The Christian and the Comic

So it’s been a while since I’ve gotten deeply personal on this blog, which is something that I think needs rectifying.

When I started blogging again, I promised myself – and you, my beloved darling readers – that I would be above all things, REAL. Except that I haven’t. Well, I mean I haven’t been in-authentic in what I’ve written here, so much as I’ve been in-authentic by omission.

So now, I want to share something with you, namely cos it’s something that’s a really huge part of my life yet unless you’re in my close circle of real life mates you probably don’t know about it and secondly, because I’ve begun to think that it’s unique enough to maybe (MAYBE?!) even bring onto the stage. I’m actually nervous! Weird. Okay, here goes.

My hubby is a Christian.

That fact alone is not what’s unique, what’s unique(ish) is that I’m not.

I believe that there is something more than this life, I believe in God (even though it’s not very “cool” to say so and many of my closest friends do not), but when it comes to the specifics: my jury is out. It has been for a while. And for the moment, it doesn’t show many signs of moving. And I really am okay with that.

But my hubby: very devout Christian.

Now generally speaking we make things work pretty well, I think. To give you some background…

Long before I met the future hubs, I myself became a Christian in my second year of university, when I was invited to a church that was so far from the cold, traditional, hymn-singing boringness that I’d been raised with that I was immediately hooked. These people played ROCK! They were SMILING! They were speaking in TONGUES! (Whaaaa????) I dived in like a lost explore in a desert would into a well; i.e. passionately, excitedly and…blindly. A few months later the alarm bells started to ring, only marginally louder than the preachers’ weekly 20-minute motivational talk to give more money. And something strange started to happen – I started to think.

Shortly after, I left, and – completely disillusioned with it all – decided that church wasn’t actually about God at all, but about money.

I was done.

Not long after that, I met my future husband, Tim, who was at the time not a Christian, but in fact, a practising Tibetan Buddhist.

This was absolutely a hugely appealing part of his whole package (that and his waist-long hair….mmmmm….my grandma was mortified and refused to speak to me for the first six months we were going out) – I was really drawn to spirituality, but my recent experience had left a really nasty taste in my mouth (seriously, traces of it remain to this day), so to meet somebody so devoted to something that was nothing to do with churches, money or hypocrisy, was a breath of fresh incense. Tim was fascinating (not just cos of the Buddhist thing, mind you). We fell in love.

Fast forward a few years and he gradually fell away from Buddhism, until one day, literally OVERNIGHT – while I was away in Sydney doing a scriptwriting intensive no less – he became a Christian.

I was shocked.

I was sad.

And…I was angry.

Those damn Christians, they’d done it again!

I believe I may have even shook a fist.

To cut a very long story short, our desire to be together somehow over-rode these differences – I should point out here that we do, in fact, share a lot of the same values, even if the ‘religion’ part differs – and we eventually settled into a semi-easy kind of acceptance.

Then when our first-born daughter was six months old, we decided to move to Melbourne for a bit of an adventure. I’d always wanted to live there, so…we did it. It was jawsome – and while there, Tim was very, VERY eager to find a church.

Enter the St Jude’s Estates Church in Lygon Street. Located in a tiny room down the bottom of a housing estate, there were no lights, no stage, no fancy schmancy rock and roll, just a guitar and shakers, drums and sticks for the kids to play at leisure. The preacher’s words were never of the self-help variety (what I came to realise about the other church was how their sermons just seemed to tell you what you wanted to hear, to make you feel good and uplifted, I presumed enough to motivate you to open your wallet), but were indeed very confronting, yet – even when I didn’t agree, I somehow just respected his integrity in telling it the way he saw it. At the end of each service they would put on lunch, upon which anybody, including a number of homeless people who would turn up reliably just post-service, could come and share a meal. They had a volunteer group who would help refugee’s children with their homework and English, because their parents weren’t able to. They NEVER asked for money. They focused instead on putting their beliefs into action by helping people however they could. And so…they restored some of my faith that not all churches were bad.

So…since that time we’ve gone to several different churches, both here and abroad.

I still don’t consider myself a Christian, but I’m willing to go (for the most part, some Sunday mornings I just need to myself) because I know it’s important to my hubby.

