Jesus Watches Comedy Central

I have a friend who, in a note on Facebook, attempted to assert her piousness by stating that she never “listened to a single secular song or watched a single secular TV show.” This was not, as I’m aware I’ve made it sound, done to make herself sound great or to flaunt her “holiness,” but merely to make it known as background information that she is, in fact, a good Christian.

This was over two years ago, and I still think about it on a regular basis.

Now, before you misinterpret me, let me make it clear: this woman is amazing, and she really does love Jesus a lot. I write none of the above to criticize her.

Unfortunately, though, she is not the only person I know who thinks (and lives) this way.

I’m just not the same.

I love music. On perhaps an unhealthy level. Our spare bedroom is half-filled with musical instruments and the collective gigabyte count of music between my husband and I rivals some radio stations.

Some of my favorite bands/artists include NeedtoBreathe, Death Cab for Cutie, Gavin DeGraw, MuteMath, Mumford & Sons, Andy Grammer, Fitz and the Tantrums, Tyrone Wells, Coldplay…the list could go on for a very long time. Some of these artists sing about Jesus. Some of them don’t.

I also love all things funny. I watch TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, Futurama, Mythbusters, 30 Rock, Friends, and (of course) Arrested Development. I love movies like Juno, Our Idiot Brother, Away We Go, and many other sarcastic comedies. I adore bloggers like Brittany Gibbons (barefootfoodie.com), Meredith Soleau (lifescrazyjoke.com), Matthew Inman (theoatmeal.com), Randall Munroe (xkcd.com), and Reza Farazmand (poorlydrawnlines.com). All these shows/movies/people make me laugh, sometimes so hard that I’m afraid it might kill me.

The problem is, aside from a couple of those bands, I couldn’t say the names of just about anything up there in a church without someone “praying for my soul.”

My enjoyment of these things is not because there are no Jesus-following versions (Extreme Days, anyone?), I just simply enjoy them. I relate to them on a deep, unexplainable level. And I refuse to stop doing so because they aren’t “holy enough” for other Christians.

Because the thing is, we were made to enjoy life.

This is not to say that our lives will be easy. Following Jesus is the via dolorosa, it is hard, and you will, in one way or another, be crucified. There are no shortage of biblical stories that attest to this. There are, however, plenty of verses that remind us, despite these difficulties, we are to “count it all joy,” to praise Jesus, to find happiness in the midst of our struggles.

Following Jesus doesn’t mean that you are now required to be serious all the time, or, like the ever-popular Vintage 21 videos state, “No laughing, unless it’s at how stupid the devil is.”

It means being joyful in spite of how difficult this kind of life can be.

Folks, there is no better way to stick it to Satan than to enjoy life. The mission statement of Hell is to destroy, to make things worse, and certainly to eradicate joy.

I am on a mission to find joy everywhere, whether that place loves Jesus or not.

I’m not saying that we can do whatever we want, as long as it makes us happy, because God wants us to be happy. That is hedonism, and it is not awesome. Deliberately seeking out sin does no good for anything. Happiness is a fleeting emotion.

But, those artists, and shows, and movies, and bloggers I mentioned above? That’s not their aim. They’re being real about life. They don’t romanticize the pain that comes with living. But they do look at the world in a way that says, “To Hell with all of you, I am going to make the best of this. I will turn this into something beautiful. I will find joy, and I will share it.”

Because joy is so much more than being happy. It is being full of something that is greater than any pain you might encounter. It is laughing into the mouth of the lion about to devour you. It does not deny pain, rather, it overcomes it.

Even though I haven’t met a single one of them, these people are so much more real to me than many of the ultra-religious Christians I know personally. They aren’t stiff. They don’t protest non-Christian TV shows or set fire to non-Christian records (as much as Arrested Development might think so).

They seek joy.

And I’ll be damned if I won’t too.

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3 thoughts on “Jesus Watches Comedy Central

  1. Good thoughts sister. I agree with much (if not all) of what you said. First a warning: This may not make sense or flow, but just think of it as one of our conversations. I’m just ridiculously annoyed and a ranting mood right now (not with you or this blog, just in general).

