So there are times when I feel like I’m starting to progress in my artistic and leadership development, times when I’m starting to get a handle on what it means to be an independent businessman and a worship artist at the same time.
It’s for times like these, and for people like me… (no, not Black people… you know… professional Christians) that these videos were made.
You thought the Lark News was cutting edge? Then apparently you haven’t seen any of the “Jesus People,” a web-based mockumentary about a Christian pop group called … wait for it… Cross My Heart. (They’ve even got a tongue-in-cheek myspace page.)
Available on various websites (a brief Googling popped up hits on Youtube and FunnyOrDie), this series, the brainchild of Dan Ewald & Rajeev Sigamoney, is the most brutally spot-on send-up of evangelical Christian subculture since “Saved!” hit the big screen in 2004.
Upon stumbling onto the first video, I was at first pretty reluctant to give it a chance. I assumed it would be rigid, inaccurate, and mean-spirited, all traits that prevented me from enjoying “Saved!” more thoroughly. (The Onion’s AV Club review of “Saved!” essentially called it just as self-righteous and condescending as its intended target.)
And it certainly looked that way to me, at first glance. But having watched a few episodes, I think it was just hitting a little too close to home. Because, like “Saved,” Jesus People manages to get many of the details right. The fading 90’s crooner derailed by a sex scandal. The overly judgmental hard-ass (I’m sorry, I spent 30 seconds trying to think up a better term but I couldn’t). The token Black guy, trying in vain to inject a modicum of street cred into the proceedings.
I’m telling you, the longer I watched this, the scarier it got for me. Because I grew up around these people. I went to summer camps and college with these people. I worked in a Christian bookstore with these people. And, sadly, sometimes I am these people.
(Lord Jesus, did I really act like this? Have mercy.)
Which is why I wasn’t surprised to find that Dan Ewald has a few bylines in the archives of ChristianityToday.com, because I think only a true believer in Christ — or someone who grew up around believers in Christ — would be able to come up with this.
It’s a little like the first time I saw the series of GEICO cavemen commercials. They worked so well at depicting twentysomething yuppie/slacker archetypes, it came as little surprise that they were created by recent twentysomething yuppie slackers.
But to laud the writing too much would be damning the actors with faint praise, because these folks are funny. Most (if not all) of them have backgrounds in comedy, and many of the cameo appearances are actors in other, more popular comedies (including “The Office” and “MADTV”).
But don’t take my words for it. Watch my favorite episode so far:
If that didn’t do it for you, check out their myspace page and play their horrendously bad single, “Snatched Up.” If you’ve ever worked in a Christian bookstore, you’ve probably heard something that bad. At least this time it’s a joke.
If you still want some great entertainment value, and you have any friends who are Christians and like music, find the one with the snobbiest tastes, the one who can’t resist an opportunity to bash Christian music at any opportunity… and play your new favorite song for them.
UPDATE: The time stamping on the myspace page is from May of 07… why didn’t I hear about this sooner? (First “Lazy Sunday“, now this.) I guess I’m losing my hipness quotient, or I’m too far out of the loop on what’s funny these days. Maybe I’m becoming immune to viral video… ?