Q: Why were the moderate delegates in danger when a fire broke out?
A: They hadn’t considered the Exit Plans.
Q: How many General Conference 2019 delegates does it take to change a light bulb?
A: It depends on if a majority can turn the same direction.
Q: Is such an important, crucial moment in the life of our church a joking matter?
A: You bet your modified connectional one church simple backside it is!
Let me explain.
On September 11, 2002, one year after the terrible attacks in New York and the Pentagon, I sat in the sanctuary at Manhattan, KS FUMC. We hosted a community worship service, and there was a full sanctuary of people of different backgrounds and religions.
Right at one of the most solemn moments, I heard something from across the room. Laughter. A woman was laughing. It took me a few moments to realize it, but it was something I’d studied in seminary: Holy Laughter. Folks from some more Pentecostal churches believe that, much like speaking in tongues, the Holy Spirit could lead people to laugh.
Well, the folks around me were not impressed, nor was I. It seemed crass and out of place, especially on such a dark occasion.
But since then, the idea has stuck with me. Holy Laughter. Is such a Spirit-led thing possible? I kind of hope so.
I may not believe in glossolalia (speaking in tongues) or spirit-fueled utterances, but I believe in the holy power of laughing. I would consider it high up in my list of spiritual gifts. Every sermon, every wedding, ever funeral — I aim to include some laughter, because I’ve seen what it can do.
Now, there’s good laughter and bad laughter. I try not to be crude, or divisive. I’ve made my share of jokes that cut another person down — I’m ashamed of those. But I find that laughter can open up lines of communication that once were closed. Laughter can heal anxiety like nobody’s business. Laughter, if truly used according to the Spirit, can awaken hope, relief, and yes…a Way Forward.
Hard as I try, I’m not much of a prophet. I have strong beliefs but I prefer to be a shepherd to my flock, guiding them as they grow in faith. I struggle with anxiety and uncertainty as much as anyone, but I’ve learned that nobody is served by an excess of fear and panic.
And so, as our delegates head to Saint Louis for this momentous occasion, what I have to offer is a counter-intuitive suggestion: Laugh a lot next week. Find the humor in moments big and small. Laugh with people from different places and different positions. Not divisive or crass humor, and maybe not when it’s clearly uncalled for — but embrace the kind of Spirit led humor that can lighten a room and clear a way.
Even if you’re only laughing on the inside, if you feel the nudge, let er rip.
Grace, Peace, and Blessings!
Have a great week,
My style of humor is more spontaneous, so these riddles fall more into the Laffy Taffy realm of bad. Enjoy.
Q: What do you get when your denomination is reduced to a single location?
A: The One Church Plant
Q: Why does the Connectional Plan have trouble meeting people?
A: It’s Complicated.
Q: If Jesus showed up in St Louis, where would he sit?
A: Enterprise Center. Bruins vs. Blues.
Q: How many Bishops does it take to change a denomination?
A: That’s not their job. (But if you get desperate you could ask)
Q: If there’s a schism, who gets the cross and flame?
A. Jesus gets the cross. The Spirit gets the flame. And God gets a headache.
(That’s 8 down, and 993 to go. You write the rest.)