Thursday, 4 September 2014

Divine Comedy

'I'm not telling you the right way to think, but I am telling you that the way that you are thinking is not right.'

This phrase has been rattling around in my head for a few days.  I'm not sure if I have heard it somewhere before, but it made me think about the parables of Jesus.

When Jesus speaks in parables it is not because he is telling us literal truths and laying down new laws to live by, rather it is to subvert the cultural and religious ideology and wake people up to a new reality.

The parables of Jesus subvert the absurdity of a lived reality and calls people into a new way of life.

This is what true and 'real' comedy does.  We laugh because we recognise the absurdity of it all.

Jesus is a stand-up comedian with a twist, because rather than simply point out the absurdity he subverts it and calls people to imagine what might be if we allowed ourselves a transformed imagination.

What if the way I think about the world is not right?  What if the way I live is not right because of the way I think?  What if I woke up to this, how might I think and live and love in this new reality?

The subversiveness of Jesus' parables means that we are invited to use our imagination without creating new laws or ideological systems that trap people in old habits.  Rather, the parables invite us to think and theologically wrestle and imagine and create and love creatively and speak out imaginatively and embrace diversity because of collective imagination.

'Why do you see the speck in your neighbour's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?'

This is the finest type of comedy.

Jesus does not say what the log or speck of dust is, rather he highlights through subversive comedy that we, whoever 'we' is, are blinded by our own judgemental attitudes and need to see with a different perspective.  He is not telling us the right way to think, but he is telling us that the way we are thinking and seeing is not right.

Jesus is Divine Comedy and we need to learn how to laugh.

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