How To Be a Christian And Write Humor

I’m a Christian. I write humor.


It’s been a big struggle for me to write with that juxtaposition. How do I express my everyday faith while writing humor? Do I need to? What does that look like? How can I focus on writing fart jokes when there are people suffering all the over the world? How does one glorify God when writing humor (about farting)?

I have no idea.

And, clearly, I’m a little neurotic.

So, I started to google answers to these questions. I didn’t find much. Then I considered asking some other bloggers. I got a few answers. 

But then I felt like God whispered, into my heart, “Ask Me.”

So, I did.

Out of desperation.

I prayed, and here’s what I heard (not audibly):

You are My child. I love you. I have given you a gift. Don’t throw it away out of fear of not doing it right. A gift to write. A gift for humor. Seek Me and I will guide you in using it.


This may come across as arrogant. Especially, if perhaps, this wasn’t God speaking to me, but maybe me channelling Stuart Smalley.




Either way, I get encouragement from it. I get direction and guidance.


Seek Him first.


So, then I made a list to help me in the future:

  1. Ask God for help and patiently wait for an answer. The key for me here is patience. I usually want my answer yesterday and Google is pretty fast and easy, so it’s hard not to turn there first.

  2. Spend time with God, praying, meditating, and/or journaling on a regular basis. A “regular basis” is different for everyone. I think God makes it clear (eventually) how much time is a “regular basis”, and I think it changes at different points in our lives. But I’m pretty sure the no time I’m spending on this right now, is not a “regular basis”.

  3. Have someone hold me accountable/double-check my work. My husband does this. I admit that my main reason for having him read my stuff is to make sure that what I think is funny isn’t actually crap. He’s vetoed a few things. But sometimes, I’ll accidentally write something offensive, that has no real purpose other than a laugh. And I depend on him to point these things out for me when I miss them. And sometimes he’ll miss it, and I might go back later and remove it from a post. And sometimes we both miss it and it just stays there.

  4. Set boundaries with social media. I could easily spend all day in front of my TweetDeck, on my Facebook page, or reading blogs (Did you see how I self-promoted with hyperlinks?). I’ve set up certain times during the week where I’m not allowed to open any kind of iDevice. This went well until the holidays when I got my iPhone. Now I’m connected all the time. I need to get back on the wagon.

  5. Make better use of HootSuite to schedule my posts/tweets/updates. This allows me more time to be away from the computer. Which makes me more “present” for my kids and my other responsibilities, like the stupid dirty dishes.

  6. Have a focused time set aside for writing and marketing. This is the one I really suck at and I’m not sure if this is even possible. I don’t have much time alone because I homeschool my kids. I write in between bandaging boo-boos and breaking up fights. This leaves me feeling like I’m not engaging with my kids enough because I’m always trying to come up with clever tweets and jokes for my blog. I’d like to get better at this. Perhaps I need to hire a babysitter for a couple hours a week. I don’t know.

  7. Focus on self-deprecation. I got this advice from Katy, over at Katy in a Corner. She’s really good at this. I find that making fun of myself is fun, and can win friends and influence people – maybe not as much as Dale Carnegie, but it’s a start.

  8. Consider writing satire. Jon Acuff says, “Satire is just humor with a purpose.” I love this and I love his blogs, but I’m not sure if I even know how to do this, even with his five steps to help me. Update: I did manage to squeeze out a satirical guest post for his blog, here.

  9. Ask myself the question, “will this make others stumble?” I got this idea from Katy too. I struggle with this one because I wrongly believe anything sarcastic can make a person stumble. So, I tend to go back to #3 for this one, and ask my husband to do this for me. I have issues.

  10. The next time I’m struggling with how to be a Christian and write humor, I’ll go back to the first four and focus on those, in that order.

How do you keep your writing aligned with your faith? Or, how do you keep yourself focused on appealing to what matters most to you rather than what appeals to the masses?


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Comments

How To Be a Christian And Write Humor — 45 Comments

  1. I am Catholic, but do believe that I m a good person on the inside and don’t try to over-think my feelings and my writing as much as I can. Loved your reflections on this though Kate and thanks for sharing!!

