Disarming and self-deprecating humor could also account for the rise of younger, suburban, megachurch pastors such as California’s Rick Warren and Florida’s Joel Hunter.Both are Bible-believing evangelicals who are known for being able to laugh about themselves.
“The more seriously we take God, the less seriously we need to take ourselves,” says Hunter, of Northland Church in suburban Orlando. “Self-deprecating humor not only reduces the intimidation factor, it personifies the possibility of success of people with flaws. Pastors who can joke about their own shortcomings are paradoxically making the ideals of religion seem more possible by putting them in a common human experience.”
Humor is the final frontier of broad cultural acceptability and, yes, integration. When an imam and an evangelical preacher walk into a bar with the classic setup’s more familiar trio of a priest, a minister and a rabbi, it won’t matter that the newcomers don’t order drinks. The important thing will be that they are in on the joke.