Monday, April 18, 2011

The Prophetic and the Comedic ...

In his auto-biography "Last Words" the late George Carlin quoted himself from an interview in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner where he noted the role of the comic as a "potential social critic, a philosopher and an evangelist."

As I read those words on the eve of Holy Week, I found myself thinking about the many comics who have inadvertently shaped my ministry and my view of the world ... the list is quite long, but some of the individuals who figure prominently include Carlin, John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Canada's own Rick Mercer, and the late, great and largely unparalleled Bill Hicks.

These folks have the courage and the ability to address issues that mainstream commentators are reluctant to even acknowledge much less poke fun at ... Over and over, I find meaning and direction in the 'comedy' of folks like Carlin, Hicks and the others ... they hold up the sacred cows of our culture, our religion, and our society and ask the tough questions we might otherwise be afraid to ask.

The end result is, while we're laughing we suddenly have the realization that we are laughing most heartily at ourselves ... and that is both enlightening and uncomfortable simultaneously.

This Holy Week, I think a revisit of the dvd of Dogma which stars Carlin in the role of Cardinal Glick, might be in order ... and in the coming weeks having the courage to speak and reflect prophetically with the guidance and inspiration of people like Bill Hicks, George Carlin and other modern jesters who hold an uncomfortable mirror up before us would be apt ...

Today I will say clearly that the church ignores the prophetic and the comedic at its peril.

No comments: