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Archives for September 2010 | Laughing Pilgrims

Respect Mitchell’s Limits

September 29, 2010

Central Oregon astounds me. It’s full of wonder with the Painted Hills, fossil beds, evidence everywhere of a long geological history – a potpourri of stones, peaks, wide valleys, cinder cones and other volcano wanna-be’s. Highway 26 across the state winds through it. But, frankly, it’s a bit short on polite rest stops. So we’ve come to love, even look forward to Mitchell, where they keep a decent public restroom across the street from a small park and just up the road from gas, groceries, and a restaurant. As kind as they are, however, the good folks at Mitchell have limits and want everyone to respect them.

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Catered Affairs

September 23, 2010

A local sandwich shop displays a big sign: “HAVING AN AFFAIR? We cater.” Now I’m no expert on affairs, but this seems too grand, too public. Aren’t affairs usually hidden, secret, shocking to discover? I suppose lovers risking a tryst at a grand hotel might try room service. But catering? Tables piled high with meatball subs and broccoli-cheese soup, even in bread bowls, must tempt in ways I can’t imagine.

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Disciples’ Storytelling

September 21, 2010

Jesus’ followers must have amused and teased each other by telling stories. We have some of those stories in the New Testament. We love to tell stories to share our dearest memories, to get a laugh, and to make a point.

The early Christians had lots of time for stories: they hung out together, often shared meals in each other’s homes with “glad and generous hearts,” and traveled together on foot or by boat. I’ve been trying to imagine which stories they might have delighted most to tell, which ones they would use to get a smile or a laugh.

I’ve decided Dr. Luke must have been great to listen to because he includes so many funny stories in Luke and Acts. Whether Paul liked it or not, Luke tells all of us about how Paul preached so late and long one night that young Eutychus fell asleep, fell out of a third floor window, and died. Sure, Paul brought him back to life, but it’s hard to think that, while they traveled together, Luke ever let Paul forget it. It’s too easy a tease. “Now, Paul, don’t go on and on and on and knock people out of windows. You can knock ‘em dead, you know, without killing them.” (See Acts 20)

Do you suppose Peter the Rock ever heard the end of sinking like a rock after walking on water? Or did young (and then older) Rhoda avoid teasing and jokes about her leaving Peter standing at the door of the house where they were praying for him to be released from prison? (Acts 12)

The people who traveled with Jesus surely relished example after example of the Pharisee and Sadducee tricksters having Jesus pull the rug out from under them. For example, when Jesus countered, “Sure I’ll answer your question if first you answer mine,” he didn’t really need to say “Checkmate.” I’m sure they loved to tell stories about healings on the Sabbath that sent the religious Pure Police away sputtering in anger and embarrassment.

These musings only scratch the surface. Maybe you, too, have noticed disciples’ stories that make you laugh. Do you want to swap stories?

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Forgive Us

September 20, 2010

The pope was in Mexico City celebrating mass for the huge crowd pressing in on every side. I was in Wichita, Kansas, sick in my hotel bed, alone with whatever pills I hoped might edge me toward normal human life. Fading in and out, I watched the pope’s mass on television, cued by the words crawling across the bottom of the screen. Eventually the words began a familiar prayer, “Our Father who art in heaven…” and soon continued “forgive us our press passes…” and “thigh kingdom come….” My shock-and-awe laughter helped more than the pills. Is it Christian generosity to assume this was a mechanical, not a papal, glitch?

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Back Yard Surprise

September 14, 2010

She yelled over the phone to the company’s office when she discovered they had delivered four porta-potties to her backyard. She hadn’t ordered any. The folks at the camp down the road had and were now worrying that the porta-potties might not arrive before their overflow crowd. They grinned when the truck arrived.

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Living in Fun

"Walking Cheerfully" is place to think out loud about how to use and enjoy humor in positive, life-giving ways. We’ll explore how following Christ in all of life can shape, not scuttle, laughter and creative play. What might it mean to laugh with others as you would have them laugh with you?

Probably the other most common posts will be "Finds in Fun." I first learned the phrase “being in fun” from Tom Mullen’s Laughing Out Loud and Other Religious Experiences. He points to the playfulness of children, who are readier to laugh and to see the silly than most adults. Living each day “in fun” often makes us laugh as we slog through a nearly endless supply of things odd, silly, klutzy, and preposterous. The stories here are mostly from my own ordinary, “in fun” days.

Fun Nooks and Crannies

There’s “Humor in the Bible,” and these posts explore where it is, how to find it, and what to do with it. It’s one way of thinking about how to read the Bible well.

Since a lot of us spend big chunks of time at work, the “Humor at Work” posts will suggest ways to stay sane and happy, to get along with cow-orkers, and to use humor to do good work.

I’m a book-pusher at heart, and some of my best friends push books, too. I even know some folks who read. So “Fun Books” posts will tell about books that are funny and help us think about humor.

Sometimes I’ll brag on some of the friends I’ve been given or share some photos I’ve enjoyed taking. Maybe you’ll laugh, maybe not, but they’ve brought joy in my journey.

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