For today's entry in the Friday Five interview series, we catch up with Jon Acuff. Jon is a New York Times bestselling author and a popular conference speaker. His blog, Stuff Christians Like, is read by more than 5 million readers. His latest books are Quitter and Start.
Today we talk to Jon about the use of humor, the theology of pursuing dreams, and why it's sometimes okay to be "horrible."
You're known for writing humor that pokes fun at the evangelical culture. How important is humor for church leaders in their speaking ministry?
I think it's important. I would caution people this way: if you're not funny or if it is not a gift, don't feel you have to do it. If you're not comfortable talking with a white board when you are speaking, don't feel like you have to use one, even if it becomes popular. Play to your strengths.
You should always use humor to some degree. But I would never tell somebody, "If you are not as funny as Matt Chandler, you are not doing it right." He has a natural gift of humor and he uses it.
It's similar to what comedian Chris Rock says, "There are some topics people will not listen to unless they are laughing at the same time." I use humor as a release valve, a permission builder. There are times as a leader that you don't have the equity in the relationships to share something hard. For me, when I give a speech or preach, I use humor to build that relationship. People can relate to humor. It's part of what makes us uniquely human, something God wired us for.
Satire, to me, is just a vehicle for truth. Look at shows like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. Younger generations are going to those shows not just for humor, but also for news.
In your book Quitter, you talk about pursuing dreams. ...