Review of “The Book of Mormon” by Ivy Helman

IMG_5998My friend and I won two tickets to “The Book of Mormon” showing as part of Broadway in Boston.  Having known nothing about the musical, we were curious and excited to be going.  Nearly two weeks later, we are still discussing how we feel about the production.  We agree that overall we like it and there are some very funny parts, but we are also troubled and disgusted by it on a number of levels.  Moreover, the fact that we like it makes us quite uncomfortable.

As a Broadway production, the cast was amazing!  The songs were creative.  Characters were dynamic and showed marked growth.  “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” was outright brilliant with its use of humor, satire and fear to explain the Mormon preoccupation with hell as punishment for immorality and/or disbelief. Continue reading “Review of “The Book of Mormon” by Ivy Helman”

Does Humor Have a Place in Religion? by Barbara Ardinger

Is there anything funny about the divine? Any joke-telling gods? From the days of Abraham until today, the gods and their preachers are a very earnest lot intent on saving us from our sins and building congregations.

Like it or not, we neopagans are still children of the society we’re endeavoring to change. Some of us seem to want to switch patriarchy to matriarchy, but that’s just swapping Big Daddy for Big Momma. It’s still a hierarchical arrangement with the deity at the top of the mountain. Immediately below the “arch” are angels, men, eagles, lions, and other superior beasts. At the bottom of the mountain are women, mud, and matter. (In case you don’t recognize it, this is the 18th-century Great Chain of Being.)

Any humor in spiritual and religious writing? The Hebrew Bible (which Christians refer to as the Old Testament) is a collection of laws, canonically approved versions of history, prophetical preachings, and poetry. The Christian Bible (aka New Testament) give us different approved versions of history, plus further preaching, plus myth and mysticism. The writings of the medieval Fathers of the Church are famously grim and misogynistic. The Qur’an offers ethical guidance and moral preaching. In the Far East, the Tao is also profound, as are the preachings of the Buddha. The writings of Confucius present instructions for maintaining the correct social order (another version of that Great Chain). The great stories of Hinduism are filled with wonder, adventures, and philosophy. But they’re not very funny. Continue reading “Does Humor Have a Place in Religion? by Barbara Ardinger”

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