The very first time I ever taught at a gathering of the Pursuit Church I quoted Jon Stewart. “Religion. It’s a powerful, healing force in a world torn apart…by religion.”
Stewart has been a large part of my past decade, especially since becoming a church planter. He’s been a part of my routine. Before becoming the bivocational pastor (a pastor who works full time as a pastor and full time at a “traditional” job) many weekdays began with a trip to the gym, my morning devotionals, and then the most recent episode of the Daily Show.
He was charming, hilarious, passionate, educated, and caring.
Despite being the host of a fake news show Stewart consistently brought real news and truth, just check out his video warning about “bullsh*t” from last night’s episode.
He also provided some of the more human moments in television history. For me personally, his response to the events of 9/11 were perhaps some of the most poignant and inspiring. In fact, whenever tragedy struck, Stewart often could talk me off the ledge.
It has always been clear how much he cares for people. His human interest pieces (like Malala Yousafzai) to how he has always fought for the underdog to even the way he treated his cast. You don’t have to agree with him on everything to know that he leads with his heart and that is a rarity in a business that often does things for the ratings. He always shied away from people thanking or making a big deal out of him so when he did good for the public it came across as genuine.
Jon is leaving behind with the Daily Show an incredible legacy. He enabled, encouraged, recklessly promoted, and loved his team. Just look at the list of people who got their start or who had their career launched by Stewart. Ed Helms, Steve Carrell, Kristen Schall, Lewis Black, Josh Gad, Rob Riggle, and the last hope of honest comedic news – John Oliver.
He lead his team with an open hand always hoping to see them grow up and move on to bigger things. He celebrated with Stephen Colbert when he finally beat out Stewart at the Emmy’s. He made a big deal out of John Oliver landing a deal with HBO after filling in for Jon for a summer so he could film a movie (also a human interest/justice story).
Truly, I learned a lot by watching Stewart’s run.
This was one of the rare moments where the ending of a show truly affected me.
He’s been a fresh breath in the toxic air of news.
While I rejoice for him, I’m deeply saddened that a voice against fear mongering of many media outlets and a voice for the voiceless that could make us laugh while making us think and feel emotions for people who have too long been thought of as “them” not “us”.
No, I didn’t agree with everything he said but I’ve been married for 16 years as well and my wife and I haven’t agreed on everything. We still love each other.
And I still love Jon Stewart.