Humour and Quotes

There are many Unitarian Universalist jokes, stories we tell each other as a way of laughing at ourselves. All of these statements contain at least a grain of truth about who we are, but, as we say, if you take three Unitarians, you’ll find five opinions, so some of the jokes below are not relevant (or funny) to all of us. We are proud to call ourselves “a community of misfits.”

Do you have another favourite UU joke? Please send it to us. If a few of us think it’s relevant and funny, we’ll add it here.

You can also check out the Unitarian Universalist Hysterical Society on Facebook.

Q. What is a Unitarian Universalist?
A. Someone who believes in life before death.
A. Someone who faces all questions with an open mouth.

Q: How many Unitarians does it take to change a light bulb?
A: We choose not to make a statement either in favour of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey, you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is wonderful. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your light bulb. Present it next month at our annual Light Bulb Sunday Service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, 3-way, long-life, and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.

A UU is told “I hear you deny the divinity of Christ.” “That’s not true!” said the UU, “We don’t deny the divinity of anyone.”

Q: Why can’t UUs sing very well in choirs?
A: Because they’re always reading ahead to see if they agree with the next verse.

UU’s are basically good people, who, for the most part, try to live by the 10 suggestions.

“I know my humor is outrageous when it makes the Unitarians so mad they burn a question mark on my front lawn.” – Lenny Bruce

The children in a UU church school class were drawing pictures. The teacher asked one, “What are you drawing a picture of?”

“I’m drawing a picture of God,” was the reply.

“But nobody knows what God looks like,” objected the teacher.

“They will,” said the child, “in a minute.”

“A Unitarian very earnestly disbelieves in almost everything that anybody else believes, and he has a very lively sustaining faith in he doesn’t quite know what.” – Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

Unitarian Universalist prayers:
• “Dear God, if there is a God, please save my soul, if I have a soul.”
• “To whom it may concern…”

A Unitarian Universalist died, and to his surprise discovered that there was indeed an afterlife. The angel in charge of these things told him, “Because you were an unbeliever and a doubter and a skeptic, you will be sent to Hell for all eternity—which, in your case, consists of a place where no one will disagree with you ever again!”

Q: Why did the UU cross the road?
A: To support the chicken in its search for its own path.

Thomas Starr King is credited with describing the difference between Universalists and Unitarians: “Universalists believe that God is too good to damn men; Unitarians believe that man is too good to be damned.”

UU bumper stickers:
• “Honk If You’re Not Sure”
• “The Answer Is To Question”

A group of children at a Unitarian Universalist church school were trying to determine the sex of a rabbit. “There’s only one way to decide,” said one child, “let’s take a vote on it.”

Visitors on a tour of Heaven noticed a group of Unitarian Universalists, who were arguing about whether or not they were really there.

Some Unitarian Universalists think that life after death is one big annual congregational meeting, but they are not sure whether the meeting is in Heaven or Hell.

A traveler couldn’t find the local Unitarian Universalist church. After looking in the centre of town, in the suburbs, and out in the surrounding countryside. the traveler asked a farmer “Am I too far out for the UU church?” The farmer’s reply: “Nobody is too far out for them.”

(From an episode of The Simpsons, set at the church ice cream social)
Lisa: “What flavours do you have?”
Rev. Lovejoy: “Well, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and our new Unitarian flavour ice cream.”
Lisa: “I’ll have that” (Rev hands her an empty bowl)
Lisa: “But there’s nothing in there.”
Rev: “Eeeexactly.”

Famous Universalist minister Hosea Ballou argued with a Methodist colleague over the issue of eternal damnation.

The Methodist asserted, “if I were a Universalist and feared not the fires of hell, I could hit you over the head, steal your horse and saddle and ride away, and I’d still go to heaven!”

Ballou answered, “If you were a Universalist, the idea would never occur to you!”

A visitor to a Unitarian Universalist church sat through the sermon with growing incredulity at the heretical ideas being spouted. After the sermon a UU asked the visitor, “So how did you like it?”

“I can’t believe half the things that minister said!” sputtered the visitor in outrage.

“Oh, good—then you’ll fit right in!”

Q: What do you get when you cross a UU with a Jehovah’s Witness?
A: Someone who knocks on your door for no apparent reason.
A. Someone who knocks on your door to learn about your religion.
A. Someone who knocks on your door to offer you coffee.

Q: How does a UU walk on water?
A: She waits until winter.

Ambrose Bierce, in The Devil’s Dictionary, defined a Unitarian as “one who denies the divinity of a Trinitarian” and a Universalist as “one who foregoes the advantages of Hell for persons of another faith.”

“The General answers his own phone. Must be a Unitarian.” – Col. Sherman Potter, M.A.S.H. 4077

A Unitarian Universalist dies, and on the way to the after-life encounters a fork in the road. The left path has a sign “To Heaven” and the right has a sign “To a Discussion about Heaven” Without pausing, the UU turns right.

The UU holy book is Roberts’ Rules of Order.

Dana Worsnop’s Elevator Story
(Dana was an intern minister at Toronto First in the nineties.)