  2. Oh my. I could write a book…or a blog. :) One thing I know for sure….I love Jesus. I know He was the messiah because no one as ridiculously kick ass as Him could pull off perfection and beauty the way He did. I know He loves me. I know it like I know how I love my children. But to answer your question? I have no freakin’ clue. I swear too much. I am brutally honest…brutally sarcastic…oftentimes swimming in wretched wrongdoing and human patheticness. You want to know what’s funny? People who are agnostic or atheist know IMMEDIATELY that I am a Christian when they read my blog…and the Christians? Well they spend lots of time getting offended. Now how’s that for a head scratcher. Ultimately I don’t worry about it. I know my heart. I know where I stand with my maker. But I think you wrestling with it all is a good thing. You’ll figure it out…you’ve got God to talk to about it :P

  3. Awesome post – this all applies to me too and yet I have no idea what the hell I am! I figure you make a lot of people smile and laugh and so right there you have your golden ticket (into heaven – I have no idea what I’m talking about obviously). You also genuinely care about hurting others with your humor, wit, and sarcasm. I think it’s beautiful (that you care – but mainly the sarcasm). I also think that offence is a choice – people will choose to be offended if they want to be. Sometimes it’s easier to choose than others… I am too honest with my blog and yet I am terrified of personally offending people (it’s happened the odd time or two and I have lost sleep over it). I know I win some and lose some, but I don’t know any other way to be.

  4. Kate, I take my hat off to you. Your writing is interesting, and funny, AND you’re still sticking to a perimiter of your beliefs. Can’t imagine that can always be easy. But I think you’re doing well with your 10 steps listed. I think they’re all great! I am a huge Dale Carnegie fan….you just reminded me that I need to start reading some more of his work, so thank you! Keep doing what you’re doing! :)

  5. Humor is a God-given talent, especially when you don’t use it to make fun of others but rather to laugh at the everyday crazy. I always enjoy your posts and appreciate that you can make fun of yourself. I try to include my faith in my blog without being preachy but it can be hard. I think it’s something that we have to keep working on (like we needed another thing to add to that list!) but mostly it’s like you said “Seek Him first.” Happy New Year my friend!

  6. It’s definitely an interesting balance. I’m a Christian, and writing funny, ridiculous stuff is definitely where my writing passion lies, but I do have to set boundaries in what I will laugh at or cause others to laugh at.

  7. Kate, I’ve only been following you for a short while and I think you walk that path of good Christian and awesome writer/humorist. I suffer from self-doubt all the time, but you have it ‘going on.’ I don’t think you have anything to worry about, Isn’t there an old saying that goes something like, “If you have to ask if you’re crazy, you probably aren’t?” Well, if you have to ask if you’re doing it wrong, you probably aren’t. :D

  8. Thanks Julie, you’re so right. I do find myself more concerned with what other Christians will think than anyone else, even God. Thanks for all you do with your blogs. You are an inspiration to me.

  9. Josie, you crack me up! I think you have a great point about people taking offense. I’m always going to offend someone no matter what I say. Even if I said I love kittens, some dog person would tell me what a moron I am for loving them – not that I do, I mean they’re ok and all, but they do scratch.

    I’m waiting for my first hateful comment – I hear you have to be popular to get those – maybe some day. Ha!

  10. Thanks Melanie, this is so encouraging! I’m a big DC fan too, although it’s been a long time since I read, but I still use some of the techniques I learned from him on how to handle certain situations. Great stuff!

  11. Oh Terrye, I love you! You’re awesome and so funny! I think you’re right about us asking ourselves all the time – I have a friend that questions if she’s mentally insane, and I’m like – if you’re thinking you are, then you’re not – plus, I know she’s not. I need to read the Misplaced Alaskan (http://themisadventuresofamisplacedalaskan.blogspot.com/) some more. I have your recent posts in my inbox and I’m going to read them!!!

