Tag Archives: jokes

When Worship Degenerates into Entertainment

Telegraph.co.uk

Thursday 12 February 2015

Vicars told to stand up for Jesus by getting lessons in how to swap the good book for the joke book
Church leaders hope it will have congregations rolling in the aisles as their priests deliver punchlines with their sermons from the pulpit

Why didn’t Jesus need swimming lessons? Because he could walk on water!
Vicars across the south-west of England are getting comedy tips on how to deliver punchlines with their sermons from the pulpit.
Church leaders hope it will have them rolling in the aisles and pack more punters into the pews.
With congregations dwindling, senior Church of England figures are saying parsons and priests must move with the times to keep numbers up.
So in a bid to put a smile on flocks’ faces, a comedy workshop in Exeter entitled “Stand Up For Jesus – obviously” has been held to give clerics a few tips.

The priests even had to perform live on a stage in front of their fellow learners.
The course is being run as part of the South West Christian Resources Exhibition, often dubbed “the ideal church show”, at Westpoint Arena.
One curate, the Rev Alison Hardy, admitted: “I can’t tell jokes. I’m absolutely hopeless – I either forget the punchline or I can get every single word right… but nobody laughs.
“I don’t know what I do wrong – it would be fantastic to be able to take a story and then apply it to the gospel message in a way that’s fun and interesting.”
The Rev Julie Birkett, from Weston-super-Mare, said: “I hope it will give me fresh ideas on delivery and techniques.
“I preach regularly and write the occasional comedy sketch.
“Humour can break down barriers and enable truths to be expressed and understood in a fresh way.”
The Rev John Monaghan, curate at Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire said: “There’s a lot more colourful rhetoric and humour in the Bible than most give credit for, and for good reason.
“It’s a wonderful tool in communicating any message, and as preachers and communicators of the Bible, something that we should be developing as part of our craft.
“I’m not particularly good at stand-up, but I do love trying to make people laugh, and would love to be able to learn a few tricks of the trade to help me communicate more effectively as a church leader and preacher.”
Comedian Bentley Browning, who is running the course, said he reckoned Jesus himself was partial to a few gags.
“He was a master communicator and storyteller.
“Many suggest his allusion to a camel going through the eye of a needle would have been construed as a quip by those listening.”
Organisers said that, while most vicars already know that a few good jokes dropped into a sermon will help keep their congregation engaged in an otherwise serious message, some could do with a little help when it comes to the delivery.
Event organiser Bill Allen said he hoped the exhibition would provide “inspiration for leaders and ordinary members of every local church”.
He added: “Helping clergy put over the Christian message creatively is just one of our many aims.
“Imagine thousands of people on a Monday morning saying ‘I heard this really good joke in church yesterday’
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The Pope Jokes….

Addressing engaged couples on Valentine’s Day at St.Peter’s Square

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One Liners

Who was the greatest female financer in the Bible?
Answer: Pharaoh’s daughter–she went down to the bank of the Nile and drew out a little prophet.
What kind of man was Boaz before he met Ruth?
Answer: Ruthless !!
Where is the first tennis match mentioned in the Bible?
Answer: When Joseph served in Pharaoh’s court.
Why didn’t Noah go fishing?
Answer: He only had two worms!
What evidence is there in the Bible that Adam and Eve were noisy?
Answer: They raised Cain !
At what time of day was Adam born?
Answer: A little before Eve !
When was the radio first mentioned in the Bible?
Answer: When the Lord took a rib from Adam and made a loud speaker !
Other than Adam–what other man did not have parents?
Answer: Joshua—he was the son of Nun(none)
Why was Adam a famous runner ?
Answer: Because he was first in the human race !
What do you get if you cross a praying mantis with a termite?
Answer: An insect that says grace as it eats your house !
What car is mentioned in the Bible?
Answer: HONDA. Because the Bible says the disciples were all in one ‘accord’!!
What do Winnie the Pooh and John the Baptist have in common ?
Answer: Both have the same middle names !

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Some Jokes

A minister, a priest and a rabbi went for a hike one very hot day. They were sweating profusely by the time they came upon a small lake with a sandy beach. Since it was a secluded spot, they left all their clothes on a big log, ran down the beach to the lake and jumped in the water for a long, refreshing swim.

Refreshed, they were halfway back up the beach to the spot they’d left their clothes, when a group of ladies from town came along. Unable to get to their clothes in time, the minister and the priest covered their privates and the rabbi covered his face while they ran for cover in the bushes.

