13 March 2007

How Christians Spend Money

Maybe it's because I spent the morning reading about missionary work in Kenya and thinking about other work going on in Uganda. Maybe it's because Sunday night I finally watched The Departed and felt inimitably sad afterwards because of this world's brokenness and how we brought Noel (albeit broken too) into it, such that I am more eager than before for our righteous God to make this world right. And fast, no more dilly-dallying.

But whatever the reason, when a coworker sent an email flyer about a Christian comedian coming to town, I was slightly more than frowny. After all, who but Americans would think "Christian comedian" is a legitimate career choice?

Maybe there's nothing inherently wrong with it. I can imagine a gazillion reasons why it seems ridiculous, but those hinge more on the teleological worthlessness of amusement in general, and I'm just not willing to make the argument that we should only pray and feed the poor but never read novels or watch films or even enjoy silly comedic business from time to time ("am I right?" she asks in that Monty Python way).

But the reality of Christian comedians speaks to our affluence in ways that unsettle me. The emailed flyer essentially declares that American Christians are so rich in time and money but so stressed in energy and affection that they need stand-up comedians to make them happy. And we rich American Christians have so many ways to spend our money that the church needs to organize entertainment for us so that we can feel like we're doing Christian things when we're really just laughing at clean jokes instead of dirty ones. We love to disengage our minds and spend money, and we're practiced at both. We must do them, must.

So it may not be wrong (I certainly don't mean to pick a fight with the coworker about it), but it bugs me. Then again, maybe I'm just a bitter codger who needs to laugh a little.


Micah said...

I'm so going to download this podcast to my ipod and meditate on this next time I'm at Starbucks.

Brent and Kat said...

Jenn - Good musings... Kat and I tried to make it through the critically acclaimed film "Crash" and couldn't make it ~ The world indeed can be so dark. Laughter is good, for sure, but a Christian comedian seems, well, like insincere laughter... Hmmmm?

Shannon said...

The "christian" thing just is somehow out of hand here in the states...at Mardel's here in Dallas they have "christian candy." Truly. As our pastor said, "I didn't know candy was all that sectarian."

Jen Strange said...

Insincere laughter . . . makes me remember Ecclesiastes' praise for the house of mourning. Not that we ought only to be sour-faced Christians--by no means! Just different, so that the commodifying adjective "Christian" in front of comedians and candy just rings a bit false, and capitalistically assimilating. As though stand-up comedy or chocolate really has anything to do with faith.

Micah said...

well, it actually might get worse than Christian candy: www.whatwouldjesusdownload.com may be about the worst thing I've ever seen.