Thursday, May 15, 2008

When is a Joke Not a Joke?

The following anecdote made me ponder that question:

At a homeschool moms' fellowship last night a friend shared
what happened to her at church on Mother's Day. The pastor
said they had an award for the mother with the most children.
My friend has the most children in her congregation - five.
They called her to the front of the church and told her that
her award was a "Kentucky Birth-Control Kit," and then they
gave her a baseball bat. She was so humiliated.
I am sure that the pastor meant that little display to be humorous. However, it is wrong on so many levels.

First of all, the mom was humiliated, on the very day of the year that is supposed to be a mom's special day. Secondly, it was done publicly, adding to the shame of the moment. The third, and worst thing about this little "joke", in my opinion, was that it failed to view children as the treasures they truly are - gifts from the Hand of God.

Our family likes to joke. We tease each other. We share stories about family foibles. We crack jokes about "half-wits" or Newfies or blondes (and I fit into two of those categories; some days my hubby would claim I fit all three!). We have no problem with self-deprecation.

However, there is a huge difference between cracking a joke or teasing someone and the kind of public humiliation this poor woman had to endure in front of her entire church.


KeepItSimple said...

Janet -

This indeed is so very sad. Unfortunately, not that long ago, I would have found this funny myself. Not that I don't think children are a blessing - I always wanted lots - but because talking about the act of making children has become so commonplace in our society.

This is just another area of humanism that has so infiltrated our thinking that we don't see - or rather can't see - what is so wrong with this.

The fact that the bat was a 'birth control' joke is what really strikes me. (No pun intended). Think about it...a pastor - whom I presume is a man - calling a woman forward (in church of all places) and essentially discussing and giving advice, in a sense, her marital relations life in front of the entire congregation. That's what gets me. Where has the decency and decorum gone???

Just my take on it -
Come join our May GiveAway

Janet said...

I completely agree with you, Camille. Even when a joke is funny in one context, in another context it can be cruel...and that's what happened to this poor mom.

It has made me think much about what we as a family joke about. I keep going back to "Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips". I tremble when I consider how a Holy, Holy, Holy God views our jesting. And I cast myself (and my family) on His mercy.

In Christ,