Monday, April 19, 2010

Has The Greatest Story Ever Told lost its wallop?

Here's a thought-provoking story - it follows up from yesterday's post about "Telling the Story..."

Easter morning, my daughter Naomi and her husband Craig attended services at the church they're visiting in Connecticut. The minister shared a resurrection joke that featured a Groundhog Day inspired "Jesus saw his shadow and there were six more weeks of winter" punch line. I won't try to tell it here but I'm sure we've all heard one version or another.

That evening, at dinner with friends and family, Naomi thought it would be fun to re-tell the story. It's a fairly long joke that involves three recently-departed people, the ubiquitous interview at the Pearly Gates, and an extended lead-up to the hook at the end.

Naomi launched, laid out the story, included all the details, then delivered the punch line: Silence... Crickets... Deadpan faces... Quizzical looks... Nothing.

No, they weren't a bunch of fundamentalists who were offended by the joke; and they weren't missing their funny-bones. These people simply didn't get it.

So Naomi, not one to waste a good yarn, started to explain. But she was quickly interrupted by a young man: "Well, I have heard of Jesus," he said dismissively; "But I'm just not that familiar with the story."

Yesterday I wrote about someone who asked one of my friends to share more of the Jesus story. Today I'm referencing the larger reality of a world not only unfamiliar with Jesus, but pointedly uninterested.

The Greatest Story Ever Told seems to have has lost it's wallop.

I have some theories as to why that is, and most of them involve our less than wonder-inspiring performance as Jesus-followers.

Interestingly, in a curiously relevant side note, I just saw a hilarious clip from the Jimmy Kimmel Show that included footage of the Pope falling asleep during mass.

I'm paraphrasing, because I can't find the clip anymore. But Kimmel said the following: "When the Pope is bored at church you know you should be doing something to liven things up..."

Amen, brother Jimmy.

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