Perhaps one of the worst ways to feel “disconnect” is when you have no bearing on what seems like the entire internet and their grandmothers are already familiar with a particular conversation. People either laugh up to endorphic nirvana, shout a myriad of incomprehensible exclamations, or convey telepathic resonance by spelling out familiarity with vigorous nods.
No one wants to be that sole loner who looks around in anxiety and über-lostness. They look like broken GPS screens clawing for a signal. Other signs include nervous laughing, nursing a drink, or the proto-classic “huh?” look. This anti-spotlight can be a merciless source of “disconnect.” In order words, everyone wants to know the inside joke.
In order to appreciate the culinary delicacy of an inside joke, one needs context. One needs to be have been an active participant in a pre-contextual scenario. Secondly, there needs to have been a moment where this context was understood in its comic-dramatic glory. And thirdly, there needs to be a future encounter where one can exercise this understanding, either in the exercise of its re-storytelling or in a responsive emotional fit of hilarity.
This is the function of any social scenario. This is also the function of any Bible study. The biblical authors were scribbling letters to localized groups in precise times in history, namely around two thousand years before now (give or take a few days). These e-mails then became viral forwards and then posted and compiled as one of the greatest expositions of this whole Gospelizationology thing. The compilation was so potent that in a matter of time, the world’s greatest imperial systems of politics, economics, military, and society (and perhaps Apple someday) collapsed to it!
While any reader especially in our day of wi-fi, Twitter blogs, and 156,000,000 Google results in 0.10 seconds would rather have a micro-summarized, lite version, anyone seeking really to “get” an inside joke (or the fullest experience from Bible study – really connecting with the text) is to sit back, click the “video on full-screen,” watch it in high-definition Blu-Ray, and really try to understand a particular biblical book or letter by studying the context, for this topic is no inside joke, but your eternal status of salvation!