24 June 2008

George Carlin, and us

by Dan Phillips

Comedian George Carlin died of a heart attack at age 71 Sunday evening.

I am old enough to have a perspective on Carlin's significance. He signaled a change in comedy. Comedy had been more of the Henny Youngman variety: one-liners, shticks, gags. Carlin started "straight" and buttoned-down, then developed a very different approach to comedy. He pioneered a more observational sort of humor, such as we can see in Stephen Wright, Jerry Seinfeld, Ritch Shydner, and a host of others.

Carlin's worldview took a toll on him, as drug-use reportedly started the heart-problems that eventually killed him. Five years before his death, the "funny-man" voiced a very dark view:
"I sort of gave up on this whole human adventure a long time ago," he said a couple of years ago. "Divorced myself from it emotionally. I think the human race has squandered its gift, and I think this country has squandered its promise. I think people in America sold out very cheaply, for sneakers and cheeseburgers. And I don't think it's fixable."
Here you see a man who is confronted with the disaster which autonomy has brought on our race. Carlin sees some of the bitter fruits of man's rebellion against God. He longs for redemption. He sees that it will not arise from within us. Yet, like the classic definition of insanity, he has no prescription but more of the same. He was raised Roman Catholic, and probably thought (alas, wrongly) that this exposed him to Christianity, to Christ, to the Gospel. Thus he often expressed contempt for religion. Rejecting the fake, like so many he was inoculated against the real item. Thus apparently Carlin never seriously considered the actual cure whose absence he would later feel so keenly: Jesus Christ, the only hope and redeemer of mankind (John 1:29; 1 Timothy 1:1).

As we all naturally do — in spite of his many keen insights — Carlin misdiagnoses the cause, and thus completely misses the cure.

When I think of Carlin, I think primarily of his riff on "stuff," and his riff on how we view different ages: we "become 21, turn 30, push 40, reach 50 and make it to 60; now you've built up so much speed that you hit 70!" (Someone added some trite "happy life" thoughts and circulated it, made it totally un-Carlin; but I've heard the man give the first part.)

As articles across the globe remember Carlin, those routines aren't what they celebrate (?) in Carlin. What they remember — often in their obit headlines — is a routine he did on, and exulting in, seven obscene words. (I won't link to that one.)

I don't think that would bother Carlin, unfortunately. His routines were often badly profane, which is why you don't see links to them. But it bothered me. What a way to be remembered: Carlin made many clever, wry, gentler observations; but it was a juvenile, potty-mouthed rant that ends up as his epitaph.

Which got me to thinking a bit of how any of us will be remembered when we pass away. Which got me to thinking of Mark Driscoll.

Don't brace for a bash. This isn't meant as one. I think we here at Pyro have a range of estimations of Driscoll, with a lot of overlap. I have heard at least a couple dozen of Mark's sermons or talks, and liked most of them very much... with some reservations.

But if Driscoll were to pass away right now, how would he be remembered? Would it be: "Revolutionary voice for Christ in Washington passes away: Driscoll preached Bible in an anti-Christian setting"?

No, you know what it would probably be, still: "'Cussing pastor' dies: anti-feminist shocked Christians with coarse language, blue sermons on sex."

Now, would that be fair? As a summary of all of Driscoll's work and preaching and writing, no, I don't think it would be fair at all. But you know it would happen.

Part of that would be the fault of the paint-thin, sensationalistic, spiritually clueless, despicable, contemptible MSM.

But part of it wouldn't.

It's worth our giving that a thought, regardless of the size of our circle of influence, fame, infamy.

I'm not asking that we convince the world to like us. Not going to happen — or we've messed up, somewhere (James 4:4). I'm not saying we should expect fairness from the MSM. I'm more thinking of what we make our emphasis. If the media noted our passing, and mischaracterized us, would our friends have abundant resources to show how ridiculous they are? Or would we have played right into their hands by poor judgment, poor priorities, over-fondness of applause, playing for laughs and roses?

I'm saying it's worth real thought.

The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
but the name of the wicked will rot
(Proverbs 10:7)

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favor is better than silver or gold
(Proverbs 22:1)

A good name is better than precious ointment,
and the day of death than the day of birth.
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
(Ecclesiastes 7:1-4)

Dan Phillips's signature

87 comments:

greglong said...

