Woody Allen Jesus
There’s been some controversy over in England this week over a song written and performed by Tim Minchin. Recorded for the Jonathan Ross Christmas show, the song was pulled at the last minute for fear it may offend. Because the song was making fun of Jesus. The head of ITV got nervous that Christians would respond poorly and axed the song. You know what? I’m a card carrying Jesus lover. I’m a committed Christian and a minister in his church. And I found this song hilarious.
Minchin takes a look at Jesus and compares him to people like Woody Allen. He takes all those things about Jesus that seem a bit weird and tries to make sense of them. Does he make Jesus look stupid? I don’t think so. What I think he does well is shine a light on the areas of our faith that we sometimes take for granted. And we really shouldn’t.
Jesus performed miracles. Were these just stunts? If they actually happened, we need to think through how this impacts our view on Jesus. Was he magic? Or something more?
Did Jesus rise from the dead? If he did, what does this tell us about who Jesus is and the nature of the resurrection? I often point out the “zombie apocalypse” in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 27:51-53) and have a laugh. Do we return from the dead as brain eating zombies? Or does the resurrection tell us something fundamental about life and what has happened to sin?
Was Jesus born of a virgin? What does it mean for the nature of Jesus that he was conceived without a sexual act? What impact does this have upon both his humanity and his divinity?
These are questions we need to ask. All to often we hand wave the difficult questions about Jesus. We take a look at the weird stuff and we just hide it in a corner and ignore it. The weird stuff is important! The stuff that doesn’t make sense needs to be brought to light and wrestled with. A Jesus that conforms entirely within a scientific rationalist mind set is not the real Jesus. Because he is so much more than that. By ignoring the weird stuff, we are selling Jesus short.
It’s Christmas Eve as I write this. Tonight and tomorrow I’m going to be sharing the message of the incarnation with people. That God himself came into this world as a baby to save us from the punishment we deserve. By the world’s standards, this is fantastical lunacy. Yet I believe it to be 100% true. I’m not afraid of the weird stuff.
We should thank Tim Minchin for this song. Thank him for carefully putting together this song in a way that is not aggressive or dismissive. He’s not on our team. He could have been mean and nasty. Instead he’s given us a gift. Not only did I laugh heartily out loud, he’s kept Jesus in discussion this Christmas. Because the worst thing the media could do to us this Christmas is not ridicule us. The worst thing they could do is not attack us. No, the worst thing they could do would be to ignore us.
Praise be to Jesus!
Praise be to Magic Woody Allen Zombie Superman Komodo Dragon Telepathic Vampire Quantum Hovercraft Jesus!