>I have been reading some books set in medieval times. In it there are many references to people having different humours. The thinking was that we need a balance of different ‘humours’ in our bodies for us to function at our best, they affect the way that we feel. The four are: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. These related to emotions, and we still use words that are based on them to describe people: “choleric”, “sanguine”, “phlegmatic” and “melancholy”. Today modern medicine has identified a few other causes of illness beyond an imbalance of humours. But I reckon humour still has therapeutic benefits.
Humour is an insertion of the unexpected into our daily lives. It has therapeutic benefits and enables us to look at things from a different perspective.You may have noticed that I love humour. That doesn’t mean I am funny or that the jokes I post here will make you laugh. Humour doesn’t have to be funny to be humour. On the other hand, good humour has to be funny!
One of the disappointments for me is that the Gospel writers did not include more examples of Jesus’ humour. It may surprise you to know that there is any! But think again about Jesus saying that before we help someone take a speck of dust out of our own eye we should take the plank out of our own. I wear contact lenses and know how horrible it is when a speck of dust gets in my eye. So what about a plank!
It’s humorous on different levels. There’s the humour of a person walking around with a plank in their eye that they have not noticed. There’s the humour of them thinking they can see to take the speck out of someone’s eye when they have a plank in their own. There’s the humour of a person with a speck in their eye being prepared to allow someone who can’t even get a plank out of their own eye to help them with a speck. There’s the humour of an uneducated carpenter’s son teaching the masses by using an illustration based on woodwork. And there’s more beside.
So much to admire about the humour, but let’s not miss the point. Jesus was talking about hypocrisy. This seems to have been one of his big themes. He hated hypocrisy among people who purported to be devoted to God.
So perhaps I had better go to the mirror of prayer and reflection and check for any planks before I go any further today.
A few jokes that work on different levels… I’ll leave you to analyse them, or just groan!
An atom walks into a bar. He looks really depressed. The bartender serves him a beer, and says “Hey buddy, what’s wrong?” The atom says “well, it’s pretty bad. I think I lost an electron.” The bartender replies “Really? You sure?” Atom: “Yep. I’m positive.”
What’s the difference between a set of bagpipes and an onion?
No one cries when you chop up a set of bagpipes.
Bananas and traffic lights are totally different. For a traffic light, green means go, yellow means slow down, and red means stop. For a banana, green means slow down, yellow means go ahead, and red means… where’d you get that banana?