National Lutheran News

If it feels good, is it okay to do it?

Howard D. Wagner of Moorhead, Minnesota, told this story: “After a retired
pastor’s wife fainted at church and 911 was called, a paramedic asked her these
questions: ‘What’s your name?’ ‘Where are you?’ and, ‘What day is it?’ to which
she answered, ‘The Third Sunday in Advent.’ Of course, it was.” Those are the
stories that the humor editor of a religious magazine — in this case, Julie Sevig
of “The Lutheran” — hears all the time. Thanks to Sevig, we can all share in
these vignettes, as she has edited Laughing with Lutherans, a compilation of
some of the better stories published in “The Lutheran,” the ELCA’s
denominational magazine.

As the editor of “The Light Side” page of “The Lutheran,” Sevig receives a lot of
material about the funnier side of being a Lutheran. Some of it is fit to print,
some not, she said. But it is her job to find enough material to fill a page of a
monthly magazine.

“I appreciate that people take the time to observe comical situations,” she said
at a recent Twin Cities book signing. “They write it down and send it in. I’m just
the editor,” a gentle reminder that she’s only as funny as Lutherans are themselves. “But I do appreciate that people have been doing that for 20 years.”

During that time “The Light Side,” has had only three editors, a remarkable
amount of consistency, which Sevig credits to how much fun the job is. She
recalls from memory one of her favorite offerings from someone “who said, ‘I
used to be a saint, but now I am a Lutheran.’”

She says there’s always humor when kids see the pastor as God or the acolytes
as angels. The same story is funny in each new context.

She does believe that times have changed, however. “What was funny 10 years
ago isn’t necessarily funny now,” she opined.

Laughing with Lutherans, published late in 2008 by Skandisk, Inc., is 144 pages.
For more information, contact Skandisk, 6667 West Old Shakopee Road, Suite
109, Bloomington, Minnesota 55438 or www.skandisk.com.