Oscar Night seems to be a good time to share an exercise introduced to me by the late, great Doug Adams, former Professor of Worship and the Arts at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.
As part of a week-long wonder known as Bringing Biblical Humor to Life (a class I took in the summer of 1993 that spawned and inspired just about everything The Comic Lens contains and is all about) Dr. Adams tore off and handed out a section of toilet paper to each class participant. He invited us all to write down as many accomplishments as we could think of on our "parchment", and then he read a section of Paul's letter to the Philippians, which I share here in part:
The translated word "rubbish" in the NRSV (the sort-of official Bible translation of the mainline Protestant Church) is rather kind when compared to the Greek original. Actually, the Greek word here, "skubelon" means "excrement." Feel free to use any of the vulgar synonyms that also come to mind.
You can't help but giggle when you hear this holy scripture while holding the toilet paper that contains your big list of achievements and awards. It playfully helps subvert our worldly - normal - manner of bestowing honor and worth upon ourselves and others and helps us remember in the upside-down universe of Jesus-following what is very and what is not at all important. (And for Paul what is most important is placing one's allegiance in One who died on and was resurrected from the horrible shame-full cross making them, ipso facto, a "Moron for Christ" - see previous blog.)
While it would be most inappropriate and ironically self-serving for a well-intentioned "Moron" to refer to Dr. Adams' exercise or pull out a plunger or some such thing for their Oscar speech, how interesting would it be to have one's certificate of graduation from seminary come on a few sheets of Quilted Northern?
In any case, Philippians 3 is good to keep in mind in the midst of an award season of any sort, at least to keep things in check. And to appreciate but one more example of the sharp humor of St. Paul.
And, maybe, have something new, and theologically compelling, to contemplate when Nature calls. Yet another way we can, as the Bible instructs, keep our focus always on Christ. !