A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Sermon…

Screenshot 2016-07-28 at 6.27.46 AMAfter the 9/11 attacks on New York, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani spoke at a live taping of Saturday Night Live. The show has always been distinctly New York and he spoke very frankly with the cast, audience and show creator Lorne Michaels. He wanted the show the go on and encouraged them to do it. Michaels asked “Can we be funny?” And with a straight face Giuliani wryly replied “Why start now?”

In all honesty, I don’t tell a lot of jokes. I enjoy a really bad pun; I get more moans and eye rolls than actual laughter. What I enjoy more than telling jokes is pointing out the humor in real life. Jerry Seinfeld is a classic example of observational humor. Everyone in line at the grocery story might just see long lines that will take too long to get through while their ice cream melts. Seinfeld would point out to his audience the personality quirks of the individuals in line and behavioral habits of people that are forced to practice patience against their will. People are funny; you don’t need a lot of jokes if we’re paying attention to what going on around us.

Baptist Press did an article on the use of humor in the pulpit. Click here to read But Seriously Folks published in May 2016. Chris Osborne, writing a dissertation on the subject, notes that John Piper never, ever, uses humor in his sermons while at the other end of the spectrum Jesse Duplantis uses it endlessly. Historically Martin Luther and Charles Spurgeon did, John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards did not. Hershael York, Southern Baptist Theology Seminary, thinks humor is the way to go but not telling jokes. A joke requires comedic timing and a well executed punch line. If you blow those things the joke doesn’t work. Observational humor, even self deprecating stories about the preacher, seem to work best for forming a connection with the audience.

Please read the article at Baptist Press. And I will see you back here on Monday for Happy Monday’s 200th post. Seriously.

Screenshot 2016-07-26 at 6.03.50 AM


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