When humor is not humorous

This blog has been too serious recently and it is time for a little humor.

I had a teacher once who said that it is hard to understand humor.  The following is a true story, and the person it happened to laughed as she told it to me, and I couldn’t quit laughing because she made this story one of the funniest things you would ever hear, and it was easy to visualize what happened.  So we laughed.

 Lets call her Mary.  She was the administrative assistant in our Dallas office of BGCT (called the Baptist Building).  She was tall and thin, wore heels, hair made up, beautiful clothes, very ladylike and proper and about 60 years old.

Mary had gone downstairs to the lobby and was standing beside the high circular desk in the lobby when she took a step and twisted her ankle and fell on the hard floor.  They rushed her to the Baylor Hospital and checked her over and put her foot and ankle in a cast, gave her a pair of crutches to walk with, and she returned to the Baptist Building. 

She was using her crutches and went through the front door into the lobby and was again at this circular desk in the lobby telling everybody about what had just happened to her.  Her hand went up in demonstration as she talked and out flew one of the crutches and down she went again on that hard floor. 

This time the ambulance is called and she is rushed back to the hospital.  They said, ‘Weren’t you just here?”  This time she had a very badly broken leg and arm.

Now she can’t work, she can’t do anything. She has no family in the city and the closest relatives live in Mississippi. She had to fly to Mississippi so her niece could take care of her.  She found herself on a stretcher, lying flat and being loaded on the plane, with her feet going head first, and she is afraid she is going to fall off the stretcher.

Now that is not funny.  It’s tragic.  But I have tears in my eyes from laughing as she tells me about this.  It is hilarious to imagine this dignified lady sprawled out on the floor, not once, but twice and then in this very helpless position being loaded onto an airplane like she is some baggage.  It is a few weeks later and she is laughing as she tells me this. But it is not funny.

This reminds me of the jokes the pastor of Big Baptist Church writes in his column The Daily Walk.  He was incensed that I called him on his sense of humor, and he wrote me that I was mistranslating what he was saying.  He said he used humor when he writes about women and marriage.

You be the judge.  Here are his three jokes on marriage.

Pastors have a responsibility to their congregation and to the public to be careful what they write and what they say about women.  In all things, they should not belittle any gender of their congregation.

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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9 Responses to When humor is not humorous

  1. Normally, when people poke fun? Its at themselves, and that is what makes it funny. SURE on occasion you poke at the stereotypes of each gender. His jokes show he has a low opinion of ‘people’ in general. Delivery, context, etc is what makes humor funny.

    If he has people rolling in the aisles in person? Maybe he needs to stick to that, because they aren’t coming across the same. The jokes remind me of horndog boys in HS that tend to make fun of others, because they aren’t falling at their feet in admiration.

    Hope he doesn’t quit his day job!

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  2. TL says:

    Sounds like he has a serious dislike of women. Even the fun poking at the men being like little boys needing affirmation wasn’t that negative toward men; it was’t really about men being immature but men not getting affirmation.

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    • He told me in his email that I was overlooking when he make jokes about men. But my husband scans his column every day to see what ignorance he is perpetuating, and he and I both agree that he never makes men the butt of the jokes. He is the pastor who held the Power Lunches for Men, and believes in the Manly Men stuff.

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      • Mabel Yin says:

        Did your husband tell him that? There is a thin line between Manly Man and Jerk. I don’t think Jesus fits the Manly Man stuff. But of course they will find a way to twist Scripture and claim Jesus is this Manly Man, who is perpetually a boy, who needs to be affirmed by adoring women and any woman who does not cater to her man’s wishes is to be denigraded and be the butt of Manly Man jokes. What a jerk, er, I mean, manly man.

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  3. Marg says:

    These “jokes” are neither clever, witty nor insightful; they are just plain dumb. And, they are insulting and degrading to intelligent men, as well as to women.

    I think that telling these “jokes” is inexcusable for a pastor, or for any leader, who genunely cares for the emotional and relational well-being and growth of his/her people.

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    • I think this little thing of his is a paid advertisement for the church. It is in a different place every day, so it isn’t a column, it is more like an ad. But it is an awful ad! He told me (yes, we had an email conversation), that I was mistranslating what he said, and getting the wrong meaning from it. He said he uses humor – but I don’t see the humor. I see a mean-spirited joke-teller who makes women the butt of his jokes.

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