I was reading… a post by Blestwithsons, which discusses humor.

I was struck by a line from the Screwtape Letters – which I should have remembered, and kept in the forefront of my mind recently.

Humour is for them the all-consoling and (mark this) the all-excusing, grace of life. Hence it is invaluable as a means of destroying shame.

I know this, and am often convicted (fleetingly) by my reaction to the type of humor which is found in a job such as mine – where the employee pool is made up, overwhelmingly, of rough, lower-class to lower-middle class males.

In short, innuendoes, foul language, crass speech… all of that. In fact, I’m often tempted to it myself. In short, I’m being an absolutely despicable witness to my peers at work.

There are several people at work who absolutely delight in “one-upping” the worst jokes of everyone else. In a way, they are very genuinely funny. They have excellent comic timing, their delivery is great… but their subject matter is as bad as anything I saw in the military.

I admit… when it goes on, I laugh just as hard as anyone else, once they start in on it. In hindsight, I’m sickened by it. Just the other day, my pastor was speaking on Ephesians 5- where it tells us:

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks

Coarse jesting… zing! Filthiness… zing! Ribald jokes, and obscenities, in short. I’ll take it a step further, and go along with what I was thinking about earlier. Laughing at those things eliminates any sense of shame about them. It’s encouraging it, and affirming it. I’m ashamed.

I’m supposed to be an imitator of God, not of the world. I’m going right along with it… and I’m no different than anyone else there, God help me. True, I don’t initiate the jokes, or tell them myself. That doesn’t matter, and that excuse won’t fly. Holiness is the aim – not some simple “I didn’t actually do it…” That’s an excuse that children make, when they try to get out of being involved in wrongdoing they encouraged, but didn’t perform.

It’s wrong, and I cannot engage in it. I cannot encourage it. I cannot even laugh at it.

A thousand bawdy, or even blasphemous jokes do not help towards a man’s damnation so much as his discovery that almost anything he wants to do can be done, not only without the disapproval but with the admiration of his fellows, if only it can get itself treated as a Joke. […] Any suggestion that there might be too much of it can be represented to him as ‘Puritanical’ or as betraying a ‘lack of humour’.

As Screwtape finishes…

Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny.

I call myself an apologist? I should be ashamed of myself. I know I can manage to be funny without being crass. I do so all the time. Why can’t I keep from laughing at what is crass, or ribald? Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

I won’t end on that note, however much I’d like to, in an orgy of self-flagellation. It’s so much more cathartic.

Paul says more than that.

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hasset you free from the law of sin and of death.

You can read the rest of Romans 8 here, which finishes the thought. I’m comforted by it, and I understand it. I’m just ticked at myself for falling into it.

Time to pray, confess, and ask the Lord for forgiveness. Then, ask the Spirit for those nudges as I go through my day tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll be a better reflection of my Lord.

Because, really. It just isn’t funny. It’s the equivalent of “following the crowd”. However… “Be Holy, as I AM Holy.”

Yes, Lord.