So, would you wear a poop-hat in church?
Oh, I know – poop humor is juvenal, childish and just wrong. No “self-respecting” pastor would ever use poop humor in the church – but why not? If it fits, why not use it? OK, so you won’t cross that line, fine. But the problem is, that many churches have drawn the line so far from any kind of humor – it is not that they are against pop humor, they are against any kind of humor. Well, i got some interesting news for you……
Jesus was a very funny guy (OK, he might not have worn a poop-hat, but he was still very funny). I know, for the more conservative reader that line seems rather insulting – well, get ready to be insulted, because Jesus was a funny guy. Over time, we lost that – we took what Jesus said and made it into something else – we took his jokes and made them, well – not funny. When Jesus compared the Kingdom of God to a mustard plant, people laughed – they got the joke. Today, we desire to find some kind of “theological” meaning behind the story – we study it, we find logical ways to explain it to others, we seek to find the hidden meaning – but hey, it was a joke – it was funny.
Now, I know many think our faith should not be funny; we should be serious about sharing Jesus with others. We see our journey as a “factual reality” and not funny. Given all that, we are certain that our worship of God should never be funny – but why? Why not be funny? Why can’t we have a laugh during worship? Why can’t we have a grip of laughs during a worship service? I am not talking about that cute (lame) little joke all pastors share at the beginning of the sermon. You know the one I am talking about, the same joke that has been told for the past 50 years and is so off base that you laugh out of nerves, or embarrassment for the pastor. Soon after the opening obligatory joke, it’s down him from there. Which, if you think about it is not all bad – it does give you the time to work on your skills of sleeping with your eyes half open, plan your grocery list for the coming week or figure out how you are going to get out of mowing the lawn so you can watch the big game.
For me, I find humor is a very powerful way to communicate, something Jesus knew about and used. I think we need to look for the funny people to share our faith – heck, I’d listen to them. The idea behind humor is that it can change our lives and make us better people. PBS shares the following, “Researchers have found that you can even ‘act as if’ you are feeling an emotion—say, happiness or irritation—by arranging your face in a smile or a frown, and you are likely to feel that emotion. In a classic study, participants were instructed to hold a felt-tip marker in their mouths in a way that caused their facial muscles to be formed into a smile or a frown. While holding the marker this way, they were asked to view comic strips and say how funny they found them. Those whose facial muscles were mimicking a smile found the same comics funnier than those whose facial muscles were set into a frown.”
- Increased endorphins and dopamine
- Increased relaxation response
- Reduced pain
- Reduced stress
- Increased creativity
- Improved problem-solving ability
- Enhanced memory (for humorous material)
- Increased ability to cope with stress, by providing an alternative, less serious perspective on one’s problems
- Elevated mood and feelings of well-being
- Reduced depression, anxiety, and tension
- Increased self-esteem and resilience
- Increased hope, optimism, energy, and vigor
- Bonding with friends and family
- Reinforcement of group identity and cohesiveness
- Increased friendliness and altruism
- Increased attractiveness to others
- Happier marriages and close relationships
Seems to me that given those benefits, we would want to have more humor in the church.