Somewhere along the way, Jesus' followers got a bad rap. Today in the minds of some, Christians are caricatured as being somber, even dour people. But we know better. If you don't believe me, just take a look at all the pulpit jokes that begin with, "A pastor, priest, and rabbi got into a boat..."

While humor can cheapen or deepen our relationship with God, we want to emphasize laughter's edifying ends. Jesus was known for celebrating life, even with the likes of "tax collectors and sinners." Laughter and humor seem to play an important role in the abundant life God desires for us. Joy is what we'll experience at heaven's gates. So rather than leading us to somber bleakness, authentic faith affirms that God offers us an abundant joy that leads to the kind of healing and change that can be transformational.

Northwest Nazarene University invites you to participate in our 2015 Wesley Center Conference titled "Holy Wit: On Mirth As It Is In Heaven." Join us on Thursday and Friday, March 19-20 as we explore how we become more fully human by welcoming gracious good humor into our lives. Dr. Will Willimon will be one of our guides in helping us learn to laugh at ourselves. Recognized today as one of America's leading preachers, Willimon was formerly a United Methodist bishop and dean of the chapel at Duke University, where he now serves the divinity school as professor of the practice of ministry. He is the author of countless books, articles, and sermons, including titles like “Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony”; the “Wesley Study Bible”; “And the Laugh Shall Be First: A Treasury of Religious Humor”; and “Family, Friends, and Other Funny People: Memories of Growing Up Southern.”

Whether you are a pastor, layperson, or student, together we'll explore how humor interplays with faith, ministry, theology, and even the Bible. Building on the richness of our previous Wesley Center Conferences, you can count on great opportunities to engage in the conversation, gather new insights, and deepen relationships with others. We no longer need to consider joy and humor as under-appreciated values in the spiritual life.

Come learn with us—and laugh in the process!