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A good joke in the moral sense, then, depends on our ability to see the difference between is and should. A good joke can light up the dark between the two, can help us see one from the other. Not everything that is funny is a joke, and not every funny joke is a good joke, but a good joke helps us see the distance between who we are and who we should be.


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Who but Jesus ever saw so clearly the distance between is and should? Who else had the imagination to grasp fully the gulf between heaven and earth?

The Folly of Answering Fools | Christianity Today

Laughter is both human and humane, an essential tool to help us cross the distance to God. Eugene F. The lectionary for April 1—for Easter Sunday—is heavy on the heavy stuff, but it does contain one good joke. It is neither stretch nor slight to say that the resurrection was a joke—and a good one. What more could Jesus have done to mock the world that killed him than rise from the dead?

When we say we are Easter people, we say we live in the light Jesus brought to the darkness between what is and what should be. Jump to navigation Google Tag Manager. Critical Essay.

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A good joke can reveal the distance between what is and what should be. One such person was Jean Vanier, who died this week. That inspired him to open a home where people with mental-health or cognitive problems would be valued and invited to contribute to the community.

He promoted an ethos that turned on its head the conventional notion of what it means to be normal and successful, and the result was a movement that eventually spread to 35 countries. Another strange and charismatic in several senses character was Brother Roger pictured with Mother Teresa , who became a kind of monk despite being born into a French-Swiss Protestant tradition in which monasticism hardly exists.

By the time of his passing in , prayer groups modelled on his community had formed across North America. If his style of spiritual guidance had a hallmark, it was a willingness to listen as well as preach.

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Even harder to place in any box, perhaps, was Dorothy Day, a social and political activist who lived much of her life in rough areas of New York, where she rubbed shoulders with socialists, communists and hippies, while finding commonalities and differences with them all. It was a stance that exasperated both secular lefists and Christian conservatives, but her integrity compelled a grudging respect. For all her radicalism on economics, she adhered to Catholic teaching on sexual and reproductive issues, saying she regretted having an abortion.

Utterly different as she was from the Catholic bishops of her day, she may eventually be proclaimed a saint. Yet another place on the spectrum of idiosyncratic sanctity was occupied by Mother Teresa, the ethnic Albanian nun who worked among the destitute in Kolkata and founded a missionary order that eventually spread to more than countries. She had her critics, some of whom branded her indifferent to the root causes of poverty, and opposed to the female empowerment which might have improved living standards.

Some felt that she was too quick to seek the approval of the rich and powerful. But people respected her manifest indifference to her own material comfort. As one more example of holy, disinterested eccentricity, take the figure of Maria Skobtsova, the cigarette-smoking Russian nun who lived among the down-and-out in Paris in the s and was eventually executed in a Nazi gas chamber in Practising the ideal of unconditional hospitality, she was critical of the ritualistic piety of some fellow members of the Russian diaspora in France, and she doubtless infuriated some of them.

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Christianity For Fools

His participation in the Manson murders is a part of history that he deeply regrets. For participation in these crimes, he received the death penalty, but this was overturned in Charles remained imprisoned with a life sentence. Three years later, Christ came into his heart and called him into the ministry. This book has touched thousands of prisoners spiritually.

He founded the original Abounding Love Ministries in and became an ordained minister in He has spent all these years ministering to prisoners and to others around the world. His website, www. His notorious past is a tragedy from any point of view, but for almost four decades, his life has testified to the awesome grace of God.

More Books by Charles D. Watson

Charles is a man of peace and character, who shines brightly in a dark place. His identity has shifted from that of a murderer to a child of God. He no longer allows his crime to identify who he is.

He sees himself as God sees him — a new creation in Christ. He rejects "legalistic Christianity," where people are led to believe they can earn their salvation through their own good works, because right standing with God is possible only through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Show More.


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