The Most Enjoyable of All Subjects

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Because of piety’s penchant for taking itself too seriously, theology–more than literary, humanistic, and scientific studies–does well to nurture a modest, unguarded sense of comedy. Some comic sensibility is required to keep in due proportion the pompous pretensions of the study of divinity.

When the chips pile too high, I invite the kind of laughter that wells us not from cynicism about theology but from lightness about it. This comes from glimpsing the incongruity of humans thinking about God. I have often laughed at myself as these sentences went through their tortuous stages of formation; I ask you to look for the comic dimension of divinity that stalks every stage.

The most enjoyable of all subjects has to be God, because God is the source of all joy. God has the first and last laugh. The least articulate of all disciplines deserves something in between.

Thomas C. Oden, The Living God: Systematic Theology, Vol. 1

Finite beings seeking to comprehend and infinite God, who, for our sake, reveals himself only in part. Imagine the kind of person taking on that kind of work. How funny! Moreover, if its true that God is the source of all joy (and I believe this to be the case), imagine the kind of person who wouldn’t want to do the work of theology. We can’t help ourselves. We all have something to say about God. It’s very serious work. It’s also very joyous work. Thus, to the degree that we reflect something of the God who is there, it is the most enjoyable subject of all.