Laughing Buddha, Grinning Jesus

At the Resilience outposts, we like to laugh.  We laugh together , we laugh at silliness; we laugh at ourselves. Laughter cures disease, some believe.  Certainly laughter is good for the soul.  We all need a good laugh every day.  People who laugh are more likely to be resilient, to overcome challenges. Most religious texts are short on laughter, though.


The shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept.” I sometimes wish there were a verse like Jesus grinned.  Jesus certainly had a sense of humor.  It’s hard to think of a camel squeezing through the eyes of a needle without thinking someone is pulling your leg.  The bible never says Jesus laughed or Jesus grinned, but it does say that joy is one of the fruits of the spirit.  According to Galatians 5, you can spot a Christian because they are joyful (also peaceful, loving, patient, kind, gentle, faithful, good and have self-control

I don’t cotton to the idea that Christians should be serious and dour. One fruit of having the Spirit in you is joy.  So cultivate joyfulness.  Enjoy life.  When you goof up, laugh about it and do it right next time.  Be silly now and then.  Help others see the joy in life.

While we’re on the topic of joy, the Buddhists tell us the roly-poly laughing statue you see in some Chinese restaurants is not really a buddha.  Instead the statue is of a traveling monk in China who loved to laugh.  Chinese restaurants have adopted him because he is good for business.  People think they get luck by rubbing his belly.

Maybe that traveling monk was really a Galatian Christian.  That could explain why he loved to laugh.  He had the joy, joy, joy deep in his heart, as the old hymn goes.  Instead of rubbing the statue’s belly, a more lasting fix would be to get the Spirit.  Then you’ll know the joy and peace we all love to know this time of year.