Ever felt naughty as you read or watched something that pokes fun at the Christian church?
Personally, I don't like nasty remarks, masked as jokes, about God or Jesus. In that sense, I could understand why Muslims were up in arms about those Danish cartoons of Muhammad.
But I greatly enjoy and seek out satire and parodies about Christians and the church. Up until recently, the publications and shows I'd check out were about Christians, but not written by Christians. It's very interesting for me to see this perspective, and I think it's helped me understand the animosity some, particularly atheists, have for the Christian church.
Wouldn't recommend this for everyone. You've got to have a thick skin, and be able to recognize there's something to be learned from both the mean jokes and your own reaction to them. And you've got to be willing to mentally process the comments, and not just absorb them. (That's my biggest challenge.)
I've recently come across something I hadn't seen before: Christian parody, written by Christians. One website, larknews.com, was featured in Time magazine. Time wrote that Joel Kilpatrick, the 35-year-old churchgoing Evangelical who created the site, "developed a keen sense of the distinction between the Christian message (not inherently funny) and what he calls its social, institutional and political 'scaffolding' (a big target)."
Similarly, Simon Jenkins, editor of the UK Christian humor webzine shipoffools.com, said in an interview, "We think Christians should be restless about the state of the church today, and stirring up unrest in the wider world as well. We want to ask: isn't there a better way to do Christianity than this?"
(Incidentally, I found Ship of Fools through an article from a Christian newswire service. The feature I read was to vote for your favorite worst Christian LP cover; if you go vote, tell me which one you picked.)
I've just discovered the Wittenburg Door, a Christian parody magazine which apparently has been around since I was born. Look forward to checking that one out.
Jenkins said many Christians are uncomfortable mixing humor and the church, and I'm starting to think it's good to be a little uncomfortable.
Laughing with Evangelicals: Joel Kilpatrick of LarkNews.com satirizes only the ones he loves (Christianity Today)