Archives For Humour

IMG_20141130_140310I thought I’d share this story from Wilhelm Busch. If not for the humour in it, at least for the novelty of it.

First, though, here’s some necessary contextual background.

Friedrich Schleiermacher (19th Century) is considered the father of liberal theology; a branch of theology challenged by Karl Barth’s neo-orthodoxy.

According to Grenz & Olsen, Schleiermacher, along with Immanuel Kant and Hegel, was one of ‘three shapers of the 19th century…who looked to “feeling; special human experience” for the foundation of theology’[ii]

Barth disagreed with Schleiermacher, later ‘criticising liberal theology for turning the gospel into a religious message that tells humans of their own divinity instead of recognising it as the Word of God…In essence he was calling for a revolution in theological method, a theology “from above” to replace the old, human-centred theology “from below.”’[iii]

Busch:

‘Schleiermacher was really the exact opposite of Karl Barth. Barth’s theology says that what matters is the objective, the holy God and his great works in Jesus. In Jesus he has revealed himself. In Jesus he has reconciled the world.
These are the objective facts, whose truth does not depend in any way on us. Schleiermacher taught exactly the opposite. He put it like this: ‘Piety is neither knowing nor doing but a certainty of feeling. It is the feeling of total dependence.’
So here everything was based on the subjective, so that the revelation of God in the cross and the resurrection of Jesus almost completely disappeared. And now I hope that the great theologians will forgive me for trying to present such a serious theological problem here in such a simple way.
Yes, may they especially forgive me for having some fun; for I decided to hang the two pictures next to each other on the wall. Then my fathers in the faith would presumably be satisfied, since their way led through the middle between the two. They were convinced that the objective salvation of Golgotha must be grasped in personal life and subjective experience. That was what they taught, and that was how they lived. That was also what I found in the New Testament and believed myself.
As I was standing on a ladder and hanging up the two pictures, I said laughing to my wife, ‘I just wonder which of the two will fall from the wall first. Because I don’t think they can bear being next to each other.’ And what happened? Schleiermacher fell down! One morning his picture had disappeared. It had slipped behind the wall of books.
It was impossible to get it out of there except by moving each book-case.
My friends, all influenced to a greater or lesser extent by Karl Barth, were very pleased with Schleiermacher’s disappearance. Not until my house was almost completely destroyed in a bombing raid in 1943, and I took the rescued library away from the rubble, did the picture of Schleiermacher come to light again.’[i]

Being a book of reflections, as opposed to an auto-biography, one its key features is that it is a collection of short accounts.If you have space on your reading list this Christmas, I recommend adding ‘Christ or Hitler?‘ and then moving through it slowly.

For those interested, here’s my small review on Amazon:

“Puritz provides us English {speaking} monolingualists with invaluable access to a side of Germany during WW1 up until the close of the European theatre in WW2. It is a voice rarely heard. Wilhelm Busch’s first hand accounts of a Confessing Church Pastor are well-ordered and insightful. A must read for Pastors today, and any scholar interested in the Historical context of Christian resistance in Germany during the war. Among many noteworthy comments the most significant takeaway quote from Busch would have to be the challenge he put forth to German youths after the war: “Are you as you should be?”


Sources:

[i] Busch W. in Puritz, C.  (Trans. Ed). 2013 Christ or Hitler?: Stories from my life and times, by Pastor Wilhelm Busch (1897-1966) Kindle ed. Evangelical Press. (Loc. 2457-2473)

[ii] Grenz, S. & Olsen, R. 1992 20th Century theology: God and the World in a Transitional Age IVP Academic Press, p.25 & p.39

[iii] Ibid, p.67

Recommended further reading:

Friedrich Schleiermacher (dogmatics.wordpress.com )

Karl Barth (dogmatics.wordpress.com )

Politics and religion aside, the media is right to tag Williams as a comic genius. Through his unique gifts Williams managed to give the world, not only a smile, but some of the best acting in cinematic history.

Moscow_on_the_Hudson_(1984)_(Original_Poster)

 

1. Moscow on the Hudson

2. Good Morning Vietnam

3. Dead Poets Society

4. The Fisher King

5. Good Will Hunting

6. Jakob the Liar…. (& I could probably add another five).

 

 

Robin Williams _ 1 Collage_3

 

“What freedom?

When you can’t walk down the street, is that freedom?…

There’s no freedom here, if there is, she’s an orphan.”

– Vladimir Ivanoff (Robin Williams in ‘Moscow On The Hudson’)

 

 

 

Images: Wikipedia

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Gathered here, are some of the best bits and pieces I’ve encountered online over the past few weeks. Some reflective, some serious, some just plain hilarious.

1. Everyday Heroes [Video]: Water bombing, aircraft, inferno extinguishers. Along with the song, something about this just shouts awesome.

2. Chesterton’s uniqueness appears to know no bounds.

G.K Chesterton from Alarms and discursions‘Science & Art without morality are not dangerous in the sense commonly supposed. They are not dangerous like a fire, but dangerous like a fog. A fire is dangerous in its brightness; a fog in its dullness; and thought without morals is merely dull, like a fog.

The fog seems to be creeping up the street; putting out lamp after lamp. But this cockney lamp-post… is still crowned with its flame; and when the fathers have forgotten ethics, their babies will turn and teach them’

(The Essential Chesterton Collection, 2009. Kindle Ed. 7612-7615 – This version is real cheap via Amazon at the moment)

3. There are a few versions of this old story on YouTube, this one is the most dramatic and amusing. Instead of an Irish accent  on the other end of the comms, it’d be funnier with an Aussie one. (“Just sayin’…” 🙂 )

 

4. We’ve just about finished watching through the T.V series Duck Dynasty. This meme epitomises the gutsy edge to this Cajun delight. Even though it’s structured up unto a point (what reality TV show isn’t?), that doesn’t hinder the serious message being promoted through all the bells and whistles (or in this case duck calls, camo, camaraderie and comedy).

