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Originally posted by NewAgeMan
Completing What Is Lacking in Christ.
I know, sounds ridiculous and absurd, but it is true that the Great Work of the Ages isn't completed until Christ's joy is complete, in us. Then and only then is the circle joined.
How difficult then, can it be?
As a Christian, is Christ's joy completed, in you?
Oh of course there is suffering, but, the more that sorrow and suffering has carved into our being the more joy we can contain.
How pathetic then, considering the degree to which Jesus did all the heavy lifting, that we are unable to complete the circle of joy?
Think about it...
Who can present the Good News of the Gospel without absolute joy, happiness and thus good humor?
Any presentation of what God has made possible in the person and Great Work of Jesus, which doesn't contain the prospect of the completion of Christ's joy, or in other words that's presented very seriously, maybe with a threat of hell thrown in and a wagging finger of should and should not - IS NOT the Gospel.
The fruits are very easy then to spot. Humorless and joyless Christians are not real Christians, or if they are true believers are unwilling to do their TINY part, to complete the Great Work of the Ages.
The Vine and the Branches
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
Jesus Was Funnier Than We Think
Why do church services seem so devoid of humor?
Why are religious people so often (fairly) characterized as gloomy?
In short, when, why and how were joy, humor and laughter removed from religion?
There are several theories about why humor may not be valued as it should be in religious circles. But ultimately, joy, humor and laughter are spiritual gifts that we ignore at our own peril.
Much of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry were about joy. But as the Quaker author Elton Trueblood points out in The Humor of Christ, because of the need to explain the suffering of Jesus, the sad parts can overwhelm the happy parts. The Gospel of John admits, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book.” In other words, the absence of many stories about Jesus joking or laughing is not proof that they did not occur. Most likely, Jesus laughed. To deny this is to turn Jesus into a wooden stick.
Let’s look at one distinctive feature of His ministry, what scholars call “table fellowship,” that is, dining with friends. Jesus frequently called together His disciples, His followers and often strangers to dine with him. It doesn’t take too much imagination to picture these as joyful events—just think of enjoyable dinner parties and celebrations in your own life, full of laughter and good cheer, everyone delighting in one another’s company. There is a reason that one enduring image of heaven is a banquet. Maureen O’Connell, an assistant professor of theology at Fordham University, says, “At my house, we often laugh ourselves sick around the dinner table. Isn’t this the point of dinner parties?”
The Gospels reveal Jesus as a man with a palpable sense of joy and even playfulness. You can catch glimpses of this in His interactions with the men, women and children of His time as well as in many of the parables.
Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a good storyteller who doesn’t know the value of humor. Jesus probably knew that He had to “grab” His listeners. His stories were often sharp and provocative. After all, He was an itinerant preacher and so needed to attract His listeners quickly through a funny story, a clever parable or a humorous aside. Also, the constant themes of His preaching—love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; forgive someone seventy times seven times; the kingdom of God is at hand—were so ridiculous, so incongruous, that they may at first have seemed humorous to listeners.
A sense of humor
Jesus also embraces others with a sense of humor. In the beginning of the Gospel of John, for example, comes the remarkable story of Nathaniel, who has been told by His friends that the Messiah is from Nazareth.
Nathaniel responds, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
This is a joke about how insignificant the city was. Nazareth was a backwater town where only a few families lived.
Nathaniel’s humor doesn’t bother Jesus at all. In fact, it seems to delight him. “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” says Jesus. In other words, here is someone I can trust. Nathaniel then becomes one of the apostles. Jesus’ welcoming of Nathaniel into His circle is perhaps the clearest indication that He had a sense of humor. (Other than the other men He chose as apostles.)
When I imagine Jesus, it is not simply as a person who heals the sick, raises the dead, stills the storm and preaches the good news. It’s also as a man of great goodwill and compassion, with a zest for life, someone unafraid of controversy, free to be who He knows Himself to be and brimming with generous good humor. Full of high spirits. Playful. Even fun.
Let me be more provocative and suggest that thinking about Jesus without a sense of humor may be close to heresy.
In the early church (and this is a simplification of a devilishly complex history), two camps sprang up. On the one side were those who believed that Jesus only appeared to be human. Those groups are generally called Docetists, from the Greek word dokein, meaning “to appear.” On the other were the Adoptionists, who believed that Jesus was simply a human being, not divine at all, merely the “adopted” son of God.
Frankly, I think that more than a few contemporary Christians are still “closet Docetists.” That is, although they buy into the idea of Jesus’ humanity, they are still inclined to think of Him as God simply pretending, or playacting, at being human. But if we accept the idea of Him as a human being, we must accept all human attributes for him—laughing as well as suffering.
To put it another way: What kind of a person has zero sense of humor? That’s a robot, not a person. Yet that’s the kind of one-sided image that many Christians have of Jesus. It shows up both in books and sermons and in artwork. And it has an effect on the way Christians live their lives.
Jesus must have been a clever, witty and even funny man. His humor nearly leaps off the page in some of His highly original parables in His zippy asides to the Roman authorities, in His tart replies to the scribes and the Pharisees and even in His off-the-cuff remarks. If we look at His human side, it’s hard to imagine someone being able to put up with the often spectacularly obtuse disciples without a sense of humor. If we look at His divine side, it’s hard to imagine God not smiling at some of the absurdities of the world.
So let us set aside the notion that Jesus was a humorless, grim-faced, dour, unsmiling prude. Let’s begin to recover His humor and, in the process, His full humanity.
Originally posted by benrl
I am always shocked when I speak to a christian, that has no idea if they are "saved".
We work because we are saved, not to get saved.
The biggest fear a christian should face is that they are not doing enough for their fellow man, how many people are worse off in the world because Christians, are not acting like they are told to.
Originally posted by NewAgeMan
There's another viewpoint regarding this idea of the humor of Christ, or what I would call the restoration of our joyful humor on account of his Great Work at the cross, but I just don't have the time right now to lay it out.
Edit to add: In anticipation, please consider everything that drains away and destroys our opportunity for good humor (and joy), which really is a manifestation of sin and evil who's first cause in time and history and the unfolding of life's story, including our own, isn't so easy to pin down and exclaim ah HA, there is where it ends and is contained..
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
This is my command: Love each other.
"So be of good cheer, and do not let your hearts be troubled, for I have overcome the world!" (said with a big smile I"m sure).
Originally posted by XPLodER
they make me smile, i have faith love will overcome the world.
Re: A Participatory Eschatology
Eco-Doom or Redemption: The Mad Movement and the Sixties' Counter-Culture Project.
Care to join me, anyone?
According to messianic thinkers, both Jewish and Christian, our state of conflict with the world, our mortality and suffering is not a permanent human condition but is a result of our historical estrangement from God. The Kingdom of God, the reunion of God and humanity, is the remedy: "For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9). Buber emphasized that this was not a matter of gradual progress but something "sudden and immense" (Lowy 52). In Isaiah God says, "I create new heavens and a new earth." The long awaited age of peace and happiness is called the "day without evening" in Eastern Christianity, thus connoting a state of immortality. Even in the Indian Vedas we find evidence of the messianic longing in the symbol of a new beginning also connoting immortality, "the eternal dawn." The messianic age is universally described as the union of heaven and earth.
More than any other religious Jewish thinker, Buber placed the active participation of human beings -- as God's partners -- at the heart of messianism. "God has no wish for any other means of perfecting his creation than by our help. He will not reveal his Kingdom until we have laid its foundations" (Farber 90). In the early 1920s Buber stated, "We are living in an unsaved world, and we are waiting for redemption in which we have been called upon to participate in a most unfathomable way"