This week on Interfaith Voices, I interviewed Jesuit Fr. James Martin, author of a terrific new book called Between Heaven and Mirth.
This guy has to be the best-known Jesuit in the country since Dan Berrigan protested the Vietnam War in the 1960s. He's been on Stephen Colbert's show, and his book has been featured in the Washington Post, on Religion and Ethics Newsweekly and on The Huffington Post and now on Interfaith Voices.
His message is simple: Spirituality does not require being dour, grim or serious. In fact, humor, joy and laughter are central to the spiritual life. Not peripheral. Central.
When I interviewed Jim, I used some of the soundtrack from The Sound of Music, where Maria's frolicking behavior is dubbed a problem -- of course -- by her abbess. Jim agreed that this is a great example of the culture of gloom that has surrounded traditional religion. And it need not be so.
I resonate with that message. I've often said that one of the greatest signs of holiness is a good sense of humor. And it's an interfaith phenomenon: Whenever I see the Dalai Lama, who is truly a jovial personality, I often think his joy is a sign of a deep spirituality.
This delightful interview can be found here.