Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter are at the Heart of a Spiritual Life James J. Martin, SJ
Published: October 4, 2011
Source: Personal Copy/Kindle
I kind of feel like I shouldn’t even review this book, as it took me so long to read it. That’s not because it is a tough book to read. No, it’s because I got sidetracked by the Hunger Games trilogy and this book was pushed to the back burner…for quite some time.
I am, however, very glad that I kept with this book. It’s not for everyone, of course. However, if you are into reading books about Christianity, this one is a must. James Martin is a Jesuit Priest who has authored quite a few books, participated in a Jesuit theater group and is the unofficial chaplain of the Colbert Nation. Given that, it is not surprising that his latest book is about the importance of laughter and joy in spirituality.
Martin argues that the dour and somber atmosphere that colors some religious institutions is nearly sacreligious. Jesus was himself a joyful and, yes, funny guy and we can draw closer to him and God by cultivating a sense of humor and seeing the joy in life.
Despite the fact that it took me forever to finish this (blame Suzanne Collins), this is a very readable book. Given the subject, it is not surprising that it contains more than a few jokes. It also contains scripture studies and refers to commentaries by other theologians. Given the fact that James Martin is a Jesuit Priest, it is not surprising that this book has a distinct Catholic slant. However, he does include writings from Protestant, Jewish and Muslim theologians. You don’t need to know all the ins and outs of Catholicism to follow his logic.
I did enjoy this book—but these are the types of non-fiction books I like. If you are interested in religion and spirituality, I highly recommend this book. It’s light, but not fluffy, and you may even learn a few new jokes!
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I was not solicited for this review, nor did I receive any compensation.