunkard and a glutton. It’s hard to imagine someone with no sense of humor being accused of those things.

    Charles, I agree basically, but as someone who preaches occasionally, I sympathize with a preacher who’s struggling to come up with good engaging stories to start a sermon. I groan internally when it happens, but wonder if I could do better.

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