Yesterday, Matt Chandler’s The Village Church, blew up the internet with a post titled Three Things we Can Learn from Jimmy Fallon. Evangelicalism was rightly outraged. I mean how dare Kyle Worley, the post author, insinuate that Christians can learn anything from pagans.
I’m kidding of course. But many people were not.
It is a safe bet to assume that Jimmy Fallon is not a Christian. He was raised with an Irish Catholic upbringing and has used his Catholic upbringing for the many punch lines.
After taking over Jay Leno’s spot on the Tonight Show, his show has become incredibly popular. Reaching ratings that late night has not had in many years! I must admit that I am a fan of Jimmy Fallon. Though his show is not 100% morally pure, (I easily toss those jokes aside), a large percentage of his jokes are clean for the family, and some are even politically conservative.
There is an energy to The Tonight Show that makes you desire to be a part of it, but at the same time, it assumes you already are. Many have said that Jimmy Fallon is Johnny Carson reincarnated. Although it is about thirty years too early to make that assumption, I think it might be looking good for him. I would already place him far above Jay Leno in terms of talent. Fallon can sing, dance and tell good jokes. Jay Leno could tell a good joke, but most of the time he used headlines, and man-on-the-street interviews to get a joke off of other people for free.
The negative response to the Jimmy Fallon article on The Village Church’s Facebook page is an example, in part, of why I started Gospel Spam: As a way to teach Christians how to be critical of pop-culture, all the while embracing that which is good, and striving to do better. We must remember that the worst of pagans are created in the image of God and are capable of having actual talent. Even if they use that gift to blaspheme God, it does not negate the gift still exists-it just makes it worse for them.
Christians tend to treat the arts as Gnostics treat the flesh-as if there is some sort of inherent wickedness to anything a pagan makes or touches. Let us not forget the fact they are voicing these Gnostic heresies using Facebook, which is also made by pagans.
From the Village Church’s post:
Believers should feel free, though not obligated, to use various cultural works (i.e. movies, songs, books, etc.) to point back to Christ. Everything that is Truth will be rooted in the One who gives all good gifts.
Notice what it doesn’t say. It does not say that believers should use various cultural works to prove the existence of Christ. It does not say that we should use cultural works to replace Scripture.
No, pointing back to Christ presupposes the existence of a Creator.
Kyle Worley says:
I believe Christians can actually learn from Fallon’s example as they attempt to demonstrate the love of Christ.
Christians don’t like to hear that unbelievers can do something Christ-like. They don’t like to be confronted with things like that. It’s a damning accusation.
But the truth is we can learn things about God from unbelievers, because unbelievers are made in the image of God. Christians believe this. This is why they go to secular universities and read secular books. This is why Christians can learn things from reading the newspaper or watching MSNBC. Most recently, this is why Christians continue to click on Buzz Feed click bait. Because they know they can learn something from it, even if what they learn is not equal to the hope the headline promised them. You got me again, Buzz Feed!The same is true for music, film, movies and late night.
Gospel Spam is not trying to be evangelistic, or looking to relate to the culture. We are presuppositional, we presuppose that men are created in the image of God and will therefore glorify him in their works…even if they refuse. We seek to point out the talent of the unbeliever as a means to motivate the believer into doing better.
It is not to say that Scripture is not enough (Obviously, we believe it is).
It is not to show everyone how cool and hip we are (we already know we’re not).
Christian artists have long been like math teachers who can’t add. They are pretty terrible and incompetent. Gospel Spam reviews serve as a means to show Christians how to do proper math. Sometimes, in order to do that, one must point to pagan math professors who can add and then take a red BIC pen all over the work of the Christian.
This might be a hard pill to swallow, but sometimes, just as unbelievers get better grades than you, unbelievers can build better buildings than you, they can cook better than you, and they can have better jokes and late night television shows better than you.
Jimmy Fallon is not leading the ratings in Late Night because he’s more vulgar than you, he’s leading because he’s more talented.
Be careful not to choke as you swallow that pill.