Sunday, April 12, 2015

Why Jesus and Joseph Campbell would love the Book of Mormon.

I finally saw the “Book of Mormon” last night. I knew it would be irreverent but I was still shocked by the provocations offered by creators Trey Parker, Matt Stone (of South Park fame), and Robert Lopez. One miracle of this show is how it blends terrific singing and dancing with ruthless themes. The musical comedy performances delight while the satire cuts deep. Underneath the scatological humor are questions like: How angry are you at God --really? Are you willing to let that anger out? Isn’t it more honest to be angry than to be falsely pious? Don’t you see how piety cuts you off from your true self? And, don’t you see how all religious beliefs are really metaphors?

I can understand why audience members walk out on this show. It offers a brutal ridicule of religious values and propriety in the same way that Jesus offended the pious of his own time. That’s why they killed him.

I think Joseph Campbell would love this show because our culture is struggling to find a new guiding myth. The old literal religions don’t work for many of us. Parker, Stone and Lopez are doing their part to puncture through our cultural conditioning and make room for a new story that can guide us. The show is joyful but the destruction of beliefs carries some pain. Is that why our group was so exhausted after the show?
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