Stephen Colbert on Suffering, the Goodness of God, & Hobbits

Juicy Ecumenism | 8/21/2019 | Marc LiVecche
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As tempting as it is, in this essay I’m really not going to discuss Stephen Colbert’s comedic shtick or liberal ideology. My summary view, for what it’s worth, is that Colbert as a humorist is most often ridiculously funny, while as a political pundit he is often simply ridiculous.

The caveat, of course, is that because Colbert is (probably?) first and foremost a comedian, I’m never entirely certain whether he is telling a joke or sharing his opinion. Still, when it comes to political views—especially on social issues—I suspect that he and I don’t have much in common.

Christians - Politics - Colbert - Catholic - Tradition

As Christians, I’m also doubtful whether we would often agree on just how faith should inform our politics. While Colbert is, I think inarguably, very committed in both his Catholic tradition and love of Christ. And while I think we agree on motivation and basic grounds—for instance, love matters—I just don’t see how Colbert’s religious commitments quite square with some of what seem to be his policy positions.

That said, I have only good things to say about Colbert’s view of human suffering expressed in his recent—and enormously popular and widely shared—conversation with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. The relevant portion of the wide-ranging discussion began with Cooper describing the recent death of his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt. With the subject of human suffering now contextualized in a deeply personal manner, Cooper referenced an interview Colbert had done in 2015 with GQ’s Joey Lovell. One focal point of that talk was, as Lovell put it, the “deaths of loved ones, the phases of our children’s lives hurtling by, jobs and relationships we never imagined would end. All of it.”

Word - Loss - Exchange - Colbert - Anderson

It was, in a word, about loss, as was that poignant exchange between Colbert and Anderson. What is resonating with so many people is Colbert’s willingness to recognize that among...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Juicy Ecumenism
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