Rich Paxson

What is the role of humor and laughter in the life of the Church?
What has your relationship been to rules coming from religious authority?

Hilarity and pathos, James used these words to describe the kind of humor that recognizes personal shortcomings while carrying no mean-spirited intent. Healthy fun and laughter empower for service those in the church who share in this joy. Mutual laughter in the warmth of amicable joshing brings new facets of relationship to light. Humor can reveal opportunities to transcend separate selves within and because of God’s heartening love.

I’ve volunteered as our parish’s Vestry treasurer for just over nine years, which makes me feel like one of the waiters at the banquet James describes in this part of our course. The Vestry is the Episcopal Church’s name for a parish governing board. I’ve worked with several Rectors over the years on Vestries. Each Rector has his or her own ideas about the Vestry’s roles and responsibilities, what they are and whether they conflict with a priest’s religious authority. I always find that a little well-timed humor ‘greases the wheels’ when Rector and Vestry begin moving toward opposing viewpoints.