The prophetic work of Jon Stewart...

As a rule, I don't forward or share comments about the political foibles and / or blunders of people I disagree with on Facebook or in my blog. Look, God has given me a super-abundance of loving grace in my days and I want to live more out of gratitude than "gotcha." What's more, being snarky just does not advance the "community of God." 

Don't get me wrong: I still LAUGH at some of the jibs and jabs that partisans post on social media. Some of it is damn brilliant and drop dead funny. But as a rule, I don't think it helps anything for me to the source of sharing these things with other people. I am a pastor. I want to encourage careful listening and deep engagement. I ache for more common ground not additional angst and polarization. And I gotta practice what I preach.


And then came Jon Stewart's recent segment about the current campaign of self-serving and sanctimonious swill being shared yet again by America's ever arrogant but all too ill-informed hawks in support of the Iraq War. He is merciless when it comes to the political garbage being advanced by these politicians - and he does it with humor not cruelty. Make no mistake, Stewart is a partisan who is as liberal as they come. Generally he is an equal opportunity satirist who can skewer the Left as well as the Right. But he is also a man with a deep moral conviction that self-righteousness should be exposed and hypocrisy should be challenged. To my mind, his humor often takes on the truth of the ancient prophets of Israel.


+ Think Amos: I hate, I despise your festivals and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt-offerings and grain-offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. 

+ Think Isaiah: Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn and your healing shall spring up quickly.

+ Think Mary the mother of Jesus: My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. 

With a penetrating clarity, Stewart lets humor expose the horror just below the surface of so much double-speak and posturing. What's more, in a culture often too busy to go deeply and inured by compassion fatigue to even notice the suffering we create in pursuit of power and greed, Stewart grabs our attention and demands a response. Today I give thanks to God for Jon Stewart! 

Comments

ddl said…
Thank you for this reflective post. Sometimes the political humor is beyond me, I confess-- because I can't seem to keep up with the spin doctors, the faces, the names and the nuances. But I can identify with the Facebook stuff, as a relative newcomer to internet beyond email. This has been a learning experience. Recently I dismantled my Facebook account (permanently). Not because of this posting, but because I found FB to be too unsettling and fraught with responses that were being evoked in me. And I have been more and more unsettled with the distant "community" that it purports to have. Not to mention our own pastoral responses and boundaries and a zillion other things that I can't seem to keep up with.
Thank you again for another view on this topic.
RJ said…
Can I relate to that... and thank you for taking the care to care for yourself in this way. We can't love others if we don't love and care for ourselves. Blessings to you.
RJ said…
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