Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I was mentioned in an article called "The Funny Side of Faith" in Ode Magazine. The entire issue for August 2009 is about laughter and my congregation, Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Lansing, Iowa, was noted for the laughter we induce by celebrating Holy Hilarity Sunday each year.

The section of the article about faith and humor is by Carmel Wroth. It reads:

THERE IS NOT MUCH HUMOR IN THE BIBLE. But some Christian churches make up for that by posting witticisms on their outdoor signboards, such as "Does life stink? We have a pew for you," "Google cannot satisfy your every search" and "Read the Bible. It will scare the hell out of you." (Create your own virtual sign at the Church Sign Generator: Laura Gentry, pastor of Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Lansing, Iowa, brings the humor indoors. Gentry's been known to give sermons in a pink feather boa and lead her congregation in gales of laughter. She's also among a small number of Protestant pastors to adopt a medieval tradition known as risus paschalis, or "Easter laughter," in which priests tell humorous stories around Easter. Contemporary pastors call it Holy Hilarity Sunday. "The resurrection is God's joke, the banana peel of the Christian faith," Gentry says. "When Christ rose from the dead, that was the great joke on death." On Holy Hilarity Sunday, Gentry's congregation dresses up in silly costumes, and even does the bunny hop to the hymn Lord of the Dance. The point is to experience laugther in church, in pastoral counseling, even at funerals. "It's one thing to say, 'I don't fear death,'" Gentry says, "but to laugh out loud somehow drives the idea home. It embodies our theology." —CW

Here's a photo of the article at Ode (page 43, August 2009).
Double click it to enlarge:

Click here to read The Medicine of Mirth: Why a laugh a day keeps the doctor—and the cardiologist and the psychiatrist away from this same issue of Ode. It features the teacher I first studied laughter yoga with, Sebastien Gendry.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


On Friday, June 26, five new laughter yoga leaders graduated from the Iowa School of Laughter Yoga, as pictured above. A typical occurrence, right? It would have been an ordinary laughter seminar, except for the fact that it was happening in...TEXAS! That's right, the Iowa School of Laughter Yoga is moving beyond the borders of Iowa.

This seminar was held at the beautiful Park Cities Yoga studio in downtown Dallas. The connection was made by Julie Hanson (pictured below with me). We were college friends who recently reconnected on Facebook. She suggested I come to Dallas and put me in touch with Jeff Farrell and his wife, Donna, who run the yoga studio.

It was a wonderful seminar with amazing, laughing women.  
Below are some laughter session shots of us frolicking in the lovely studio.

And the laughter conga line!

In this shot, we are giving Rosenda a laughter blessing.

Then we laughter blessed Jeff.

Here's a shot from the laughter graduation ceremony as the laughers take the "Laughter Pledge" and vow to be life-long laughers.

Debbie excitedly gets her laughter diploma!

And here's the group of happy grads from left to right: Rosenda Cephus, LaTasha Derrick, B.J. Ellis, Julie Hanson, Laughing Laura and Debbie Segerstrom. Congratulations, certified laughter yoga leaders! I'm so proud of them.

Testimonials from this seminar:

"I just wanted to say i truly enjoyed your presence and all the wonderful new things you taught us. You have a gift to share and a you've opened a door for me that cannot be closed. I feel free and less self conscious of what others think of me. I feel that I can share my personality and laugh with everyone. At work everyone keeps asking me if I'm still laughing and I get the giggles. I'm smiling ten times more than before and I smile all the time. I feel more like myself everyday and I am enjoying this voyage of discovery. On Saturday I taught my 1st session at the studio. And they loved it. They were having a blast at the end of the session and could not believe I'd just learned this liberating celebration. Thank you, Thank you so very very much! I don't think I can thank you enough for coming."
—LaTasha Derrick

" Just a note to say how much I absolutely, positively LOVED your laughter workshop! So much fun and as you predicted, I know it already has and will change my life for the better. My life is infinitely better for meeting and getting to know you. Keep up the good work! HA HA HA HA!"
 —BJ Ellis

"A BIG thank you for the totally enjoyable seminar!"
—Rosenda Cephus

"I had a great time while sharing laughs with you!"
—Debbie Segerstrom

"We are SO enthusiastic!"
—Julie Hanson

This is only the beginning. I'll be offering laughter yoga leader seminars all around the country. Would you like a seminar in your area? Let's make it happen. Contact me at or call 563-880-2699. We can laugh world happiness into being!

The Park Cities Yoga Studio plans to have another laughter seminar in the fall. Stay tuned for more details.