TV: Judith Lucy’s Spiritual Journey

TV: Judith Lucy’s Spiritual Journey

Judith Lucy’s Spiritual JourneyRating:  MDistributor: ABC1Release Date: Wednesdays, 9:30 PMJudith Lucy’s Spiritual Journey is a combination of the sincere and the silly. It’s a personal quest with genuine questions at its heart, but there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of genuine inquiry.Australian comedian Judith Lucy has traded in her touring shows for a six-part quest […]

By Mark HadleyMonday 8 Aug 2011TV and StreamingReading Time: 3 minutes

Judith Lucy’s Spiritual Journey
Rating:  M
Distributor: ABC1
Release Date: Wednesdays, 9:30 PM

Judith Lucy’s Spiritual Journey is a combination of the sincere and the silly. It’s a personal quest with genuine questions at its heart, but there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of genuine inquiry.

Australian comedian Judith Lucy has traded in her touring shows for a six-part quest to find out if there’s more to life, death and what comes next than she’s allowed for in her life so far. Lucy admits she spent a large portion of the past decades experimenting with drugs, sex and alcohol but found they have few answers for the sorts of questions that are currently consuming her mind. Her first episode is devoted to exploring the Roman Catholicism of her childhood, wondering if she’s made a mistake walking away from the church. Her following programs will expand the range of her inquiry, delving into topics including charismatic prayer, New Age healing and Hindu yoga.

Spirituality is one of those topics that people of a certain age just don’t seem to be able to ignore, however uninterested they may appear. “Unless you’re a coconut, you’ve probably asked yourself at some stage, ‘What’s it all about?’” Lucy tells her viewers in the opening minutes of the first episode. But interest and real self-examination can be worlds apart.

Lucy appears to be genuine in her inquiry, but doesn’t seem to have been brave enough to leave the gag bag behind. Consequently there’s plenty of irreverence at the expense of polite believers and more than a few profanities to keep the less attentive interested. The same goes for a series of supposed reenactments of her spiritual journey. You can’t help wondering what the program would have been like if Lucy had stopped looking for a punch-line long enough to hear an answer.

However, the real struggle seems to lie with Lucy’s desire to choose her own religion. Has it occurred to her that if there really is an all-knowing, all-powerful God, choosing how she wants to relate to Him is probably not an option? Lucy is honestly moved by the women she discovers in a Catholic convent but is turned off the beliefs they and others hold, as if the truth they offer was somehow negotiable.

But it’s interesting to see that there’s one person she’s not prepared to dismiss: “Jesus – top bloke!” she tells Catholic priest Gerald Gleeson. “I love a lot of the Good News for Modern Man that I was brought up with, but for me there are just too many problems.” Which makes me think that the best thing we can continue to do for inquirers like Lucy is introduce them to the man who gives Christianity its name, and see whether their indifference can survive an encounter with his character.

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