By Joe LaGuardia
Last week, I was addicted to a new channel on XM Radio, which deals with old episodes of the Tonight show with Johnny Carson. I get a kick out of his monologues.
Most intriguing is the humor and relevance that make monologues so timeless. The talk show host brings current events with satire and comedy to the point. This lightens the mood of the most important news, but also keeps people informed about what's going on in the world.
And nobody is exempt from the monologue. Politicians and experts are equally at the crosshairs of hosts who embrace equal opportunities. Lightness is good for the soul and it is good for the nation.
Churches often shy away from current events and news. Since most of the news is divisive, this avoidance gives the illusion that churches are safe spaces in which people of different backgrounds and political backgrounds can worship God without having to face different opinions. We get enough biased media on cable TV, we do not have to be bombarded on Sunday morning – please give us an hour without political comment and a little rest!
But because we avoid politics, our churches are irrelevant, or worse, silent about the day's most urgent problems. Should we Christians, especially in the Church, not frame current events and topics from a biblical perspective, to help our churches understand them differently? Should not we create a safe space for dialogue and cooperation – dare I say, critical thinking – and meaningful discussions that deal with issues and how they might relate to issues of justice and relevance to the Bible?
Silence is the easy way out, and woe to the pastor who, at the other end of the spectrum, produces deviant and divisive words from the pulpit. If you talk about such a problem, it will certainly exclude at least half of their community!
Maybe that's why we need monologues in the church. Think about it: before the invocation and immediately after the salutation, we clergymen – without hiding behind a pulpit or an altar – can stand before our people and convey a different, humorous view of the events of our time. If we add enough recklessness, over time we will build up enough confidence to address sensitive issues as well.
Take, for example, Jimmy Kimmel Live. His monologues are funny and relevant, but after the mass shootings in Las Vegas some time ago he has was dead serious, His tears bore the grief of our nation, and his words summed up our nation's longing for sound weapons legislation.
I feel we are scared, because when we start pastors monologues, sometimes we can fail. These late-night types have professional writers who write jokes everyday. We do not do We are not so smart and writing a sermon is hard enough. Still, I think we should think about it.
Our churches need a good word that is not always formulated in an official sermon.
We must speak from the heart and expose the tears of Christ to the world. We must defend ourselves against instigators who taunt tears and we have to unmask grief that we hide behind entertainment and celebrity culture. And if we do nothing else, at least we have to show people that sometimes laughing is still a good medicine for the soul even in the church.
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