Friday, July 20, 2007

Theology and Humour

Something I found over at ReformedCatholicism that I think we could all do well to read.

“Theology is the study of God and his ways. For all we know, dung beetles may study us and our ways and call it humanology. If so, we would probably be more touched and amused than irritated. One hopes that God feels likewise.”

- Frederich Buechner

“Because of piety’s penchant for taking itself too seriously, theology—more than literary, humanistic, and scientific studies—does well to nurture a modest, unguarded sense of comedy. Some comic sensibility is required to keep in due proportion the pompous pretentions of the study of divinity. When the chips pile too high, I invite the kind of laughter that wells up not from cynicism about theology but from lightness about it. This comes from glimpsing the incongruity of humans thinking about God…The most enjoyable of all subjects has to be God, because God is the source of all joy. God has the first and last laugh. The least articulate of all disciplines deserves something in between.”

- Thomas Oden

“Never attempt the task of theology without a smirk on your face and never trust a theologian who lacks one.”

- Michael J. Pahls


Fr. Robert Hart said...

As long as the smirk is about our own limitations, and not about faith in revelation as a source of knowledge. Yes, we must laugh at ourselves, and learn humility. But, I would not want that to be an excuse for agnosticism or treating theology as something less than the science that it is.

Vol. I of Hall's Dogmatic Theology begins with why theology is a science, and in modern times remains a science.

Anonymous said...

Further, far be it from me to wipe a smile off anyone's face, including my own, but did not God become one of us in order to reveal Himself to us so that we could know Him?

poetreader said...

Yes, and in doing so He showed a great sense of humor. Many of the parables, as well as presenting solid truth, are positively funny. My reading of Scripture frequently causes me to grin, and occasionally brings on a belly laugh.

Years ago, as a teen, I was riding a train. Next to me sat an RC priest with his Breviary. I knew he was praying, so I was startled when he suddenly began to laugh audibly. He noticed me noticing, turned, and said, "Yes, I was praying my Office, but I came upon one of those outrageous Latin puns." I think (and thought then) that God smiled.