The other night Chris Pratt won the MTV Generation award. I don’t know what that is but I assume it’s got something to do with being good at stuff. Probably for a generation.
When Pratt received his award his excellent acceptance speech included nine tips for life (you can watch them in the video if you want. You should, they’re good). These included such gems as “Don’t be a turd”, a lesson on how to poop at parties, and tips on feeding medicine to a dog. That tip was “When giving a dog medicine, put the medicine in a little piece of hamburger and they won’t even know they’re eating medicine.”
Taking a bit of his own advice, Chris also slipped a bit of spirit-medicine in on his listeners.
Tip six was “God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that. I do.”
Tip eight: “Learn to pray. It’s easy and it’s so good for your soul.”
And tip nine, the corker, “Nobody is perfect. People are going to tell you you’re perfect just the way you are—you’re not! You are imperfect. You always will be. But, there is a powerful force that designed you that way. And if you’re willing to accept that, you will have grace. And grace is a gift. And like the freedom we enjoy in this country, that grace was paid for with someone else’s blood. Do not forget it. Do not take it for granted.”
Now I’m sure there will be angry reformed people on the internet who have just recovered from being angry about Bishop Curry and are now gearing up to tell us why Chris Pratt is promoting moralistic therapeutic deism and mixing his patriotism with his theology, but I’ll leave those debates to those people.
I think there is one very important thing that Chris Pratt does in his speech that anyone who is communicating with young people can apply. And here it is:
He talks about poop.
This is what he said:
“If you have to poop at a party, or you’re embarrassed because you’re going to stink up the bathroom, just do what I do: lock the door, sit down, get all the pee out first. And then, when all the pee’s done, poop, flush. Boom. You minimize the amount of time the poop is touching the air, because if you poop first it takes you longer to pee then you’re peeing on top of it and the poop particles create a cloud that goes out and then everyone at the party will know that you pooped. Just trust me! It’s science.”
Why is that so important? Let me tell you.
1. You can’t take yourself too seriously when talking about poop
Young people are not interested in listening to people who talk down to them. Talking about poop proves to everyone that Pratt poops like the rest of us. And that he’s anxious, just like the rest of us, about other people smelling his poop. (Or most of the rest of us, those people who don’t care, who just bomb and run, are monsters.) Telling poop stories instantly puts you on the same level as your listeners.
2. Truth and comedy are not opposites
Chris Pratt had something to say, he wanted to encourage his listeners to love others (“Don’t be a turd”) and put their faith in a gracious God. But to get there he needed us to welcome the message. Making jokes helps your listeners to relax. When those jokes are self-deprecating and not mean-spirited, it’s a kind of generosity that invites your listeners to trust you.
3. Have fun
When speaking to teenagers you don’t actually have to talk about poop, but having fun is important. Young people are, more often than not, wired to have fun. If you’re having fun, and they’re having fun, everyone will be more willing to hear you when you tell them the most fun fact: that God loves them.
So if you’re talking to teenagers, feel free to make fun of yourself, talk about poop, and let people know that God loves them. You’ve learnt it from the school of Pratt.
Thanks to Em and a guy on Facebook who inspired me to write this post.