  12. :) Hard to know. I also tend to overthink it. Plus God told me to stop writing for awhile (for 2 years)… because my blog had turned too snarky. I am RIGHT there with you!! I have been posting for the last couple of months, but still don’t feel like I’ve found my rhythm. I’ve been writing regularly, but my natural humor hasn’t been coming through because I am so paranoid… shrug. Oh well, I guess if God gave us a sense of humor, we should honor him by using it!… I use a lot of humor combined with God stuff when speaking to adults or teens…

  13. Humor is tricky. Especially when you can’t rely on non-verbals to clarify that what you’re saying is humor and not something else. As for subject matter, I just interviewed Tim Hawkins, a homeschooling dad and one of the funniest clean comedians I know. He finds much of his material within his own home, Imagine that! I’d love to share the article with you. Once it goes to print I’ll try to remember to send you a link. It will be linked on my blog sometime after March 1. Blessings to you as you seek to honor him first and foremost! Lori from Hungry for God

  14. That’s encouraging. I had considered stopping my blog, but after praying, I feel like that’s not the direction right now. I think it’s about finding a balance…but if I can’t do that, then…
    I’ve learned that living outside of God’s will sucks. So, I try really hard to stay in His will, but then I tend to overhink it too. It’s all a process, I guess.

  15. This is spot on. I do pray as well, that I never discount that internal barometer that goes off when a joke my go a little too far. Not to say that limit is the same for everyone. I remember Jerry Seinfeld saying anyone can get a laugh by being crude, it takes a comedian to be funny. (Complete paraphrase but his point always stuck with me.)

  16. Great post! I’m a Catholic and I think I’m always struggling to make sure things aren’t really off-color. Fortunately, really abrasive humor doesn’t come naturally to me. I tend to wander to the other side of the spectrum, which is really, really ridiculous. I’ve always been influenced by comedians and humorists who manage to draw from everyday life in a light manor: Bill Cosby, Jim Gaffigan, Erma Bombeck. The way I see it, I think humor can be a cure for much sadness, so it most certainly is a gift to humanity. I think God knew we’d need to laugh at ourselves in order to get through the hard times. Without humor, I’d never set foot in the DMV ever again….fo realz

  17. Hi! I’m your newest follower. Please stop by and say hi when you have a chance. I’m also hosting a blog hop – if you would like to join us :) Hope you’re having an awesome week.

    April from:
    A Mommy’s Blog Design http://amblogdesign.com

  18. I really liked this post. I have my own brand of spirituality, but I am a very sensitive person and do not really enjoy “teasing”, so I make a solid effort not to be cruel or unnecessary with my words. I long ago stopped asking hubby to proof for me, and sometimes I wish I had someone else to check over my posts to make sure I haven’t crossed any lines. For what it’s worth- I think you have achieved a very graceful balance.

  19. I specifically didn’t write for years because of a similar issue (well, partly because of this issue, of course there are others). What changed for me was the breakthrough moment with God when, during a meditative moment, He assured me that by NOT writing I was withholding the gift He’d given me. Over time & tug of war with fear of judgment from others, I finally understood He wanted me to write my truth, my experience as a human being, and to let Him worry about the rest. I can’t tiptoe around hoping I don’t offend people for the rest of my life, so I made a commitment to honesty and being real. It works for now.
    Just so you know, I find your writing funny and non-offensive. :)

  20. Thanks Natalie! I’ve felt the same way, like I’d be doing WRONG if I didn’t write. I think fear is a lot of my problem. Fear of screwing up, fear of offending, fear of my shadow. I try to be real and honest too. I think I am more in my comments than on my blog though – maybe. I don’t know. ugh.

  21. Thanks Stephanie! My father-in-law calls my husband “Sensi-Steve-O” and me, “Sensi-Kate-O” b/c we’re both sensitive. He’s funny like that – we dish it right back at him. But, it’s true, I’m sensitive. I think that some people are just more sensitive than others. I see the difference in my own kids. One is significantly more sensitive than the others. I’m always so worried he’ll get hurt. But I also think that most times, the more sensitive people are also the more compassionate people – or at least I like to tell myself that. :-)

  22. Wow, that’s really good. I’m so tempted sometimes to just slam someone or something for the sake of funny, but then I do feel the little voice inside saying – not a good idea. Hope I keep following it.

  23. Hi Kate,

    Thank you for linking up to the Thumping Thursdays Blog Hop. It’s great to have you.

    This is a great post! Faith and humor can be completely entertaining. I’m Catholic. When I do my blog, I do what feels right to me. I know there are a lot of “How-to’s” out there. At the end of the day, I love what I do and I figure that my sincerity and genuineness will come through. Readers will know this when they read a blog. God sends us funny moments and tough moments. All of it can be turned into a great blog post, as long as it is you who shines through.

