Are Christians sick of being the butt of jokes?
That was the premise of an article in The Australian newspaper in light of crass Aussie radio announcer Kyle Sandilands slap down of Christianity and the Virgin Mary on air.
Sandilands had said on air that Christians are “as dumb as dog sh@#” for accepting the idea that Mary conceived Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit, rather than it being an adulterous affair behind Joseph’s back. Of course Kyle said it for laughs, cos that’s the purpose of his radio show – laughs. Live on-air radio comedians depend on laughs for listeners.
No laughs, no listeners. No listeners, no ratings. And no rating, you lose your career with as much chance of it being resurrected as there was likelihood that Jesus was resurrected. Oh, wait a minute!
The article writer, Anne Hitchings did a sterling job in refusing to call for Sandilands’ sacking, as many others have. She did comment on the comparison with Israel Folau, as indeed many others have too, but took a divergent view on whether he should be face the same punishment. I agree with Anne on this one.
But where I part ways with her is in her statement that Christians are sick of being the butt of other peoples’ jokes. I’m not. I take it as a badge of honour. Especially when it’s the likes of Kyle Sandilands making the comment. She makes this comment:
Christians are sick to death of being the butt of every joke. We are sick of the double standard that affords every other group the right to be offended, to be protected from insult and even from being sacked for expressing their beliefs.
To be honest, I’m not. Occasionally it gets to me, but it comes with the territory, especially in a culture like ours that has collectively claimed to be wise, and in the process has been foolish. Expect to be the butt of more and more jokes folks, cos the culture is just getting stupider!!
And while I have sympathy with Anna’s assessment, being spoken well of is, from what Jesus said, a sign that we’re doing something wrong. Getting merit certificates from the culture wasn’t in the fine print as far as I can tell.
If someone as smug as Kyle who is paid to be a court jester, as intellectually shallow, someone in constant need for cheap laughs, someone who represents all that is wrong with the entertainment industry, someone who has brutalised and mocked good people in the past, if someone like that suddenly started singing the praises of Jesus on his show, I’d be worried.
If someone with as little insight as Kyle into the story of the Bible, or the life of believers, suddenly started thinking we were the next best thing, while all the time spewing out the other garbage he does, I’d be running a mile.
Kyle represents everything that Jesus spoke out against. He behaves and acts in the opposite way that Jesus did. And indeed the opposite way that many Christians have and continue to behave like in the face of opposition. I don’t want his adulation.
The only way I want Kyle speaking well of Christians and Jesus is when he humbles himself and bows his knee to King Jesus and becomes a Christian himself, rather than being forced to issue the well-worn social media apology of our graceless age. Simply put, if I see Kyle in a church one week, quietly serving and praying and seeking the good of others, then Kyle’s apology will mean something.
But let’s face it, it’s not as if Kyle is on to some new thing here. Remember this famous bit of Roman graffito?
Alexamenos worships his god
A worshiper of Jesus, most likely a Roman soldier, as the graffito was found in an old garrison, being mocked by fellow soldiers, who have depicted Jesus with a donkey’s head as he is strung up on a cross. How stupid Alexamenos must be! Dumb as dog sh@#!
Just think of all those Kyle Sandilands in the garrison having a go at him. Not that we know their names. We only know Alexamenos’ name. Oh, and Jesus’ name. There’s a thought.
I’ve never felt the need for Kyle’s approval because he acts like a buffoon in public. So I mean his view of Jesus and my faith doesn’t sting me that much. But what about those whose opinions we do respect? Or those who are more intelligent than Kyle who have social capital we crave? When they mock our faith, doesn’t that sting just a little? We care about what they say because we care about them!
I get that. But there is a solution to that. And the solution is to do an apocalyptic number on them. By that I mean, think of how the book of Revelation, the Apocalypse, deals with those who reject Jesus. In Revelation the Apostle John sees behind the facade of the Roman power of his day, and it’s not impressive at all – it’s ugly and nasty for sure – but it’s temporary, and it’s not ultimate. Despite all the posturing grandeur of Rome, Jesus is the true King, and one day all mockery will fall away.
We’re told throughout 1Peter that the primary persecution the Christians were receiving at the time was mockery, slander, scorn. We’re reminded by Peter that Jesus, though reviled, did not revile in return. I heard a great talk on 1 Peter the other day reminding us that the primary problem for early Christians, in between occasional, but rare, bloody persecution, was through the sharp, mocking words of other people, the sidelining of those who followed Jesus for their stupidity in doing so.
Kyle is just situation normal. Two thousand years of situation normal. So let Kyle keep his job. And for goodness sake, let him keep mocking Christianity. For a day is coming when he won’t.