4/28/2003

 

Must be funny!

 

Must be funny. How's that for the name of a religion?

 

Derek Brownlee is a long time resident of Prescott. If his name sounds familiar it may be because you've seen him in the paper because of the work he's done on local bicycle trails, or seen his maps of hiking trails on the Sharlot Hall Museum website. I've known Derek for many years because we've both been involved in computer programming. Some years back he developed an innovative database design. He's a gentle, quiet soul and he's come up with the perfect antidote to stressful times.

 

Derek is starting a new religion called "Must Be Funny, a faith for the new millennium". His recruitment brochure says, "That's the whole thing in three words: must be funny. It's the name; the whole doctrine and belief system, the one commandment, the discipline practiced by the faithful, the spiritual goal."

 

The fact that Derek is such a quiet person, and not likely to be the one at a party who has everyone in stitches over his jokes, only adds to the charm of the idea and speaks of the spirit in which it is given.

 

I'll quote from his brochure heavily here because I couldn't say it better myself.  "It's the next stage in our evolution. The Age of Aquarius will be funny. Being funny is the higher consciousness we've been looking for."

 

Evidently the monks out at the Tibeten temple near Chino Valley already know this, since they have broad smiles on their faces a good deal of the time and often slip humor into their talks.

 

"Our mission is to save souls from the sin of seriousness, become funny people, and build a funny world. And party a lot."

 

It's, "...the first (religion) to recognize that the maximum number of things we can ask people to do is one."

 

It, "Provides clear moral guidance...Whenever we face a dilemma we ask, which way is funnier?"

 

"...promotion of parties is a major missionary activity."

 

In most religions you have to start at the bottom and ascend to higher levels of enlightenment. In "Must Be Funny" you start off as god. Everyone gets to be god for at least 15 minutes. Then you have to find someone else to serve as god and you work your way down to your level of competence.

 

Most religions have serious beliefs, some of which have led to wars. This religion requires disbelief.

 

"Must Be Funny challenges the very basis of society. We can expect opposition...Our meetings are disguised as house parties, a different house each time."

 

"Whereas the serious world is going to hell in a handbasket...our intent is to build a funny world...We understand that this may involve partying, intoxication and other Dionysian revels, and we are prepared to accept those risks...Our duty...is to save souls from seriousness...".

 

Derek will have a web site up soon for his new religion, at www.mustbefunny.org.

 

It's all tongue-in-cheek of course, but at the same time, he's serious (oops! mea culpa) about the need to lighten up, and that "serious" beliefs applied in the wrong spirit have often led to wars, both between countries and between individuals. So he's serious...that is about not being serious...er, you know what I mean. Anyway, all I can add is, "Amen"!