Thursday, January 06, 2011

A stand-up morning for a preacher.

by Eric

Nearly every day, I get up way too early. I try to squeeze in a workout and a shower. And then I eat breakfast. While eating, and before my time of devotions and prayer at work, I am on my computer. I watch TV shows on Hulu, listen to music, and catch up on podcasts. But my favorite thing to do during this early morning time of solitude is to watch stand-up comedy. This morning, I watched Louis C.K.'s Chewed Up (one of my favorites...although NSFW) on Netflix. What a way to get the day started, eh?

Now, I like to think of myself as funny (I know what you're thinking..."but looks aren't everything..."), but that's not why I love stand-up. I don't have dreams of being on stage with a microphone, guiding a crowd into roaring laughter.

I love stand-up comedy because it strips away layers of dirt and digs down deep in order to uncover some of the deepest human truths--love, heartbreak, conflict, injustice, and even the mundane. In the face of some big, and often sobering truths, a stand-up comic finds a way to draw out laughter and give joy. A stand-up comic finds a way to speak the truth in a way that not only makes light of it, but empowers those that hear it. Now, I should specify...not ALL stand-up comedy does these things...just good stand-up. There is, of course, a necessary role of jester--simply making people laugh. But even if it gets rude or crude, the noblest of comedy is always deeply honest--and I think, inspiring.

What if we, as preachers, found some guidance in stand-up comedians? What if we weren't afraid to "go there?" What if we didn't just make light of all the suffering and proclaim that "everything will be okay?" What if we truly step into the dark places in life, dwell there and speak to them, in order to provide hope and give life? Because, after all, isn't that what Jesus Christ does at the cross, for us?


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