It seems the tension between saints and sinners is, was, and always will be an enigma for Christians. The Jesus tradition has a history of horrible and wonderful acts within society. We seem to always bring about the worst or best in people (I guess you can say that about any religion, right?). From developing hospice care to witch trials/burnings – we always are taking the lead to social evolution or digression.
People will argue that Christianity has only produced horrible consequences (I get it). It’s hard to not see the negative within the difficult history of the Jesus movement. But I think you can look at it more loosely and see that noting is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Yes, some mistakes are larger than others, for sure. This is not to ignore the detrimental effects but maybe a move forward with a demeanor of humor.
The comic scene has always been irreverent in all the right ways. A good comedian always will shed light on uncomfortable topics in order to find hope. Like a good roast. This can be edgy and sometimes pushes the boundary too far, but it does show us the humanity in it all. What if we can bring more laughs instead of catastrophes? You’re telling me Christians wouldn’t be better off laughing at an inappropriate joke instead of a pastors sex scandal?
Being a sinner is our lot in life. We are not going to be able to shake it. We can dive into what sin is and all of that and I do a little bit here. It’s simply not participating in the healing and liberation of others and ourselves (not loving, I guess). We need to let go of always being the sin police and be more like comedians.
In The Atlantic article by Olga Khazan, we see how the comedic disposition has evolved:
“Hobbes and Plato took the playground perspective, suggesting that making fun helps us feel superior to others. Kant and later psychologists though it was about a cognitive shift that moves a serious situation into playful territory. In 1905, Freud suggested that humor was the fun-loving id making itself known despite the protestations of the conformist superego. A few years ago, psychologist Daniela S. Hugelshofer suggested that humor acts as a buffer against depression and hopelessness.”
Yes! This joy state of mind is no stranger to comedy. The yin and yang between sorrow and happiness is a constant catalyst for good humor. We should never have to be pulled into some type of dualism when it comes to creating new ways of balancing the sinner and saint within a religious sphere.
This transformative newness often doesn’t seem realistic at first. How can we spark a new demeanor if we don’t believe in each other? If we are not ready to show grace with all fellow Jesus people, how the hell do we expect to be with everyone else? I remember the way I laugh at a new comedy bit/sketch is so refreshing but still it’s familiar. I laugh at funny shit all the time but it’s still such an enjoyable and resurrecting experience. Within the Jesus tradition, our ancient celebrations have been a huge part of how we participate in this faith. It is a hard thing to grasp when one comes to the threshold of an unknown road.
Do we panic? Do we push back? What do we grab on to when experiencing this unfamiliar and turbulent route? I don’t know for sure, but it does seem like the more we experience chaos, the more we scramble for answers. Maybe instead of demanding answers, we start asking questions that are more relevant with the path in front of us? As Walter Brueggemann says this in regard to desiring newness:
“Numb people do not discern or fear death. Conversely, despairing people do not anticipate or receive newness.”, The Prophetic Imagination pg. 60
Let us not despair people! We are to ingulf ourselves in the faith of joy to avoid the darkness to take over. We can find a better way of dealing with each other’s good, bad and ugly facades by letting go of the impossible trait of being a saint. The sainthood dilemma comes when we think we know all that is good and we don’t trust in God who is good. Why are we trying to be God and judging others by looking at the bad when God only sees good? For the love of God people, come out of this dead-end road and find the comedian. It may just allow us to enjoy the show instead of booing our little asses off.