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Brothers and Sisters, so I thought I was going to be writing another St. Mary diary when I asked for this week this year and hoo boy is that ever not happening.

It would have to be the person in process of entering the Episcopalian church who'd have volunteered for this week, wouldn't it. The one who, as it ultimately turns out, ended up landing there because of Robin Williams and didn't realize how the chain of causation until last night.

The material below the orange squiggle has a very heavy Have A Tissue Handy warning on it, because I got to thinking last night when all I had was an Ave Mary A embed and sobbing and now all I have is sobbing because I'm having issues with getting the embed code from the last diary I used it in.

Feel free to skip to the comments. If there had been another topic I could have taken I would have, but once I remembered everything I just couldn't bear to. Not when this is so different from everything else that's been said. Not when I was told growing up that just living your life as a good person and letting people know you just happened be Christian instead of In Their Face witnessing - they derisively called it Lifestyle Evangelism - wasn't worth anything. Well, it was to me.

You'd be amazed what two words and being yourself can mean to someone else.

Welcome to Brothers and Sisters, the weekly meetup for prayer* and community at Daily Kos. We put an asterisk on pray* to acknowledge that not everyone uses conventional religious language, but may want to share joys and concerns, or simply take solace in a meditative atmosphere. Anyone who comes in the spirit of mutual respect, warmth and healing is welcome.

I was maybe nineteen probably twenty and my best friend was carded when she bought the DVD. I had never heard so much concentrated swearing in my entire life and I loved most of it.

But the most important moment for me in all of "Live On Broadway" is one little pair of two words stuck in the middle of a riff on Christian denominations: that single second when Robin Williams says "my church".

Without an ounce of apology or embarrassment, and immediately making fun of his own denomination's issues as he made of anything other than the Catholic Church's priest problems. Without trying to set his own denomination up as The One True Way To Be, either.

I had never heard another Christian be able to do that. There was always either apology or denominational conflict.

And I had seen parts of The Birdcage and knew what part he'd had in that, so that was actually the first time in my entire life I'd looked at an openly gay-supportive Christian over the age of thirty and known what they were.

Plus there was the fact I'd gotten in all sorts of trouble over my sense of humor in church, and been influenced into trying to pray away ADD and was still emotionally coming of of that in fact, and was just irreverent enough in my private prayers that risking out loud prayers in church just wasn't happening in case I slipped up. And there was Robin Williams, being so much worse than what I was on all of that and still saying "my church" with that sense of pride and identity.

That stayed in my subconscious the entire time I was on my way out of the SBC and searching for a new place afterwards: 'there is someone less likeable to the fundies than you, and he found a place, just keep looking and holding on'.

It took someone wearing the "Top Ten Reasons" Episcopalian shirt to church one Sunday for me to connect where I've ended up to that day watching that DVD, and at the time it was pretty hilarious. Nice round circle.

I'm one of the lesser jokesters in the congregation. Everyone who hears about it is horrified that I tried to pray anything away. And the BCP makes the praying out loud fears not matter anymore.

And I finally managed to understand why the early Christians felt the need to call each other brothers and sisters. That's still raw and wild and new.

Last month I was on a trip and managed to visit some Episcopalian churches in a completely different part of the country. And near the end of the trip, I ran into one of those shirts in a church bookstore and had to smile. There was a feeling almost like recognition, like I was on the cusp of having my subconscious denominational identity finally switch from being an exile trying to find an individual congregation to stay with for a time to actually being something different after so long. And so I figured that hey, after a few weeks or months someone would link some of his Episcopalian humor and I'd get the full feeling and it'd make sense with the rest of it, wouldn't it? Nice warm thought, that.

That was a month ago.

Monday night when I heard the news, my first motion almost before I could think was to grab for the prayer beads that were lying next to me. I caught myself, because I'm really sensitive to 'would the other person want me doing this for them' religious practice issues, and my subconscious threw out, "Of course he wouldn't mind, he's one of us."

And then I may have thought a few of his favorite words.

Being an exile hurt a LOT less…

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Comment Preferences

  •  Schedule of diarists... (4+ / 0-)

    8/24  OPEN

    8/31 joedemocrat

    9/7 OPEN

    9/14 OPEN

    9/21  OPEN

    Reply to this comment if you want one of the open spots...

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 06:39:27 PM PDT

  •  {{{{Cassandra}}}} (4+ / 0-)

    What I know from the crazy path my life has taken is that God speaks to us in all kinds of amazing, wild and crazy ways... because he knows who and how we are...

    "What Dreams May Come" says lots to me about Robin Williams and his thoughts on faith. It really might be my favorite movie ever...

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 06:53:22 PM PDT

    •  I actually want to watch more stand-up. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mommyof3, vgranucci, slksfca

      One of the things that struck me last night is how Christian "Live On Broadway" actually is... if you use the Words In Red definition instead of the 'is this appropriate for the preschoolers' definition.

      Humor to make sure everyone remembers the Little Yellow Packages issue? So maybe no one does that again?

      Making fun of faith things that actually are inherently hilarious? But always respecting that there's a line there to be wary of - and not just with regard to your own beliefs.

      Punching up. Not down.

      Not using stereotypes as shortcuts or making them so over the top blatant that no one thinks you mean them as anything but device. And even then never when they aren't necessary.

      Not excluding your own identity groups from your target list so you don't forget how what you're throwing feels.

      How to make fun of your own mistakes so no one wants to repeat them and remembers not to.

      And even with the sexuality jokes, it's always fairly clear that he's reporting just his own experience as himself or discussing something that is inherently funny no matter who is looking at the situation. There's a lot of sex-based humor out there that feels uncomfortable and vaguely threatening to me because of 'this is universal' assumptions, but I've never gotten that vibe off any of his work.


      It was just this weird thing where I started thinking back over those jokes without rewatching (I did end up with my own copy) and realized, hey wait there's an actual ethical system at work in how he did this, and it's a really familiar one.

  •  Amen (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites, mommyof3, slksfca

    Prayers tonight for those battling depression.
    Prayers for those who mourn.

    We pray to the Lord.
    Lord, hear our prayer.

    "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat."--Will Rogers

    by vgranucci on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 07:28:08 PM PDT

    •  Prayers for those who remember (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mommyof3, vgranucci, slksfca

      their own close calls or those of others with fear at what could have been, may they be comforted.

      Prayers for those remembering their own losses in days past, may they find the peace that the days of 'we don't talk about that' may have denied them.

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