The Jesus Clown Car

(Today’s is a guest post by David Paul Kirkpatrick, the former President of Paramount Pictures and the former Production President of both Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures.)

Someone said that civilization began to end when the media circus entered everyone’s living room in the form of 24/7 cable news. That non-stop phenomenon required more information than ever before: more news, more stories, more sirens, alarms, bells and horns. And today we not only watch that flashy extravaganza, we’re in it: we’re daily Tweeting, texting, and blogging our commentaries on the very stories we help to create.

Years ago, conservative President Ronald Reagan and liberal Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill met every week for a whiskey and a talk. Though possessing very different points of view, they met in private as men who needed to get things done. And hey, whaddaya know: they got things done.

Can you imagine that happening in our three-ring circus culture of today, with all the video screens we have everywhere around us—in our homes, in our cars, at the gas pump, on the subway, above our urinals, in the palms of our hands—constantly bombarding us with nothing so much as strife, angst, and all drama all the time?

Two men cooperating together for the common good?

Pfft. How is that going to entertain us while we’re pumping gas?

Gay at the circus

In Hollywood, it was easy to be gay; lots of people there were, and nobody really cared about it. I was “normal” there for thirty years. I was always invited to Thanksgiving dinners, to Bar Mitzvahs and baptisms. While at the time having none of my own, I was godfather to many of my friends’ children. (On only one occasion can I recall any overt prejudice being directed my way. When I was at Disney, it was once suggested by the top brass that I “take a beard”—that is, marry a woman who would essentially pose as my wife. I was, after all, making movies for the “family” label. I declined to take that suggestion, and Walt Disney Pictures did just fine.)

The fundamentals

The irony is that I didn’t really become aware of how hostilely so many regard gay people until a few years ago, when I became a Christian. Then the issue wasn’t about hating some abstract condition of sinfulness; then it was about hating me, personally. So I learned to keep my “homosexuality” quiet as I moved about within Christendom. In that quietude, I was unable to be real with anyone.

Yet when I searched in the New Testament for anything that Jesus may have said about homosexuality, I found nothing. The closer I got to God, the more I understood that His heart is my heart, His breath my breath. When looking at Scripture through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, I saw same-sex attraction as a gift from God, not an imprint from the fall. And understanding that meant I could rest easy, knowing that I was no abomination before God: that I was nothing more (and nothing less!) than one of His precious, dearly beloved children.

The Jesus Clown Car

The other day, I got run over by the Jesus Clown Car.

Ah, clowns. They can really get us going, can’t they? They are funny, with their white pancake make-up, their red noses and wide, red mouths. Yet there is also something menacing about clowns. They move unpredictably, and often very fast. An eerie danger pulsates in the air around them. It’s no wonder the kid in Poltergeist wanted the clown painting removed from his room. He was afraid it would come leaping out at him.

The circus clowns of Jesus certainly came leaping out at me the other day.

In the comments to a post on the website of a conservative Christian magazine, I made a humble appeal to my Christian brothers and sisters to live as the body of Christ.

Honk, honk! Beeeeeep!! From out of nowhere, rumbling straight toward me, sputtering and spitting noxious white fumes, came the Jesus Clown Car! It paused before me for a moment, and then kazow!—clown after clown after clown came tumbling out of the tiny tin claptrap of a car, brandishing rubber mallets, bright hammers, and buckets filled with who knew what. When fired, their comically oversized guns loudly unfurled banners with garishly painted words of sounds printed on them.

BANG!

You cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit and still have the desire in your heart for a gay lover/companion!

BAM!

The Bible condemns homosexuality. To say the Lord would ever honor a gay relationship is pure heresy!

TWHAP!

Precious, you are in for such a rude awakening. I would hate to be in your shoes.

ZAPP!

You live a filthy lie to condone your perversion! Try that one before the throne of God, and you will burn eternally.

BOOM!

When YOU enter into sexual sin YOU are uniting Christ’s body with a whore!

Predictably, such zany antics from the clowns brought forth from the peanut gallery applause and huzzahs aplenty.

Unfundamentalist Christianity

I am proud to say that I am an Unfundamentalist Christian. The Jesus clowns deliver nothing to the center arena but creepy cacophony and carloads of chaotic crap.

In a way that’s not at all funny or amusing, Jesus’ bellowing, bellicose Bozos do nothing but hurt people and diminish their humanity.

John Shore had it right when, one night while the Jesus clowns were all asleep, he stealthily replaced the vanity plates on their car with one that read, “Above All, Love.”

That’s the car I want to ride in—the one that says “Above all, Love.”

How I cherish the view from that car. It’s so beautiful.

And beauty—the beauty of love—makes the circus out there a whole lot easier to watch.

 

David Paul Kirkpatrick is the author of  The Address of Happiness, available to GLAAD family and friends as a free download  through June 30.