Dan, Mark has alluded to this very thing. A few years ago one of the elders in his church asked him how he wanted to be known. He replied (something to the effect of), "For preaching Jesus."

The elder replied (something to the effect of), "Well, you're known for your foul mouth."

That was somewhat of a turning point in Mark's ministry; he has toned it down quite a bit since then.

(Although I will be the first to say that he at times still crosses what I consider to be "the line"--for example, in his recent sermon on Humor in the Bible.)

Daryl said...

Very sobering. Well said.

aboulet said...

Dan:

No, you know what it would probably be, still: "'Cussing pastor' dies: anti-feminist shocked Christians with coarse language, blue sermons on sex

It actually would not be that. The people of Seattle (and Philly, and many other cities who have churches associated with Acts29) know Driscoll as an Evangelical pastor who is planting sites and churches and evangelizing all the time.

The only people who think of Driscoll in the way that you mentioned is fundy-mundies like yourself.

Frank Turk said...

Wow -- Dan!

You got Fundied after only 2 comments in this thread! I think that's a new record.
____________________

aboulet:

I would guess that the truth is someplace between the view you express here and the view you think Dan holds -- which is probably the view Dan actually holds. However, the problem is that there's no way to confirm this without conducting a nationwide poll of people who know who Mark Driscoll is.

Unless, of course, we re-read Dan's very good post here today and ask ourselves: did he write off Pastor Driscoll, or did he voice concern for him? Because I think you have said he wrote him off -- and I don't think you can make that case from what he actually wrote.

DJP said...

The only people who will take that as my view, aboulet, are folks whose reading-comprehension skills were picked up in government schools.

DJP said...

Thanks, Frank: tag.

ChiefsSuperfan said...

Titus 2:6-8 urges young leaders who are filled with passion to be "an example of good deeds" to among other things be "dignified."

aboulet said...

Dan:

Interesting talk about reading comprehension skills. Perhaps you should read and at least attempt to comprehend my comment.

Did I say that it was your view? Or did I say "the way that you mentioned"???

In your haste to be snarky you missed what I said...and then called my reading comprehension into question.

Have you heard that one story about the pot calling the kettle black? Google it...it's a doozy.

DJP said...

Wow. You didn't even read your own comment all the way through!

"The only people who think of Driscoll in the way that you mentioned is fundy-mundies like yourself."

Dude! Slow down! We'll wait.

Stan McCullars said...

Thanks for mentioning the funniest man on the planet, Stephen Wright.

DJP said...

< bracing for onslaught of Stephen Wright-isms >

donsands said...

Carlin had some clean classics, like the football and baseball routine.
But he was foul, and I wouldn't rent any of his video's for sure.
I saw an interview of him last night, and he totally disregarded the Bible out of hand as myth.
His death is sad, and where he went is even sadder.

Very good post. I read Mark's last book, 'Vintage Jesus', and 90% of it is good stuff; some very good insight, and doctrinally sound.
BUT, he has some crude things peppered in the book as well.
I don't get that.
But he will be remembered for it, along with the good things he has done. For it is written.
Unless he clears it all up by the end of his life.
I guess that's possible.

But the main point in this article, "George Carlin, and us", is me.
I'm convicted a bit, and encouraged. Thanks Dan.

Hayden said...

Dan,

I agree that many would remember Driscoll that way, but I also think many more would not.

I started out not liking the guy because I heard he was the 'cussing pastor'. Then, I listened to him for quite some time. Now, I enjoy some of his insights. His recent series on doctrine has been very good, even though I disagree with him about ongoing revelation.

All this to say, the next time someone tells me that Mark is the cussing pastor, I am going to ask them if they have listened to him. I know that you do not hold this view and I also know that many people defame Mark by someone else's report. (I have winced a couple of times at something he has said, i.e. the sermon on Humor)

Funny thing, Dan, in my circles I am characterized as that rigid doctrinal fundamentalist, and here i am defending Mark Driscoll. Funny thing about perceptions????

DJP said...

Personally, Don, I take the charitable view that Driscoll's trajectory should be considered, and it is (in my estimate) generally a good one. But --

1. It's rough that his growth process has to be so public, everything magnified by a factor of a gazillion. How many of us would fare well under that kind of a spotlight? And....

