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Archive for the 'Humour' Category

Ecclesiastes Goes Golfing

10th August 2009

golffrustrationI just returned from a nice long weekend away with the family. This was one of our annual trips that with a couple other families. We took the kids tubing at the lake, went ATV-ing, sat around the campfire and played various games. All in all it was a great weekend. Another regular part of this weekend is that the guys head out early one morning for a round of golf.  I enjoy golf, although I am not very good at it and I only seem to get out half a dozen times a year.  I had one of the best games in years earlier this summer when I shot a 47 (on 9 holes) on a father’s day outing.

This last weekend we teed off Sunday morning for our annual game. It was an absolutely beautiful morning and the course was in superb condition. I was looking forward to this round since I have been playing pretty good this summer so far.  The one downer was that I didn’t bring my own clubs (which are nothing special, but I am used to them), due to a miscommunication about whether or not we were playing. So I had rentals, which I usually don’t mind since they give me a chance to try out a newer set of clubs.

Then it started. Third off the tee box. I lined up with my rented driver and swung and heard a nice smack and watched the ball sail at least 250 yards… right into the trees, never to return. The cause: a magnificent slice. Something I hadn’t done for most of the summer. I decide to take a mulligan since I have to get used to the rentals. A second swing. An impressive smack. And I again watched my ball turn a right angle into the forest. I decide to place a ball where it went out and started walking down the fairway enjoying the  beautiful weather with my mind still in the game. I drop a ball at the appropriate spot, take out my 4 iron, and duff it. By the time I get to the green I am already sitting six and then proceed to three putt it.

I won’t describe any more of my game, except to say that I had pretty much my worst game in a long time. I was slicing. I was topping balls. I was hitting the sand traps. I was not having a good game.

Around the 6th hole my mind turned to Scripture. More specifically my mind turned to the book of Ecclesiastes (Qohelet in the Hebrew Bible). “All is vanity/meaningless”; or as I prefer to translate hebel, “All is absurd.” I thought of the absurdity of ruining a perfectly good walk through God’s beautiful creation by trying to hit a stupid white ball into a hole hundreds of yards away with only a club.  Throughout the rest of the game I thought of other lines from Ecclesiastes:

What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun [chasing a stupid white ball]? (Eccl 1:3)

All is absurd and a chasing after [stupid white balls] (Eccl 1:14)

A time to [hit balls] away [into the rough], and a time to look for [stupid white balls] in the rough (Eccl 3:5)

Cast your [balls] upon the water [hazard], for after many days you will get it back [yeah, right!]  (Eccl 11:1)

I still like golf, although any delusions I had that my game was getting better were dashed this last Sunday. In this respect, golf is very much like the book of Ecclesiastes. A peruse through Ecclesiastes also dashes any illusions that we are in control of our lives; that what we do in this fallen hebel world will always go according to our best laid plans. I like the way Eugene Peterson described the book of Ecclesiastes:

[It is] a John the Baptist kind of book. It functions not as a meal but as a bath. It is not nourishment; it is cleansing. It is repentance. It is purging. [We] read Ecclesiastes to get scrubbed clean from illusion and sentiment, from ideas that are idolatrous and feelings that are cloy. It is an exposé and rejection of every pretentious and presumptuous expectation aimed at God (Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work, pp. 155-156).

That, my dear reader, is also the function of the game of golf.

Posted in Ecclesiastes, Humour, Personal | 2 Comments »

God Has A Wonderful Plan for Your Life…

6th March 2009

Some more Friday fun:


The “Health and Wealth” gospel at its finest! (at least for Lions)

(HT Brandon Wason)

Posted in Humour | 7 Comments »

Cain and Abel: A Cameo from Year One

2nd March 2009

My previous post on Cain and Abel reminded me of a somewhat funny (OK, it is funny — just a little dark) trailer for a new Harold Ramis film, The Year One:

The film follws the adventures of two lazy hunter-gatherers (Jack Black and Michael Cera) as they travel the ancient world. It appears that they not only encounter Cain and Abel, but also Adam and Eve,  Abraham and Isaac, and Sodom and Gomorrah. Hmmm… I don’t think it is trying to be biblically accurate!  The film is scheduled to be released 19 June 2009 according to IMDB.

If you are interested in more films based on the Bible, check out my “The Old Testament on Film” pages.

