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That’s what Jesus said

November 21, 2011

Before reading, please note that this post is ridiculous and not intended seriously. You may now proceed:

So I wrote this post last week that was probably the best post of all time. It was sharp, witty, and insightful. It had amazing references and at least two levels of irony. Unfortunately, the second level is the one that gets you, as, ironically, my blogging app for my iPad crashed just as I was scheduling the post to go public!* I literally could not believe it. Neither could my wife, who freaked out for about ten minutes about how terrible this was, despite the fact that I was dealing with the problem by just going to sleep. Or trying to, as it is hard to sleep through your wife freaking out about your blog post being transported to another dimension. Two days have passed, and the magic seems to have gone, but I owe it to myself and to the world to try to reconstruct the amazazingingest post ever. Below is my humblebraggadocious attempt.

*This is what we in the biz call a humblebrag. You can try some on for size in your own life.

As mentioned earlier in my post that I will not link to in order to have users manually search for it and therefore boost my hit counts, I mentioned that one of my favorite pasttimes is taking Scripture out of context. Now, I’m not talking about the garden-variety, well-meaning-but-misinformed out of context usage that permeates the pulpits of today’s pastors. No, I’m talking about something much more sinister and intentional. I’m talking about sarcastic joking utilizing Scripture verses in new and interesting ways as the punchline. Doing this requires a deft and dextrous knowledge of the Bible and a certain willingness to let many of your references fall upon deaf ears. After all, your audience may not be aware that you are making a Scriptural allusion in the context of your discussion about where to eat after church. These drawbacks are not a problem for me, as my goal in any comedy is really only to entertain myself. To those willing to venture out in to the uncharted waters of Scriptural satire, may I suggest the following as a roadmap.

As in most things in life, it pays to ease yourself in to Bible jokes. That’s why starting with the ever-popular “that’s what Jesus said” is a great option for new users. A “that’s what Jesus said” moment is when one appends the phrase onto the back of an assertion to add ballast to the proof or when one chooses to use the statement as a riposte to a friend’s verbal sally. Let’s look at some examples.

Person A: “I was going to go to evening service at church, but I think I’m going to skip and watch my Gilmore Girls DVD for the sixth time in the past two weeks. I mean, the dialogue is just so witty!”

Person 2: “That’s what Jesus said!”

Here, we find that Person 2 has gained the upper hand by invoking the name of Jesus, and, symbolically, all that he stands for ethically. Person A will feel guilty as the ironic use of Jesus to support Gilmore Girls over church exposes just how weak the statement was in the first place. I would award this usage two Moses points, with a bonus one being awarded if the Gilmore-Girls-over-church decision is reversed.*

*Moses points can be exchanged for eternity points at a rate of ten-to-one, and we all know that this life is primarily about racking up eternity points to be turned in for luxury items in heaven at a later date.

OK, that was fun! Let’s do it again. This time, we will vary the phrase with the just-as-effective “that’s what the Bible says.” There are some subtle indicators that can help a discerning user choose which phrase is more appropriate to the context. Here’s how one encounter might go:

Individual One: “Don’t judge me! To each his or her own.”

Individual-who-is-about-to-get-hit: “Yeah, I mean, that’s what the Bible says.”

Here, the subtle reference to both one Scripture wrongly used by Individual One and the use of a non-Scripture as support are laid bare by IWIATGH’s sharp retort. He has correctly identified the common cultural use of “Don’t judge me,” which is “I’m about to eat too much dessert.” One could also go for “that’s what Jesus said” as Jesus did in fact say the Bible verse in question (Do not judge, lest ye be judged. Obviously, this verse has nothing to do with dessert at all.) This usage is probably worth something like 3.5 Moses points, more if they experience any persecution as a result.

The more intrepid of readers will note that no Scripture has, as of yet, actually been humorously used out of context. That’s because we’ve just been warming up. The jungle of misapplied Scripture is not for the faint of heart, so let us gird up our loins like a man and press onward.

