"The Fine Art of Spritzing the Joy Juice" Dearly beloved, they have gathered me together here to adduce a whizzical, quimisical squark of holy hoosenwoosen. And I have been awarded a special dispensation to make up my own words for the occasion. I awarded it to myself. Isn't that wonderbubble?
Hey, you can do it, too. What's to stop you? By the way, I didn't make up the word "adduce." That was already a word before I got here. Look, I don't have to make them all up, do I? Otherwise you might start wondering what I'm even talking about.
Let's Get to the Deep Spiritual Point Here, Already
Nowthen, let's get to the deep spiritual point here, already. I highly
esteem the art and calling of what they call the "Five-fold Ministry": Pastors, Teachers, Prophets, Evangelists, and Apostles. But, I just think the office of "Spritzer of the Joy Juice" should be in there somewhere, that's all. I believe we're on earth to delight each other, make each other laugh, and to infuse one another with divine joy. Why not? What have we got better to do, for heaven's sake? So that is why I commede.
As a peripatetic purveyor of Light-Heartedness as a ministry -- traveling around doing concerts, church services, speaking engagements and conducting "Joy Training Seminars" -- I suppose it falls under the category of comedy. But that's just it; why does it have to fall under? I want it to rise up. And us with it. Levitation through levity. Yes, indeed! The bookings are the alleged pretext to show up places and offer a truth squirt to the prospective temples of the Holy Spirit sitting in the seats.
Comedy is a simulated, stimulated way of being "in this world, but not of it." A vicarious way of being on the edge - and beyond - with no real risk to the laughee. A way of venturing into people, places and things without being arrested for breaking & entering. But without the Spirit of God, it leaves something to be desired. Namely, everything. In the hands of the Living God, comedy has the power to lift and transform.
When Jesus, who is the Light, comes to live in our hearts, shouldn't that make us Light-hearted? -- Then pray tell, how did funereal somberness become the default setting in some church circles? Ahh, but there is an antidote: the Joy Juice. Scripture calls it living water, which it is recommended that from our innermost being it should flow. It doesn't matter what you call it. As long as you spritz it. And you know from whence and from Whom it flows. This is the key to being a joy bringer.
Daddy Was a Joy Bringer
My Dad, Izzy Rosenberg -- now there was a natural Joy Bringer, boy! He's off the earth now, but I love to tell true stories about him at ministry performances. It's like we're in ministry together. He was one of seven brothers and sisters, each of whom diligently turned out more Rosenbergs, the males of which eventually got Bar Mitzvah'd. At one cousin's Bar Mitzvah, held at a major majestic fancy-schmancy downtown hotel, my Dad and I were up on the mezzanine above the main lobby. I was about eleven. A big bowl of sumptuous catered fruit was right next to us on the table. He jauntily picked up one big green grape between thumb and forefinger. As I watched with delight, he delicately dropped it down, right on the head of a well-dressed unsuspecting stranger standing below. Bink! The guy instantly looked up with this furrowed, irritated squint. Dad would then meet his eyes with a toothiferous grin and wave wildly at him. The fellow wasn't sure if this was a grinning, waving acquaintance he didn't quite recognize -- or if some crazy jerk was dropping grapes on his head. The guy allowed a wan smile to disturb the irritated squint, and waved back in a bewildered slow motion. When the man eventually wandered away, Dad would say, "Okay, who else we got down there? -- Ooh, there's one -- "Then he'd gingerly drop another grape on another guy. And grin big, and wave some more. Then he'd find a nice dignified lady and drop one on her -- and grin & wave. I'd help him peruse the crowd to select just the right next candidate. Each time, we laughed & laughed together more than the one before. I couldn't get enough. This is male bonding!
Guerrilla Raids on the World's Misery
I knew there and then that there is something divine about daring the moment to stop being so deadly dreary. And making guerrilla raids on the world's misery. I thought, "I'd like to make this my life's work." I didn't know any better. I still don't. And God is letting me get away with it. Haven't had a real job in eighteen years. Isn't that fabuluscious? Only now, the grapes are truth-drops concealed in mirth moments. Veracity with audacity. Don't get me wrong; I work hard. Only now I play at it. Especially since, as C.S. Lewis informed us, joy is the serious business of heaven.
The Divine Smuggling Conspiracy
See, I believe the Kingdom of God is a Divine Conspiracy to Smuggle Joy into the World. To be in this Divine Conspiracy, you have to first smuggle Joy into you. ("If you open your heart, I will come in," Jesus says.) And then, cleverly disguised as a human being, you live, move, and have your being -- but it's really Him living through you! What a great disguise! It's perfect! Who would ever suspect?