At a great international interfaith gathering at a major convention hotel, five delegates found themselves waiting and waiting for the elevator following one of the sessions. To break the monotony and silence, one of delegates suggested they play a little game: “Let’s see if we can explain our faith in the time it takes the elevator to go from here to the first floor!” Although they would have to travel up and down several times, the delegates agreed.

On the trip down from the tenth to the first floor, the Roman Catholic delegate volunteered to go first. He recited the Apostles’ Creed, and finished just as the doors opened on the lobby.

Next, the Universalist delegate pushed the button for the tenth floor and proceeded to say, “We Universalists believe in the essential goodness of humanity and of God. We believe that God loves all creatures, and intends our well-being and happiness, in this world and the next. We believe in a God who rewards, and does not punish.” The Universalist was finished well before the elevator reached the tenth floor.

Next, it was the Hindu delegate’s turn. Pressing the button for the lobby, she began, “We Hindus believe in the great wheel of life. All is a cycle, and what has been will be again. It is for us to understand our place in this turning, to do what falls to us to do, and to celebrate our place in the scheme of existence.” Like the Universalist, she was finished long before the elevator reached its destination.

Now it fell to the Zen Buddhist delegate to push the button for the tenth floor. All waited eagerly for him to begin, but there was only silence as the car traveled the ten floors. When the doors opened, they asked the Zen Buddhist: “Why did you not say anything to us about your belief?” He replied: “In saying nothing, I said all that there is to say.”

The interfaith conference delegates scratched their heads, then looked to the Unitarian delegate, the last to take a turn. The elevator doors closed, and she reached out to push the button. All were surprised when she pushed “2.”

Why did you not push the button for the lobby?” they asked.

“Because,” the Unitarian delegate replied, “there’s a great little coffee shop on the second floor where we can kick back and really discuss this!”

An atheist was taking a walk through the woods, admiring all that the “accident of evolution” had created. “What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!” he said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a 7-foot grizzly charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path.

He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing in on him. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. His heart was pumping frantically and he tried to run even faster.

He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw the bear right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him.

At that instant the atheist cried out: “Oh my God!…”

Time stopped. The bear froze. The forest was silent.

As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky.“You deny my existence for all of these years, teach others I don’t exist, and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?”

The atheist looked directly into the light, “It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps could You make the BEAR a Christian?”

“Very well,” said the voice. The light went out. And the sounds of the forest resumed.

And then the bear dropped his right paw… brought both paws together and bowed his head and spoke:

“Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful.”

And finally… Two songs by Christopher Gist Raible, a former minister at Toronto First:

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee
Sung to the tune of “Holy, Holy, Holy”

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee,
Praise the strength of coffee.
Early in the morn we rise with thoughts of only thee.
Served fresh or reheated,
Dark by thee defeated,
Brewed black by perk or drip or instantly.

Though all else we scoff we
Come to church for coffee;
If we’re late to congregate, we come in time for thee.
Coffee our one ritual,
Drinking it habitual,
Brewed black by perk or drip instantly.

Coffee the communion
Of our Uni-Union,
Symbol of our sacred ground, our one necessity.
Feel the holy power
At our coffee hour,
Brewed black by perk or drip or instantly.

I am the Very Model of a Modern Unitarian
Sung to the tune of “I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General” from “Pirates of Penzance”

I am the very model of a modern Unitarian,
Far broader than a Catholic, Hindu, Jew or Presbyterian.
I know the world’s religions and can trace their roots historical
From Moses up to Channing, all in order categorical.
I’m very well acquainted, too, with theories theological,
On existential questions I am always wholly logical,
About most any problem I am teeming with a lot of views,
I’m full of fine ideas that should fill our church’s empty pews.

(Chorus members:
We’re full of fine ideas that should fill our church’s empty pews.
We’re full of fine ideas that should fill our church’s empty pews.
We’re full of fine ideas that should fill our church’s empty empty pews.)

I quote from Freud and Jung and all the experts psychological.
I’m anti nuke, I don’t pollute I’m chastely ecological.
In short, in matters spiritual, ethical, material,
I am the very model of a modern Unitarian.

(Chorus members:
In short, in matters spiritual, ethical, material,
We are the very model of a modern Unitarian.)

I use the latest language; God is never Father or the Lord,
But Ground of Being, Source of Life or almost any other word.
I never pray, I meditate, I’m leary about worshipping.
I serve on 10 committees none of which accomplish anything.
I give to worthy causes and I drive a gas conserving car,
I have good UU principles (although I’m not sure what they are).
I’m open to opinions of profound or broad variety,
Unless they’re too conservative or smack of righteous piety.

(Chorus members:
Unless they’re too conservative or smack of righteous piety.
Unless they’re too conservative or smack of righteous piety.
Unless they’re too conservative or smack of righteous pie-piety.)

I formulate agendas and discuss them with the best of ’em,
But don’t ask me to implement, we leave that to the rest of ’em.
In short in matters spiritual, ethical, material,
I am the very model of today’s religious liberal.

(Chorus members:
In short, in matters spiritual, ethical, material,
We are the very model of today’s religious liberal.)