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The Hansen Report: Comedy in the Pulpit

What will endure when the jokes go stale?

I love to laugh. And when I laugh, you'll hear me if you're in the same zip code. I have a few all-time favorite comedy TV shows that I can watch over and over again. And I enjoy funny movies, so long as they forego the explicit sexual content.

So why do I often cringe when pastors crack jokes during their sermons on Sunday morning? Maybe the joke's on me, because comedy has become many pastors' best friend. Apparently, seminaries may want to consider adding a course in stand-up comedy to prepare their preachers. One church I know recently hosted "Church Joke Sunday." In lieu of hearing a sermon, a dwindling number of people who actually understand denominational humor laughed about the differences between Methodists and Presbyterians. And during the recent Festival of Homiletics in Nashville, Susan Sparks coached pastors in clerical comedy.

"Close to 200 ministers crowded a classroom at First Baptist, with more hanging out in the hallway for her workshop on bringing humor into the pulpit," ...

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July/August
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