Posted in Bible, Bible & Film, Film, Genesis, Humour, Old Testament | Comments Off

Friday Fun: The Tithe Rap

20th February 2009

I found this video lame and funny at the same time:

I actually will be preaching on stewardship in the next month; perhaps I should show this video. Of course, the problem I have with the video is that I don’t think that Christians are technically called to” tithe.” The NT never mentions the tithe as an expectation, but instead Jesus calls us to sacrificial giving (see Matthew 5:42; 6:2-3; etc.) and Paul instructs us that “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7; see also 1Cor 16:1-3; Eph 4:28).  This may be 1% for some people and 75% for others.  Perhaps 10% is a good place to start of an intermediate goal, but once you’ve given the 10% it isn’t that you are off the hook for the rest!

It is also crucial that you think about where you give. Obviously if you are part of a local church, you should be supporting its ministry with your gifts (both abilities and finances), but there are also many other great causes which need support. And watch out for charlatans!

(HT Cliff Kvidahl)

Posted in Biblical Teaching, Humour | Comments Off

Friday Fun from YouTube

28th November 2008

I have been down in the dumps for a number of things, but these videos from YouTube have put a smile — or perhaps more accurately a grimace — on my face, so I wanted to share them with the three people who still check out codex to see if I will awake from my slumber and actually start posting again.

Is Jesus Your Friend?

This video is hilarious in a weird sort of way — did people actually sing stuff like that seriously? According to the interview with the lead singer of Sonseed (and more) over at dougsploitation.

Star Wars Trumpet Dance

I’m not gifted musically… but I can tell when something is not right. This beauty pageant contestant should get an “E” for effort, but not so much for achievement.

(HT to my colleague Jeff for directing me to these videos)

Posted in Humour | 5 Comments »

The Uncensored Bible: The Bawdy and Naughty Bits of the Good Book

19th July 2008

One of my summer reads that I just finished is a new book that takes a lighter — and somewhat irreverent and certainly risqué — look at the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament:

  • The Uncensored Bible: The Bawdy and Naughty Bits of the Good Book by John Kaltner, Steven L. McKenzie, and Joel Kilpatrick (HarperCollins, 2008; Buy from or

Written by two biblical scholars and one satirist (I’ll let you decide who’s who!), this book is an entertaining examination of some provocative and downright outrageous interpretations of passages in the Holy Bible. The subtitle is a bit misleading in that the authors are only interested in certain “bawdy and naughty bits” of the Old Testament.

In order to make the cut (which they humorously refer to as the “Zevit Standard” since their first example was proposed by noted biblical scholar Ziony Zevit) the interpretation has to be (1) innovative and outrageous, (2) a new take on a familiar Bible passage, (3) plausible, and (4) proposed by a bona-fide biblical scholar.  So what you don’t find in the book are all of the “bawdy and naughty” passages of the Bible which are clear and don’t require strange interpretations (like, for instance, the virtually pornographic/obscene  descriptions of the Egyptians in Ezekiel 16:26 and 23:20 or the erotic physical descriptions in the Song of Songs. Of course, many of these “bawdy and naughty bits” are obscured by the prudish nature of modern English translations — but that’s another post!).

Some of the more outrageous interpretations from The Uncensored Bible include the following [SPOILER ALERT: skip this section if you want to be shocked when you read it for yourself]:

  • The “rib/bone” which God makes the woman in Gen 2:21-22 was Adam’s penis bone
  • The admonition to “casting your bread upon the waters” in Ecclesiastes 11:1 is a reference to ancient beer making (this suggestion comes from an article by fellow blogger Michael Homan)
  • Ehud escaped after killing Eglon unnoticed by the Moabites by literally going down the poop chute in Judges 3:23 (not the “porch” or “vestibule” as most modern translations render misdaron)
  • Isaac may have been  “taking a whiz” in the field when Rebekah first saw him, according to Genesis 24:63.
  • The “ish” (man/angel/God) in Genesis … touched Jacob’s, er… “johnson” during the wrestling match in Genesis 38? (and this was apparently some supernatural tit for tat since when Jacob was born, he was not clutching Esau’s heel, but his wiener!)
  • The punishment for a wife grabbing another man’s genitals when he is fighting with her husband is not cutting off her hand (Deut 25:11-12), but giving her a Brazilian bikini wax!

[END SPOILER ALERT: Read on from here] Most of these interpretations I have encountered before, though not all of them. And while some of them are plausible and even convincing, others are a bit whacked out. The authors themselves do not agree with all of the interpretations they present; they consider some convincing while they (rightfully) reject others. There were a number of passages/interpretations that I expected to find in the book but didn’t (perhaps they are worth a blog post or two, or even a recurring series). In their conclusion the authors leave open the possibility of a sequel or two.

