Generous Orthodoxy  




Monday, February 20, 2012

Stephen Colbert's Christian witness

A friend has just sent me something quite remarkable that I completely missed. It's one of the most authentic testimonies to Christian faith from the depths that I've read in a while. In a New York Times profile of Stephen Colbert by Charles McGrath, we read this:

Colbert grew up in Charleston, where, for much of his life, the family lived in the George Chisolm House, a Federal-style mansion that is one of the city’s many historic houses. He may have been biologically destined to be an entertainer: he was the 11th of 11 children. He says now that most of his siblings were funnier. “My brother Billy was the joke teller,” he told me one morning in his office upstairs in the building where “The Colbert Report” is taped. It looks like a dorm room, with a “Lord of the Rings” pinball machine at one end, an elliptical trainer at the other, a Nixon campaign poster on the wall and a desk strewn with knickknacks. “My brother Jim had a really sharp, cutting wit. And the teller of long stories, that was my brother Ed. As a child, I just absorbed everything they said, and I was always in competition for the laughs.”

In 1974, when Colbert was 10, his father, a doctor, and his brothers Peter and Paul, the two closest to him in age, died in a plane crash while flying to a prep school in New England. “There’s a common explanation that profound sadness leads to someone’s becoming a comedian, but I’m not sure that’s a proven equation in my case,” he told me. “I’m not bitter about what happened to me as a child, and my mother was instrumental in keeping me from being so.” He added, in a tone so humble and sincere that his character would never have used it: “She taught me to be grateful for my life regardless of what that entailed, and that’s directly related to the image of Christ on the cross and the example of sacrifice that he gave us. What she taught me is that the deliverance God offers you from pain is not no pain — it’s that the pain is actually a gift. What’s the option? God doesn’t really give you another choice.”

Click here for the full article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/magazine/stephen-colbert.html?pagewanted=all