2. He doesn't help himself by continuing to pepper the pot; like that recent sex-talk, that had even fanboys groaning and admitting that even they can't defend it.

DJP said...

Right on, Hayden.

Libbie said...

fundy-mundies?

Is that a new technical term?

*reins in snark*

Good post, Dan. Only this past week I've been musing on what people will think of me for primarily when I'm gone. Sobering stuff, in the best way.

Chad V. said...

Driscoll's behavior should have got him removed from his pulpit immediately. There is absolutely no excuse for the things he's done. Defenders of Driscoll might do well to survey 1 Timothy again and notice that Driscoll does not meet the biblical criteria.

"He preaches the gospel" is just an excuse to say that we can overlook the fact that he as a pastor lacked the discernment to know that cussing from the pulpit and speaking of the Lord in extremely crass terms was totally unfit for one of Christ's ministers.

A pastor can't afford to do the things that Driscoll has done and anyone guilty of his offenses should be removed from the pulpit. Pastors are held to the highest standards by the word of God.

Besides, every lost person knows that Christians shouldn't cuss, why didn't Driscoll?

donsands said...

"I take the charitable view that Driscoll's trajectory should be considered, and it is (in my estimate) generally a good one."

I think I agree with you Dan. Not sure what trajectory is though.

Mark being in such a bright spotlight is a good point. Need to remember that.
Thanks.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Carlin was a comic genius, but used it up on a lot of ugly material. I saw him in concert once, riffing for 3 hours. Incredible, but 75% foul.

BTW, Dan, how much deeper would the ocean be if sponges didn't live there?

DJP said...

LOL

And so it begins.

Chad V. said...

Mark's bright "spot light" makes his sin all the more grievous. God forgives all sin but there are things a man can do that will bar him from being able to take the pulpit.

Tell me, would any of you have allowed a Sunday school teacher in your church to continue if he had done what Driscoll has done?

Terry Rayburn said...

Carlin was not just foul, he was positively anti-God. Brilliant hilarity, which he certainly had, is very powerful.

I couldn't help feeling sad for his soul when I saw the news.

Having heard of so many apparently true death-bed conversions, I found myself hoping that God had quickened him at the last moment. I really loved the guy.

Anybody remember the Hippie-Dippie Weatherman? "Predicting dark tonight, with scattered light in the morning." Talking '60's here.

Lastly, I came home last night and found that a burglar had broken into my house and stolen everything, and replaced it all with exact duplicates. I told my wife and she said, "Who are you?"
-- Steven Wright

Blessings,
Terry

Jim Peet said...

Frisbeetarianism

From Wiki article on George Carlin (by the way ... some foul stuff there so beware)

"Although raised in the Roman Catholic faith, Carlin often denounced the idea of God in interviews and performances, most notably with his "Invisible Man in the Sky" and "There Is No God" routines. In mockery, he invented the parody religion Frisbeetarianism for a newspaper contest. He defined it as the belief that when a person dies "his soul gets flung onto a roof, and just stays there", and cannot be retrieved."

Observation: His Frisbeetarianism is a lot like the universalism Americans have come to embrace.

The Doulos said...

(Avoiding stepping in mark Driscoll pro-con puddle)

I think Carlin is a great example of a man given a great gift - the gift of observing the human condition and being able to draw humor and insight into it - but who squandered that gift through exalting that which is the most base and vile. And for that, as DJP points out, he will be most remembered. And even celebrated by those who engage in the same. Carlin's comments about our society squandering what we could have been apply directly to himself.

And of course, they apply to every one of us as fallen and depraved individuals.

"I spilled spot remover on my dog, and now I can't find him."

"I once put instant coffee in the microwave oven and almost went back in time."


-Steven Wright

DJP said...

"Last night I played a blank tape at full blast. The mime next door went nuts" — Stephen Wright

S. Todd Young said...

Isn't this one of the main reasons Paul instructs elders to be "above reproach"? Aren't we responsible for more than our obituaries?

greglong said...

I stayed at a really old hotel once. They sent me a wake-up letter.

New Army recruitment poster:
"Join the Army. Meet interesting people. Kill them.”

Bible Burgh said...

Dan and Co.:

Mark Driscoll should NEVER be remembered by ANYBODY for his "cussing pastor" identity . . . unless they were false accusations that his character should more than overshadow. Unfortunately he has, and he is . . . whatever the % would be.

