I have a new post at Jesus Shaped Spirituality called “Jesus Says Cross the Line.”
I have all the stuff with me for a podcast, but it’s hard to do podcast production when you are on the road. I’m sorry to not get something out this week, and I’ll do my best, but this is one of the few weeks I’m not going home for a day. (Anyone want to do my laundry?)
The George Carlin post has generated more comments that I’ve chosen not to post than any post in IM history. It’s amazing. And I want to say a few things about it.
1. Obviously, a chunk of commenters never read the post at all. That’s actually pretty normal for the blogosphere.
2. I’ve turned down at least 20 posts that in various ways say “Christians shouldn’t use profanity.” Ok….what are you talking about? The fact that Carlin used profanity (as do billions of people) and that I chose to say some good things about Carlin means that I’m somehow advocating the use of profanity?
Why don’t you run a long list of Carlin’s other vices and provide admonishments to avoid all of them as well? Since some of you apparently do little more in life than lecture other adults as if they were your kindergarten class, you should really expand outward and save us from drug use, making fun of politicians, doing the Hippy Dippy weatherman routine, etc.
3. There are some people who have decided that if a person is an atheist or says untrue things about God, then that person should be treated as an enemy, and derided in puritanical terms as deserving of disrespect and insults.
If Carlin said things about your religion that really offend you, that doesn’t mean that I can’t say Carlin said and did some things with his life that are worth taking note of. A thoughtful consideration of a life of a non-Christian actually can contain more analysis than “He was an awful man and he’s in hell. Think about that!”
You wonder why we can’t come up with thoughtful Christian discussion? You have to get past the mob with pitchforks. Seriously, if you don’t want to engage this kind of discussion, but feel you have to throw cold water on it, just go away.
4. Carlin did a COMEDY ACT. Why is it that some Christians have decided that because a comedy routine, movie or television show can be analyzed on the level of a worldview, then you must take everything that was said and done as seriously as a sermon?
Assuming Carlin was the atheist he purported to be, all reports are that he was a genuinely nice guy. He was a husband who lost a wife. He was a brother, a father and a friend. He was made in the image of God. I believe Jesus loved him and died for him. (Sorry Calvinists.) I think God was extremely fond of him. What went on between Carlin and God in that hospital is beyond what any one of us knows.
But here’s the thing: I need to be a decent enough human being to see the worth in my fellow human beings. If what your religion has done for you amounts to contempt and venom for your fellow human beings and certainty of your own moral superiority, then you can keep it. It’s got nothing I’m interested in and you’re wasting your time trying to preach that in these comments. Unless Jesus actually hates people, then Jesus has nothing to do with what a few commenters are saying. Down here in the basic class, I’m trying to love the atheists that wind up in my classes.
5. Several of you have admonished me to not say preachers don’t tell the truth. I appreciate the correction and I have edited that statement a bit. However, I’m at a point in my life that you have a real uphill climb ahead of you if you want to convince me that the Christian ministry, in large part, but not universally, is staffed with people who will tell you the truth about life. I don’t doubt they will tell you the truth about God, but the truth about life still seems to be rather elusive.
The truth about marriage, illness, money, families, mortality and so on is not doing real well among Christianity as I observe it. If I want to actually hear the truth and not some 5 step program for getting God’s Best, I may have to go to someone other than an “official” Christian. For some reason, we’ve developed a culture where just saying nonsense and religious noise is considered quite acceptable.
I’ve had it with that aspect of Christianity. I want some integrity and authenticity before I hear what you’ve got to say about all the things God has told you to say. I don’t want to have to deal with the hard truth of life AND the sudden discovery that what the church told me was pretty much a lot of spin.
When the church tells the truth, the church is really helpful. When it chooses to pump out “religious” versions of various popular myths, the church can make things worse.
One one other subject….Thursday, Friday and Saturday of next week I’m doing two seminars at Cornerstone ’08. One is on Dispatches from the Evangelical Wilderness, and will be about how those of us who relate to post-evangelicalism can make this journey with some sanity. (Don’t read my Carlin comments would be a start.) The other seminar is on Transparency and Vulnerability, and that’s what I’m going to talk about, especially as Christians need to practice it in community.
If you can float a loan for gas and tickets, and if you can get past the crowds that will be hearing Shane Claiborne, come tell me that my accent is really amazing.