I was going to write an apologetic for the White Russian as a man drink (per Bob Hyatt‘s suggestion), but then this came up (sorry Bob; the White Russian defense will have to wait).
I thought it would be good to look into the ways laughter is depicted in the Bible to try to draw some lines of how we should laugh biblically.
And upon reading that, John never laughed again.
Is there any area of human life in which Christians can allow for joy and spontaneity, instead of earnest bullet-pointed lists of Bible verses? Do we really think the Bible is there to tell us when we have God’s permission to laugh?
Like John H, I’m really urked by this. 9Marks is a Christian blog that I never have read, and I don’t want people to think that I’m picking on that blog specifically.
I’m picking on the entire evangelical sub-culture (that I came from, and am still a part of in some ways) and the ridiculous trend to figure out the ‘biblical way” to do any and everything.
(For those who aren’t familiar with church-speak, “the biblical way” or “how to do things biblicaly” is our way of saying “this is the correct way think about/do something”. Often, this has nothing to do with truth and reality, but rather is one traditions way of having people conform to the ideal they have proliferated amongst them selves.)
Really?!? The ‘biblical way’ to laugh? Are you serious? How is a natural response to humor, awkward situations, and people falling down ever un-biblical? How does my chuckle, my smirk, or my guffaw go against the grain of the bible and it’s message of hope and new life?
I guess that’s where you and I differ. I can’t see the Bible as a guide to doing stuff right. It’s a revelatory story of who Yahwah is and what he has done to undo the curse we brought upon ourselves. Yes, the impact of believing in his salvation is going to alter the way we think about life and change some of our ways of action.
But laughing? This is on par to finding the biblical way to walk to you car.
Some stuff is just what it is. Let it be what it is. Can we please stop proof texting (finding verses that out of context prove what we are thinking) and policing every aspect of life and just start living?
This idea that we need to find the “biblical way” of doing everything (eating, drinking, taking a piss…) is just wrangling words and making meaningless discussion and rules to show each other how “un-sinful” we are, how much more right we are than “those guys over there”, how much more acceptable we are.
At it’s core, what is the difference between figuring out the biblical way to get dressed, laugh, date, sleep, say hello to a friend, etc… and proving to God that you actually can earn your own salvation?
At some point, we need to accept embrace that we are human. That means that we laugh, cry, get angry, weep, get excited, get aroused, stub our toes, and everything else that is the gambit of human emotion and experience. There isn’t going to be a biblical way to do all these things.
Instead, we should be taking to time to discover what being truly, fully human is.
We should be looking to Jesus and reveling in the full experience of being a reconciled human that is becoming whole.
Some Most of that experience isn’t going to be in the bible.