Thursday, 14 October 2010

are christian stand-ups too safe?

Been thinking about comedy. I’m a big fan of mock the week. Especially hugh dennis. He’s a superb and hilarious actor. I especially used to like his double act with Frankie boyle, where boyle would feed the ‘PR’ line from some politician or other public figures’ mouth, and hugh would say what they really meant. The pause before he delivered the line, the razor wit of the actual punchline, the narrowing of the eyes after he said it which self-mockingly seems to say ‘is that what I meant to say?.. is that quite good enough?’… brilliant.
And I’m intrigued by Milton jones, one of the guest panellists. He’s a Christian – was a star turn at greenbelt, where he was a big fish in a small pond. On mock the week he’s a smaller fish in a bigger pond. He’s certainly different from the rest. An absurd, surreal brand of humour, and very pun and word play based. Like tim vine, another Christian one liner merchant. But something bothers me about them both. Does their Christian standpoint, which keeps their humour very clean, also make it too safe? No swearing, no attacks on public figures… and no satire. An intriguing question. The others show a greater freedom to be dark, edgy and let’s face it sometimes a bit dirty. And I find them often hilarious. Whereas with Milton, the need to be clean can sometimes feel like an inhibitor, leaving me wondering when he’s about to say something… will this actually be very funny? To be continued…

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Stephen Hawking's Universe

Last part last night on C4. The ball bearings on college floor perfectly aligned and still, remove a few and see how they re-pattern - illustration of process of formation of universe, the removal of the few ball bearings representing the inherent ‘imperfection’ that gravity could get its teeth into, leading to the clustering of material and formation of galaxies, stars, planets… The revelations of science enthrall the modern mind. The awe I have seen from atheist bloggers like billy jonathan and lee in past comes from here. Hawking’s response to the suggestion ‘surely there must be a higher design at work’ - ‘not necessarily’, and posit’s the notion of multiple universes of which we happen to be inhabiting one conducive to life.
I’m intrigued by the questions this raises. The mind of course pushes back further.. So, ok Mr H, you’re saying this universe is like a cosmic roll of the double six (with the odds magnified exponentially methinks). But still, still we ask why, why are we here, and intuitively we ‘know’ there’s something deeper going on. What drove the formation of the universe? - a question posed early in the programme. Answer: gravity.. And you say, yeah, of course that’s the science, but, come on, the mystery and marvel of existence and life, there’s more to it…
Does not biblical truth need ‘unpacking’ with the same love and reverence scientists devote to their science, so the richness of its truth may be seen in place of the cut out cardboard cartoon caricatures some of the Dawkins disciples laugh at?

Saturday, 2 October 2010

a jesus to get excited about

Jesus. What a guy. Look, gonna be honest here. He can often seem pretty remote. You can imagine if you were there in the crowd or one of the disciples back then, being pretty excited.. But I’m probably not alone in finding it often not easy to locate his presence, relevance, activity in my 21st century daily life. Not easy doesn’t mean there’s no point - it could just be especially challenging. There may be ways my eyes need to be opened to ways he’s already ‘doing stuff’ with me. Maybe I partly need to just chill and learn to savour a little more.
But I’ll tell you one thing. Compared to a lot if not most stuff I’ve read about jesus in christian books or songs, I do LOVE the way he’s portrayed in the gospels. I mean compare and contrast. In that popular book the shack which got a fair bit of attention in the christian world, I frankly cringed at many of the passages about the jesus figure. In jeans, smiling broadly, like some glowing all american boy saying corny movie lines, jesus smiled gently, jesus just gave me a big hug etc. sentimental yuk some of it. (ok who knows maybe I got some issues here;) ). But then I read a passage like mark 9 vv 14 to 29 this morning, jc healing a demon-possessed boy. The stripped back raw drama. The crowd enthralled with him. ‘how long must I put up with this faithless generation?’ no mincing there. his cool authority over this nasty, ugly, violent demon, telling it where to go. The boy suddenly looking like a corpse so most think he’s dead, and - imagine it - the thrill of awe as he is raised. THIS is a jesus you can get excited about.