Friday, August 29, 2008

Come On People

Since I first watched a mesmerizing and funny man demonstrate his Picture Pages on children’s television, I’ve been a fan of Bill Cosby. That might make my only claim to fame the fact that I’m Bill Cosby’s oldest fan. I’ve eagerly enjoyed his stand-up comedy, his Fat Albert cartoons, his own brand of Kids Say the Darndest Things, and then the show that made everyone else sit up and take notice--The Cosby Show. Bill Cosby proved that you can make people laugh on an intelligent level without taking your material down into the sewer. He reminds us that we are flawed humans but he doesn’t leave us there. Bill Cosby goads us into change and then into teaching others that they too can change. Bill Cosby is the reason I went back to school and finished my master’s degree.

Following my years volunteering in the inner cities of Baton Rouge, I became aware of how enabling through hand-outs rather than mentoring in a reciprocal fashion was what the parents needed more than our free milk and shoes (although it felt good to provide them--but ministry should not be focused on a "warm fuzzies" theology). At the end of the documentary The Boys of Baraka, Bill holds court with a litany of opinions that has, for some really strange reason, made him a lightning rod of controversy. But since I’m a person who agrees with most everything he says, I’m ordering his book Come on, People.