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Between Heaven and Mirth

Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything comes a revolutionary look at how joy humor and laughter can change our lives and save our spirits A Jesuit priest with a busy media ministry Martin understands the intersections between spirituality and daily life  In Between Heaven and Mirth he uses Jesuit priest James Martin argues that if joy humor and laughter seem antithetical to spirituality and a relationship with God you re doing it wrongJoy humor and laughter serve many purposes They create a sense of community and of gratitude Our humor and laughter are celebrations of our humanity itself a gift from God Learning to laugh at ourselves keeps us from becoming too proud and taking ourselves too seriously Martin points to scholarly and religious studies about the role of humor in the Torah and the Bible Sarah named her son Isaac he laughs because of her joy Jonah farcial behavior and petulance raise uestions about listening to God s voice and the itinerant preacher Jesus spoke to crowds in parables that are full of exaggeration and hyperbole to make his point with humor There are many repetitious and overlapping points Martin lays the blame for that on St Ignatius and of all religious beliefs Christianity and Judaism get the most analysis but Martin s book is a welcome reminder of the joy of life and faith

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“Between Heaven and Mirth will make any reader smile Father Martin reminds us that happiness is the good God’s own goal for us” Timothy M Dolan Archbishop of New YorkFrom The Colbert Report’s “official chaplain” James Martin SJ author of the New York Times bestselling The If Stephen Colbert says that James Martin is ok then James Martin is ok Seriously tho a book about finding and keeping joy in your heart whether you are a Catholic or not something I know I needed to hear read and something that I think of us need to consider Joy is different than happiness and is something that we can have with us at all times which Martin shows by personal stories and accumulated wisdom I was glad to see how kindness figures into joy as I think kindness is so important and so overlooked The story that stuck with me the most is the one of white paint all of the good things in our life can be considered a can of white paint but all we can see is the one drop of red paint the bad or unhappy things in the midst of all that white andd soon everything looks red I suppose that sounds overly simple but I think it says a lot A very good book for anyone wishing for joy and happiness in their life Very recommended the book itself is well written and humourous with a few laugh out loud parts especially in the footnotesWhat ifs that cause us to worry about the future are usually a dead end in the spiritual life So are if onlys when they prompt us to fret about the pastJoy humor and laughter should be part of everyone s spiritual life They are gifts from God and help us enjoy creation A good laugh is a sign of love said Karl Rahner It may be said to give us a glimpse of or a first lesson in the love that God bears for every one of us

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Scriptural passages the lives of the saints the spiritual teachings of other traditions and his own personal reflections to show us why joy is the inevitable result of faith because a healthy spirituality and a healthy sense of humor go hand in hand with God's great plan for humankind Ultimately this is very a readable book penned by what seems to be a very affable guy It does however leave some elements to be desired when considering its subtitle Although he manages to not offend and at small intervals give praise to other religions this Jesuit simply does not have the credentials to claim this book s approach is about all spiritual life versus a Christian one Even his attempts at placing joy humor laughter at the heart of Catholicism are dubious at best especially when considering scriptureThe position that modern worshippers cannot see the humor because they simply don t get the jokes ie they were written for people literally 2000 years ago is a rather shaky attempt at contradicting all the smiting women are lesser beings and kill you kid because I told you so bits An attempt to define any type of comedy could pose this argument in its defense However a uarter of the world is not basing its moral codes political positions and gender euality issues on the dick and fart jokes made by an English baby and his talking dog on Family Guy This issue notwithstanding there are some very refreshing and salient points made by Martin with these being some of my favorites Humility can lead to happiness Simply because you go to Mass every Sunday donate a tenth of your salary to the church are an elder in your congregation or always attend the Shabbat Sabbath services at your synagogue does not mean that you are ipso facto holier than everyone else pg 91 92 Not all efforts need to accomplish something it is okay for you to be a human being from time to time instead of just a human doing pg 117 MY version is not necessarily THE version Humbling humor also reminds us that no one religious group has all the answersGod is bigger than any religion and can upend our human and limited expectations pg 161 162There is some sage advice offered by Martin that would be best applied to seek happiness for the sake of happiness and not to have the poverty of spirit to realize you are of lesser worth than God If I am to be so bold as to suggest an editorial thought changing the word Are to the words Should Be ie Why Joy Humor and Laughter Should Be at the Heart of the Spiritual Life would be a apt representation of the thoughts within But nevertheless what do I know I m about to watch a talking dog tell a double entendre poop joke to a babyBless you


About the Author: James Martin

James Martin SJ is a Jesuit priest writer editor at large of the Jesuit magazine America and consultor to the Vatican's Secretariat for CommunicationFr Martin grew up in Plymouth Meeting Pennsylvania United States and attended Plymouth Whitemarsh High School He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in 1982 and worked in corporate finance at General El



10 thoughts on “Between Heaven and Mirth

  1. says:

    Joy humor and laughter do those feelings belong to the religion Often the religious are presented as having neutral or negative feelings but yes Yes these feelings belong to the religion any religion really the author mentions Jewish and Islamic positivity withinIt's in the Bible texts among other feelings in the Psalms in the sto

  2. says:

    I can't tell you how many times I've had people ask me How can you be a Happy Catholic They then go on to cite the problems currently in the Church how hard life is in general and so on and so forthMy answer is that happy does not mean cheerful I'm not talking about a Pollyanna ish insistence on always seeing the glass half full I'm talkin

  3. says:

    If Stephen Colbert says that James Martin is ok then James Martin is ok Seriously tho a book about finding and keeping joy in your heart whether you are a Catholic or not something I know I needed to hear read and something that I think of us need to consider Joy is different than happiness and is something that we can have with us at all times which Martin shows by personal stories and accumulated wisdom I wa

  4. says:

    With peaceful insight that is hard to find in a goal oriented life Between Heaven and Mirth is like a self help book that does not

  5. says:

    I like books that move me or change my existing perspective on things After all if not for entertainment why read That's the reason why I really liked this book by James Martin a Jesuit priest In my mind I can now picture laughing Jesus Mary and other biblical characters and even saints Prior to this book I could hardly i

  6. says:

    Jesuit priest James Martin argues that if joy humor and laughter seem antithetical to spirituality and a relationship with God you're doing it wrongJoy humor and laughter serve many purposes They create a sense of community

  7. says:

    Ultimately this is very a readable book penned by what seems to be a very affable guy It does however leave some elements to be desired when considering its subtitle Although he manages to not offend and at small intervals give praise to other religions this Jesuit simply does not have the credentials to claim

  8. says:

    I had seen the Rev Martin on several episodes of The Colbert Report and a few years back I saw him promoting this book and was intrigued Several priests in my life have had an incredible sense of humor some did not But I don't think it is any big secret that the religious leaders in our lives that we have a love and connection with are those with great senses of humor The Rev Martin seeks to tell us that faith and a strong spiritual life s

  9. says:

    I sped read this to prepare for a sermon I'm writing on joy and humor in the gospel especially joyhumor in the context of the Mormon exodus West Thank the LORD for men like Father James Martin We need Holy Fools like him in the world Can you allow yourself to think that the wonderful or funny or unexpected things that surprise you are signs

  10. says:

    Written by a Jesuit priest Between Heaven and Mirth makes the case that mirth and all its companions—joy fun humor laughter joking—are an essential part of the spiritual life Within his own tradition he gives examples from Scripture the lives of the saints and the lives of popes but he also draws on arguments and stories from people of other traditions including Protestantism Buddhism Sufism Judaism Islam and Hinduism I often found h

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