The Role of Laughter in the Christian Life - page 6


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From the Spring 2015 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

The Role of Laughter in the Christian Life

by Terry Lindvall, Ph.D.
C.S. Lewis Professor of Communication and Christian Thought, Virginia Wesleyan College

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  Third, read and listen to historical saints who display the gladness of God in what they write and say. And when you read the Scriptures, don’t imitate the voice of a shouting televangelist but use a wry Jewish accent. It will vivify the Word with chutzpah and joy.
  Fourth, do not take yourself so seriously. Remember that the opposite of serious is not comic, but trivial; and the opposite of comic is tragic. Thus one can be comic and serious at the same time. With this, retell your own story as a comedy. Some of the best tales come from a tragic beginning, or middle, or even what seems to be the end as in a romantic relationship. Refashion your biography with God as the Director staging a divine comedy not a pathetic tragedy. What this does is put us into a fresh perspective. It allows us to see ourselves from the outside and God on the inside. Even though some of us may be faltering and stumbling through the valley of tears, we can still see the Celestial City up ahead.
  The light of God’s gift of laughter can lighten our load on this pilgrimage. It will bless the company of pilgrims and infect others who want to join the joyous throng. Like the gospel, laughter is contagious and can draw people not only to God but to each other. And that, Evagrius would tell us, is a forgotten virtue that we should practice. 

Terry Lindvall, Ph.D., is C.S. Lewis Professor of Communication and Christian Thought at Virginia Wesleyan College. He is known as an engaging, thoughtful and humorous speaker. He is a C.S. Lewis scholar and expert in American film and media, seeking to see how theology and film can intersect. He is the author of several books including, Surprised By Laughter: The Comic World of C.S. Lewis. He has served as a U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain and has taught at Wheaton College, The College of William and Mary, and also served as President of Regent University.


Recommended Reading:
Terry Lindvall, Ph.D., Surprised by Laughter: The Comic World of C.S. Lewis (Thomas Nelson Inc., 2012)

For C.S. Lewis merriment was serious business, and like no book before it, Surprised by Laughter explains why. Author Terry Lindvall takes readers on a highly amusing and deeply meaningful journey through the life and letters of one of the most beloved Christian thinkers and writers. As Lindvall shows, the unique magic of Lewis’s approach was his belief that explosive and infectious joy dwells deep in the heart of Christian faith. Readers can never fully understand Lewis, his life or his legacy until they learn to laugh with him.




COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.
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