A Theology of Fun

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This past weekend we had one of the most highly anticipated events of our youth ministry calendar—our All-Nighter. The anticipation works two ways: 1) The joy of fun times and a night of random crazy antics coming your way 2) The trepidation that sinks in when you realize you get a night of no sleep. The latter becomes especially obvious the older you get.

But we do all-nighters, just like we do other fun type events, because we believe in the power of fun. Further, we might go as far as to say we believe in developing a theology of fun.

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The Disturbing News of Christmas

Is it possible that the birth of Jesus is not only good news but also disturbing news? In Matthew 2 we read the story of the journey of the Magi who are following a star en route to finding a new king.  Along the way they meet with a king named Herod who is intrigued by their journey. But he’s also fearful. The news of a coming Messiah is described as ‘disturbing’ to Herod and his household.

The word translated as disturbing in Matthew 2 is used elsewhere in his gospel. It’s the word used by the disciples when they see Jesus walking on water and believe him to be a ghost. Matthew writes that they were disturbed or terrified or intimidated. Herod is feeling the same sentiment about Jesus. It’s quite a paradox: A king who lives in a guarded palace, surrounded by soldiers and weapons, is disturbed at the prospect of this new baby.

Yes, the birth of Jesus is good news to mankind. But to some, it is also disturbing news for it signals the beginning and the end.

Herod and the Magi

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A Luke 14 Party

 country inn

 In Luke’s gospel, Jesus does a lot of partying. He’s described as someone who is constantly eating and hanging with people that normally someone of his pedigree would avoid. He eats with the rich, the poor, and sinners of all kind. Some of his more infamous dinner guests are tax collectors and prostitutes. To eat with someone in antiquity was to declare social solidarity, which was a statement if someone was ever going to make a statement. It was to take a step outside of the social norm and embrace people whom you’d normally ignore and definitely not fellowship with. But this wasn’t the case with Jesus, someone who lived his life as a beautiful contrast to the way of the world.

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