21 September 2007

Who's Talkin' 'bout My Jesus?!

I never even heard of Kathy Griffin. I don't own a television. But a seminary friend sent me an article about the 100,000 bones that a Christian group put up for AN ADVERTISEMENT shaming Kathy for her comments at the Emmies.


This is the some of the problem in seminary. A generous sense of humor is decidedly lacking. I attribute this in almost all cases to
insecurity, a thriving virus in the hyper-sensitive fear-saturated environment. Reasons for insecurity in seminary: fear of someone finding out you're not worthy of ordination, fear of someone telling your bishop/commission on ministry/other authority figure you're not worthy of ordination, fear of someone not liking you and telling someone else in the Episcopal Fishbowl you're not worthy of ordination, fear of failing the General Ordination Exams and linking this to your unworthiness for ordination -- friends, it goes on.

If I'm afraid that laughing at comments like Kathy's may compromise my future career, I'm going to look around at everyone before I laugh, and I may laugh in private, just to be sure. And maybe I will go ahead and not tell anyone which TV shows I watch, and maybe I need another beer, because all this hiding, trying to be on the safe side , is making me feel pretty anxious.

Or, if I'm not afraid, I laugh and jokes and make them. I don't even confine my jokes to lame seminary content like who wears a chausable* and who doesn't. If I'm not afraid, I'm relaxed and eager to relax with my colleagues and friends. If I'm not afraid, my Ember Day letters** include tales of "taking on the chapel and what I learned from it." If I'm not afraid, I ask for help when I need it, read what seems most important, and trust that all the committees and authorities would help me live through my potentially low GOE** scores.

Not everyone has it easy. Some are already persecuted or have generated their committees' skepticism for various reasons: sexual orientation, marital status, personality type, past arguments with "important people," or 1 + strikes already against them. But to operate, even as an underdog, out of insecurity, whether as an aspirant* among postulants/candidates or as a Christian among non-Christians, is never the answer. Operating from fear and insecurity is self-destructive. And honestly? It makes a person boring to be around.

So please. Take a joke, sit back, relax. Get comfortable as a Christian in a world of non-Christians. It's not that popular to love Jesus these days. And if you're even considering spending $100,000 to "stick up for Jesus," you're helping to make him all that less popular.

* My first week of seminary classes I grew very afraid when I heard two priests amusing themselves with a "joke" about chausables. Chausables are a liturgical vestment, and if you didn't know that, congratulations!

** I apologize to the 99.99% of the non-Anglican population for this post being written in Episcopalese. One good site for translation issues is here.


From a post-comment interview with Kathy:

And when you did win, you pointedly did not thank Jesus in your acceptance speech, right?

Here's what I said exactly: ''A lot of people get up here and thank Jesus for helping them win this award, but I have to say nobody has been less helpful in getting me to this moment than Jesus. I don't know what I ever did to him, I just think he doesn't like me that much, and if he had his way, Caesar Milan would be holding this statue right now, but he's not and I am! So I guess all I can really say is, 'Suck it, Jesus! This statue is my God now!'''