“No Offence” – The Foolish Worship Workshop
The foolish worship workshop on Humour, Laughter, Foolishness: Performing Love, Resilience and Resistance with Claudio Carvalhaes, April 14 and 15, 2023, was an opportunity to explore humour and joy as spiritually significant, especially in the face of oppression. We had twenty participants, including CCS students in the Worship learning circle, local clergy and lay people, and eager learners who travelled to Westworth United in Winnipeg from afar to take part. (One participant took part through zoom.) Over the course of two days, Claudio invited us into playful but also at times challenging reflections on foolishness.
The workshop began with games and improvisations to bring us into relation with each other. In the afternoon, Claudio delved into the theology of joy. “Capitalism is a machine to produce sadness. It makes us fight with each other,” said Claudio. “Rituals are one of the only things not conquered by the market. We worship for the sake of doing, not for the sake of accomplishing. When our desire is God, our faith has an undercurrent of joy.” Missy Boom Boom the clown joined us via zoom from Texas to explore the difference between humility and humiliation. In the evening, New Testament scholar Raj Nadella joined us, also by zoom, to unpack Luke 18-35, comparing Jesus the partygoer and John the Baptist the ascetic, and the way it uses satire to mock self-important rulers and a generation that has lost its sense of humour. “Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” (Luke 7:23)
The next day we started the day by walking outside, listening for the birds, taking notice of the trees and plants and creatures among us. Then inspired by examples of the “fools’ mass” we created a worship service that was playful, silly, chaotic, surprising, and fun. The evening worship was open to the public. (The public was Diane. Thanks for coming, Diane! It was a joy to have you.)
Thank you, Claudio, for the laughter, the wisdom, and the “deep thoughts”.