After the ladies wandered on and the men got dressed again, the minister and the priest asked the rabbi why he covered his face rather than his privates.  The rabbi replied, “I don’t know about you, but in my congregation, it’s my face they would recognize.”


A minister woke up Sunday morning and realizing it was an exceptionally beautiful and sunny early spring day, decided he just had to play golf.

 So. . . he told the Assistant Minister that he was feeling sick and convinced him to preach for him that day.  As soon as the Associate left the room, the minister headed out of town to a golf course about forty miles away.  This way he knew he wouldn’t accidentally meet anyone he knew from his parish.  Setting up on the first tee, he was alone.  After all, it was Sunday morning and everyone else was in church!

  At about this time, Saint Peter leaned over to the Lord while looking down from the heavens and exclaimed, “You’re not going to let him get away with this, are you?”  The Lord sighed, and said, “No, I guess not.”

Just then the Minister hit the ball and it shot straight towards the pin, dropping just short of it, rolled up and fell into the hole.  It Was a 420 Yard HOLE IN ONE!  St. Peter was astonished.  He looked at the Lord and asked,

“Why did you let him do that?”  The Lord smiled and replied, “Who’s he going to tell?”


A minister, was anxious to get home to his family after several days absence. He was travelling just over the speed limit when he was pulled up by a police officer who was unimpressed by my father’s explanation. “A minister, eh? How would you like me to preach you a little sermon?” “Skip the sermon,” he replied with a sigh. “Just take up the collection.


A Somerset parish magazine tells how Methodist ministers from the Welsh valleys were distressing the older members of the chapel by the length of their sermons. On one occasion an elderly man asked the minister, “And what is the subject of your sermon this morning?”. “The milk of human kindness,” replied the minister. “Condensed, I hope,” said the parishioner.


THE new minister was touring the Parish, getting acquainted with his parishioners. At one house a feminine voice from inside asked, “Is that you, angel?”  The minister hesitated for a moment and then replied, “No, but I happen to be from the same department.”

 


A parish priest had a flair for the dramatic. He got the idea of having a pigeon released from the belfry on Pentecost just at the moment when, on the church steps in front of the procession of worshipers, he would say, “Come, Holy Spirit!”  Pentecost came, and the sacristan put a pigeon in a bag, went upstairs to the belfry and waited. When the priest pronounced the words, nothing happened.  A few seconds later, we heard a voice from the belfry, “It’s stifled!”

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Religion: How far can you go?

BBC Religion Blog
8 May 2013

Perspectives: How far can you go?

A picture of the Father Ted cast Father Ted has his own fan festival, held every year on the Irish island of Inishmore

 

Is religion an impediment to humour, and is it more acceptable to make fun of Christianity than other faiths?

Paul Kerensa (left) and Mitch Benn Paul Kerensa (left) and Mitch Benn approach the debate from different perspectives

As part of the Perspectives series, BBC Religion and Ethics asked two contributors to develop some of the issues.

Paul Kerensa is an award-winning stand-up comic, writer for sitcoms like Miranda and Not Going Out, and author of the book ‘So A Comedian Walks Into A Church’.

Paul is a practising Christian.

Mitch Benn has been the resident satirical songwriter on BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show for over ten years and a mainstay on the comedy circuit for even longer.

Mitch is an atheist.

His debut sci-fi novel Terra will be published in July.

Avoiding tension

Mitch: If religion isn’t an impediment to humour why does it seem to function as one?

I know of very few religious – or at least “out” religious comics.

If people are offended by sincerity then they need to have a think about that. Nobody has the right never to be offended”

 

The big exception to this I guess is Jewish humour, although I think that’s at least partly bound up in the Jewish people’s almost perpetual outsider status throughout history.

Do you think maybe Christianity is too bound up with the establishment to provide a basis for comedy?

Paul: I agree that there are very few “out” religious comics. I know a few who aren’t “out”, so there clearly seems some embarrassment factor, or barrier to wearing it as a badge.

To be honest I don’t shout it from the rooftops, but only because I don’t talk much about it onstage. I’ve got gags about being a Christian, but they’re not as funny as other bits I do, so I simply don’t dwell on it as I want to deliver the best show.

However, it seems some atheist comics assume that everyone in the room is on the same page as them.

I think Christians often seek to avoid tension, so we don’t proselytise from the stage for fear of splitting or turning the room.

Controversy – out or in?