Can you imagine if God would have had to have an "addendum" put into scripture about Paul in the way all of this is going now in Driscoll's offense? (Well I guess Paul sort of did that himself, but it was "PRIOR to conversion" activities.)

Prior PYRO posts on "emergents", etc., are really hitting hard and hitting home and right on the money. There is no room in a pastor or church leader's life except for: "we preach Christ crucified". Culture matters NADA . . .

May God and HIS Word get ALL the glory.

Mike Howard
BIBLE BURGH

P.S. When most of these emergents get pinned to the wall they'll wiggle out with DBL speak . . . heard it directly from Brian McLaren on our own Talk Show . . . they move like jello! :-)

Polycarp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daisy said...

Sigh, I usually avoid comment threads for obvious reasons.

Just thought I'd say I appreciated this post. Well done. We should all stop and consider our legacy and live deliberately.

Will we have pointed others to Christ or to ourselves?

MemphisWill said...

Tell me, would any of you have allowed a Sunday school teacher in your church to continue if he had done what Driscoll has done?

I tend to agree with you.

Eph 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

DJP said...

Thanks, Daisy; you caught the exact point.

LeeC said...

DJP said...
"Thanks, Daisy; you caught the exact point."

Aw man you want us to stick to a POINT????


There is a guy I worked with, whom I rather aggressively shared the Gospel with for two years (Great story, no place for it here though). The Lord graciously saved him and his family.

Shortly after he was saved it came about where I had the opportunity to ask him what he thought of when he thought of me.

Well as some of you know I am an avid Western Martial Arts pracitioner and I used to do medieval living history.

His answer?

"You're the armour dude."

Ouch.

Why he makes that association first I'm not certain, but ever since then I have tried to make sure that my hobbies never overshadow my Saviour.

I wanna be known as "That guy who knows God and loves Him."

DJP said...

Naw, don't read any disapproval in my remark to Daisy. Didn't say anyone else's comment was bad, just that hers was good.

(c:

DJP said...

Yours was, too, BTW.

Rick Frueh said...

George Carlin was funny sometimes, but let us not forget he took many opportunities to blaspheme the name of Christ. In our desensitized culture that doesn't seem to matter much anymore.

We will see one day what God thinks about all this...

Solameanie said...

I am reasonably certain that George Carlin is now a Trinitarian.

LeeC said...

DJP said...
"Naw, don't read any disapproval in my remark to Daisy. Didn't say anyone else's comment was bad, just that hers was good.

(c:"

Gah!

Didn't mean for it to read that way. Hope you didn't take it that way Daisy. I'm often too quick to make a quip...

DJP said...

You're such a sensitive guy, Lee!

What I meant was, don't think that my saying that Daisy caught the point means that I disapprove of other comments as missing the point.

So: you like Daisy's comment, I like Daisy's comment; I also like other comments.

All happy now?

(c:

Lisa Nunley said...

Excellent words Dan and well said Daisy. Thank you.

LeeC said...

Ah, got it.

Meh, on the intardnet I figger the safest thing is to always assume my writing is misconstrued in the negative. ;)

ChiefsSuperfan said...

The Driscoll trajectory thing...

I agree.

Would we remove a SS teacher for doing the same? It would depend on their attitude when confronted.

Driscoll not long ago stood in front of his congregation and humbled himself like I've rarely if ever seen another popular pastor do.

Gotta respect a dude willing to do that.

donsands said...

Why is it we drive on the parkway, and park in the driveway?

And what exactly is a Jumbo Shrimp?

Rabbit said...

May I scandalize none by my temper and conduct, but recommend and endear Christ to all around. - Valley of Vision

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I wear my liver on my pant leg. - Steven Wright

Stan McCullars said...

I bought some powdered water, but I don't know what to add to it.

matt said...

Dan,
Great post. I felt the same as some of the other people who have commented. What a sad thing to see a man with so much influence and yet turn so completely away from truth. Sad to think about.

I've just started reading Piper's book "Don't Waste Your Life". Your post ties into that sentiment quite well.

~Mark said...

A legacy is really all one has to leave behind. Mr. Carlin was a creative, talented guy but he chose to take a bitter course with his humor and as such, never overshadowed the "7 words" bit.

