“Happy are They that Laugh: Humor as Christian Virtue”

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Join us at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 4 at the Rattlesnake Bar and Grill with the presentations beginning at 7:30 p.m for the second talk in this Nov/Dec series, “Got Virtue? The Liberating & Mirthful Depth of Christian Belief.”

Is it possible to become a virtuous person? If so, how do you obtain the virtues in your life? Or to put in another way, how do you “get virtue”? It’s an old question, one that, for example, the philosopher Aristotle dealt with extensively in the Nicomachean Ethics around 350 B.C. He articulated and expanded upon an intuition that is held by many people, namely that virtue is acquired through habit, that is, through practicing the virtues until they form a virtuous character.  For many people such a path to a virtuous life, however, seems long, difficult, and perhaps even the cause for despair in light of the experience of moral failure. In this series we look at how Jesus Christ, who came into the world “full of Grace and Truth” (Jn. 1:14) in pursuit of you and your good, changes your assumptions about the pursuit of virtue. Join us to be “surprised by virtue” in light of the liberating Gospel of Grace.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

“Happy are They that Laugh: Humor as Christian Virtue”

Rowan Atkinson

Rev’d Gareth C. Evans, Priest in Charge, Church of the Good Shepherd, Acton, MA

Laughter is the outward sign of our innate ability to recognize absurdity, poke fun at ourselves and to connect with others in a light-hearted way. It also speaks to our desire to forgive, restore and reframe reality as it arises. So is having a good laugh integral to our relationship with God as well as necessary for healthy living? And the correction answer is… “I feel an overwhelming urge to explore these issues over a pint while watching funny clips from Monty Python and other purveyors of religious humor.”

Gareth Evans, is an ex-pat gen-X Brit living and working in Acton where he is the priest-in-charge of The Church of the Good Shepherd. He believes that having a sense of humor is a virtue in that it helps to cultivate humility, forgiveness and silly behavior. He is very curious as to how laughter and humor work in sacred settings and how religious humor works in popular culture. In his spare time he goes to the dentist a lot and has a passion for gooey toffee pudding and sticky chocolate cake.

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