I love when the right book falls in my lap at the right time. Thanks to technology, it can fall in my lap quicker than ever before. And so it was with Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter are at the heart of the Spiritual Life by James Martin, SJ. No sooner had I read the book review in the Prairie Messenger, I knew I had to get a copy. A quick search on Amazon, a click of a button, and I had it uploaded to my iPad.
Anyone who promotes the use of joy and cheer in our often joyless and cheerless religions has my vote. Martin shows the presence of joy and humor throughout the bible. Accustomed as we are to seeking deep and heavy scriptural meanings, it`s wonderful to see well-known stories through a new light. A light that shines on the silly, the absurd, and down-right comic. I always believed that God has a sense of humor. Martin also believes that God wants us to share in the joke.
He challenges those who work within our religious institutions to lighten up. I agree wholeheartedly. Nothing is a bigger turn off for me than the overly pious soul who does their work as if the weight of the church rests on their shoulders. Doom and gloom ministers, whether pastors or parish workers, are a turn-off. Who wants to join their depressing brigade? Give me a community of souls with a sense of humor. Give me a meeting where laughter lightens the load of the tasks before us, where no one takes oneself too seriously. Give me family and friends with whom I can share a good meal, a bottle (or two) of wine, and joyous conversation. Now that, my friends, is a touch of heaven!
(Amazon has a short video clip of Fr.Martin speaking about his book.)
see also laughter really IS the best medicine