Here was a response to my post on Comedy. Let me know what you think. Lawerence sent this to me through email and he hit some points I didn’t think of and some perspectives that I my narrow mind didn’t search for:
Bro. Lionel,The piece began very well because you intimated that the line was thin. The problem becomes when we mark out the crossing of those thin lines for others. What happens is that what God has told US not to participate in, we automatically think that it applies to everyone. You said that you have wrestled with this before so I don’t think that that necessarily applies to you. I could sense your heart towards the improper treatment of God in entertainment venues and the participation of Christians in Him being taking lightly. However, I would advise caution in this matter. But that’s just general. Now to be more specific as to the article itself:I have never seen this movie “First Sunday”. I, like you, figured that it would be the typical “church satire” film with no substance. I also knew that somehow the unregenerate robbers were going to end up teaching the moral lesson to a group of people who are supposed to belong to God. That’s the typical Hollywood way. The unsaved demonstrating more righteousness than the saved. Now as to whether or not a Christian should find this funny. That’s a tough one. I’m not so pious as to be able to find the humor in just about everything. If I were to see this film and there was a scene that was funny, I would indeed laugh. I love to laugh. But the main question is, “Why am I laughing?” and “What is my laughter communicating to the unregenerate?”. I think most unsaved people who see this movie, already believe that this is exactly what the church is like. In many cases, especially in our community, this is true. So, for the most part, I may be laughing to keep from crying. Or I may be laughing because I don’t recognize how sad this situation is and that this is what we as Christians have communicated to the world. Also can I as an informed Christian set aside the satire, since I know the truth, and just laugh at the humor of it all? I know that it doesn’t represent biblical Christianity. I know that this is not a true picture of the Body of Christ. But I definitely don’t find the other imitations (cults, Word of Faither’s, Oneness Pentecostals, etc.) funny at all. So is there a contradiction there?I have also never seen this ”Talladega Nights” film. I find Will Farrell annoying rather than funny. (Except in the Austin Power movies he was hilarious.) As to his “prayer”, I would say that it was indicative of someone who was more irreligious than irreverent. Granted, there is a disrespectful element to the “prayer” but it is at least given in the context of utter ignorance and not utter disregard for God’s Holiness. But again, this is from a character in the film who is not regenerate. He is in no way meant to instruct anyone in theology. If some adult were influenced by this film to view God that way, I would venture to say that that person is already lost completely. I would , however, be worried about children who watch this film who wouldn’t recognize comedic hyperbole and would take it as serious information. So now, could a Christian find this scene or others like it funny? Maybe. Again, if they recognize it as not being meant to put forth any lesson on theology, they may be able to just find the humor in it all. Perhaps your mind did went into those other considerations when you saw this. Maybe it was an over reaction. Maybe it was a justified reaction. But I don’t believe that it was meant to be legislated and others demeaned as Christians if they did find it funny. But there’s nothing wrong with you raising the question. Nothing at all.Now when it comes to Tyler Perry and “Madea”, I thought that you could have brought up a lot worse examples than you did. This particular example may be another case of a character being irreligious and not irreverent. Also, I think we again have to give some people credit that they can differentiate between what is meant to be taken seriously and what is not. For me “Madea” would be solely entertainment, not instruction in righteousness. I didn’t see in this particular example how she was blaspheming God’s name. Perhaps you had the other “worse” examples in mind and put it all together. If she was blaspheming by under valuing God’s word, then I agree. If it was in feeling that God takes too long, then I think we would all have to do some serious repenting.This line truly is thin. The fact is that I’m not so sure that we wouldn’t be getting into hair splitting over which sins to allow ourselves to be entertained by and which ones to refuse. You mentioned blaspheming God’s name. What about fornication, adultery, lying, cursing, or murder? Trust me bro, if laughing at or being entertain by the sins that others commit is itself sin, then I would venture to say that we can’t watch t.v. or movies at all. No film or television show that we watch could have a villain. And all the people in the film would have to be perfect saints. I remember Paul Washer going on and on about how sick a “John Wayne” film made him. What? I don’t even like westerns but even his explanation as to why, didn’t resonate with me at all. I felt he was overreacting in puritanism. We have to ask God for discernment in those things that He shows us as to whether or not they are just for us.You are right to say that we need to read our bibles more. That way whatever we watch or hear we will be able to do so with our eyes and ears open and saturated with the Word of God. We will be able to know more fully what we should and should not enjoy. I didn’t get excited at the worldly celebrities’ involvement in ”The Bible Experience” or BET’s “Celebration of Gospel”, or American Idol having “Gospel Music Night”, for the very same reasons you mentioned. I believe everyone should stay in their own arena and not be allowed to make money nor gain popularity by stamping “Christian” on their product. I do hope that God does send out His word through the “Bible Experience” though. I haven’t heard it but if they actually read the scriptures, then it’s still the Word of God and it’s still “quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.”!As to the rest I just have a few nits to pick:1) I don’t think that you see any comedy routines in the bible at all, so that point was lost as a “red herring”. Or is it a straw-man? I forget. LOL!!! (Of course there is that great scene with Elijah and the prophets of Baal, that was comedy!)2) When you say that “Pastor” is the highest office in the church, how do you define highest? Structurally?3) The Bible is actually God’s Word given to us. I wouldn’t call it “our word”, even though I know what you were trying to convey. This is actually why I had to back away from commenting. I began to defend God’s Word as if it was indeed mine which meant I began to defend it in a manner that diminished it.So Bro. Lionel, I appreciate you raising the issue and I hope that others pay closer attention now to their entertainment choices. I also appreciate you asking for my input.Be blessed,Bro. Lawrence D.