“Funny sermon illustrations.” The phrase sounds lame, doesn’t it? Feels like anything labeled a Funny Sermon Illustration—by definition—couldn’t be funny. This may shock you, but those three words rank as a very popular search phrase every week on the Internet. Can you envision the countless clergy out there searching for a little humor to brighten the next Sabbath?
Before you scoff, remember that this impulse is ancient. It’s true that Reader’s Digest claims a trademark on the phrase “Laughter, the Best Medicine,” but that claim involves a lot of Chutzpah, considering the line comes from Proverbs 17:22: “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” It’s timeless wisdom!
So, can there be a fresh approach to such an old idea? Yes. The Rev. Susan Sparks thinks so and ReadTheSpirit agrees. Her new book, “Laugh Your Way to Grace: Reclaiming the Spiritual Power of Humor” (by Skylight Paths) is a creative burst of encouragement for people everywhere to enjoy more chuckles in our daily pilgrimage. Susan is a Baptist pastor in New York City, but her new book certainly isn’t limited to Christians. She credits the pioneering standup clergyman, Rabbi Robert Alper, as a mentor in her own career and she has performed with Alper and Muslim comics in interfaith comedy revues.
This week, we welcome Susan Sparks to ReadTheSpirit for our author interview—and we want to get you thinking in creatively funny ways with her—right now!
Instead of offering you some time-worn jokes about golfing clergymen, funny nuns or quirky angels, we asked Susan to write up her list of all-time funniest movies. That’s right, we asked the comic-pastor-author what DVDs she likes to watch on a Saturday night—to make her laugh. We’ll share her list, then we hope you’ll click on the Comment link or email us at [email protected] with your nominees for funniest movies. Here goes …
Standup Comic the Rev. Susan Sparks’ 15 Funniest Movies
- Best in Show
- The Birdcage
- Napoleon Dynamite
- Little Miss Sunshine
- The Jerk
- Austin Powers
- Young Frankenstein
- Shrek (especially Donkey)
- Monsters Inc. (especially Roz the snail)
- Borat (or anything that Sacha Baron Cohen does)
- Raising Arizona
- Ground Hog Day
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High
- Life of Brian
Come back Wednesday for an interview with Susan Sparks on humor in ministry.
Care to find more humorous ideas now?
Visit Susan Sparks own website. Among other offerings, you can get Susan’s free podcasts via her website.
ENJOY OUR ENTIRE GREAT SUMMER READING AND VIEWING SERIES: (Our series so far: “Crown of Aleppo,” “Science Vs. Religion,” “Belief,” “Apparition,” “Burma VJ,” “Facets World Cup,” “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth” “The Lonely Polygamist,” “Rise and Shine,” “Saints,” “Beaches of Agnes,” “Mystically Wired,” “Creative Aging,” “Twelve by Twelve,” “Eyewitness 4,” “Connecting Like Jesus,” “NRSV: XL Edition” and “Putting Away Childish Things.”)
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