I have thought about teaching a philosophy class based on humor.  Most jokes have a core of truth, and that truth can be used to teach a lesson.  People like to laugh, and some will remember the joke.  A few might even remember the lesson that accompanied it.

A bunch of guys went on an African safari, way out in the bush.  Self-guided tour.  They knew it all, and wanted to prove it.  One night they heard a lion roar, and the lion got closer and closer.  “Sounds hungry.”  “And it’s between us and the jeep.  We’d better run for those trees!”  They took off except for one guy.  “Bill!!  What are you doing?”  “Putting on my running shoes.  I don’t have to be the fastest, just not the slowest.”

So yeah, ha-ha, we’ve heard it before.  And it does teach a lesson: don’t be dinner for a hungry lion.  But it might teach the wrong lesson: the lion might be angry at all people, not just hungry for one.  I’d rather be in a tree if that’s the case.

But what about the bigger picture?  What if the lion is a metaphor?  One way to survive layoffs is to turn yourself into the most valuable employee, so the original lesson holds.  But right now, it seems that government work is more reliable than private business, which is an out-of-the-box approach, on the level of “don’t go on the safari at all”.

And then there’s the real big picture.  1 Peter 5:5 includes

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Oh, just one person?  I’m safe.  Except Proverbs 30:15b-16 says

Three things are never satisfied,
no, there are four that never say, “That’s enough, thank you!”—
hell,
a barren womb,
a parched land,
a forest fire.

Uh-oh.  Now what?  Now comes 1 Cor 9:24

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

And remember this: you really, really want to win.  There is no consolation bracket.  If you don’t win your race, you’re down and out.

And that’s no laughing matter.

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