I'll admit it, I find the Danish cartoons hilarious. I suppose I'm risking a fatwah myself in saying it. But the picture of Mohammed in a turban of bombs... Of Mohammed urging terrorists to stop encouraging suicide bombers because, "We're running out of virgins..." All those make me laugh hard.
I admit, too, that I've always had a secret little love for Christian versions of the same. I thought the Church Lady on SNL was the funniest running skit they ever did (apologies Fernando). And who do you suppose is urging me to say that? Who? Who? Could it be ... SAAATTTTAAAAANNNNN????
When I was in college, The Wittenburg Door began it's regime as the Mad Magazine of Christian theology. Frankly, I sputtered about it being awful, but that was mostly because they were skewering my favorite theologians. I was too young to be confident in the face of humor.
Now, looking back, I see they were right.
So I wonder, why is it that the tradition of a free press, satire and humor have flourished in the countries saturated (at least at some point) by the Gospel? Why is it that in those places saturated by other religions, their symbols are simply not open to ANY humor??
Now understand, we Evangelicals and Fundamentalists have at times engaged in our own fatwah. But on the whole, we haven't bombed, maimed, murdered in reaction. Instead, we've tended to use that humor right back.
I believe that without GRACE man is pretty much humorless. Except for the humor of racism and bullying.
With grace, the grace Jesus poured out at Calvary, our minds have been opened to a new possibility. That all men are filled with foibles and sins. That our self-righteousness is funny and NEEDS to be poked and prodded.
Jesus used humor more than we now recognize. When he called the Pharisees "Whitewashed tombs" I've heard it said that it would have struck his audience as hilariously funny. He skewered the self-pious much like Dana Carvey did.
Our Savior shows us that humility, coming to Him as a little child, is the only way to seize His Kingdom. And there's nothing like the laughter of a little child.