EPISODE 56

“Lord Buckley”, the nightclub performer who broke so many conventions in the 1950s, broke one of the tightest conventions of them all. He broke the asbestos barrier between the Sacred and Profane. I owe this observation to Bill Bowman.

Lord Buckley did something that almost all of us who have been in Christian ministry over the years have failed to do. Many have wanted to do it, and sincerely, for the sake of getting out our message. But we’ve either been scared to do it, or haven’t known how to do it. Lord Buckley did it!

In this podcast I read a section of Buckley’s nightclub monologue entitled “Nero”. Loosely based on the movie Quo Vadis (1951), which is based on a truly great novel by the Polish writer Henryk Sienkiewicz, Lord Buckley’s “Nero” tells the story, in hipster slang, of the killing of the Christians under the Roman Emperor Nero.

Only about a third of the way through, do you have any idea what he is talking about, and even then, he mystifies you, in medias res with his sudden rap on the “chick in the fast car”.

Towards the end, however, he takes you straight into hell, and straight into heaven, and thereby straight to the heart of the core of Christianity. At the very end, moreover, he lets you down easy, and makes you want to eat some… spaghetti. No kidding.

Listen to my “Wide Boy” performance of this mind-blowing piece.
“Stomp” with Lord Buckley through to his prey, which is the hardened human heart.

I don’t know anything quite like this little odd bravura “Nero”.