Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life

Between Heaven and Mirth Why Joy Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life 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

  • Title: Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life
  • Author: James Martin
  • ISBN: 9780062024268
  • Page: 215
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything, comes a revolutionary look at how joy, humor, and la 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 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 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.

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    1 thought on “Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life”

    1. 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 forth.My 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 talking about a deep, underlying joy that comes from the peace of mind in knowing Jesus really has overcome the world, really is real, really does love me p [...]

    2. 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 more 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 [...]

    3. 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 teach you how to get ahead but rather shows how you already are ahead. Everything, Fr. Martin says, is worth an inner joy. His message has left me feeling relieved, breathing easier, as I stop "should-ing all over myself" (one of his many jokes). At the same time, he gives a balanced approach to happiness, addressing the truth and power of sorrow; he guides the read [...]

    4. Jesuit priest James Martin argues that if joy, humor and laughter seem antithetical to spirituality and a relationship with God, you're doing it wrong.Joy, 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 [...]

    5. 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 [...]

    6. 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 imagine them smiling because that's just the way they are normally depicted on pictures, photos or statues: serious, glum-looking definitely not smiling.I used to see p [...]

    7. 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 should not be such a serious and dour thing. Sure [...]

    8. 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 his examples of humor from Scripture to be [...]

    9. What a wonderful book to read during Lent! It made me think a lot about how to approach faith and how I like a positive approach better and that's OK. Reading it with a group helped underscore some of the most important points.I'm now looking for another Martin book to read during Easter.

    10. Martin, a Jesuit author best known for his THE JESUIT GUIDE TO (ALMOST) EVERYTHING, emphasizes in this later book that he wants to counterbalance an too-often overly serious approach to religion, especially Christianity. This austerity stems from two reasons, the first being the idea that God is a judge who will deal harshly with our sins, and the second an emphasis upon the suffering Christ, rather than the triumphal Christ. The topic of his book, Martin writes in his introduction is the place [...]

    11. This is a very uplifting book on the importance of finding the joy in Catholicism (and faith in general). Fr. Martin is a Jesuit priest who spent time researching the Bible and talking with scholars about the way humor and faith come together. If you have ever seen Fr. Martin on The Colbert Report you know he has a great sense of humor and handles the complexity of Catholicism with grace and wit.I thought the book was interesting and filled with humor and insight. Catholics generally have the wh [...]

    12. Between Heaven and Mirth is a book about the role of joy, humor and laughter in our spiritual life. It is not actually a humorous book, although it has its moments in some of the examples the author provides. Fr. Martin, a Jesuit priest and frequent commentator in the media on all things spiritual, particularly Catholic, clearly feels that in general our spiritual lives, and our churches, don't embrace the role of humor enough. There's probably something to that thesis. I particularly agree with [...]

    13. I sped-read this to prepare for a sermon I'm writing on joy and humor in the gospel--especially joy/humor in the context of the Mormon exodus West. Thank the LORD for men like Father James Martin. We need more 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 of God being playful with you? Think about this in a slightly different way. Can you imagine God not simply loving you, but, as the British theolog [...]

    14. Enjoyable, with some good insight into the role of humor and laughter in the spiritual life. My only criticisms are that Fr. Martin set up the book as applicable to all faith traditions, and while he does touch on other faiths (primarily Judaism, with a bit of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam thrown in) the book really approaches the topic from a Christian perspective, and specifically Roman Catholicism (though there are number of examples from various Protestant traditions). Now, I'm fine with the [...]

    15. I love to laugh, and maybe that’s part of the reason I was attracted to what I envisioned James Martin’s new book, Between Heaven and Mirth, would be.It didn’t let me down. Each chapter contained at least one good laugh, and I caught myself actually giggling out loud a few times.Laughter is medicine, but it’s also, Martin maintains, an often-overlooked element that’s needed in our spiritual lives. He relates that he’s come to see, in his life as a professionally religious (he’s a p [...]

    16. After reading "Zealot" by Reza Aslan, a book making use of historical arguments to disprove Jesus's divine origins, I was glad this was the next book I picked up. I have truly become a fan of Fr. James Martin's work, not only because I was practically schooled in a Jesuit school all my life, but because he is such a gifted writer.He imbues his writing with his own personal experiences on joy and spiritually and posits the fundamental role of joy in one's faith in God. More than once, I found mys [...]

    17. Father Martin argues that the spiritually-awakened life is above all one of joy. He is responding to what he sees as an over-emphasis on seriousness in religion—Catholicism, in his case, though he’s insistent that he sees the mistake in most religious traditions. While there is a place for sadness, he wants to emphasize that the lives of the great religious figures—Jesus, Abraham, the saints—are above all marked by joyful communion with the Divine.His style is easy and anecdotal; he insi [...]

    18. While not sharing anything particularly new, this book examines the concept of joy in the spiritual realm. James Martin has written an easily readible book and still manages to remind us that Christianity is not meant to be a joyless religion but a joyful friendship with our God. Making a strong case for the necessity of humor in the spiritual life, Martin weaves stories and jokes from his own experiences and others with biblical and historical research and interviews with scholars to make his p [...]

