I almost swerved off the road several times yesterday. Not for imbibing or DWS (Driving Whilst Shaving) or DWSML (…My Legs) but because I was listening to an audiobook of Stuff Christians Like. Jonathan Acuff is a blogger on the popular StuffChristiansLike.net and the man is just hilarious. The tagline “100% funnier than The Shack” is pretty spot-on.
What I really appreciate is the way how Acuff uses humor as a hack (a humor.hack), as a way to cut through the layers of self-righteousness and embarrassment. He’s able to talk about stuff that we are uncomfortable with or that people outside the church notice in ways that are humorous but also empowering.
For instance, here’s a segment from an interview found on Christian Audio’s freebie interview too.
Acuff (6:00): I think sometimes we have…a Christian “F” word which is “Fine.” There’s a temptation to shine up your life. How’s your marriage? Fine. How’s your work? Fine. I think a lot of it stems from the core issue of believing that if you get mad and express something as horrible then it looks like God is horrible. So you don’t want to say things are bad right now, cuz then a non-Christian will go “if life is bad for that guy and he is a Christian, then why would I want anything to do with that God?” There’s an incredible temptation to whitewash our lives.
It’s humorous but with a point. Hence, being able to poke holes in the shield of self-righteousness and expose what our little idiosyncrasies can mean to the outside world.
Finally, Acuff responds with a helpful distinction between mockery and satire.
Acuff (7:15): There’s a world of difference between mockery and satire. Mockery has a victim. Mockery’s goal is to hurt and wound. Satire is humor with a purpose. And my ultimate purpose is to share the love of Christ. The bottom line is that mockery is a great shortcut to laugh but it removes your ability to speak and love later…My goal is to make this huge mirror that is big enough that we can all look in it and go “hey is that us? Are we okay with that? Is that what love looks like?”
I highly recommend it.
Video preview after the break: