1001 Way Forward Jokes (for Methodists)

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,

Mitch Todd

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.)

 

 

(surely) Jesus laughed.

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Jesus Wept.

We know that, not just because of John 11:35, but also from stories of Jesus weeping in the Garden, and weeping over Jerusalem.

That makes sense.  The Gospel stories are intense, and what Jesus goes through is very emotional.

But what about Jesus laughing?

There isn’t a single reference to Jesus laughing.  No laughing? I find it hard to believe that our Savior was on a life-long personal downer.

I’m invested in this topic because I use humor everyday, even in sermons. One of my favorite movies is Airplane!, for Heaven’s sake.

I couldn’t make it through a day without laughter.

I figure the Gospel writers were busy with other objectives than pointing out every divine chuckle, and so, I’ve been digging…

Here are six passages where I could picture Jesus having a good ole’ laugh.  Take a read through them, and you’ll notice where I’ve inserted [JESUS LAUGHED] into the text.

I may or may not be right, but see if you can picture a little holy laughter for yourself:

1. Peter Walks On Water

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” [JESUS LAUGHED], “why did you doubt?”      Matthew 14:29-31

2. Zacchaeus Climbs a Tree

So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-figtree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, [JESUS LAUGHED], looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”  Luke 19:1-10

3. A Gentile Woman

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then [JESUS LAUGHED], “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.  Matthew 15:26-28

4.  The Children

16 But [JESUS LAUGHED] and called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  Luke 18:16-17

5.  The Boy

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up,“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10 [JESUS LAUGHED] and said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there).

6. The Plank

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, [JESUS LAUGHED], first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.  Matthew 7:3-5

What do you think?  Can you picture Jesus laughing in any of these stories?

If so, it would appear that Jesus has a special fondness for people who stretch and grow in their faith.

Hey, maybe I’m on to something, or maybe we’ll just never know.

Jesus’ sense of humor could have ranged from non-existent to really absurd.

For me, I’m gonna hold on to these examples that..

surely, Jesus laughed.

(But don’t call Jesus Shirley.)

Have a great week,
Mitch
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