In case you are concerned, the authors did not write this book to bash the Bible or biblical scholarship. They are biblical scholars who “love the Bible” (p. xiii)  and hope to increase their readers’ “appreciation for the richness and diversity of the Bible’s contents” (p. xiv). While this book will not be for everyone, I personally laud Kaltner and McKenzie for writing it (I wish I would have beat them to it). The value I see in a book such as this (besides its value as an entertaining read) is that it presents the Bible in a more down to earth and real way than many Sunday sermons. I think sometimes we Christians have an unrealistic (and unhelpful) view of the Bible. Pastors and teachers try to mine these ancient texts for modern-day role models or parenting tips, and I am not sure that is what the purpose of the good book is! Check out this quote from the Uncensored Bible:

Many people try to follow the Bible’s teachings so they can have a happy home. But the truth is, there aren’t many happy homes depicted in the Bible. The real inheritors of the Bible example are families who have experienced divorce, deception, adultery, and incest or have a murderer or rapist in the family. The Good Book is simply loaded with bad kin. And it’s a virtual handbook for how not to raise children. Most of us are better off doing as the Bible says, not as it shows (p. 153).

Amen and Amen! As I say to my students, one of the first steps to interpreting the Bible is to recognize that it comes from a world very different from ours. And this book helps us recognize that in a rather off-the-wall and quirky way.

In sum, I give this book two thumbs way up. If you have a slightly off-kilter sense of humor, then I highly recommend it (And if you don’t, then buy it for someone who does!)

(And, by the way, I hope the authors get their guest spot on the Daily Show; see p. xv).

Posted in Bible, History of Interpretation, Humour, Reviews & Notices | 4 Comments »

Bandstra Hebrew Handbook Giveaway!

18th July 2008

So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I had the chance to review a prepublication edition of Barry Bandstra‘s  Genesis 1-11: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2008; Buy from or  As a result of the nice blurb I wrote for the publishers, I received a free copy of the book when it was published. As it turns out I ended up with two free copies, and while I like to read, I find reading one at a time works a bit better.

To make a long story short, what all this means is that I have an extra copy of Bandstra’s new book — it’s actually still in the original shrink wrap!  And then I thought since I have been so inconsistent in blogging for the last number of months, I wanted to reward my faithful readers who kept me on their blogrolls and continued checking for new posts (and even emailed me to see if everything was alright!).

Since I can’t give everyone a new book, I need some method of picking a winner. I could do something random like I have done before, but I figured I should somehow benefit from this massive giveaway. So here’s the deal. I will give the book to the individual who leaves the most humorous anecdote, joke, or faux pas about teaching or learning biblical Hebrew. Perhaps it was something another student did in class or a humorous way that your professor tried to teach a particular aspect of Hebrew grammar — it can even be a humorous resource for teaching Hebrew (a comic, short video, whatever!). I’m pretty much open to anything related the Hebrew that will make me smile and/or chuckle — I just want to give away a book. After one week, I (and perhaps my TA) will decide on a winner. And then presto! I will send you Bandstra’s book for absolutely no charge!

So let the free book giveaway begin!

(For those waiting with bated breath for my next “Yahweh – A Moral Monster?” post, I have it pretty much written and may upload it later today. Right now I have to go shopping with my teenage daughter… so pray for me! :-) )

Posted in Blog News, Contests, Hebrew, Humour | 15 Comments »

Does Jesus Make You Laugh?

29th July 2007

This video is worth watching.

It appears that there is a documentary (mockumentary?) in production that takes on Christian excesses in the USA. Looks like a no-brainer!

(HT John McLaughlin)

Posted in Humour, Jesus Junk & Christian Kitsch, Popular Culture | 4 Comments »

Colbert on Modern University Education and An Inconvenient Truth

31st May 2007

Last week Stephen Colbert responded to the news report of a college student refusing to watch Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (Davis Guggenheim, 2006) because he “didn’t believe in it.” All educators will want to watch Stephen’s response. It’s hilarious!


Posted in Humour, Teaching & Learning | Comments Off

Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging

18th May 2007

See John Lyons’s humorous post over at Reception of the Bible. I would probably add to his list, “Blogging without Jim West’s Imprimatur.”

Posted in Biblioblogs, Humour | 2 Comments »