Last week, the eldest was scanning Netflix looking for a comedian to watch who was clean and on instant queue. She happened upon a Steve Harvey show described as being performed to a sold-out crowd of "the Christian faithful". Well, hmmm.
I had to google Steve Harvey, because I knew the name but couldn't place him. He's a comedian; he had a sitcom for a while on WB and he looks remarkably like Richard Pryor. He got remarried a few years ago to a lady who he says turned his life around, and he decided he needed to clean up his stage act. So, Bishop T.D. Jakes invited him to get a new start by doing a show one night of "Megafest", some monster Christian event the Bishop runs every year.
Harvey started out the show, after receiving his truly wild applause from the huge audience, by asking them all to pray with him: "Lord God, PLEEEAAASE help Steve not cuss during this show tonight . . . " He explained that he'd been performing for twenty years and hadn't once gotten through a night without cussing, so he was going to need their grace and their prayers. And if he messed up, he asked them to remember the name of the DVD this would be put out as -- "Don't Trip: God Ain't Through With Me Yet."
He cut himself off in mid-sentence more than a few times. He played with some theology I thought was questionable. And he danced around some subjects I'm sure aren't often brought up at many mega-Christian conferences. But, he was seriously funny. He'd obviously grown up in the church and had plenty of material from the experience. And he continually gave God the glory for where he is today and for the work he's still doing to straighten him out.
I loved watching this. I love stories of how we dig ourselves into pits and God pulls us out anyway. I loved watching an audience of Christians -- who are often SO judgmental and sanctimonious -- embrace and carry him through this big night, even when he stumbled very close to the line.
He ended the show with a glorious demonstration of how he (who has introduced many a celebrity on award shows, Showtime at the Apollo, etc.) would introduce Jesus Christ to an audience, had he the blessed opportunity to do so. As I said, it was glorious. He got a rousing, standing ovation, and he was visibly moved to tears when it was all done. I LOVED watching this.