Sunday, October 4, 2009

Restoring a sense of humor

A friend of mine who grew up in the same church recently wondered "why some people seem to think 'christian' and 'sense of humor' are mutually exclusive terms."  He is a tremendously intelligent, hilarious, and humble Brethren sojourning with Dutch Reformers as a youth minister in Iowa.  And I wonder the same thing from time to time.  Humor has been high on my list of desirable qualities and behaviors my whole life.   When I was in kindergarten, I used to stand outside my classroom after recess, as the fifth graders were just going out to recess.  I would do a spot-on Woody Woodpecker impression for them, and it never failed to get a rise out of the big kids.  Of course, this often got a hyperactive kid like me in trouble a lot, but I eventually learned how to balance appropriately (not until late in high school).

So last year, some friends and classmates in seminary got together for two final projects in our year-long Christian Tradition class and made spoof news shows that cover 2,000 years of church history.  We had a blast collaboratively writing the show, filming it, and editing it.  The last step was often done into the wee hours of the morning just a day or two before the project was due, but we hung together to bang it out, and it was great.  We laughed our asses off through the whole process, but we took seriously the subject matter.

Indeed, in order to do comedy well, you have to be serious in some respects.  You can't parody something you don't know anything about, so we took our studies seriously.  Another thing I find interesting about humor is its referential nature that is often culturally-bound.  How many jokes are funny outside their cultural context?  Not many.

So here are the two episodes of Millennium Update whose slogan is "Church History from a Heavenly Perspective."  Each episode 20-30 minutes long, and each is broken up into a series of shorter YouTube videos strung together in a playlist.  The intended audience is definitely a seminary-educated crowd, but I think there is still some material in there for folks with a modicum of interest in church history to chuckle at.

Episode I - Fall '08

Episode II - Spring '09

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