Toward a More Comprehensive (and Silly) Theology Toward a More Comprehensive (and Silly) Theology
``He was not working for posterity or even for God, whose literary tastes were unknown to him.'' -- Jorge Luis Borges
This quote has always impressed me, because it asks (obliquely) a question which is both very simple and very complex -- what kinds of books does God like? Surely, being perfect (one might argue), He has perfect aesthetics and He must therefore surely prefer some books over others (unless you wish to claim that all books are good, in which case I direct you to the works of Danielle Steele). But which books are those? Well, if one assumes that his writing style is similar to those of authors He admires, He seems to have a thing for gore and sex -- my guess is He reads a lot of Stephen King.
      Anyway, one can note that there are other similar avenues by which one can understand the Almighty than those generally trod by run-of-the-mill theologians -- ones which can serve to round out our image of God beyond the usual act-based investigations. After all, how well can you know someone simply by looking at what they do? Granted, quite a bit can be inferred, but there are all sorts of deep character traits that can remain hidden or be misrepresented. Without knowing the reasons why God takes certain actions, how well can we understand the actions themselves? And without some insight into God's character, how well can we understand the causes for the reasons for His actions? And without delving into the irreducible underpinnings of God's character, how can we come to appreciate the character that is manifest in the reasons for the actions that swallowed the spider to catch the fly? Perhaps all the graduate students in theology would die.
The real reason Jesus was stuck in the holy sepulchre for three days.
      Of course, one of the aforementioned irreducible underpinnings of one's character is the sense of humor -- that delicate instrument which detects metaphysical partickles and their interactions. Since partickle metaphysics underlies relationships that cross physical, intellectual, temporal and spiritual boundaries, the functioning of the sense of humor has a profound impact on interactions with the world and within the soul. For this reason, its understanding is indispensible when investigating character -- a person who laughs at self-immolation is very, very different from a person who laughs at Richard Pryor (well, with the exception of one unfortunate incident), even if every other aspect of their personality is somehow held constant.
      So -- what kind of sense of humor does God have? This isn't as difficult a question as one may think. Consider -- when someone finds a joke funny, they tend to repeat it. Being that Man is the image of God, it seems reasonable to assume that God behaves in a similar fashion. Since God doesn't tend to speak directly to people lately (and when people do claim that God has spoken to them, nobody has yet reported that God told them a knock-knock joke), He must tell these jokes in some other way. Specifically, He makes them manifest in the world.
      I've investigated this phenomenon, and one thing is very clear -- whoever cancelled The Critic is in some hot water with the Almighty. In one episode of that doomed show, the protagonist Jay Sherman reviewed a movie which was a musical adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. A few months later, Disney released just such a film (though it was sadly lacking the prophesied love song, ``I've Got a Hunch It's Love,'' for which sin Disney is still suffering in box office returns). In another episode, intrepid Jay was hallucinating and said ``Must ... see Tom Cruise ... win ... Oscar ... in ... my lifetime.'' Yet another joke, and one which God apparently liked. While Tom Cruise didn't win, he was nominated in 1997 and was very much in the running. And folks, when a chihuahua comes in second in the Kentucky Derby, it's no longer a joke to say that he could win. Or, more precisely, it's a joke that must be considered in a somewhat different light.
      Another joke that was uttered and became mysteriously manifest is the recent web phenomenon known as ``tile ads.'' I regret that I, myself, was responsible for them. Whilst decrying the ubiquitousity of banner ads, I quipped ``Any day now, they'll come up with little square button ads, which can be packed even more tightly onto a web page to further increase revenue.'' Well, God thought that was a regular knee-slapper. Sorry.
      What does this tell us? Well, it suggests that God has a rather fickle sense of humor -- for every bit of amusement He found in The Critic, He chuckled at a whole lot of dead baby jokes (to say nothing of the bevy of ``yo mama so ugly/fat/smelly/stupid'' jokes that regularly prowl the aisles at Shoprite). One might even suppose that God's sense of humor is utterly lacking, and He just picks up jokes at random in an attempt to look hip.
      Any way you look at it, one piece of advice obtains: be very, very careful which jokes you give voice to; if God finds them amusing, He might repeat them.