PRESCRIPT: This sermon was preached in the context of a Baptismal service; hence, references toward the end of the sermon to Baptismal vows.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I am a great fan of the animated television series, South Park. Now, I know South Park is a controversial program, sometimes for very good reasons; but when they are done well, shows like South Park – along with other shows like The Simpsons or Family Guy – actually have important things to say. The extreme lives lived by their characters, the absurd situations by which they are confronted, and the often shocking tactics they utilise to resolve their conundrums, are often all-too-accurate reflections of underlying attitudes or processes that exist within “normal” society. Quite often, shows like South Park are controversial precisely because they hit a nerve: we recognise ourselves or our cherished values in the grotesque distortions of satire; and, stung by the recognition, we respond by attacking the program. We complain about bad language or depictions of violence, or allege disrespect for religious belief – anything, in fact, to avoid looking at the mirror being held up to our faces; anything to avoid looking at the reflection we know all-too-well. Continue reading “Mark 1: 21-28”