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Book Review: Laughter Is Sacred Space

September 20, 2012

Laughter is Sacred Space

I have been a fan of actor Ted Swartz for quite a few years. I first became acquainted with his work while attending a youth ministry convention in the late 1990’s. He was performing with Lee Eshleman, as the duo Ted & Lee. And I still remember being drawn to the simple yet powerful way these two gifted performers not only made me laugh, but made me think. A wonderful mix of theology, comedy, and creativity.

In Laughter Is Sacred Space: The Not-So-Typical Journey of a Mennonite Actor, Ted Swartz invites us deep into his own life and experience, including the tragic loss of Lee in 2007. Such an invitation requires vulnerability, as a person opens themselves up and reveals the very intimate details of their journey. Laughter Is Sacred Space recounts the story of the creative artist while also speaking to deep issues like friendship, mental health, grief, spirituality and healing. It takes great courage to offer an invitation like this, and it is a gift to each person who engages with his story.

For me, some highlights from the book include the inside look at his creative process. I am so fond of the end product he produces for the audience-a creation that offers opportunity for both deep laughter and reflection. This glimpse of his creative work indicates just how personal this process is to Ted. I also appreciated Ted’s journey of wrestling with questions of vocation, identity, and change: being in seminary, yet sensing a desire to explore acting and theater. I resonate with his sentiment that “a life of an open mind and heart guarantees that you will change” (97). As a reader I felt inspired to reflect on growth and change and the importance of each.

I am grateful for Ted’s willingness to allow us to laugh, to grieve, and to explore life with him. This practice is truly sacred space, and I highly recommend the book. I hope that through this medium a larger audience might be introduced to a very gifted artist, and that perhaps we all might discover a little more about what it means to be human.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2012 4:51 pm

    Thanks for your review – I look forward to reading this book!

  2. October 22, 2012 8:51 pm

    April, thank you for reading and for your comment. I’m a fan of your work (I’ve used Making Disciples in 2 congregations), and am looking forward to your next book! Thanks again.

  3. October 26, 2012 11:08 am

    You’re very welcome – I’m relatively new to blogging and reading other blogs, and want to fit that in with pastoring and other writing too!

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