Going through God’s bins
Posted on 31 August 2011, 5:46
I met the comedian Marcus Brigstocke in a West End cafe last week and this evening started writing it up into a feature for the Church Times. We had a lively and enjoyable talk about his book, God Collar, which started life as a standup show touring the UK in 2009.
Marcus doesn’t believe in God, but would like to, if someone could show him a God worth believing in. The book starts off from that point and follows his search for God, which even to a religious person like me sometimes seems a bit obsessive. ‘I’ve never stalked anyone before, but if God had bins I’d definitely rifle through them,’ he confesses. The book is a comedy, but the search is serious.
One of the things I really enjoyed about the book, and our conversation, was his enthusiasm for attacking his own (lack of) faith position. He greatly disappointed the atheists in his audiences when he told them they weren’t cleverer than anyone else, for example. I haven’t found that spirit of self-criticism in many public atheists.
And I like his openness to what other people say. He told me this story from the end of one of his shows…
‘You always go for a pee after a show and the worst case scenario – which happens very, very often – is that the punters who have just watched the show will come and have a pee next to you and talk to you while you’re having a pee. Anyway, this guy came and spoke to me and said, “Oh, I just watched your show.” He didn’t really say whether he liked it or not, which is always a bad sign. He waited and then said, “I just wanted to let you know that when you’re ready, Jesus is waiting for you.” My initial response was right, here we go, we’re off to the races. And then I thought, no, actually he paid to come to your show, he listened to you for an hour and has now had the good grace to share with you something that worked for him and say, I hope you can have a piece of this.’
More on this when I’ve written the feature.