    19. Read this book! No matter your prior experience with religion or spirituality, you will find this book funny and delightful as well as reflective and insightful. He answers questions like "what is the value of having levity and a sense of humor, on a personal, community and spiritual level?" As someone who relishes laughter, it is compelling that this book finds linkages that place joy and humor at the heart of a spiritually fulfilling life.For people who can't get over perceptions that churchgo [...]

    20. I received this book from two very special people who know my interest in the Bible and Spiritual issues. I have quite a collection and my first glance at the title thought it might be a source of jokes for clergy. BUT I WAS WRONG. This is a very interesting and fascinating look at the bible and it's HUMOR. YES! The Bible contains HUMOR! Who knew? Holy people are joyful people, says the author and then proceeds to illustrate the fact by offering countless examples of humor from Jesus' parables t [...]

    21. This book is a wonderful antithesis to the popular conception that Religion and Spirituality is a boring, stuffy, and serious path in life. It does not seek to undermine the importance of suffering, but it balances out the reality of suffering with a good dose of humor that the author draws up from historical, theological and personal backgrounds. The book comes armed with many of its own funny jokes and humor is shown to be part on the road to Truth. If I could summarize this book in one senten [...]

    22. "Humor helps us to endure suffering by giving us something of a break and reminding us that pain is not the last word for the one who believes in God."This book was purchased after seeing the author on the satirical program The Colbert Report. The Jesuit had been on the show a few times and I was always impressed by his witty yet knowledge responses.In our spiritual walk, we usually refere to our "experiences with God" as solemn, deeply emotional moments. Rarely do we ever hear someone experienc [...]

    23. Fr. Martin makes the case that humor is an essential part of spiritual life. Seems an obvious point, and thankfully he supports it by telling lots of jokes and providing anecdotes about saints from various faiths. He also has a couple of expositions on Biblical passages, which take all of the joy out of them (Psalm 65 has always been one of my favorites, and he beats it to death). The best chapter is #7: "I'm not funny and my life stinks," where he answers questions he often gets, such as the tw [...]

    24. Continuing my reading on the intersection of humor and faith, someone passed this on to me. The scope of the book is very good but even more impressive is the number of references to other works and theologians. It feels like Martin was on the phone with every theologian in the country while writing the book. The section on scripture was well done but still lacked something for me. I can't quite put my finger on it. There's something missing in the argument. I suppose my question is this: are la [...]

    25. James Martin, my favorite Jesuit, invites " healthy humor and purposeful levity," backed up with his experiences and those of biblical characters.p.69: St. Teresa of Avila, "A sad nun is a bad nun."p.160: "It's important for religious leaders to laugh at themselves and realize that, much as they would like to be, they're not perfect, and they're certainly not God."p.170: "Humor helps in a host of ways in religious institutions. It tell us that God's presence is often communicated through joy. I [...]

    26. Father Martin will eradicate any remaining notions of a stern, joyless God who shakes His head at our discoveries of life's unending absurdities and silly "coincidences." In fact, Martin reminds us over and over again that these discoveries are God's very own playful nudges which tell us not to take ourselves so seriously and to find the humor in a world created by a humorous God. Carrying this book around in my bag was like carrying a joy dispenser that I could open and receive at any time of t [...]

    27. This book is written by a Jesuit Priest. It talks about finding the joy and laughter in ones faith and focusing on the joy and abundance that comes from loving God instead of our sinful nature. I enjoyed the humor and stories. The Author is presuasive without being preachy. Authoritative without being condescending and mostly he takes into acount that all of us aren't Catholic. We all have met that serious, cranky, pious person at church who finds comfort in rules and focusing on humans sinful n [...]

    28. Anyone who can convince me to be a "joyful Catholic" is one great writer. And it is those Catholics I've met who are full of joy who make the greatest impression on me. It's even funny to read this book at the beginning of Lent since it recalls one of Martin's favorite "jokes": in the Ash Wednesday Gospel we are told that whenever we fast we should put on a smile, wash our face, and don't let anyone know -- and then the priest covers our forehead with ashes. And I'd like to hang around with Pope [...]

    29. Martin, a Jesuit priest who has been called "The Official Chaplain of Colbert Nation," is convinced that joy, humor and laughter are central to spirituality. Most of the jokes that he tells and examples that he gives are from his own Catholic tradition - all the cartoons on the cover seem to be of Catholics, save Martin Luther, who had a well-known spat with the Catholic Church. However, he does give space to humor in Protestantism and even other religions. When writing about humor, there is alw [...]

    30. Few spiritual writers have that ability to balance the weight of spiritual reflexivity, while at the same time the exteriority of the joy that springs forth from that reflexivity. Fr. Martin demonstrates this perfectly.I myself have written a lengthier (and more reflective) reaction on this book: jeffchuais.wordpress/2012/I would want to recommend this to everyone sincerely yearning for joy in their spiritual lives.

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