I mentioned Between Heaven and Mirth, Father James Martin’s insightful book on “holy humor,” in my recent reflection on Easter joy. Over at RELEVANT Magazine today I gave this book a full revew. Here’s an excerpt:
[W]hat so puzzles and saddens [Martin] is that those who claim to be in relationship with a loving, joy-giving God often act so … dour.
By consistently including both modern and classic views on humor, Martin prevents readers from blaming believers of a certain time period for taking lightheartedness out of the spiritual life. He shares sentiments from curmudgeonly early church leaders and Saints (e.g. Saint Basil’s warning that Christians “ought not to laugh or even suffer laugh makers”). Alongside these cranky legacies, though, are examples of ancient spiritual leaders who lived with boisterous, and brave joy—such as Saint Lawrence, a martyr who famously cracked a joke while being roasted alive.
In past and present, there have been both believers who have gotten the gift of levity wrong and believers who have managed to get it right, reveals Martin. Whose testimonies bear better witness to the God being served? He does not have to tell you, you easily see it.
(Continue reading here.)