“Whence comes this idea that if what we are doing is fun, it can’t be God’s will? The God who made giraffes, a baby’s fingernails, a puppy’s tail, a crooknecked squash, the bobwhite’s call, and a young girl’s giggle, has a sense of humor. Make no mistake about that. (Catherine Marshall)
I believe that God tells the best jokes and plays the best pranks. No, I can’t cite a chapter and a verse for that, but you can’t cite a chapter and a verse for the theological concept of the Trinity, either. We believe it because God’s relational nature is on display throughout Scripture and can be seen in the way he interacts with us. It’s the same with his sense of humor. Why wouldn’t the Great I Am be the greatest giver of fun? Why wouldn’t He who created laughter have the best laugh and instigate the most laughs? Why can’t the maker of jokes be the best teller of jokes?
Several years ago, a friend of mine made an off-handed comment that “it’s not godly to have fun all the time.” Some form of righteous anger erupted in me. Okay, after I simmered down, I conceded that perhaps not all the time. But I think fun is an expression of godliness.
The creation reveals a streak of whimsy. Jesus seemed to be fun to be around. C. S. Lewis, the man who brought us the intellectual weight of Mere Christianity and the playful allegory of Narnia, argued, “The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end it ‘to glorify Go and enjoy Him forever.’ But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.” As I look at the adventure of my own life, I can’t escape the idea that God is fun, and I think my theology needs a category for it.
Ryan and I have core values for our family. One of them is FUN. If it’s not fun, we are not going to do it. If it’s not fun and we are required to do it, we are going to make it fun. This core value has turned flight delays into adventures, inconveniences into memories, and conflict into marital strength.
Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to explore the theology of fun. And since I believe that everything is more fun when you are experiencing that fun with other people, I’ve enlisted the help of my friend Jenilee. Jenilee is the student pastor at National Community Church and is likely one of the most fun people you will never meet (see– how can God not be fun? He creates people like Jenilee!) Each week, one of us will blog about some dimension of the theology of fun, and we will bounce back and forth between our blogs.
Quick disclaimer. Does our faith come with hardship? Yes. Do we experience tension and conflict and sorrow? Absolutely. Do broken hearts and tearful eyes reflect the heart of God? Certainly. Ecclesiastes 3:4 clearly tells us there is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. My concern is that we somehow find weeping and mourning more “holy” practices than laughing and dancing. Seriously, many of us have spent time weeping at the altar; how often have we laughed at the altar? I’m just hoping to explore a dimension of God’s character and recover a practice of Christian community that we may ignore. Laughter is a spiritual discipline and a gift. God is fun. And Jenilee and I are going to have fun exploring that. Join us in our adventure.