The difficulties come when people there either:

a) assume that I’m fully onboard the Christian train too and talk to me as such – I feel like I’m going to disappoint them if I tell them the full truth of the matter; or they

b) find out where I truly stand and decide to invest every effort into bringing me over to their team. And as my hubby puts it, I “don’t like being a project!”

We do have some Christian friends and family who know where I stand and are wonderfully and beautifully cool with it. And the great thing is, I can actually swear in front of them have an open, honest discussion with them about spiritual stuff and it really is all good.

Other notable “issues” on the marriage front though, include:

– feeling like I’m letting hubby down, like he’d be so much better off with a good old Christian girl, who could do all his Bible studies with him, instead of being all stubborn and calling him out on some of the more, let us say, “challenging” aspects of his beliefs;

– battling with hubby for ownership of the radio. While I can dig some Christian music (Steven Curtis-Chapman and Sons of Korah being cases in point) too much Christian radio, like bad pop music with good intentions, sends me to the liquor cabinet;

– feeling very self-conscious when the kids publicly declare something like: “Mum! You don’t believe in Jesus! You said the ‘s’ word!” (Let’s just overlook the fact I swore in public for a moment and focus on the task at hand…ehem)

– feeling generally uncool.

Which I think is what it comes down to in the end. Why, oh why, do I have issues with my husband being truly devoted to what he believes when it’s Christianity, when I was totally down with the whole thing when it was Tibetan Buddhism? Ah yes. Because Buddhism, in our culture at least, seems so much ‘cooler’.

Sigh.

It’s worth noting that Tim could probably write his own thesis on the struggles of living with a comedian when their world is so full of anti-Christian sentiment it is/ain’t funny.

So anyway, I’m done with hiding it away. Or at least, I’m trying to be. Sharing it here is a start. Maybe I’ll bring it onstage sometime. Because really, it is kinda weirdly amusing – that we are destined to a life where we are at constant risk of embarrassing the living shizz out of each other.

The crazy thing is, I feel like this would make a brilliant reality TV series: “The Christian and the Comic”. It’d have laughs. It’d have tears. Certainly bread and wine.

But there is NO WAY ON THIS FREAKING PLANET I would ever do it. Did you hear me? EVER. EVER. EVER.

Pity. I’d love to watch it.

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jennywynter Written by:

10 Comments

  1. September 15, 2010
    Reply

    Jen, thank u for ur honesty… Forgive me for any assumptions I have made in the past and/or when my ramblings may have unwittingly made u squirm… I love u to bits :))) U are a ray of sunshine and a gift to my life… looking forward to a chance to have drinks and a catch up sooner than later… Hugs and lotsa luv to u and ur beautiful family xo

  2. September 15, 2010
    Reply

    Oh Mary, you darling woman, you are absolutely NOT in the category of “people who talk to me assuming I’m a full blown Christian!!” On the contrary, you’re one of the chosen few I mentioned who I feel like I can totally be myself around!

    I love you babe, can’t wait to see you soon too! xxxx

  3. Marshall Davis
    September 15, 2010
    Reply

    Nicely put Jenny. When I started reading I thought you were wrong about people thinking Christianity was un-cool. But then the more I thought about it, the more I thought you might be right.
    As an devout Atheist I could probably argue that this is a good thing but then I think you are a prime example of what a little understanding can do.
    Do i like religion? Not really. Do I like churches? Not really. Do I have to go into them? Not at all.

    I would love all religions and churches to be like the one you described in Melbourne. A place where people can go and practise their faith in peace without being hounded for money. Why do I care? Because in personal, touching churches like the one you described, the people are generally quite content to have their faith be their faith. And that means less hassling of Marshall to believe.

    I’ll leave you with a story of my honorary Uncle Don. The man was an extreamly devout Catholic for pretty his entire 70 odd years. He had known me from the moment I was born, but I had no idea he was a catholic until I was 22 about 6 months before he died. The reason? Because everytime I went to his house to have lunch, instead of telling everyone to say grace, he respected that there would be different beliefs (including my rabid atheism at the time!).