That makes me think of how one bad move can overshadow an entire life's work. I guess we better make sure everyday is so positively remembered that if we make that "one bad move", people will say "I can't believe it...not him!"

In looking at a pastor growing up in the spotlight so to speak, shouldn't a person have conquered such basics as vulgar language before being considered worthy of the office of Elder?

greglong said...

I smell a follow up post:

"Seven Words Emerg* Will Never Say"

Chad V. said...

mark;

Driscoll is a self appointed pastor. If you listen to his testimony on the mp3 from the Convergetn Conference session 3 you will hear him talk about how God told him(yes, like actually spoke to him) to start churches and this after he was newly converted. Huge red flags there. That alone violates several commands that God lays out in scripture regarding the appointment of elders such as 1 Tim 3:6. God doesn't contradict his own word so the whole "God told me to" thing doesn't fly. False prophets and lying spirits are known because they contradict the word of God. I don't buy the whole Charismatic thing anyhow. Driscoll calls himself a Charismatic with a seatbelt.

According to the testimony that Driscoll gave at the Convergence Conference, the only person who considered him for the office of pastor was himself.

S.J. Walker said...

Great post Dan. It had been a while since I had heard the tacph tacph tacph sound of tent spikes being hammered through temples.

Well writte--for a fundy.

"Pyromaniacs: We put the 'fun' in 'fundy-mundy"

It's been a while since I have commented here. I think I'm still bitter that I'm not blog rolled here yet. I mean really, you guys know you get all your material from me anyway. Really, it's the least you could do.

Ahem. Sorry. Pray for me.

Thanks for a good post Dan.

Sam

jmb said...

Depression is anger without enthusiasm.

NothingNewUnderTheSun said...

Carlin was an old postmodern insurgent who 'shocked' his way into success. The (anti)rebels of our generation need not to follow in their footsteps.

Here's a quote from DFW that explains my point:

"The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal:shock disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today's risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the 'Oh how banal.' To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment"- DFW

JustJan said...

"Right now I am having amnesia and deja vu at the same time." SWright

I was saddened to hear of George Carlin's death. He was brilliant and brutal in his humor. Much of what he said about religion and the religious was all too true.

christcentred said...

I guess it doesn't matter what people say when we die. I mean if Paul had been killed in Jerusalem in Acts 21 he would've been remembered as the guy who defiled the temple which wouldn't be true.

Those who love us will remember us as they should do. Others will remember how they want. But the real deal is if Jesus is gonna say good and faithful servant.

Moreover, can I ask a question that isn't intended in a viscous way but will sound it:

In "real life" (as opposed to blogging) I define the difference between gossiping and rebuking as this:

Rebuking is where I tell the person his faults so he can change.

Gossiping is where me and a few of my friends discuss another person's faults.

I think it's a reasonable delineation.

Why is the blog-world different? This isn't going to help Mark Driscoll, he isn't reading. So is his name necessary to the point?

Could you not just have said to your readers (to challenge them) "Are you going to be remembered for your eccentricities (maybe swearing) or for your actual gifts?". Would that not be more holy?

It's not like your warning people off Driscoll, then it would make sense to use his name, instead you're rebuking him or advising him without him being there. Seems kind of like gossip to me.

I'm sure you have a reason for it so I'd like to know if you have time.

donsands said...

"Seems kind of like gossip to me."

It's not even close to gossip.

Mark may indeed read this post, BTW. He may not, but I know he has in the past, and even commented, if I remember correctly.
Dan can correct me if I'm wrong.

eastendjim said...

"You can't have everything. Where would you keep it?" - Stephen Wright

I'm thinking that I'll be remembered as the guy who had nothing to say on the George Carlin comment thread.

DJP said...

Well, I can tell you this.

When I tried to add Mark Driscoll as a friend on Facebook, this came right back:

"Mark Driscoll already has too many friends."

Frank Turk said...

I ...
I ...

um ...

... I ...


Dan, I think you broke the bank with this one. I told you it was good.

Polycarp said...

For Dan and Daisy...

I got the hint: delete for peace!
Calmer waters now?

;~}

S.J. Walker said...

