Light Bulb Theology
In theology's current cutting edge the essence of a faith
community can be discerned by asking the profoundly unpretentious
question: "How many of your group are needed to change a
light bulb?" This deceptively simple question scintillates
with spiritual overtones when, for example, one considers God in
Genesis creating light ex nihilo and Jesus calling himself
the Light of the World. Reactions to this question have come from
HOW MANY SOUTHERN BAPTISTS ARE NEEDED TO CHANGE A LIGHT BULB? "None. It doesn't need changing. If that light bulb was good enough for our forefathers, it's good enough for us."
HOW MANY PENTECOSTALS? "None. We heal the old one."
HOW MANY PRESBYTERIANS? "However many God has predestined."
HOW MANY METHODISTS? "However many have the free will to do so."
HOW MANY NAZARENES? "However many are holy enough."
HOW MANY CATHOLICS? "However many celibate priests the Pope decrees."
HOW MANY MENNONITES? "However many is decided by consensus during a congregational meeting (followed by a potluck dinner)."
HOW MANY QUAKERS? "However many are led by the Spirit during a silent meeting."
HOW MANY TELEVANGELISTS? "Only me, but I'll replace it with a 1,000 watt spotlight, praise Jeezus."
HOW MANY CHRISTIAN SCIENTISTS? "None. Burned out light bulbs are only an illusion."
HOW MANY HINDUS? "None. No one can change the bulb's karma."
HOW MANY ZEN BUDDHISTS? "None. The truly enlightened don't need light bulbs."
HOW MANY MOSLEMS? "However many are willing to undertake a holy jihad against the satanic forces of darkness."
HOW MANY SATAN WORSHIPERS? "None. We like the dark."
HOW MANY ATHEISTS? "None. We don't believe in light bulbs."
After this survey was taken, a rumor developed that Jesus heard this dogmatic discourse and said, "Oh, just give me the bulb—I'll do it."
Copyright 1992 Mark D. Stucky.
Originally published in the October 1992 issue of The Mennonite Distorter.