    So he would quietly say grace under his breath without letting anyone know. It was his personal belief and he felt that it would be dis-respectful to force others to follow him. As a result I never once said a negative word about religion in his presence, unless he asked me a specific question about it. We respected each others beliefs totally. But I didn’t have to live with him, which means that you Ms Wynter are epitomising exactly the way that we all should behave towards one another. Respecting their beliefs, even if we don’t necessarily agree with them.

    Sorry about the essay response, but damn you, you got me thinking! 🙂

    Much Love,

    Marshall

  4. Jade
    September 15, 2010
    Reply

    I want to know how the hell (can I use this on a non Christian blog) you managed to find the time to attend Church whilst at Bond? Beyond drinking, recovering and study – I was all booked up 😉

  5. Franipantz
    September 15, 2010
    Reply

    Thank you Jen. I too have wandered into several realms of belief and spirituality including Christianity and Budhism. And, once more, I have wandered quite happily out again to the verges of fence-sitting. I wouldn’t call myself an atheist (I don’t like being put in a box), but I’m certainly not particularly drawn to any one particular religion or set of beliefs. If anything, I’m slightly jealous of people who ‘have faith’ and wonderfully comforting images of an afterlife or reincarnation…especially after losing my sister. But it’s just not me and I’m okay with that. I can’t force myself to believe in anything like some kind of package deal – certainly not for lack of trying though.
    My partner Bernie is Irish Catholic, but non-practicing. Certain discussions pop up now and then but I’m discovering new ways every day to co-exist and allow him his right to his beliefs, as he allows me my lack of.
    Fact is, Marshall is spot on. Allowing each other a little room to nurture our own personal spirituality is the basic decency required of all human beings to co-exist peacefully and harmoniously. Being comfortable with that is up to us as individuals and I think it just comes with practice – like anything in life.
    Think of the fantastic example you’re setting your kids. Acceptance, tolerance and understanding is one of the most valuable things children can learn. Being challenged by it in your home actually makes you perfectly qualified as an ambassador for the human race. 🙂

  6. September 16, 2010
    Reply

    You’re adorable! I don’t have time to comment but I’ll definitely be back. p.s. I’m from the states 🙂
    p.p.s have a lovely day!

  7. September 16, 2010
    Reply

    Good on you, funny lady!
    Dave and I were JUST talking about tolerance and how extreme views – on either side of the spectrum – are wickedly dangerous. I applaud your openness and willingness to share your life with somebody who is different from you. Life would be terribly boring otherwise.
    😉 K

  8. September 16, 2010
    Reply

    Thanks for your honesty. No matter the religion “telling and selling” is always a turn off. I’d prefer the practice of faith by living out your beliefs. Here’s a cliche we can agree on: actions speak louder than words.

  9. September 16, 2010
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It’s a beautiful story!If you and your husband can challenge each other’s beliefs and keep on listening to and loving one another, I think you’ll both learn a lot. I have been blessed to know a lot of Christians from all over the world who don’t fit any mold. God created each one of us as a unique individual, and the more we grow spiritually, the more we become our true selves, unlike anyone else. Beware of any group whose members all seem to be exactly alike. There’s something wrong there!

  10. Graham
    October 13, 2010
    Reply

    Thanks for your honesty Jen, this is a great blog! Truth is, I dislike A LOT of Christians… and I’m a pastor! How on earth did that happen?? What I love is acceptance not judgmentalism. That’s what I offer people, and that’s what I love finding from other people (hence my dislike for some Christians… go figure!).

    You show a beautiful type of acceptance in what you’ve writen here. I love it!

    I hope I’ve never been one of those “assuming you’re onboard the train” Christians talking the talk at you? You can be assured I’m not “making you my project” (creepy!). And neither will I ever be one of those jerks making church into a money making scheme. Ugh, they make me want to puke. Or quit. Or try doing it differently. I’ve chosen the latter. So far so good I hope.

    You’re a gem Jen, you have an awesome family, and a great hubby. I love him too (also creepy?). Keep laughing and keep listening. And I’d love to see that Comic and Christian reality show… or maybe the sitcom version?

    Hmm?

    Cheers!

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