I can see my epitaph:

"Here lies Samuel Joseph Walker.
yeah, we'd don't who he was either"

That should be just fine with me so long as what God did through (insert "in spite of") me is pleasing to Him.

Polycarp said...

Sorry for the diatribe in my deleted comment if it seemed to derail the meta in any way and take the focus off of Christ. Great post Dan! It's just that I work among the most extremely liberal of the baby boomer generation in higher ed, and whenever I get started on my views of their socialist, "village" mentality...well, it drives me up the wall and I'd better stop here before this comment unravels into a few hundred more words!

DJP said...

To clarify (for, you know, historians): I didn't delete your comment.

dac said...

have to agree with aboulet - I don't think the main stream media will lead with "cussing pastor"

Nor will it lead with "sponsored dances where people of questionable moral turpitude and revealing clothing danced".

Nor anything about "blue sex talks"

Now I wouldn't label Dan as a fundy-mundie.

~Mark said...

"mark;

Driscoll is a self appointed pastor. If you listen to his testimony on the mp3 from the Convergetn Conference session 3 you will hear him talk about how God told him(yes, like actually spoke to him) to start churches and this after he was newly converted. Huge red flags there."

~Ah...that makes this much clearer. Glad to read that he's trying to do better at least!

Andy Dollahite said...

DJP,

I'm with you for the most part...

BUT, it just seems too easy to criticize someone else's tone and use of the tongue from the Internet. (Interestingly Driscoll will be speaking at the DG conference on just this topic, won't he?) How many times have people recently thrown Eph. 4:29, or something similar, at Frank for his "clowning" people? They just swoop in, drop a verse, and then walk away feeling good about themselves. I know how this works, because I've done it too.

Mark is big enough to answer for himself, so I'm not here to defend him. My basic question comes back to this...(in the innocent kind of way, not the accusatory way).

Could your general point have been made without bringing controversy to Mark's name? Am I off here?

Thanks.

Solameanie said...

Hmm. Fundie-Mundie.

I can imagine that to the tune of "Monday Monday" by the Mamas and the Papas.

"Fundie Mundie (bah da, bah da da da)

I'd better stop it. Now.

Andy Dollahite said...

I can't believe I forgot to include this...

"I'm addicted to placebos. I'd give them up, but it wouldn't make any difference." - SW

Susan said...

Ok, I couldn't resist my urge to blog (trying to cut down) after reading so many SW's funny quotes (had NO IDEA who he was until I read Wiki's entry--and here's a quote from that entry):

"I went to a store that had a sign that said "Open 24 Hours" and it was closed...I asked the manager 'Why are you closing? It says you're open 24 hours.' He said 'Not in a row.'"


Now we know why 24-hour stores have locks on them. :)

Four* Pointer said...

"On my wall I have a life-size map of the United States."

"I live on a one-way dead-end street."

"Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines."

--Steven Wright

Arthur Sido said...

For me Carlin is a prime example of the before and after.

Before I came to Christ, Carlin was a riot: rude, coarse, poking his finger in the eye of authority. His use of profanity appealed to the juvenile mentality. He was like Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor, people who said things you never heard in polite company which made it all the more appealing.

Afterwards and now following his death, he seems just sad. An angry, bitter person with no hope and nothing to live for. His profane humor now pales in comparison to what you hear from the mouths of teenaged girls and adults in the business world. His uniqueness was gone.

Now he is dead and his quick wit and sharp tongue will do nothing to convince the Judge to spare him. In the midst of the world celebrating his life, we ought to look at his death as a sobering reminder of what is at stake.

Mike Riccardi said...

"I never had a problem with not listening to the Temptations. ... That's weird."

-- Not Steven Wright or early George Carlin, but something up their ally.

Terry Lange said...

What I remember about Carlin was that my father had an 8-track tape of one of his routines and my mother got angry with him for playing it while my sister and I were in the room. I also remember my mom telling me about swearing and why we do not talk like that (she was not a Christian until later in life) Unfortunately, it was from George Carlin that I heard some of the first swear words in my young life at that time (in the 1970's)

Polycarp said...

Dan:

Oh, didn't mean to suggest you deleted it. I meant that I deleted it for peace (if there was a hint there for me...not sure)

Historians???

Polycarp said...

Solameanie:

Waiting for you to complete that revised tune on youtube...it's off to a great start!