A Serene Explosion from Inside-Out
Being in a ministry of humor is different from Jokes for Jesus. It's more like we're the jokes, and Jesus is telling us. It's merely my heartfelt endeavor to help straighten out the decline of civilization through the release of God's Spirit inside of people. The goal is to impart a serene explosion from inside-out -- of joy, insight and awareness. To help them find their divinely inspired uniqueness.
The Mythos of the Sad Comedian
Surely you've heard the mythos that comedians are actually sad people who had unhappy childhoods. I wouldn't be surprised if someday they have a Multi-Level-Marketing Downline Strategy to sell Unhappy Childhoods to aspiring, perspiring comedians who were deprived of them by the dreaded scourge of contentment? But, what if you already had the unhappy childhood, and you can't quite shake the manic-depressive angst? I guess the trick there is to figure out a way to sell the manic to finance the depression. That's what most comedians in the world are doing. But, there is a higher way, not of this particular world.
That Where You Are, You May Not Be Also
Comedy is a defense mechanism run amok. At least, that's how it usually starts. As a way of escape by performing an instant reality transplant -- way of preparing a place for yourself, that where you are, you may not be also. But God can take it and turn it around rightly, making a you-turn to the high Way. I know, because I've seen Him do it in yours trueblue -- timeless and again. And, lo, it happens that bringing balm to another's sadness gives one's own a holy kiss.
My First Gig, At Age Four
My first comedy gig was at age four, making Catholic schoolgirls laugh in an alley during their recess period by falling off my tricycle. I learned that if you make a funny face right before you fall off the bike, you get a bigger laugh. So, I had a regular booking in the alley every day after that. At least, whenever I could slip out of the house past my Mom at the recess time. Which was problematic, because I couldn't tell time at the time. Now, my Mom could. But, I couldn't ask her, because I was afraid she'd ask me where I was going. And I didn't know whether she wanted me to be in show business. But I knew the show must go on. In their classes, I imagine the school-lasses were learning all about ecclesiastical catechisms, sacraments, mortals & venials & such. My four-year-old self didn't know anything about that stuff. But out in the alley behind the schoolyard, when I was evoking mirth spasms, I felt God's pleasure. (Eat your heart out, Eric Liddel.)
Joyful Noises & Glad, Reckless Joy
It just seemed that laughter was a joyful noise. Later, I found out that God likes joyful noises. And I recently discovered that Oswald Chambers wrote, "Obey [God] with glad, reckless joy." Bingo! But you know what? -- I had this sneaking suspicion in my bones even way back then.
An Artiste, Not an Impostor: Dr. Osgood T. Mittenjuice
Sometimes the truth requires me to make up some stuff that is not so. And go somewhere and pretend I'm somebody I'm not. Someone once said, "art is a lie that reveals the truth." So hooo-boy, y'see there -- I'm not an impostor; I'm an artiste.
For example, one time I was invited to perform/minister at a church service where they didn't already know me (and the pastor was adventuresome enough to play a little joke on his congregation. I had him introduce me, with straightlaceface, something like this:
"We are exceedingly privileged to have with us today, The Right Reverend Dr. Osgood T. Mittenjuice, the noted dean, acclaimed author, internationally-known philosopher-savant, visiting lecturer, eminent anthropologist, raconteur and amateur anesthesiologist from the Sebastian P. Ironteeth Institute of Theology and Perpetual Offerings. He has distinguished himself by being the only man in full-time ministry today who is not leading a tour to the Holy Land."
Whereupon Dr. Mittenjuice, my ownself, wandered out, emanating the musty, crusty ambiance of entirely-too-much-civilization, sporting that fabulous "Bad-Hair-Day/Gaudy-Necktie" Combo. And waaaay too many pens in the suitjacket pocket. Only to drop his stack of copious notes, and be forced to deliver a stream-of-unconsciousness rant, seemingly infused by secret messages from the Moonmaids. Meanwhile, I got to watch their faces as, one-by-one, the congregation discovers they've been had. Little do they know, while they were watching me, their faces were a fine simultaneous comedy show for this audience of one.
Co-Creating with the Creator
Y'know, sometimes you jus' gotta trust that God enjoys us enjoying Him in a little flight of serendipitousness. And daring to sport a little "holy chutzpah."
We are created to co-create, yea even dance, with the Creator -- as living works of art in progress. I believe the best comedian is one who dares bring childhood all the way through to old age. Not being childish, but insisting on maintaining a center of awed, inner wonder -- a place from which to serenely observe the Life Sit-Com. And gutsily overflow His heavenly outspiration into it. Outspiration is inspiration on a mission.
Albert Schweitzer (remember him?) wrote, "In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those who rekindle the inner spirit."
I don't want to just wait and hope one of those guys shows up. I'd rather go out and be that guy.
It's not just being about the Father's business. It's being about the Father's Is-ness.
Oooh, now ain't that a happy gazoort?!
Okay, I made that one up, too.
But, what could I do? They didn't have a word for that yet.
Back to Top