Jim Furlong: Does God Ever Laugh?

Jim Furlong: Does God Ever Laugh?

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I often wonder if God has a sense of humour. There have been a number of times in my life when I have made religious jokes or observations in the company of “believers” that were not warmly received. They were people who seemed on balance to be a humourless lot.

A couple of those little “observations” I have written about.

One was from an earlier broadcast life in radio where I was talking on-air about Easter and said the importance of the day was that it was that time when, according to Christian tradition, Jesus rose from the dead and rolled back the rock at the entrance to His tomb and emerged into the daylight. Then I added … “if He sees his shadow He has to go back in and we get another six weeks of winter.”

Landed Me in Trouble

Well that got me banned as an announcer for awhile. I thought it was funny and it wasn’t even original. It was “modeled,” if that is the correct word, after an old Smothers Brothers bit. My program director didn’t want to hear about that. There had been CALLS and I was suspended.

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The second “bit” that landed me in trouble was about The Holy Shroud of Turin.

Remember the Shroud? This was in the days before carbon dating had established it wasn’t Christ’s burial garment after all …

Anyway I wondered aloud about that shroud between songs during an on-air board shift in radio. In doing so I borrowed a phrase from an old TV commercial for audio tapes (remember reel to reel and 8-tracks?). The phrase was “Is it Christ or is it Memorex?”

No Room for Humour?

Again the phone rang in the control room and again it was the program director and again I was gone.

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You’d think I would learn that on matters religious or at least matters of faith there doesn’t seem to be much room for humour.

This weekend I was in a conversation with some people of the Catholic faith who knew I was part of that church and asked me if I had gone to the Basilica to visit the relic of St. Francis Xavier. The right arm of Xavier was on display as a holy relic. Thousands turned out to be part of a rite of “veneration.”

I didn’t go and that should have been my answer.

Instead when I was asked the question whether I had gone to see the arm of Francis Xavier I said, “St. Lefty?” There was deep silence. No words were spoken but I had offended. I didn’t mean to but there you go. Here is my question and it is serious. What does God think about that? I thought it was clever. So was the Memorex line. My faith is deep. I am convinced that when I get to the Pearly Gates for final judgement, God will be smiling. I hope so anyway.

NTV’s Jim Furlong can be reached by emailing: jfurlong@ntv.ca

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