October 03, 2004

Diet Neufeld - “Redeeming Laughter”

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Dietmar Neufeld (Associate Head of UBC's Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies) spoke on "Redemptive Laughter". Although much humour speaks universally, some is culturally specific and centuries later may be no longer understood or even detected. At its best, humour (of which there are many kinds) can be ironic ins ways which help us get through life's truly difficult situations (e.g., The Great Depression, occupation). Strangely, when American comedians were silenced by fear of censorship by media or government right after '9-11', some people wondered whether political satire would ever again be possible. In tragedy-comedy, we laugh through tears, not eradicating the reality of our sorrows but gaining a glimpse of hope through irony. Scholars are now discovering that there are statements and situations in scripture which were ironically humorous in ancient times. Some scholars are realizing that some of the beatitudes could hardly have been understood in any other way: "Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the earth" (right!) The crowds of poor who first heard those words knew with certainty that this would not literally be the case, but the irony of the phrase in that society could make people smile with hope and start taking a different view of their world and priorities. John Howard Yoder's ironic title, The Upside-down Kingdom continues to captivate minds by its humorous concept, for we might have otherwise assumed a title like that would make an excellent children's book. Humour, at its best, can be redemptive, something which grants us hope through a new perspective on life. This is something biblical authors appreciated and used with care and enormous effectiveness. [JEK]


Passage: 2Ti1:1-14
Communion: No
Ecumenical or Event: World Fellowship Sunday
Potluck Lunch: No
Congregational Meeting: No


Speaker: Diet Neufeld
Worship Leader: Veronica Dyck
Song Leader: Andre Pekovich
Pianist: Cynthia Friesen
Usher: Rovin Karuna
Zoom Coordinator:
Children's Feature Leader:


Bring Flowers:
Coffee Helper:
Sound Helper:


Child Care Volunteer: Nadine Neudorf

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