The Church, by and large, keeps irreverence at arm’s length. Sure, some pastors like to open sermons with a couple of clean jokes, but that’s about the extent humor interacts with the Faithful. While I agree there’s a social maturity required in expressing irreverence through appropriate channels, the Church is missing out on a deep authenticity of the human experience if we continue to fear irreverence, instead of finding beauty in it….
It is this fear of irreverence that I believe deprives the Christian community from learning what it really means to be faithful. Irreverence shows the world how to be real, prophetic and passionate.
Irreverence says it like it is. It’s the child who calls out the emperor has no clothes. It’s the uncouth teenager who wears his boredom on the outside. It’s the hippie activist who won’t shower until world peace reigns. Irreverence gives the Church permission to engage in full-blown lament amidst the hardships of life. As I have written elsewhere, learning from the popular and unabashedly irreverent comedian, Louis C.K., we cannot shut down feelings of true sadness with reverent calls to thanksgiving and praise. In order to enter true covenantal relationship with God, we must have the freedom to use the wide range of emotion given to us in our humanity to express what is real to our human experience. Instead of flinching from irreverent curses directed at God, let’s listen closely to the deeper pain of struggle, because that which is real, even when delivered in coarse language, is human, and therefore deserves to be heard.