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Laughter Is Good Medicine for the Soul, Say Christian Authors

A new, fresh flow of religious humor is popping up in works being put forth by popular members of the Christian community.

Clergy and believers known for publishing works on life reflection and spirituality are putting a humorous spin on contemporary problems and issues facing the church, as well as political attacks that have been put forth against Christianity, USA Today reports.

In his new book entitled Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life, Jesuit priest and humorist James Martin explains how important it is for Christians to incorporate humor into their faith, and how doing so will enable them to live more spiritual lives. He incorporates personal anecdotes of his time in the priesthood, amusing sidebars, and humorous commentary on scriptural passages to illustrate that God wants his followers to experience joy and laughter in life.

"People who can't laugh have a wrong-headed notion about Christianity and the Bible," Martin told USA Today. "Humor is a sign of God's creativity. Look at giraffes. If Jesus didn't have a sense of humor, he wouldn't have been fully human."

Susan Sparks, pastor of the Madison Avenue Baptist Church and author of a book entitled Laugh Your Way to Grace: Reclaiming the Spiritual Power of Humor, told The Christian Post that humor is an important part of spirituality because it is part of what makes us human.

"Humor is part of who we are as human beings," Sparks said. "We are often taught to check that part of us at the door when we enter church just as easily as we check our coats. But we need to take a holistic approach to spirituality."

Humor has always been somewhat of a taboo subject in various religions, not just Christianity, with many displaying reservations about incorporating it into their spiritual lives. Sparks said she thinks this is because people are taught that it is not acceptable to bring it into the religious sides of who they are.

"Most of us weren't raised to incorporate humor into religion," she said. "We were taught that humor is blasphemous and dangerous; we are not used to it. We grew up with traditional portrayals of a God who did not smile or laugh."

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