    However, I continually get frustrated with this conversation at the same time. Here I’m not talking about your particular blog, just this dialogue of Christian “things” vs Non-Christian “things”. It is frustrating to me how much Christian has become marketable. It’s not a bad thing that there are musicians, authors, directors, etc. that are Christians and also want their work to reflect that. It’s just frustrating what gets done with that by businesses and the Church (which sometimes works as more of a business). On the other hand there are many Christians who make art that my not be specifically “Christian” (in the ways the businesses and Church) would like to be, but is no less “Christian” than the other stuff. An example of that is the Aqua Teen Hunger force creator is the leader of the Bible study at the Adult Swim offices.

    Ugh… I’m just fuckin frustrated. That isn’t thrown in their to be “cool” or “rebellious”. It’s just the truest sense of my feeling. I’m frustrated with the ultra conservative, the ultra liberal, the middle of the road, or the one who doesn’t have the balls (or the vagina, keeping it gender neutral for you) to stand up for what they believe. I hate this place where I just feel like I can’t be content. I assume you can relate to that. Maybe in a way it’s what we are called to do? At least for myself, I know I need to get better how to handle that.

    Alright, where were we? Right, “Christian” stuff. Especially since I have been writing for a “Christian” music website, I have continued to grow in my frustration. Like you, I am a fan of “Christian” music and I am a fan of music that falls into the secular world. Also, I am a fan of Christians who make music that isn’t “Christian” music. What the hell did I even say? I think the biggest mistake is the fact that their is a separate genre. Not that people should be ashamed, and not admit that they are Christians and they make their music for worship. But do they really need a genre to do that for them? The more I interact with those in that industry, the more I get the same feeling from them. Also, the dirtiness of the business it has become. That is why that I love Chad Johnson left T&N to start Come and LIve. So what do we do it with it? I love that type of music because that is how I experience worship. Is that experience on limited to a certain type of band? By no means

  2. But I do love when For Today or some other band sings (or screams, in my case) about God and faith. Or I love David Crowders new 34 track of ridiculousness that is just a beautiful composure of joy (to me at least). The reason I love the metal scene of Christians so much is because their is a realness that is so lacking in the other areas of “Christian” music. There are rare exceptions such as John Mark, Gungor, and at times I would include DCB in that as well. But overall you are dead on with with your real world observations.

    That stupid posting by accident killed my flow, but I am going to try to throw something together here. ugh..

    However as you said that doesn’t mean we seek out harmful things. Where I feel like we gotta be careful with this is that some things that may be harmful to me are not to you. There are many things (that I use to love) that I won’t take part in. Whether it be music or movies or something completely different. Sometimes these things could be referred to as anti-Christian, but other times they may not. However, these are things that impact me negatively and are harmful to me as a person and as a follower of Christ. So in a sense there are things that I won’t do because I am a Christian. However, I feel and I think you may agree that is in a different sense than described above. It’s not because I’m high and mighty are terrified of rules and regulations. It’s because it is either physically or spiritually harmful to me. Many of my favorite films, I either don’t watch or a skip through because I won’t watch explicit (lots of nudity, etc) scenes. I think I could make a fair argument that people in general should stay away from that. But I know I have a past full of lots of crap in that category and I just don’t need it. It’s not because it’s something I constantly struggle with anymore. But what I should I feed the temptation? There are many examples in my life I could share, but the point is the same in all of them.

    Although I know many people like you described and I have great love for all of them. But at the same time I know many people who may come off as this, but have very different reasons than being “Ultra-Chrsitian”.

    Ok, anyways. I don’t really know where I began or ended with this. This is not a rebuttal to anything you said. This is just a combination of things that I’ve been thinking about and a reflection on some of what you wrote.

    So since I lost my flow I am just going to be done. That probably makes this post all the more confusing, but as I said it was a rant more than anything. Ugh.. now back to trying to get my head screwed on, but yet keeping it loose enough that in can easily be adjusted if needed.

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