Ervin Beck, a folklorist at Goshen College, recalls growing up in a Mennonite congregation where his bishop once said from the pulpit, “People ask me why I never smile. The Bible never says that Jesus smiled. It says that ‘Jesus wept.’”
Given the decidedly unfunny persecution narratives that have characterized Mennonite history in the last half millennium, the bishop’s comment is not entirely surprising. But things have changed. Mennonites are now fat, happy, and relatively tolerated in the United States. And some are really, really funny—like Ted & Co., a comedy outfit from Harrisonburg, Virginia.
The list of Mennonite jokes continues to grow too. Here are some that I’ve collected over the years:
Q: How do you fit 10 Amish in a VW Beetle? A: Tell them you are going to the livestock auction.
Q: What goes clip-clop clip-clop clip-clop bang bang bang? A: Amish drive-by shooting.
Q: How do we know that Adam and Eve were Mennonite? A: Who else would be alone in a garden with a naked woman and be tempted by a piece of fruit?
Q: Why don’t Amish women wear sleeveless dresses? A: They refuse to bare arms.
Q: How was copper wire invented? A: Two Mennonites found a penny.
Q: Why did the Amish woman divorce her husband? A: He was driving her buggy.
Q: How many Mennonites does it take to change a light bulb? A: Change?
Q: How many Mennonites do you take on a fishing trip? A. At least two so they won’t drink all your beer.
Q: What is the difference between a Lutheran and a Mennonite? A. A Lutheran will say “hello” to you in a liquor store.
So Mennonite jokes might not be that funny. But hey, we’re descendants of martyrs. Give us a break.
A question for the comment section: Do you have a favorite Mennonite, Calvinist, Baptist, Mormon, or Methodist joke to share?