An appalling and horrible thing Has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it? (Jeremiah 5:30,31)
Comedians die if they lie, pastors die if they don't.
A comedian tells a joke about a ballet dancer who's a "pansy" and his audience laughs. But pity the pastor who warns his flock away from a specific art form because of the sexual degradation associated with it. Opera? Film? Ballet? WWF? Cheerleading?
Yeah, I know, WWF and cheerleading aren't really art. Yeah, there are some good Christian movies. Yeah, we need Christians singing at Ravinia and Tanglewood.
Back up. My point wasn't to build a biblical theology of callings but to point out that pastors are paid to lie while comedians live off the scandalous truth.
Now, at this point I could do the standard qualifications and emasculate the post by saying there are some pastors who refuse to lie, some churches that want the truth, not every comedian is honest, and so forth.
Instead, here are some morsels from Kierkegaard's Attack upon Christendom:
The difference between the theater and the church is essentially this, that the theater honestly and honorably acknowledges itself to be what is is; on the other hand the church is a theater which dishonestly tries in every way to hide what it is....
The actor is an honest man who says plainly, "I am an actor."
One never gets a priest to say that, at any price.
Yes, I still love my church and no one here is asking me to lie. Yes, I'm speaking in generalities. Yes, I've had a good day. No, I'm not suffering from dyspepsia...
One of the most profound statements ever written by the Apostle Paul concerning the pastorate is his plaintive question put to the believers in the church of Galatia: "So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?" (Galatians 4:16).