The Joyful Noiseletter
February 1, 2011
Elton Trueblood encouraged his students to practice the spiritual gift of introduction. It’s simply introducing people to one another who would benefit from knowing each other. (I’ve avoided using this for matchmaking.) In that spirit, let me introduce Cal Samra.
I first met Cal Samra through his book The Joyful Christ: The Healing Power of Humor. It’s a remarkable book, especially considering Cal wrote it only three years after he was so depressed that, with a fresh rope and a long day looking for suitable trees, he spent a couple hours trying to figure out how to hang himself from a tall cactus. The book contains a wide range of stories and witness to humor in the Church over many centuries. And it invites readers to share in that joy. His chapter describing how few pictures there are of Jesus as a joyful person set me searching for such images myself.
Near when the book appeared, Cal and his wife Rose founded the Fellowship of Merry Christians and began publishing The Joyful Noiseletter, a fun and funny monthly newsletter full of stories, cartoons, quotes, bloopers, book excerpts, and more. They describe it as “a voice laughing in the wilderness” that seeks “to recapture the spirit of joy, humor, unity and healing power of the early Christians.” In that spirit they have a fine catalog of books (including The Joyful Christ) and pictures, they encourage Holy Humor Sunday the week after Easter, and they have recently been inviting churches to host groups called Health & Humor Hangouts (“aka 3-H clubs”). I’m an avid fan and urge you to get acquainted with Cal, Rose, and the fun community that’s gathered at www.JoyfulNoiseletter.com (or call them at 1-800-877-2757).