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5. Lastly, if you have ever wondered what would have happened should the remaining members of Led Zeppelin become a “worship band”. Here Tim Hawkins pulls off a pretty close interpretation of how it might have turned out:

Images: G.K Chesterton, Alarms and Discursions 1910; Jase Robertson, (Pinterest)

ID-100221200 (1)I’ve been working on the planned posts which form a trilogy-in-sum brief on the closing part of Barth’s C.D I.II.

The problem is that finding the time to do it well has been more of a challenge than I anticipated – given that, and the serious issues in the news at the moment, I’m kind of avoiding finishing it.

So instead, today I’m posting some weekend G.K Chesterton lite.

For an academic, he appears free of the quest to be liked, shared or even celebrated.  Not being one to take himself too seriously, Chesterton is a reminder that serious reflection in life involves laughter, not just clinical-objective observation. More than this, he understood that the space and time we allow for laughter in our relationships is often way too small. Often, it is something temporary, lost to the impact of distraction; a casualty of circumstance.

He wasn’t fond of what he calls ’intellectual fog’[i]. (A term of his that I’m fond of, and one that pretty much describes the dangers of academic arrogance[ii]. This means anything that sucks the beauty and benefit out of reading, involving the form, content and unreasonable criticisms/suspicions applied to a text – e.g.: ad hominem, reductio ad absurdum et.al).

Most of us would agree on this point: that copious amounts of data (images) being fed through our technologically intertwined lives can weigh us down.

When this happens we should be careful to not let the intellectual fog ‘creep up the street; and put out lamp after lamp.’[iii]

In order to do this, when the time comes, we might aim at being more generous with our laughter. With the full understanding that just as the tears and sighs of broken hearts can move grief up through our lungs right towards the ears of God. Tears can also be the result of our hearts being reoriented towards joy.

In the light of Chesterton’s ability to see past his own ego and that of his peers and by employing such things as humour to do so, he, in my view, avoids being neatly packaged into any box of anti-intellectualism.

Perhaps when critics of Chesterton talk about him in this context, they might actually be missing the dry humour in some of Chesterton’s criticism of unnecessary over-sophistication.

For example:

‘I was sharply reminded that I had entered Babylon, and left England behind. The waiter brought me cheese, indeed, but cheese cut up into contemptibly small pieces; and it is the awful fact that, instead of Christian bread, he brought me biscuits.
Biscuits–to one who had eaten the cheese of four great countrysides! Biscuits–to one who had proved anew for himself the sanctity of the ancient wedding between cheese and bread! I addressed the waiter in warm and moving terms.
I asked him who he was that he should put asunder those whom Humanity had joined. I asked him if he did not feel, as an artist, that a solid but yielding substance like cheese went naturally with a solid, yielding substance like bread; to eat it off biscuits is like eating it off slates.
I asked him if, when he said his prayers, he was so supercilious as to pray for his daily biscuits. He gave me generally to understand that he was only obeying a custom of Modern Society. I have therefore resolved to raise my voice, not against the waiter, but against Modern Society, for this huge and unparalleled modern wrong.[iv]

This weekend why not take a deep breath, exhale gently, and with me, consider the reasons why the world needs to constantly be reminded of Barth’s admonition that:

‘Those who cannot sigh with others and laugh a little about themselves are warmongers[v]

Sources:

[i] Chesterton, G.K 1910, Alarms and Discussions: ‘Cheese’ Kindle Ed.441-448(‘Alarms and Discursions’ 1910, Kindle Ed. 441-448)
[ii] Chesterton, G. K. The Essential G. K. Chesterton Collection (400+ works) (Illustrated) (Kindle Ed. 2009 Loc. 7613-7614)
[iii] Ibid, ‘Science and art without morality are not dangerous in the sense commonly supposed. They are not dangerous like a fire, but dangerous like a fog. A fire is dangerous in its brightness; a fog in its dullness’
[iv] Chesterton, G. K. What I saw in America. Prohibition in Fact and Fancy: The Essential G. K. Chesterton Collection (400+ works) (Illustrated) (Kindle Ed. 2009. Locations 68335-68336)
[v] Barth, K. 1961 der götze wackelt (The Idol Wobbles – exact translation T.B.C)  Insights, (Selected by Ebherhard Busch, 2009) Westminster John Knox Press p.12
(h/t to Ben @ Faith & Theology, where I first read about Chesterton’s ‘Alarms and Discursions’)

Image credit: ‘Lighting Decor’, Courtesy of FeelArt

Now and then, for some laughter-is-the-best-medicine downtime, I’ll browse Pinterest just for the large amount of humour one can find there.

I’m finding out that it’s becoming quite a good therapeutic habit; a necessary sanctuary; a healthy ”go-to” especially after an evening read of other news feeds.

Here are some I found the other day.

(Granted, these aren’t that ”funny”, but they show some inventiveness. Therefore-eth I rank-eth them thus worth sharing-eth.)

medieval humour

 

 

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Pinterest Funny 101

June 22, 2014 — 2 Comments

Sharing some much appreciated weekend cheer:

tanks funny2

youknowthisisfunny

cat meme

 

Images: (via Pinterest – search ”pinterest funny” (Otherwise, authors unknown.).

 

#truth

Visual Commentary

 

 

 

 

Image sourced 21st May 2014 from the:  Frontline Hobbies FB page