Interview with Jake Martin, SJ — Part Two

Previously on Random Acts of Momness, I spoke with Jake Martin, SJ about comedy and faith (two things he knows well).   Here’s the rest of the interview.  (And if you like what you read here, check out his great book What’s So Funny About Faith?  A Memoir From the Intersection of Hilarious and Holy).



If you could meet any spiritual giant, dead or alive, whom would you like to meet?

Again, I’m going to go with two, male and female.  Therese of Lisieux and Ignatius of Loyola.  I’ve pretty much devoured everything that can be read by and about Therese, I just find her “little way” to be incredibly practical; she’s truly a contemporary saint for contemporary times, despite what the superficialities of her story would lead you to believe.

Ignatius is just my hero, I identify with his story so much, moving from a place of desire for fame to a desire to serve God.  Again, I just find him very relatable, and he really does seem like he would be really cool to hang out with.  To steal a phrase from my high school students, he seems like he would be “very chill”.

I’m a mom, and lots of my blog readers are moms.  If you could thank your mom for any one thing, what would it be?

Giving me a deep and profound understanding of what love is.  My mother’s love for me is astonishing, when I think about all that she’s given me, her protection, care, concern, guidance, if I think about long enough I’m stunned and humbled by the depth and constancy of her love for me.

You talk about how comedy is often a way for us to vicariously enjoy the world the way it should be, to get a satisfying glimpse of just desserts (like the snobby rich person getting a pie in the face).   You write, “What comedy does – however fleeting and momentary it may prove – is empower the vulnerable and give a voice to the voiceless.”  Is it a stretch to call comedy a path towards social justice?

Not necessarily.  I do think that shows like The Colbert Report and The Daily Show do hold a mirror up to our world and ask us to take a hard look at the behavior and the decisions being made by people in positions of power.  Of course on the first level these shows are entertainment, but I don’t think you can walk away from them without in some way questioning the things that our society values.  It’s certainly not “in the trenches” so to speak, but these type of shows definitely raise questions that—for those willing to seek answers—call for action. 

When it comes to comedy, I think we all have a favorite movie scene/episode/standup routine that never gets old.  What’s yours?

Probably the stand-off sequence between all the various news anchors in the movie Anchorman, it consists of so many really funny people: Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Dave Koechner, Steve Carrell, Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller and the scenario is hilarious and its played out perfectly.  I’ve seen the film too many times to count and some parts of it aren’t as funny as they used to be, but that one still gets me.

What’s one thing you know now about God that you didn’t know ten years ago?

Ten years ago I was a agnostic posing as an atheist so…I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that God loves me (and you) in my brokenness, that God’s love transcends all of my preconceptions, and ideas about what God is and what God is supposed to do.

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