Jesus Toys

I have an irreverent sense of humor.  

You can bear witness to this by taking a tour through my office at the church I serve.  It's chock full of things that some (obviously uptight) people would probably mark as evidence that I've got one foot in hell and the other on a banana peel.  

It might be the collection of hilarious Jesus toys that would catch your eye first or the bumper stickers on my bookshelves with Big Lebowski quotes about "Jesus," one of the characters in the movie.  

Near my desk, there's a humorous book filled with lurid Bible stories that you wouldn't tell children for love nor money.  Then there the strange art quotes that I have scattered around:  "Jesus, Texas & Tacos" one of them declares.  Or this one: "If you are looking for a sign, this is it."  

One of my favorite religious-themed movies of all time is Monty Python's Life of Brian ("Follow the gourd!"), which I've seen probably fifty times.  

From time to time I actually shock my wife with my irreverence, which is saying something because she has been married to me for twenty-nine years, twenty-two of which I have been working in churches. 

Once I had someone castigate me online because they caught a glimpse of all of my Jesus toys on a video I shot from my office.  "How can you call yourself a pastor?" they asked me.  

For the record, not only have I been asked that very question on numerous occasions, it's kind of an inside joke to me that I asked it of myself before anyone else---back when I was thinking that I might actually become a pastor. 

This demonstrates that God has a sense of humor, and is probably a comedy writer, at least as it relates to me.  You see, I am the last person on the face of the earth that I would pick to do what I do, and yet... here I am.  Very funny, God.  

I recently read a quote from author and theologian George MacDonald that absolutely resonated with me, and also happens to speak directly into what I'm getting at in this Devo:  

It is the Heart that is not yet sure of its God that is afraid to laugh in His presence.  

In other words, the reason why I am not worried about my irreverent sense of humor is that I have come to believe that God's sense of humor is even more irreverent than mine.  

Also, I figure that God appreciates it when we can laugh about matters of faith, and not take ourselves too seriously.  

I bet God probably gets weary of all of the angry, outraged, uptight people who claim to be God's mouthpieces, and I also bet God wishes that they would develop a thicker skin and would be quicker to laugh than they are to complain. 

Because when people who claim to know God aren't able to laugh in God's presence, to lighten up, to live and move more easily in the world, it means that they don't really get what God is all about.  And that must grieve the heart of God deeply.  

Listen, I'm not telling you that should become an irreverent cuss like me---you have to follow your own path in this for sure.  

But at the very least, you should find a reason to smile a bit more when it comes to your faith.  Don't take yourself too seriously, and maybe... just maybe you'll discover a newfound closeness with the Divine.  

And when you do, feel free to hit me up for the best places to buy Jesus toys.  

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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