Posted by: Philip Rushton | April 27, 2011

Whoopee Cushions and the Defeat of Evil

There is an ancient tradition in the church that emphasized joke telling and laughter during the week after Easter. Early Orthodox churches would gather on Easter Monday to have a party filled with laughter, and priests would often play practical jokes on their parishioners throughout the week. This stems from the idea that God played a great joke on sin and death by raising Jesus from the dead. The Latins call it Risus Paschalis, meaning ‘God’s Joke,’ or the ‘Easter laugh.’ It must have got carried away because Pope Clement X prohibited Risus Paschalis in the 17th century!

When I was at the North West Ministry conference last month I signed up for a workshop on creativity and ministry. It was not exactly what I expected. Let’s just say that when I met up with Lisa and Mary after the workshop they found me covered in confetti. At any rate, the instructor told us a story of how he tried to bring back the tradition of Risus Paschalis at his church. When people arrived at his church on the Sunday after Easter they all had an inflated whoopee cushion on their chair. Not quite my style, but I’m sure it was memorable!

Perhaps we might find some ways to incorporate humor into our lives this week. We, too, can laugh in the face of sin of death because Jesus is alive!

Does anybody know a good joke?


  1. Whoopie Cushions? Firing rockets at rival churches is the best way to celebrate Easter.

    A kindergarten teacher gave her class a “show and tell” assignment. Each student was instructed to bring in an object to share with the class that represented their religion.

    The first student got up in front of the class and said, “My name is Benjamin and I am Jewish and this is a Star of David.”

    The second student got up in front of the class and said, “My name is Mary. I’m a Catholic and this is a Rosary.”

    The third student got in up front of the class and said, “My name is Tommy. I am Baptist, and this is a casserole.”

    • I like the one about a seminary grad who remembered his mentor’s hint on timing of sermons. “Pop a mint in your mouth when you begin and when it is done, so are you….” Well, donchaknow, it worked quite well until that day when he reached for a mint but stuck a botton in his mouth….. Was that a Canadian school?

  2. That’s a crazy video! Good find.

  3. What do you do if you fart in church?

    Sit in your own pew.

  4. What do you call a woman married to a hippie?


  5. Jews don’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
    Protestants don’t recognize the pope as the leader of the church.
    Baptists don’t recognize each other at the strip club.

    How many Presbyterians does it take to change a light bulb?

    Three ministers – a Presbyterian, a Methodist, and a Lutheran – and their wives were on a cruise. A tidal wave came up and swamped the ship; they all drowned, and before long, they were standing before St. Peter.

    First came the Presbyterian and his wife. St. Peter shook his head sadly. “I can’t let you in. You loved money too much. You loved it so much, you even married a woman named Penny.”

    Then came the Methodist. “Sorry, can’t let you in, either. You loved food too much. You loved to eat so much, you even married a woman named Candy!”

    The Lutheran turned to his wife and whispered nervously, “This doesn’t look good, Fanny.”

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