“Theology of fun” is a phrase you might hear from a youth pastor, but what does it mean? The importance of the subject is clear, because fun and play are naturally an important part of our lives. If the Bible does not approve of fun, then everything from watching football to playing with our kids is a “guilty pleasure.”
And yet there is surprisingly little written on this subject. My initial Google search was not very fruitful, though I’ll link to two helpful articles at the end of this post. Some articles are about “why you need a theology of fun,” and others are about “my personal theology of fun.” The confusion that exists on this topic is hilariously epitomized at the end of an opinion article in Baptist News: “Fun needs to be a part of our Christian lives. I’m pretty sure it’s in the Bible — somewhere.”
So I hope this post will be my first of many contributions to this subject. The point of this post is that play, dancing, and laughter are blessings from God.
Play is a Blessing
Thus says the LORD of Hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.Zechariah 8:4-5, ESV
The kingdom of God is marked by the blessings of old age and joyful children. This is a picture of peace, joy, and abundance– the children can play because there is nothing to fear, and their lives are not consumed with labor. Childrens’ play is not only a means to an end, but is itself a blessing to be enjoyed.
Dancing is a Blessing
Their bull breeds without fail;
their cow calves and does not miscarry.
They send out their little boys like a flock,
and their children dance.
They sing to the tambourine and the lyre
and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.Job 21:10-11
Job complains that the wicked are blessed by God. The verses cited here are an expansion of the blessings described in of Deuteronomy 28:4, and give a beautiful picture of the abundant life that God can give. The word translated dance here literally means leap around. These children are bursting with joy and energy, and the result is a fun dance.
Laughter is a Blessing
And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; and everyone who hears will laugh over me.”Genesis 21:6
Sarah praises God for giving her laughter. The unexpected joy in ironic circumstances climaxed with laughter at God’s unusual providence. This creates a memorable story that is still fun to read. Isaac is a gift from God, and so is the laughter he brings.