Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


What I Learn From Comedian Russell Brand

Comedian Russell Brand, a.k.a. rock star Aldous Snow, poses for the camera.

If British comedian Russell Brand (of the movie “Get Him to the Greek”) can be crude, he can also be downright hilarious, as evidenced by the below videos.  “We’ve Got To Do Something” and “African Child” are ridiculously funny caricatures of celebrities and rock stars who trumpet their various “do-good” crusades in high-profile ways.  (I considered posting the whole Youtube clip of “African Child,” but because some of the later parts may really offend some of you, I’ve gone with this abbreviated version.)

But, as I watch these I can’t help but see some biblical irony in Brand’s critique.  Isaiah 64 describes “all our righteous acts” as little more than “dirty rags.”  Even our best works- maybe especially when we do them in plain view for all to see- are little more than efforts to justify ourselves.  To make ourselves look good or earn ourselves a distinguished reputation.

And it seems Brand’s lampooning need not be reserved just for celebrity rock stars.  It might also be generously dished out to celebrity pastors and churches whenever they run up the flagpole a particular cause.  After a while they can start sounding an awful lot like Brand’s “African white space Christ” (for full context you’ll have to check out the full Youtube click, without my endorsement, of course).

In short, there’s a lesson in addition to the laughter here:  God’s mission asks us to leave our self-inflated “do-good” impulses and savior complexes at the door, even as it gestures to a non-negotiable life of service to God’s world.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image


Previous Posts

Writing Sabbatical—and "The Departure of the Prodigal Son"
I'm sorry: my absenteeism at this intersection can be attributed to a number of things lately, the most pressing of which is my forthcoming book with author and Christian addiction specialist Jonathan Benz. The book (Prodigal Church or a version of it) is now officially under deadline and by April 1

posted 10:55:10am Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Restless Soul Hall of Fame: Sister Corita Kent
Since NPR's recent segment, Sister Corita Kent has come to mind a few times this week as someone who d

posted 10:23:30am Jan. 16, 2015 | read full post »

"I Am Charlie Hebdo"
I struggle to know how to greet you after such a long hiatus from posting here—and in light of how much has happened in the world since Christmas

posted 4:42:48pm Jan. 12, 2015 | read full post »

A Christmas Homily
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. —Luke 2:6,7 The sheer physicality of this picture strikes me this Christmas. The ba

posted 1:54:50pm Dec. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Mental Health Break—Sprawl II
My favorite band these days is Arcade Fire, and I've featured the Canadian indie rock group before at this intersection between God and life. The lead singer studied Kirkegaard in college and their songs, like this one, are often subtle but brilliant critiques of the least aesthetically pleasing thi

posted 12:58:15pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.