A friendly reader named Greg wrote me to adjudicate an argument about what exactly is appropriate humor from a Christian perspective. I guided him to all those interviews on Christians and humor blogging, but I also promised him this piece from St. Francis de Sales' spiritual masterpiece Introduction to the Devout Life (and the reason St. Francis is the patron saint of this blog!).
Scoffing at others is a wretched practice. God detests this vice. In the Old Testament he inflicts strange punishments on scoffers. There can be nothing more opposed to love and devotion than to despise and condemn your neighbor. Poking fun and scoffing are the same thing. Derision, mockery, scorn, and contempt are sins.
There are some good-humored words that can be spoken in modest jesting that are acceptable. This is innocent fun. The Greeks called it eutrapelia. We call it pleasant conversation. With it we can have a friendly, amusing discussion about human imperfections.
The trick is to avoid moving from light-hearted mirth to vicious scoffing. Scoffing produces laughter through scorn and contempt of another. Laughing banter comes from freedom and familiarity in clever expression. Jokes and puns can be healthy.
--St. Francis de Sales
Please, God, I hope I am doing the second paragraph.