Christian. Comedian. But definitely not a Christian Comedian.

or, My Feelings can be Best Expressed Through the Popular Children’s Dance The Hokey Pokey

Lately I’ve been struggling a lot with where exactly I fit in.  Mostly because of my faith. I am a Christian, yes. I do Comedy, yes. But the idea of being labeled a Christian Comedian kind of makes me want to vomit.  It takes me back to the days of middle school youth group where everything I did had to have the “big-C” adjective attached to it.  I hung out with my Christian friends, listening to Christian Rock, and other types of Christian music. I read Christian fiction, by Christian authors. And I listened to Christian comedians. Namely this guy Mark Lowry. Who I thought was hilarious!

Hey I was 12 ok. And to a 12-year-old, jokes about broccoli with cheese sauce are hilarious. Let me repeat that, to a 12-year-old.

But that was also at a time in life where my entire universe was insulated inside this plastic dome of Southern Texas Christianity.

Now no offense to any Mark Lowry fans out there, (and I know you are out there, I’ve seen the numbers, he’s more famous that I am.) But I can’t do that. I can’t make jokes about undercooked vegetables, and about how Mexican food in Texas is better than in Mexico. (that’s true by the way.) There’s more to life than that.  And as a comedian and just, as  a writer, I want to explore that. The intricacies of life that make us laugh, and cry, and feel connected on a greater plane of consciousness.

I want to explore the slightly uncomfortable.

Jokes

shameless self promotion

Yeah that’s one of mine.

So I don’t feel like I fully fit into either world.

churchcomedyvenndiagram

As you can see by the Venn Diagram class, that the areas of intersect… oh…

As a Comedian. More and more, other comedians that I work with are starting to recognize that I am a Christian. Or at least that I’m different than most comedians. Whether it’s in my material, my jokes, my persona, or just how I handle myself before and after shows.  And even how I’m pursuing my career. And with all that, I don’t feel like I fully fit into the comedy circle.

Likewise I don’t feel like I fully fit into the “Big-C” Christian circle either.  As a “Big-C” Christian community, we tend to be very insular. Hanging out with Christian friends. Doing Church activities. Small groups. Life Groups. Prayer groups. Retreats. And of course your weekly Sunday brunch. Leaving not much time for anything outside the church community. Which I completely understand, we naturally gravitate to like-minded people.  I do the same with the people I spend all my time with. (though I do disagree with how sealed off from the rest of the world that makes the “big-C” Church.)

We’re growing good strong Christians in here.

But with my schedule, I don’t really have the option of feeling a part of that community. I play in bars, comedy clubs, theatres, touring when I’m lucky, and then when I’m between gigs, I wait tables at a restaurants. All of which means that nightly, I’m getting off of work at about midnight, on a good day… er, night…  When my church friends are all already asleep.

At some point I’m going to write a post about “Being a Christian working ‘Non-Christian’ hours” and whenever it’s up I’ll link to it here.

I don’t know if there’s an actual solution.  I love my comedy friends. They’re some amazing and hilarious(go figure) people. I love that they give me a hard time about my religion. About the fact that despite a late show on Saturday night, I’m still fighting to get up for Church on Sunday morning. I love it when they ask me tough questions that I don’t have an answer for. Or when they ask my how I can call myself a Christian when they see all the deplorable stuff on the news that so-called ‘christians’ are doing. Or when they say I’m not like most Christians they know. Or the fact that one of my closest friends and collaborators is a proud atheist. And we get talk about it.

I just wish I had someone of my own call after sitting down to dinner at 1:15am on a Tuesday, and I’m wrestling with my own crisis of faith.

6 thoughts on “Christian. Comedian. But definitely not a Christian Comedian.

  1. hey friend… I think I’ve recommended this to you before, but there’s a writer/blogger named Jon Acuff who started a blog called stuff Christians like that talks about what you’re talking about here… how we make Christian stuff and sometimes that gets in the way of Christ. Anyway, he writes books now that have sort of a Christian lens, but without being a Christian author necessarily… in fact his books are on best seller lists for reading on career and business, and not just Christian best seller lists. He is unabashed about his faith, but also writes about silly pop culture stuff on Twitter. He gets it, like you do. You might enjoy studying him and seeing how he does it.

    Also, you introduced me to Rob Bell, and I’m in love with his quote- Christian is a great noun, but a horrible adjective. I use it as a cop out sometimes, but I think it’s such a huge truth.

    And I don’t know what church you’re going to, but you might consider checking out Tim Keller’s church in NYC- when I was there they had lots of groups that met, and there was one specifically for artist types because of the wacky schedules but also the general interest of the groups. And this is way cooler than the groups that crop up like that in say a Texas suburban church because YOU ARE IN NY! There are so many people struggling with the same thing as you, just have to find them, and that’s one place to look.

    I like the I want a ___________ baby joke…

    Like

    • I’m a huge fan of “Stuff Christian’s Like”! He’s hilarious. Yes I do have an amazing church that I’m going to. It’s just a scheduling issue, mostly. Also I’m way too busy. And I say that all the time. If feel like that’s becoming a defense mechanism and excuse, more tan a reason… hmmm new blog post coming soon… I just do too much. As I usually do. And then complain when I don’t have time to do more…

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  2. not gonna lie, i ended up here in a roundabout, admittedly quasi-creepy way: i got matched with someone on coffee meets bagel who went to my college and was on fb trying to figure out who it is (we share just one mutual friend) and saw another alumnus’ profile and heard a bit of your podcast with said alumnus.

    anywayyyy. i don’t even know if you’d see this but i’m part of a church that meets in the evening and know of other churches that also meet in the evening.

    to add to your thoughts: many christians experience the tension you feel, especially christians in creative professions. but what has helped me is (re)claiming the truth that the whole earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, which makes the sacred-secular dichotomy false.

    anyhow. looking forward to listening to the rest of your podcast and would be happy to recommend churches that i know of that meet later on sundays with contingents of creatives.

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