I like to read. I like to laugh. But I don’t often do the latter when doing the former.

I’m reading through Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears book Vintage Jesus. I found Driscoll’s summary of the Gospel of Mark hysterical. Seriously, the kind of funny that gets strange looks from across the room, looks that become more intense and disapproving when people realize you are reading a book about Jesus. The scowl grows because almost no one laughs when reading books about Jesus unless you are weird because we all know that Jesus was a serious dude. And this is precisely one of Driscoll’s main points in his chapter about the humanity of Jesus. Jesus was a man, and being a man, he did the same kinds of things that all humans do. And this meant that Jesus probably had a sense of humor as well. Maybe you will find this overview of Mark as humorous as I did. While Jesus almost certainly didn’t mean to be “funny” in all that transpired in Mark’s account of the life of Jesus, seeing some of the events with a twist of over-the-top modern satire and sarcasm was a little refreshing. After all, laughter is good medicine, right?

In the first chapter of Mark, Jesus starts  off by yelling at complete strangers to repent of their sin, like the wingnuts with billboards who occassionally show up at shopping centers. Shortly thereafter, Jesus orders some guys to quit their jobs and follow him, and before long Jesus is telling a demon to shut up and healing a leper only to tell him to shut up too. In the second chapter, Jesus picks a fight with some well-mannered religious types and does the equivalent of breaking into a church on a Sunday morning to make a sandwich with the communion bread because he was hungry.

In the third chapter, Jesus gets angry and also grieves and apparently needs Paxil. Then he ignores his own mom, which threw Focus on the Hebrew Family into a tizzy, so they quickly issuesd a position paper renouncing his actions. In the fourth chapter, Jesus rebukes the wind, which caused an uproar with the local pantheists. In chapter five, Jesus kills two thousand pigs, sending the animal rights activists blogosphere into a panic and creating a bacon famine only rivaled by the great Irish potato famine. In chapter six, Jesus offends some people and apparently needs sensitivity training. In chapter seven, a few religious types have some questions for Jesus, and he cruelly calls them “hypocrites” and goes on a lengthy tirade about them, which seemed very intolerant of their alternative theological lifestyle.

In chapter eight, Jesus sighs in frustration, spits on a handicapped guy, and calls Peter “Satan”, although thankfully no one sued for assault or slander. In chapter nine, Jesus gets sick of folks and asks them, “How long do I have to put up with you?” That’s just before telling some other people to cut off their hands and feet and to gouge out their eyes – a statement which led to picketing from the local body dysmorphic disorder recovery group. In chapter ten, Jesus tells a rich guy to sell all his stuff and give the money to the poor, which put him in bad graces with the local prosperity-theology luncheon for pastors who were hoping for Bling Christ. In chapter eleven, he has one of his guys take a donkey without asking like some kleptomaniac donkeylifter, proceeds to curse and kill a fig tree, which really upset the environmental activists who were promoting justification by recycling, and goes on to loot some small businesses and whip some small business leaders who were decent, tax-paying Republicans.

In chapter twelve, Jesus tells people they are wrong and don’t know their Bibles, which upset the postmoderns because Jesus was clearly using a narrow modernist epistemology. Jesus also tells some Sunday school teachers they are going to hell, which made the universalist Emergent folks immediately engage in conversation about the mythology of hell and fingerpaint about the emotional wounds caused by his words. In chapter thirteen, Jesus threatens to destroy the temple, which put the nation on heightened security alert that included taking off one’s sandals before boarding a camel. In the fourteenth chapter, Jesus actually yells at his friends for taking a nap late a night after running them all over the place for about three years as an obvious workaholic who needed to start drinking decaf and listening to taped sounds of running water while doing aromatherapy so he could learn to relax. In chapter fifteen, the religoius folk kill him for being like that, which seemed perfectly fine to everyone except a few women. The story ends in chapter sixteen with him alive again and trembling, astonished, and frightened disciples getting it and heading out to handle snakes while they go to offend the whole world with the gospel.

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