Humour and the Christian Play Ethic


The question, “How then shall we live?” is often answered in such a way that the Christian life and ethic becomes solely one of service, sacrifice, work and effort. While such themes are undoubtedly an important part of the gospel there can be a corresponding neglect of other themes related to the joy and the beauty that are also intrinsic parts of the Christian life.  The virtue involved in the so-called “protestant work ethic” needs to be related to the virtue of play and humour. This emphasis derives from the eschatological imperative to live out in the present the future life of the joyful kingdom of God and it has ethical implications. Laughter is essential to life and our relationship with one another and, most importantly, with God. Laughter is a very biblical virtue.


Dr. Brian Edgar
Professor of Theological Studies
Asbury Theological Seminary, USA

Brian is Professor of Theological Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary USA, although primarily resident in Melbourne and teaching via a mixture of commuting and on-line. He and his wife Barbara, and their two daughters Karly and Tara lived at Bible College of Victoria (BCV) in Lilydale from 1986 to 2003 and Brian lectured in theology and ethics and was Academic Dean. He is the author of The Message of the Trinity (IVP), God is Friendship (Seedbed) and a forthcoming book through Wipf and Stock on the importance of a playful attitude in theology and spirituality. He is currently working on another on the place of laughter in the kingdom life.