Friday, July 03, 2009

Peter Griffin and Reflections on Prayer

I start this with a warning, this clip may be offensive to some. I don't recommend watching it in front of children. It's from the show Family Guy, so if you don't like the show or think it is something 'Christians' shouldn't watch, then don't watch the clip.

Having given myself a very large 'out', here it is, I found it thought provoking.

I debated for a while about whether to post this, but some thoughts came up for me after seeing it that I wanted to share.

1. Peter Griffin really functions in the show as a kind of 'bumbling everyman' - he is us without the filters of good taste in place. I like the fact that he is able to be himself around Jesus, he doesn't self censor, he asks for what he wants (even when inappropriate). Many of us when we go to church 'put on our Sunday best', it's our way of showing respect. But with the pristine perfect clothes we put on our pristine perfect exterior.

"Everything is right with the world. I don't have problems."

We behave 'holy' around our church friends, and 'normal' around everyone else -I use the word normal loosely as I think everyone is 'normal' until you get to know them :)

As my good friend Sean once wrote in a drama sketch, church is like a group of people with skunks around their necks all spraying perfume and fannning themselves insisting they don't stink.

It's also in some cases the reverse - a competition to show who is the biggest 'sinner' and who has the lowest opinion of themselves, as if somehow the more you hate yourself, the more you love God.

Peter Griffin, with all his crudity and stupidity does not try to be anything other than himself around Jesus, we could learn from him.

2. I do not believe that God is like a 'cosmic coke machine' - we put the coin in, select the beverage of our choice and out it falls. Just because we raise a prayer to heaven does not mean that that prayer is going to be answered how we want it to be. Peter's request is shallow and reveals a lot about him. I do wonder what some of my prayer requests when looked at with the advantage of distance or hindsight say about me?

3. Even though Peter's request is fatuous, he shares it with Jesus. He tells tales of drunken stupidity, he is totally who he is. And what is Jesus response? No judgment. No disparaging. No dismissing. I want the kind of God I can say anything too. For years I carried around a large amount of anger towards God that I was afraid to voice. It ate up my insides. It was a slow process realizing that it was safe for me to be angry at God and to voice my displeasure. this clip reminds me that Jesus listens and loves me even if I am bumbling away inanely or raising my voice in rage.

It's the kind of relationship where you can truly say what is on your heart and mind and still know that you are loved. I want that in my human relationships and in my heavenly relationships too.

Thank you Peter Griffin for the reminder!


Bill Shirley said...

You made me wonder how I'm off of normal in your eyes. =)

Gregarius said...

Are you actually allowed to take a positive religious message from a Family Guy episode?