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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Laughing with God

FR. JIM MARTIN, S.J., packed the main chapel this afternoon with 400+ eager people who came from miles around to have a good laugh.

Martin, cultural editor of America magazine and author of several books, including Our Exile (Orbis) and My Life With the Saints spoke about the joy, humor and laughter that marks authentic Christian theology. A superb story-teller and speaker with impeccable comedic timing, Martin had them rolling in the aisle—at least they would have rolled in the aisles had the SRO crowd any room to roll.

He numerated ten points of humor for a Christian spirituality:
1) humor evangelizes. Nothing breaks down barriers of hostility faster than a shared laugh.

2) humor is a tool of humility. It disarms our would-be adversaries and critics.

3) humor can shock listeners with reality. A situation can be presented to show its incongruity or illogic,

4) humor speaks truth to power. This is why dictators are so intolerant of satire.

5) humor shows Christian courage. St. Lawrence asking to be turned on the spit because he was "done on that side."

6) humor deepens our relationship with God. Sarah laughed. (Who wouldn't?)

7) humor welcomes. Ask any cocktail party host.

8) humor heals. It releases endorphins that physically stimulate healing.

9) humor opens our minds. It forces us to make unexpected connections.

10) It's fun! Remind me to tell you about the time I fell into the Korean outhouse...

I will update this post as soon as I decompress from the retreat with 65 high school students. Now THAT was funny!

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