I like to laugh. I really like it when someone on stage at church says something that makes me laugh. You know what I don’t like? I hate when someone not on stage makes me laugh at an inappropriate moment in church. If you are unclear on when an appropriate moment to laugh in church would be, I will help you. If the speaker tells a joke or shows a video, and it is really funny, you should laugh. If he tells a joke, and it’s not funny, you shouldn’t encourage him to make more unfunny jokes by laughing. Also, if a speaker tries to say something from the Bible, but he accuses a Biblical character of giving himself a self breast check (like this guy did), you should also laugh a little.
Do you know when it’s inappropriate to laugh in church? Pretty much every other time. Let me give you a couple of examples. On our last Sunday in Florida, I found some googly eyes in my Sunday school room, and I put them in my Bible. Sarah thought an SNL skit with Christopher Walken, house plants, and googly eyes was hilarious. So, when we got done reading the main passage and praying, I showed the googly eyes to Sarah. She laughed out loud – a lot. It was my fault, I know, but no one else knew. They thought Sarah was crazy.
It’s also really bad to laugh in church when you are sitting on stage, everyone is facing the front, and the choir is singing. I couldn’t help myself, though. It was also in Florida, and it happened a couple of times. The choir got up to sing, and I was sitting there looking through my Bible/doing whatever I could to not just stare out at the crowd. They got to the chorus of the song they were singing. It was at the chorus that I recognized it as, “It’s Shouting Time in Heaven,” which was sung a lot by a group at the church I grew up in. And it amused me, because they mildly choreographed the part about walking down the highway with the Lord. So when I heard the choir – sitting right behind me – singing the same song, a smile spread across my face. I tried to play it cool, like I was enjoying the song, but anyone that knew me knew that wasn’t it. The first time they sang it, I almost kept my cool. The next couple of times, though, I couldn’t contain the laughter. It was silent, but my hand was up over my mouth, head bowed, eyes squeezed shut, and the jovial shaking one does when he laughs was going on. Maybe some people thought I was praying, and God told me a good joke. I don’t know. But I do know that I have never felt more awkward about laughing in church before or since.