Toward a More Comprehensive (and Silly) Theology
Toward a More Comprehensive (and Silly) Theology
``He was not working for posterity or even for God, whose literary
tastes were unknown to him.'' --
Jorge Luis Borges
This quote has always impressed me, because it asks (obliquely) a question
which is both very simple and very complex -- what kinds of books does God
like? Surely, being perfect (one might argue), He has perfect aesthetics
and He must therefore surely prefer some books over others (unless you wish
to claim that all books are good, in which case I direct you to the
works of Danielle Steele). But which books
are those? Well, if one assumes that his writing style is similar to those
of authors He admires, He seems to have a thing for gore and sex -- my guess
is He reads a lot of Stephen King.
Anyway, one can note that there are other similar avenues by which
understand the Almighty than those generally trod by run-of-the-mill
theologians -- ones which can serve to round out our image of God beyond
the usual act-based investigations. After all, how well can you know
someone simply by looking at what they do? Granted, quite a bit can
be inferred, but there are all sorts of deep character traits that can
remain hidden or be misrepresented. Without knowing the reasons why
God takes certain actions, how well can we understand the actions
themselves? And without some insight into God's character, how well
can we understand the causes for the reasons for His actions? And
without delving into the irreducible underpinnings of God's character,
can we come to appreciate the character that is manifest in the reasons
for the actions that swallowed the spider to catch the fly? Perhaps all
the graduate students in theology would die.
The real reason Jesus was stuck in the holy
sepulchre for three days.
Of course, one of the aforementioned irreducible underpinnings of one's
character is the sense of humor -- that delicate instrument which detects
and their interactions. Since partickle metaphysics underlies relationships
that cross physical, intellectual, temporal and spiritual boundaries,
of the sense of humor has a
profound impact on interactions with the world and within the soul.
For this reason, its understanding is indispensible when investigating
character -- a person who laughs at self-immolation is very, very different
from a person who laughs at Richard Pryor (well, with the exception
of one unfortunate incident), even if every other aspect of their
personality is somehow held constant.
So -- what kind
of sense of humor does God have? This isn't as difficult a question as
one may think. Consider -- when someone finds a joke funny, they tend
it. Being that Man is the image of God, it seems reasonable to assume
that God behaves in a similar fashion. Since God doesn't tend to speak
directly to people lately (and when people do claim that God has
spoken to them, nobody has yet reported that God told them a
knock-knock joke), He must tell these jokes in some other way. Specifically,
He makes them manifest in the world.
I've investigated this phenomenon, and one thing is very clear -- whoever
cancelled The Critic is in some hot water with the Almighty. In
one episode of that doomed show, the protagonist Jay Sherman reviewed a
movie which was a musical adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
months later, Disney released just such a film (though it was sadly
lacking the prophesied love song, ``I've Got a Hunch It's Love,'' for which
sin Disney is still suffering in box office returns). In another episode,
intrepid Jay was hallucinating and said ``Must ... see Tom Cruise ... win ...
Oscar ... in ... my lifetime.'' Yet another joke, and one which God
apparently liked. While Tom Cruise didn't win, he was nominated in 1997
and was very much in the running. And folks, when a chihuahua comes in
second in the Kentucky Derby, it's no longer a joke to say that he
could win. Or, more precisely, it's a joke that must be considered in a
somewhat different light.
Another joke that was uttered and became mysteriously manifest is the recent
web phenomenon known as ``tile ads.'' I regret that I, myself, was
responsible for them. Whilst decrying the ubiquitousity of banner ads,
I quipped ``Any day now, they'll come up with little square button ads,
which can be packed even more tightly onto a web page to further increase
revenue.'' Well, God thought that was a regular knee-slapper. Sorry.
What does this tell us? Well, it suggests that God has a rather fickle
sense of humor -- for every bit of amusement He found in The Critic,
He chuckled at a whole lot of dead baby jokes (to say nothing of the bevy of
``yo mama so ugly/fat/smelly/stupid'' jokes that regularly prowl the
aisles at Shoprite). One might even suppose
that God's sense of humor is utterly lacking, and He just picks up jokes
at random in an attempt to look hip.
Any way you look at it, one piece of advice obtains: be very, very careful
which jokes you give voice to; if God finds them amusing, He might repeat