Why are so Many Believers so Dour?

Often the most dedicated Christians are rather dour.  The only thing that I can come up with is that we take ourselves too seriously, centering on our own  disciplines of fasting, prayer, reading, etc  and not on God’s work in us. In other words, we can all slip into an egocentric spirituality and not a God centered spirituality. Unknowingly, we become the centre of our reality, not God. This is a big, OOPS situation because laughter is an integral part of who we are.

Christians have managed to transform God into a stern task master when in fact the joy of the Lord is repeated hundreds of times in the Bible.

It is interesting to note that truly holy people usually have a marvelous sense of humour. When my husband first visited a Trappist monastery about 30 years ago, it was the sound of loud, infectious, belly laughter echoing throughout the Abby that stuck with him

Thomas Merton,(an American Trappist Monk) was once asked,

“How can you tell if a person has gone through inner, spiritual transformation?

Merton smiled,

“Well it is very difficult to tell but holiness is usually accompanied by a wonderful sense of humour.”

This is a call to let go, quit trying to advance on our own and just laugh at our ridiculous attempts to save our selves. I mean what did Jesus die for if not to save, heal, set us free to be who we were created to be- simply joyful children of God, no more and no less. Little children get it, do you?


10 thoughts on “Why are so Many Believers so Dour?

  1. When I visited the convent of the Nashville Dominicans (four different times), the sisters were always laughing (except when in prayer and during Mass, they were very reverent). But the sister shone like bright lights they were so happy!


    1. do you know that when I typed in laughing monks, a whole page of eastern monks turned up but barely any Christian ones?!!

      The results for specifically CHRISTIAN laughing monks were pages of all sorts of expressions with few smiles!!!!


  2. Jesus delighted the crowds with His preaching. That’s why 5000 people needed to be fed – a really huge number of people for an itinerant preacher to have attracted. The “pearls before swine” (Matt. 7:6) remark had the crowd really laughing because it was such a perfect comparison in the Jewish culture. We Christians have to be joyful as Jesus was, and if we haven’t been blessed with an engaging personality, we can still appreciate and smile at the gift of humor in others.

    I think the dour Christian, and I know a few, are tied up in knots inside with stuff they need to dump. So let’s pray for them to some day be able to spread the joy.


  3. Some great images of smiling and laughing monks were in the movie “Into Great Silence.” These are Carthusian monks in the French Alps. It was interesting that when they went about their daily work, they were quiet and sober. But when they went out on their weekly walks on Sundays, they broke out in robust laughter and had stimulating conversation! There was even one scene where they we all sliding down a hill of snowl They are delightful!


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