In the seriousness of my study of Christian teachings, I was missing something that should have been painfully obvious: Jesus was joking! Silly me, it didnt occur to me to even consider that the Messiah should have a sense of humor about such things, but when viewed through that lens, everything makes so much sense.
For example, take Jesus teaching on prayer:
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
What a kidder, that Jesus! After all, everyone knows that youre supposed to pray loudly and proudly for all to see before you do pretty much anything: eat a meal; start classes at school; play football; start a legislative session; graduate; become inaugurated as President of the United States; and so on. How else are you supposed to identify the heathens if you dont get everyone to pray out loud everywhere they go before they do pretty much everything? And everyone knows that youre supposed to not only incessantly ask for stuff, but to ask this in Jesus name. Read on...