About a week ago, comedian Louis C.K. presented an episode of his FX show "Louie" entitled "God". It was a 22 minute riff on faith, Abraham and Isaac, the crucifixion and saying "Jesus Christ" as a curse. Incredibly bawdy at some moments, it's nevertheless extremely thought-provoking. Louis C.K. was raised Catholic for the early part of his life, and then eschewed organized religion. And his take on some Catholic stuff is likely to offend some Christians; but I must say, I found his perspective both provocative and refreshing. His image of the God of Abraham as sort of drunk-dialing Abraham, telling him to sacrifice Isaac, is irreverently funny, but also speaks to a lot of people's experience of the seeming arbitrariness of life (and in some preachers' hands, of God).
And his take on the crucifixion, in which a doctor educates grade schoolers on the precise medical impacts of the scourging, is both powerful, and also, in the end, filled with some reversals worthy of some serious mental wrestling.
I'm often told by Catholics, there's nothing good on TV, nothing of substance or of significant reflection. Now, I disagree with that, I think there's a lot of interesting stuff going on, and some really powerful human stories on the networks and on cable. But if you're looking for something more explicitly religious, Louis C.K. is definitely offering something substantial and challenging. But be warned, he may push your buttons. (Maybe that's not a bad thing....)
If you're interested in watching the program, here's the link.
Jim McDermott, S.J.