JOYce@pfg said...

A rose by any other name...

Quite convicting, Dan ~ thanks.

Rob said...

An excellent assessment of Carlin's life.

Keith said...

Good post, Dan.

For my birthday I got a humidifier and a de-humidifier... I put them in the same room and let them fight it out --Steven Wright

CJD said...

Dan, when you wrote, "Rejecting the fake, like so many he was inoculated against the real item" I couldn't help but think not of Christianity as promulgated by Rome but by Christianity as promulgated by Western mondernists, with its penchant for consumerism and infatuation with legislative answers (not least conservative) for societal ills.

A lot of the time, it seemed to me, Carlin took aim at the fake because we Christians gave him the fakeness to aim at.

DJP said...

Really? I must not have heard those; I only heard wildly mis-fired, shallow caricatures.

candyinsierras said...

Love the Stephen Wright quotes. My favorite comedian by far.

Why do drive-up ATM's have braille?

CJD said...

But that's the point, really: "wildly misfired, shallow caricatures" is exactly how I'd describe much of what passes for Christianity in the main.

Stefan said...

Forget the Stephen Wright comments: Solameanie has stolen the show.

"Fundie Mundie (bah da, bah da da da)..."

Daryl said...

"But that's the point, really: "wildly misfired, shallow caricatures" is exactly how I'd describe much of what passes for Christianity in the main."

That may be true, but the assumption that that was what Carlin mocked makes the opposite assumption that were those caricatures non-existent, people would like the church.

They wouldn't. The church will be mocked, the church will caricature itself. Those 2 things are not necessarily related.

In fact, I'd suggest that it's the times the church gets it completely wrong when they are NOT mocked.

donsands said...

"wildly misfired, shallow caricatures" is exactly how I'd describe much of what passes for Christianity in the main."

Do we have an example of what Carlin mocks, and what represents the Church this way?

Seems like a lot of this kind of talk is out of the treasure in the heart, and little evidence.

I heard someone on CNN say last night that all these anti-abortion Christians, protest, but are unwilling to help the baby if born.
That's a lie, and yet people will believe it, because he said it.

People do make things up out of their hearts. I know, because I know me. But by the grace of the Lord I can become less like me, and more like Christ.

CJD said...

I absolutely agree with you Daryl, and in no way suffer under the delusion that the world would fall in love with the church if those caricatures were removed.

I'd just like the church to be rejected for all the right reasons, ya know?!

The early church was accused of sedition and cannibalism. O, how I long for such accusations, considering what we're accused of these days (which brings me to my point about Carlin's scathing critiques).

Susan said...

I think you really outdid yourself, Solameanie--you got me doing a search for the lyrics of "Monday, Monday"! (I've heard the Ms&Ps sing it many times but never knew the words.) Maybe you really should take Polycarp's suggestion and do that YouTube version (with revised lyrics)!! It'll be such a big hit!!

DJP said...

To anyone objecting to my word about Mark Driscoll:

I'm surprised at your objections. Am I wrong in assuming that all of you (except, obviously, the first) actually read what I said? It was very mild, and measured. I am certain that at least as many people thought I was far too easy on him.

Are you going around the internet, Googling my name, and asking everyone who criticizes my writings whether they've talked to me personally first? Goodness, I hope not. I'm a public person; my writings are public. So's Driscoll.

So what is your argument? Is he not a good illustration of a Christian who runs the risk of letting unwise tongue-indulgences overshadow all the good things he does? You think Driscoll himself wouldn't admit it, and hasn't already admitted it?

Do you think he's going through his day all happy, and someone might say, "Mark — Dan Phillips said you have made some unwise choices about how you use your mouth"? And he's going to gasp, say "Dan Phillips? Surely not Dan Phillips?" — and his whole day, maybe his whole ministry, is going to be ruined?

Or he's going to say "What? My tongue? How come no one ever talked to me personally about this?!"

Next I'll say I think Mahaney is trying to mix oil and water when he mixes continuationism and Reformed theology, and you'll tell me I have to say that to him first; or to Grudem, if I fault his nutty fantasies about prophecy; or I can't publish a book review until I send it to the author and give it 2-3 years for dialogue.

Those are nutty standards.

And if that doesn't satisfy you, oh well. Sorry. Keep your receipt for a full refund.