Laughter is an incredible “encourager.” As the Bible says, “a cheerful heart is like medicine…” (Prov. 17:22). And in my experience, the very best laughter happens when we laugh at ourselves!
Last weekend, I read a little book that had me in stitches. It is called, “Stuff Christians Like” and it is by Jonathon Acuff. Jonathon is a pastor’s son. He was raised in a conservative Southern Baptist Church up in New England. Needless to say, his upbringing happened in a definitive “Christian/church culture.” Although Acuff is a committed follower of Jesus Christ, his perspective is looking from the outside-in. He writes about all the traditions, expressions, and behaviors that believers often press into a kind of cultural mold. Pretty soon everyone is doing it, whether or not it makes universal sense.
Once these behaviors are highlighted and studied with a bit of “outside” perspective, some of them become outright hilarious!
I laughed out loud at the description given to the seven people you might meet in a prayer circle. Acuff identifies them as The Opener, The Almost-er, The Rambler, The Cave-in, The Gunslinger, The Shot blocker and The Closer. If you have ever stood in a small circle, held hands and prayed with others, his adaptation of what typically happens in such a circle will cause you to laugh out loud too!
He made me snicker as he remarked that the phrase “Have you prayed about that?” is often a blanket statement we Christians use when we are a little tired of listening to others talk about a particular problem. I think he is right; it might be an avoidance technique that Christians have honed to a science…a hilarious science!
One section is entitled, “Not knowing which meals to pray before.” It states, “You don’t have to pray before you eat something that has nougat in it. A lot of people don’t know this, but if you look deep enough into the Old Testament, you will find the Hebrew word for nougat: “chonoug.” Most seminaries aren’t teaching this information, which is a shame…a dang shame. These are the kinds of conversations I have with my friends. Especially when it comes to praying before meals. This is such a murky subject that I have created the following guide. Tear it out and keep it in your wallet or purse for the next time you have a questions about proper food prayers.” And he includes a funny diagram.
His section on the liberal definitions of “quiet time” had me rolling in laughter. His commitment to have an unbroken thirty days of devotional time is outlined a day at a time. With each succeeding day, Acuff lowers the bar of what constitutes real devotion to God. By the seventh day he writes, “God made me unique. He handcrafted me to respond to this world in special, beautiful ways. And one of the things he gifted me with is an appreciation for college basketball. What joy that brings to my heart. How I cry out to the heavens, “Go, Tar Heels!” (For those of you not familiar with basketball, that is North Carolina’s team.)
Acuff goes on to say, “they played last night and it was a special time for God and me to share, as we both watched athletes he has gifted with tremendous dunking ability soar about the floor with grace and beauty. Plus, during timeout I looked out the window and saw a bush, which reminded me of God’s glory and nature and all that. So that makes seven days in a row doing quiet time.”
Start you week with a giggle. As a committed Christian, go order his book and enjoy laughing at yourself!
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel