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Tag Archives: comic relief

Wake Me Up

In the summer of 2009, Staples created a witty back to school shopping advertisement.  This commercial compared children going back to school to the most wonderful time of year for adults.  Using a Christmas carol, parents are jubilantly placing school supplies into a shopping cart while both kids are dazed and depressed.  From time to time, everyone needs comic relief to bring laughter and joy into your life.

“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins,” Isaiah 43:25.

When it comes to the spiritual realm, you need more than a funny show to snap you out of a spiritual funk.  This unhealthy state usually begins with distractions from the world, preoccupation with other priorities and simply forgetting to invite God into your daily life.  Those that continue down this road, allowing busyness to take over will begin to experience the early stages of spiritual amnesia.  Symptoms include memory loss in terms of biblical application, failing to pray, a tendency to forget to read the Bible and lost desire to attend church weekly.

“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more,” Hebrews 8:12.

The only known cure to spiritual amnesia is confession.  According to the Old and New Testament of the Bible, God pours out his grace, mercy and forgiveness to those who acknowledge their shortcomings.  Unfortunately, the hardest part of spiritual amnesia is breaking free from its numbing powers.  In my younger years, I went off to a retreat to revive my soul.  Yet, as an adult with a busy schedule, you have to search harder than ever to find opportunities to regain spiritual momentum.  Although recovery does not happen overnight, if you seek God like the persistent widow, Luke 18:1-8, your faith will be restored.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Comic Relief from the Bible

If you asked a millennial, most would attribute the saying Captain Obvious to modern advertising and or screen writers.  This phrase has taken on a life of it’s own in my household.  When sarcasm is present, the punch line “thank you Captain Obvious” suggests someone is shallow or merely stating the obvious.  After reading the Bible earlier this week, the origin of this expression can be attributed to Jesus.

But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition, Matthew 15:5-6.

One day, the Pharisees attempted to spiritually police Jesus and his disciples.  The context of the passage above spawned from religious leaders strict adherence to Old Testament law.  Taking Leviticus literally, these Jews believed not washing your hands before you eat made you unclean.  After listening to their complaints, Jesus responds by highlighting the flaw in their accusation, throwing their own words back at these religious zealots.

Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” – Matthew 15:12

A few minutes later, the disciples play the role of Captain Obvious.  Looking serious and sincere, the disciples felt the back lash from the Pharisees, hoping Jesus would smooth over this situation.  While the specific outspoken disciple is not mentioned, I’m assuming Peter stood up to Jesus, saying something like, “Jesus, do you know that you hurt the Pharisees’ feelings?”  While Jesus never sinned, I believe he came close to some sort of sarcastic reply, “thank you Captain’s obvious!”

One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to Jesus, John 13:23.

One of the problems with modern comedy is that people try so hard to be funny, that they end up not being funny at all.  Meanwhile, other professionals believe if you don’t curse or focus on politically correct issues, you won’t be make it in Hollywood.  Yet, in my experiences the most humorous individuals are naturally witty in normal every day settings.  When most people visualize Jesus, they see him as a healer, speaker or teacher.  However, in the passage above, Jesus was a normal human being who enjoyed hanging out, reclining and shooting the breeze with friends.  In these settings, comic relief is found.  Perhaps, it’s time to drop your phone, turn off the television and engage family members to crack a smile, have a good laugh or reflect upon what you have in common.  Have fun with others today.

by Jay Mankus

 

Amusing Myself to Death

The definition of entertainment refers to providing and or receiving amusement or enjoyment.  Early cultures built theaters, often used to host plays to provide comic relief from the troubles in life.  In recent years, sports allows individuals to release their stress for a couple of hours each weekend.  However, if you get too comfortable or close to the finer things in life, you may be in danger of amusing yourself to death.

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols, Acts 17:16.

After a long week of work, I tend to find myself on a recliner soaking in something on television.  While I do spent time outside playing golf, at my current age, I prefer to be entertained.  Perhaps this explains why I have a hard time turning the channel when movies like A Few Good Men, Bourne Identity or Shawshank Redemption come on.  Its strange how reruns can attract someone’s attention, wasting valuable time that could be spent fulfilling your dreams.

So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there, Acts 17:17.

One of the best resources for escaping the grips of amusement is Summit Ministries.  During my decade of teaching, Dr. Jeff Myers and John Stonestreet were at the forefront of preparing students for college.  One of their common messages is that life imitates art.   The best way to address this is by engaging today’s culture through apologetics.  Just as the apostle Paul persuaded the people of Athens, this world needs a leader to snap people out of their spiritual slumber.  May the Lord awaken couch potatoes with the saving grace of God.

by Jay Mankus

 

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