I am trying as hard as I can not to sing an inauthentic, dispassionate song

Below, I suggested that the church needs more fools, and my friend John Pederson had an intriguing response, “There are plenty of other agnostics out there that need a secular Jon Stewart.”

I followed up with him, and his response has infected and affected me in some purpose-shifting ways, so I really wanted to share our exchange here. He generously obliged.

John:

I’m the dictionary definition of agnostic. Mostly because I’ve never seen anybody in “my circle” model passion about faith. AKMA was probably the first. As I told him, “I can even listen to small chunks of country music if, and only if, I truly believe that the singer is deeply passionate and authentic about what he/she is singing.”

I apply the Cluetrain 95 Theses to just about every aspect of my life. As I quietly re-examine the issue of religion, I look for authentic, passionate voices. Labels and institutions turn me away. Heck, I was raised “Presbyterian” and don’t even know what that means.

When you said “fools”, I though of Jon Stewart. He’s the master of passionate, authentic, funny. On the surface it feels like comedy…another way to approach the “label” or “institution” of news. There’s a much deeper level that’s always at play. Though it’s satire, Jon Stewart is dead serious in his beliefs and message.

Thanks for making me think.

My response:

John,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share those thoughts. I had a feeling that was the direction you pointing with that statement, but I didn’t want to assume.

I resonate very deeply with everything you wrote. And I have had a long tension with the church, which I am still trying to sort out. I think the only thing that keeps me engaged in that whole “world” is that I perceive that Jesus guy to be very authentic and passionate, and I’m daily confused by how many people who claim to follow him live and act in ways entirely contrary. (I also don’t understand how any government thinks the way to represent the people is by constantly lying to them…)

And, between you and me, you may have given me an unofficial mission for my life: to become the John Stewart of “supposed christians”.
=)

I seriously hope–and I’m not joking–that you will take it upon your self to tear into me anytime you hear me singing an inauthentic, dispassionate song.