A Gathering Voices post by Erin Lane
Funny girls ain't no joke. They are a rarified rush of redemptive humor. Within their satirical, slap stick, and sarcastic rhetoric, they hold the paradox of laugh-your-rump-off playfulness and serious-as-all-get-out truthfulness.
I dream of a church where these women are as plentiful (and pesky) as the advertisements on Hulu. I want to be inundated with their wise-cracking wit on Sunday mornings and beyond.
Tina Fey stands behind the pulpit in her "Liz Lemon" sweatpants and scunchie, preaching about the need for Sabbath with her cry, "O Lord, break the Internet forever." Amy Poehler is the humble pastor of children's ministry who admits the only way to manage youth is to enlist robots. "I have, like, 15 robots. They do everything from singing lullabies to driving the kids to soccer. It’s just amazing what robots can do." And Kristen Wiig is the inspiring worship director who unabashedly punches her fist in the air during hymns, akin to her Bridesmaids' dance-along to the 90's flashback hit "Hold On."
Before you dismiss my dream as some media-induced, pop candy coma of generation-Yers, I'd argue these women are already present - although perhaps in subtler forms - in our congregations. I know them. I've seen them do the robot dance to Justin Beiber. I've done it with them.
And I'm telling you, there is something spiritual about their humor. It lifts. It holds. It heals the often tragic nature of our lives. It doesn't just seek a laugh; it seeks deep joy.
But for some strange (cough <sexism> cough) reason, women don't unleash this very raw and radical hilarity in the church. They already have a hard enough time being taking seriously. Why risk a failed joke when judgment is already plentiful for their open-toed shoes or kindergarden-teacher tone?
It matters to me that women bring their inner funny girls to their faith. I'm writing my Master's thesis at Duke Divinity School on Humor in Feminist Homiletics - a highly un-saturated field of research.
Feminist Humor? Look up any of the women enlisted in my liturgical fantasy above. But Christian Feminist Humor?
Even Amazon puts a strike through one of these descriptors when searching, telling me they can't possibly be strung together in a resource, let alone an individual.
I'm not convinced, despite the unfounded chorus of sinners that insists women just aren't that funny. Stringing together paradoxes of wit and wisdom is part of the boundary-breaking nature of our God and our faith and our women.
Thinking anything to the contrary is just plain silly.
photo credit orangeacid