Friend A: “Man, I really have to use the facilities.”

Friend C: “What you do, do it quickly.”

There are several problems here. Not least among them is the gender bias of the emphatic nominative absolute present in Friend A’s thoughtless statement. This oversight is more than overshadowed by the glorious misapplication by Friend C. Taking Jesus’ statement about as far from its original context as possible, Friend C scores four Moses points. Was this joke appropriate? Probably not, but appropriateness never really figures into the comedy equation where I am concerned.

OK, time for one last example:

Soon-to-be-ex-friend: “I believe that I possess the requisite skills to defeat you in a contest of wits and reflexes using Microsoft’s newest xBox 360 platform and the much anticipated new title Modern Warfare 3. Do you fancy your chances in such a tete-a-tete, or does your discretion require you to decline and thus retire with dignity intact?”

You, excitedly: “I am the head and not the tail, above and not beneath! No weapon formed against me shall prosper! For I confess that we are more than overcomers! I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! I am harassed but not destroyed, persecuted but not abandoned! I will overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of my testimony! He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion in the day of Christ Jesus!!!!”

Here is a great example of just plain getting carried away. I would award this response no Moses points at all. Remember, in misapplying Scripture, as in that super-hot mustard that goes on egg rolls, less is almost always more. A veteran tactician may have gone back to the Job 38 well and replied with something like “Where were you when I laid the foundations of MW3? Were you there? Who programmed its dimensions? Surely you know!” This latter passage is more belittling in tone and sets the scope of confrontation much more nicely.

I am excited to have laid the blueprint for your own “that’s what Jesus said” moments and even more excited for the misapplied verses that will shortly tumble from your lips like honeycomb. Remember, if your audience misses the reference, so much the better, for take heart. Jesus has overcome the world.

To celebrate both this Thanksgiving holiday and this ridiculous concept, hotdog theology is sponsoring a contest. Post your favorite TWJS or Bible satire moment below, either historical or apocryphal. The winner will be determined using criteria that I make up as I go along, and the prize will be awarded commensurate with the awesomeness of the entries.

If you’re afraid to enter, I would remind you that Peter was afraid to step out onto the water as well. And what did Jesus say? “Come.” In other words, “Bring it.” Don’t let him down!

Jesus loves to laugh.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. bpayne permalink
    November 21, 2011 5:40 pm

    two things. 1. this post had makenzie and i laughing so hard. bravo. 2. at a later date, i will submit my entry. no rush.

    • November 22, 2011 9:34 pm

      I look forward to your entry. It seems as though you have a good chance of winning.

  2. Kyle H. permalink
    December 17, 2011 8:04 pm

    #1 This last week driving from from Dallas, TX straight to my church in San Antonio which was hosting meetings and classes for home-schooled students. I drove straight there instead of going home first since I had to teach a debate class, and I was almost out of time. My youth pastor asked me, “Did you go home yet to visit you parents? I am sure your family doesn’t even know you’re in town.”
    I replied, “My brothers, sisters, and mothers, are those who do the will of my father which is in Heaven.”
    He laughed.

    #2 Usually when I leave(for the bathroom, or a break), and am intending to come back, especially if I don’t know when, I usually say, “In the words of Jesus- ‘I’ll be back.’,” or sometimes: ‘Tarry ’till I come.’

    Does this count hotdogtheology?

    • December 18, 2011 3:07 pm

      Yep, these count. You’re in the lead! We will see If a challenger will arise against you. The comment threads suffer violence, but the violent will take them by force.

  3. January 18, 2012 1:30 pm

    I have a “that’s what Paul said”

    Watching the Pats vs. Broncos game with some friends, the room kept erupting every time Tebow got stuffed on what could have been a big play.. On one such occasion, when the noise had subsided, I quietly tagged on, “Tim Tebow, I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves” (Gal 5:12, NRSV)

    • January 18, 2012 4:28 pm

      I’ll be sure to let Vince Wilfork know that he displeases you. What would be the best way for him to get in touch with you?


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