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.
Yeah that’s one of mine.
So I don’t feel like I fully fit into either world.
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.)
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.