Craig Erickson’s one-man comedy gives Christians something to think about
“I want to be Your vessel. I want to hear Your voice.”
It’s the sincere prayer of many a modern Christian, including Calvin, the protagonist of Craig Erickson’s play Jesus Made Me Funny. In a one-man show at the Vancouver Fringe Festival, Erickson portrays multiple characters as they seek to discern and live out God’s will.
While satirizing evangelical Christian culture, the play questions our fixation on “discovering God’s will.” Though he stretches boundaries, his performance is not only refreshingly sincere, it’s downright funny.
Whether or not you’ve seen Jesus Made Me Funny, the play chronicles a few lessons Christians need to be reminded of.
1. Don’t allow “success” to be your goal.
Throughout his performance Erickson plays two characters that are torn between pursuing a comedic career and maintaining a job. The two men covet the shiny accomplishments of other comedians, and while pursuing “success,” both characters end up neglecting the positions they are already in. The characters ignore the opportunities in their lives — their families and their jobs — because they don’t see these things as being worthwhile.
2. Distinguish between your passions and what God is calling you to do.
At one point in his performance Erickson portrays a couple in the midst of an argument. Sarah has just found out that her husband, Calvin, has lost his job and has decided to make a reality television show instead of finding a new job. She furiously yells at Calvin to grow up and accept responsibility. He retorts, “From my gut to God’s will!” The scene highlights the difference between loving something and being good at something. And the difference between “God’s will” and our own desires.
3. Figuring out God’s will for our lives can be messy.
God will reveal Himself to us in whatever way He chooses, but we can’t sit around waiting for the shrub in the yard to catch fire. Discovering our place in God’s Kingdom is a lot like writing new jokes; sometimes, testing the waters is the best way to know if it works. In the play, Calvin runs with the idea of creating a reality show about the life of an aspiring comedian, only to find that things don’t pan out the way he imagined.
4. Wait and pray.
Sometimes, we are so focused on what we think God wants that we forget to stop and listen. We run around doing, desperate to please, and don’t make time to be in His presence. As Calvin transitions from his insurance sales job to a career in stand-up, he seeks godly counsel and gets involved in a community of Christian comedians — both legitimate ways to grow in wisdom and discernment — but spends little time actually praying to God or reading his Bible.
If you’re in Vancouver, you can catch Jesus Made Me Funny at Toast Collective on Friday at 5 p.m., Saturday 1:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Mika Hiltunen.