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Between Heaven and Mirth

Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life

Author(s): James Martin

ISBN13: 9780062024251

ISBN10: 0062024264

Publisher: HarperOne (2 Oct 2012)

Extent: 272 pages

Binding: Paperback

Size: 2 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm

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  • In Between Heaven and Mirth, James Martin, SJ, assures us that God wants us to experience joy, to cultivate a sense of holy humor, and to laugh at life’s absurdities—not to mention our own humanity. Father Martin invites believers to rediscover the importance of humor and laughter in our daily lives and to embrace an essential truth: faith leads to joy.


    Holy people are joyful people, says Father Martin, offering countless examples of healthy humor and purposeful levity in the stories of biblical heroes and heroines, and in the lives of the saints and the world’s great spiritual masters. He shows us how the parables are often the stuff of comedy, and how the gospels reveal Jesus to be a man with a palpable sense of joy and even playfulness. In fact, Father Martin argues compellingly, thinking about a Jesus without a sense of humor may be close to heretical.


    Drawing on Scripture, sharing anecdotes from his experiences as a lifelong Catholic, a Jesuit for over twenty years, and a priest for more than ten, and including amusing and insightful sidebars, footnotes, and jokes, Father Martin illustrates how joy, humor, and laughter help us to live more spiritual lives, understand ourselves and others better, and more fully appreciate God’s presence among us. Practical how-to advice helps us use humor to show our faith, embrace our humanity, put things into perspective, open our minds, speak truth, demonstrate courage, challenge power, learn hospitality, foster effective human relations, deepen our relationship with God, and ... enjoy ourselves. Inviting God to lighten our hearts, we can enjoy a little heaven on earth.

  • James Martin

    James Martin, S.J., is a Jesuit priest, culture editor of America magazine, and the author of many books including the New York Times best-seller The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life (HarperOne, 2010) and My Life with the Saints (Loyola, 2007), which has sold over 100,000 copies. A frequent commentator on NPR, a recurring guest as “chaplain” to the Comedy Channel’s “The Colbert Report,” and a blogger on The Huffington Post, he is widely regarded as one of the most popular Catholic writers today.

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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 York?


    So a humor book and a serious theology book meet up in a bar...” Martin, a Jesuit who is something of a regular on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, makes a strong case for the necessity of humor in the spiritual life, offering what he calls “a serious argument for joy.” Weaving funny anecdotes and jokes with biblical and historical research and interviews with scholars, Martin does much to rescue the Christian tradition from joylessness. In his telling, church history is filled with levity if you only know where to look—his portrayal of St. Teresa of Avila shows her to have been downright hilarious, and Jesus himself drew upon humor in ways we don’t always appreciate when we read the Gospels today. Rather than laughter’s trivializing faith, Martin sees humor as a faithful response to God, a default stance that invites other people into God’s family.Winsome and comical but also provocative and thoughtful, Martin’s book is a breath of fresh air for those who would take religion—and themselves—too seriously.(Oct.)


    - Publishers Weekly


    From 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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Between Heaven and Mirth