Terry Mattingly
Mattingly_Terry_2006 (SHNS photo)

While debating heretics, early Christians used the Greek term “hypostasis” — meaning “substance” and “subsistence” — to help define their belief in the Incarnation of Jesus as one person, yet with divine and human natures.

This “hypostatic union” is not the kind of subject a comedian typically raises on a TV talk show while chatting about mortality with a Hollywood legend. Then again, Norm Macdonald — who died on Sept. 14 after a secret nine-year fight with cancer — wasn’t a typical funny man. He openly identified as a Christian, while making it clear that he didn’t consider himself a very good one.

During an episode of “Norm Macdonald Has a Show,” the former “Saturday Night Live” star asked Jane Fonda — who at one point briefly embraced evangelical Christianity — this question: “Are you a religious person?”