    Karina
    Mom in the USA

  24. Kate, I was so glad to read this. I struggle with so many of the same things. I think things are funny, but I never want to be offensive and want to make sure I am using the opportunity God has given me to glorify Him. I really liked what you said about building in balance to your schedule (we’ve gotta keep our priorities where they need to be) and the checks too (I also have my husband read my stuff). Thanks so much for sharing this.

  25. Since I mainly make fun of myself, I don’t worry too much about offending others – on the humour side of my blog, anyway. On the serious side, I’m pretty sure I offend someone with every post. I think it’s inevitable when you have strong opinions, but that’s something I’m willing to live with.
    I need to put boundaries on my social media too. It’s become a little too obsessive for my mental health. (TALU)

  26. Really enjoyed this post! Great advice, because I fancy myself a funny Christian. Har. When I write something that is particularly focused on my faith, I’m like, “am I too serious?” or if I write something (I think) is funny, I’m wondering, “should I be writing something more Jesus focused?” It is hard to find a balance, so thanks for the great tips! And I think it’s fair to say that I am riddled with issues as well. Blessings! #TALU ~Joell

  27. My dad reads my blog. One time he e-mailed me shortly after a post went live with the word “dammit” in it. He said, if you want anyone to respect you as a Christian then you shouldn’t curse in your blog. I was like, “Dang daddy it wasn’t even a real bad word.” But I deleted the word and the sentence was just as effective without it. I do have a couple posts that I’d probably jump over chairs to delete if my Pastor said he started reading my blog. Great advice here. I don’t run anything by anybody before I post, but I do always keep in mind that my daddy is going to read it ;-) I always hope that my mixed bag blog attracts everyone, and the a person who doesn’t know God will see a post, see God in my life and want then want to know who HE is.

  28. I find myself feeling the exact same way. Thanks for opening up and sharing such a thought inducing topic. Even your post of worrying about being a Christian and writing humor, was funny. (talu)

  29. I loved this. I found you through DUDE WRITE and saw this post on your sidebar.

    I do the same. I am a Christian. Been a missionary, preacher, did all that. I also write humor. It comes more naturally to me than other genres. Every now and then, I feel that I have crossed aline, but it is rare and it is usually published before I realize I have done it. I probably need someone to read my stuff before publishing.

  30. It’s interesting to me that I tend to be much harder on myself than my husband when he proofs my stuff. I’ll say, “Do you think this is inappropriate or will lead somebody down astray?” and he has never said yes. And looking back, I agree with him. It’s just hard when it’s so fresh.

  31. Oh my gosh this is awesome! I struggle with this myself. Balancing humor and Christianity can be a real challenge. I love the suggestions here and I am so excited I found your site! I’m following you on Google+ and Twitter from the hop. Can’t wait to read more!
    Katie~
    http://dysfunctionsjunction.com

  32. Kate, I’m so glad that you posted this. I not only second-guess my own faithfulness when I write humor pieces, but I also find myself looking around the blogosphere and childishly stamping my foot, mumbling, “It’s not fair! THEY don’t hold themselves accountable for anything!” Silly, right? Missing the whole point, I know. Regarding how to stay accountable? My blog is public knowledge to everyone I know. My friends, parents, pastors, kids’ teachers…even my kids themselves know exactly where to find me on the web. That’s out-STANDING for keeping me in check. Great post!

  33. I’ve been thinking about this so much lately, and love your take on it. I’ve avoided writing humor (I think some of my posts are funny, but I’m not what anyone would consider a humor writer), because I don’t really know how to handle it. And yet, I feel called to utilize my sense of humor in my work. Thanks for this – you’ve encouraged me to work at combing my humor writing AND my faith.

  34. Glorifying God while writing about farts is actually rather easy! “God’s farts smell better than our farts!” (or worse depending on your views of glory)

  35. I always laugh at your tweets and retweets…and I consider myself a Christian…constantly seeking and always trying to know Him more intimately. Honestly, I think God has the biggest sense of humor of ALL. And He appreciates us not taking ourselves so seriously while taking Him quite seriously. You do a great job with that. Keep on keeping on…

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