The grace of God is dangerous. It's lavish, excessive, outrageous, and scandalous. God's grace is ridiculously inclusive. Apparently God doesn't care who He loves. He is not careful about the people He calls His friends or the people He calls His Church.
~ Mike YaconelliFrom Jesus Laughed: The Redemptive Power of Humor
Mike Yaconelli (1942-2003), for those who wonder, was a pastor, theologian, writer, and satirist who had quite a bit to say about Christianity on the lighter side and made good use of humor, as should we all.
Jesus Laughed, by Robert Darden, is a book whose author argues that there is humor in the Bible and a strong place for humor in our faith ... although hundreds of years of church teachings ... MANY hundreds ... would say or imply otherwise. As for me, who uses the little book The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss to good ends in a sermon from time to time and just picked up a copy of The Gospel According to Peanuts (the predecessor to the Dr. Seuss title), which I'm eagerly looking forward to using. This is one of a number of books telling Christians it's okay to lighten up ... and even to laugh once in a while. Jesus won't hold it against you, really!
This is one of a number of titles I'm currently reading in tandem.
Oh yes, and if you are currently adding addenda and exclusions to what Mike had to say above (and yes, it's challenging), refer back to Paul in Romans 2 about God's inclusive nature (he was schooling the church in Rome, which was getting a little out of hand with Jewish and Gentile Christians getting in each other's faces over who was and wasn't part of God's people):
Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgement on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. 2You say,* ‘We know that God’s judgement on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.’ 3Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgement of God? 4Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed. 6For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: 7to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. 9There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,10but glory and honour and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11For God shows no partiality.
All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. 15They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them 16on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.
These are all good reasons to be cheerful ... and accepting ... Christians I think ... well, I believe actually. What say you???