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    What a fantastic illustration! There is a line in 1 Corinthians 13 this reminded me of that says “Though i speak with the tongues of angels, and have not love, then I am as a sounding gong or clashing cymbal.”…or the cacophony of rubber noses, little squeaky bicycle horns, and over-sized shoes.

    • Skip Johnston

      Perfect! I will never read 1 Corinthians 13 the same again…

  • DPKirkpatrick

    Dear Unfundamentalist Christian – I am so honored to be a part of this new website of Unfundamentalist Christianity on Patheos and to be an early guest blogger. I agree with Dan Savage. John Shore is “non-douchey” because he loves but doesn’t give up his discernment in that love. He is cool but he is still Biblical. When John suggested I write a guest blog so early in our new friendship, I was touched. I am so grateful to be part of this new movement — I feel like a hippie again (and I am old enough to have been one of the originals:-) and I pray for it’s success. I think we are all exhausted by the political strife of the “Christian Right”. May we remember at the epicnter of Jesus’ revolution is LOVE…I know that is the heart of the Unfundamentalist Movement — “Above All, Love”. Thank you! David

  • usingmyvoice

    It *is* a circus, isn’t it! Thanks for sharing this perspective (especially the clown car); what a wonderful image to add to my view finder.

  • Cat Marcuri

    What a wonderfully written and touching article! There is a very important line going around the internets now: “Don’t feed the trolls.” That is a very important line to remember, a cautionary bit of advice that everyone should always hold very closely to them when they interact on the web. The trolls are EVERYWHERE, and they will not hesitate to reach out and grab your foot and attempt to yank you down under the bridge where they can rend you en masse. Unfortunately, you posted on a website run by those trolls. I am very glad you escaped with only minor damages. But write down those words and keep them posted somewhere within easy view of your monitor: “DON’T FEED THE TROLLS.” For they lurk everywhere, waiting for an opportunity to seize an unwary victim and beat them to death with hateful words.

  • kidzmom1

    Thanks for this. I have found it better for my own mental and spiritual health to laugh at the ridiculousness of my more frightened brothers and sisters than to get mad about it.

    Actually, now that I think about it, I really pity them. They are so very very afraid; it makes me wonder if they really trust God.

  • AMIE

    What a great analogy, sad, yet true. When my beautiful, college aged daughter came out to her Christian friends, she was met with threats of condemnation for her “choice”. We also choose to follow Christ as Unfundamentalists. His message is Love, not judgement and we believe God created her to live her life as who she really is. Blessings!

  • Valerie Barlow Horton

    Wonderful article!

  • Mike Little

    What a fantastic article. I just downloaded your book and can’t wait to read it!

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      I just downloaded it too. I bet it reads a lot like this essay, I’m in for a treat.

      • Mike Little

        It is not what I expected, but a fantastic read.

    • DPKirkpatrick

      That is cool, Mike! If you can find one hour of quiet and you are relaxed and you can wash your heart of the world — the book seems to have some import on people. Please let me know what you think. I would be intrested in what you have to say, if you have the time. I’m at david@davidpaulkirkpatrick.com

  • Laura Poffenberger

    I’m so sorry that was done to you. I too have been run over by that same clown car. I’m a straight woman trying to have a civil discussion with other Christian women in a closed group. They didn’t want a discussion, they wanted to railroad me out of the group. The tipping point was when I pointed out that in a group of 100 women, I probably wasn’t the only one with a child who is gay. It hurt terribly to be told my daughter was a pervert, among other things. They de-humanized her. In the immediate, it seemed to work. But I received a great many messages in support, and a great many questions. Above all, love.

  • the shepard

    a beautiful and heart wrenching piece.
    thank you for having the courage to stand up to the clowns.

  • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

    Delightful article! Great imagery!

  • Daniel

    I just thank God i wasn’t born into a place in 1984, say the UNITED STATES for example and Homosexuality was already legal. Kids would think “it’s all Good” and you’d have to really be pushed by the Spirit to get outta that Delusion, especially if Homo’s are in the Church. Man i got it easier than i thought. Praise and Thanks be to God.

    • Daniel

      And i don’t even go to church. as i’m IN-Christ.

    • James Garcia

      I don’t think anyone is responding to you, because what you’ve said makes no sense… Seriously… It’s confusing and disjointed… Are you FOR gays, or against them? What is your point here?

  • Brettany Renée Blatchley

    Yes, David…goodness…I am with you too in spirit, words and deeds, as I am “on exhibit” before others myself:

    I am a married Christian woman, a transsexual woman. And I am very familiar with the Jesus Clown Car, AND God has raise me up and my marriage as a demonstration of His power, through the “scandal” of my gender transition and the reality of my (now) same sex marriage. I am a paradox to both the Christian and transgender communities, and God is blessing lives in both communities in His *extravagance* as I do life with them, *becoming* all I am in my gender, and all I am in Christ by His grace and power.


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