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Satire, Sarcasm, and Irony

January 25, 2023

Leadership Notes


In Sunday’s sermon, I touched briefly on satire and sarcasm. After lunch that day, I received some terrific feedback from Diana Schneider, a lovely and thoughtful member of Covenant Church. Here’s what she shared with me on the topic of sarcasm:


Good morning again Pastor Richard,

I just thought I'd share something a patient pointed out to me a

while back. He was an English nerd (and English to boot) and he

heard me say something about how I appreciate and use sarcasm.

He informed me that Americans use the word sarcasm incorrectly

when we typically mean we are being ironic. He said sarcasm is

when you use irony to be mean-spirited, which isn't what I

usually intend. So of course, I had to look it up and he was right.

Ironic: "happening in the opposite way to what is expected,

and typically causing wry amusement because of this."

Sarcasm: "the use of irony to mock or convey contempt."

As someone who also appreciates adding amusement to life’s

ups and downs as well as examining the meaning behind

words, I thought you'd appreciate his insight. Our culture

has definitely given a different connotation to sarcasm, but

when I'm not being snarky, I now call it irony to be more

accurate. It was hard to admit to the Englishman that he

knew English better than me, though! I may or may not have

reminded him to just be grateful he isn't speaking German.


Covenant Church folks are wonderful. I love these kinds of feedback conversations.


So, apparently, there’s a new Artificial Intelligence program that can write on just about any topic you request. {Side note – this is why more and more college classes are not requiring term papers…almost impossible to detect plagiarism.}


With that in mind, a request was made to write a press release from hell mourning the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Here is the result:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


From the Depths of Hell, a Statement on the Overturning of Roe v. Wade


“As the eternal home of sinners and the damned, we in Hell are not often moved to comment on the actions of mortals on Earth. However, the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, a landmark ruling that protected the reproductive rights of women, has caused even the fires of the underworld to dim with sorrow.


This decision, made by those in power, is a grave injustice that will have devastating consequences for women everywhere. It strips them of their autonomy and agency over their own bodies, denying them the right to make decision about their own reproductive health. This is a violation of basic human rights and a step backward for progress and equality.


We in Hell mourn this loss, and we call on all those who believe in justice and freedom to speak out against this injustice and to fight for the rights of all women to control their own bodies and their own destinies.”


Signed,


Lucifer, Prince of Darkness


I cut my theological molars on C.S. Lewis whilst in college. I luxuriated over every page of “The Screwtape Letters” and “Mere Christianity.” You cannot go wrong reading Alister McGrath’s biography of Lewis. The piece quoted would have done C.S. Lewis proud. Parody, satire, and irony are great conveyors of truth. They can be useful in exposing the darker side of human nature and the wicked underbelly of our culture.


One of the important gleanings we’ll be taking from our study of The Letter of James is how we reflect the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ to a culture that so desperately needs to see it and embrace it. The challenge is to neither embrace nor remove ourselves from the culture. What an exciting spiritual growth journey it will be.


And now, your Moment of Spurgeon:



“Seek to love your Master more; pray to be filled with his Spirit.

Do not be mere tradespeople who are Christianised, but be

Christians everywhere; not plated goods, but solid metal.”


With Much Love and Affection,


Richard

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