Between Heaven and Mirth, New Book by Jesuit Priest James Martin Underscores Importance of Joy in a Spiritual Life

A revolutionary look at how joy, humor, and laughter can change our lives and save our spirits

Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by james Martin, SJ
Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by james Martin, SJ
  • Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by james Martin, SJ
    Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by james Martin, SJ
    Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by james Martin, SJ
    Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by james Martin, SJ

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) September 30, 2011

Solemn priests, somber services. Saints frowning from their perches, paintings of Jesus in agony, endless warnings about the wrath of God. Christianity is always so serious.

Or is it? In Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life (Hardcover; October 2011; $25.99), beloved Jesuit priest and bestselling author James Martin reveals the joyful roots of Christianity, urging readers to take a more lighthearted approach to their faith. Arguing against the popular notion of religion as deadly serious, Father Martin reminds us:

  •     The tradition of laughter and joy are found in many of the Bible’s best known stories.
  • The saints, historically miscast as serious, were joyful types—and often humorous.
  • Jesus of Nazareth had both a rich sense of humor and a sharp wit.

 Instead of ignoring sadness and suffering in the world, Martin invites us to find a healthier balance—and to revel in joy, the surest sign of God’s presence. With insights from Martin’s own rich experiences, examples from the lives of the saints, explorations of some overlooked Bible stories, helpful ideas from classic religious texts on joy and laughter, and, yes, even some jokes,Between Heaven and Mirth is a unique and much-needed guide to help rediscover joy, laughter, and delight in God—the most neglected hallmarks of faith.

About the Author
The Rev. James Martin, S.J., is a Jesuit priest, culture editor of America magazine, and New York Times bestselling author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything. Father Martin is a frequent commentator in the national media, having appeared in such diverse venues as The Colbert Report (which refers to Martin as the “Official Chaplain to the Colbert Nation”), NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, PBS’ Newshour, as well as in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Huffington Post. Before entering the Jesuits, he graduated from the Wharton School of Business and worked with General Electric for six years.

Praise for Between Heaven and Mirth

“Weaving funny anecdotes and jokes with biblical and historical research and interviews with scholars, Martin does much to rescue the Christian tradition from joylessness…. 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.”
— Publishers Weekly (STARRED review)

“[Between Heaven and Mirth] suggests numerous ways to foster the strength of gracious good humor makes a wonderful case for replacing suffering and sadness with an abundance of levity and joy.” —Booklist

“Whether you’re Catholic or Pentecostal, Buddhist or Hindu, or stalwart atheist, Martin’s hilarious BETWEEN HEAVEN AND MIRTH will infuse you with this believer’s vivacity for being alive. Martin is a great spiritual teacher, and he can guide you to incorporate humor in daily practice. His book sanctifies the laughter we use both to praise the blessed and to endure the insufferable. A classic.”— Mary Karr, author of Lit

“Father Martin’s Between Heaven and Mirth will make any reader smile, as he wonderfully writes of joy, the joy that God gives us in this world and the world to come. Humor and laughter certainly have an important place in the life that God desires for us all. In these pages, Father Martin reminds us that happiness is the good God’s own goal for us: to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.”
— Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York

“Not only is this book on to something good, but it is onto something foundational and true. I have never met a somber believer who does much good for others in the long run. I have met joyous believers, who even despite their limited theology, heal, change, and transform the world. Jim Martin will tell you why this is true!”
— Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation

BETWEEN HEAVEN AND MIRTH
Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life

by James Martin, S.J.
HarperOne, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
October 2011 | $25.99 | Hardcover | ISBN: 9780062024268