Would this man play this church?


For the fourth straight Christmas Eve, I watched my mother perform in the church choir at The First Parish in Bedford, Mass. I’m not a religious fellow, as many of my friends will attest, but I enjoy the yearly Yuletide service at this Unitarian Universalist church for its mixture of music, non-judgmental sermons, the positive community vibe and the wit and words of The Reverend John E. Gibbons, Senior Minister, and The Reverend Megan Lynes, Parish Minister. I wrote about it last year when zombies were unexpectedly invoked during the service. Awesome.

After last night’s Christmas Eve service, which offered positive ruminations on the universal brotherhood of the 99% and the social and political uprisings which have occurred across the globe, I said hello to Rev. Gibbons. He had been pleased as punch that I had written up his sermon from last Dec. 24th — by the way, they serve kickass hot chocolate each Christmas Eve — and after asking me what I had been working on recently, he proceeded to tell me about guest speakers at the parish. The previous week comedian Jimmy Tingle had visited, and an inflated, remote control clownfish had been flown above the audience. (Part of the Reverend’s PR pitch to the masses on the church website was that “Tingle rhymes with jingle”.) Too bad I missed that service. That should give you an idea of the First Parish’s sense of humor. (And last night, Rev. Lynes related a story of a Christmas pageant where the woman playing Mary was actually pregnant and gave birth onstage behind the scenery. The doctor who delivered the baby raised it before the throng and declared, “It’s a God!”)

Then Rev. Gibbons surprised me by declaring his sincere desire to bring comedian Lewis Black to speak to his congregation. You know, the wonderfully biting, no holds barred satirist of Daily Show fame, the one who hosted a Comedy Central series called Root Of All Evil in which two “lawyers” argued why their particular client or concept was more evil than the other on the show that week, and who embarked last year on a stand-up tour called In God We Rust. Further, the Reverend said he would not ask Black, who often likes to drop the F-bomb, to censor himself. It seems that Rev. Gibbons believes that truth comes in all form.

Now that’s religion.

Are you game, Mr. Black?

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