Comedy and religion: love or hate?

The Citizen Khan cast

  • Monty Python’s Life of Brian, the story of a Jewish man called Brian who is mistaken for Jesus Christ, caused much controversy when it was released in 1979. Despite being named best comedy film of all time in a 2006 Channel 4 poll, it remained banned in some areas of the UK as late as 2008
  • Cult comedy Father Ted tells the adventures of a group of Irish Catholic priests on the fictional Craggy Island. Although it was not deemed to be particularly controversial, some Irish priests felt that it overstepped the mark
  • In 2012, the BBC sitcom Citizen Khan received complaints, as some saw it as mocking Islam

Mitch: The snarky atheist in me has occasionally pondered if it isn’t really about keeping the material as uncontroversial as possible.

I honestly don’t care whether my audience is on the same page as me religion-wise when I go into one of my anti-theistic bits; I’m not seeking to offend anyone on purpose but I believe what I believe for good reasons and I articulate those reasons as I go.

If people are offended by sincerity then they need to have a think about that.

Nobody has the right never to be offended.

Here’s one for you: why don’t you bring your faith into your comedy?

You’re evidently comfortable in your beliefs, I’m sure you believe your have good reasons for believing as you do and anyone who can get laughs out of quadratic equations like you do can get laughs out of anything.

So why don’t you talk about it on stage?

Paul: I never seek to prove my faith – it’s a leap of faith that has got me where I am. I studied Theology, and a bit of Philosophy, and the whole ontological and cosmological arguments get us nowhere, and is a waste of everyone’s time and brainpower.

So my faith, which is illogical and I love it that way, is totally separate from my interest in logical science.

We don’t meet on Sunday mornings to discuss how best to massacre another religious minority, or even how to deny science”

 

Once you set out to prove God via scientific method, you’re climbing the Tower of Babel and generally missing the point.

If I had a killer bit about John 3:16, I’d by all means do it, but punters tend to laugh more at my funny story about a toilet or what not to name your kids.

I’ve heard some comics jump on board the atheist bandwagon and have a quick pop at Jesus being a fictitious character, or how the Pope is, well… something that the moderator would delete in this conversation. They think it’ll get a quick cheap laugh.

If it’s one-note and been done before, you just want them to put a bit more effort in.

The only thing that offends me is lazy comedy – not about religion but about anything.

I think there’s a tendency to think that if I’m a Christian and I mention religion on a platform, I’m probably trying to get you on an Alpha course.

Mocking Islam

Mitch: Richard Dawkins flagged up an interview with the journalist Mehdi Hasan in which he confirmed that, as a committed Muslim, he does indeed believe that the Prophet Mohamed did not die bodily but ascended to heaven on a winged horse.

Professor Dawkins wondered (in typically blunt fashion, for which he later apologised on his blog) how anyone professing such a belief could be taken seriously as a journalist.

This provoked a furious reaction from all the usual suspects and a good few unusual ones, denouncing Professor Dawkins with that most dread of tar-brushes, “Islamophobia”, which was nonsense – the Prof is very even handed in his withering contempt for all religions, he just happened to be talking about Islam in that instance.

Surely the point is this: while it doesn’t necessarily follow that someone who professes a belief in flying horses as an article of religious faith should be dismissed as crazy, anyone who professed such a belief for any reason other than religious faith would surely, at the very least, be considered a little eccentric.

It’s that same tradition of religious privilege, that same convention that One Does Not Mock Religious Beliefs, that also shields from scrutiny and criticism practices such as the condemnation of homosexuals, the denial of science and the withholding of medical treatments.

If you decide it’s wrong, out of respect, to make fun of someone’s belief in relatively benign things like winged horses, or magic wafers that turn into the body of Christ, on what basis do you condemn another man whose interpretation of his faith leads him to oppress women, kill his errant daughter or even blow up a family planning clinic?

This is why I believe that poking fun at religion is not just acceptable, it’s essential.

The late Richard Griffiths as the bishop and DAWN FRENCH as The Vicar of Dibley, Geraldine Grainger in church The BBC sitcom The Vicar of Dibley tackled the theme of female vicars

‘Big Humanity’

Paul: I don’t believe religion is undiscussable – in fact I like that it’s talked about. I don’t think that it’s unmockable either. If the satire is aimed at all the items you listed, then that needs to happen.

Believe it or not, but Christians I know would be against all those things too. We don’t meet on Sunday mornings to discuss how best to massacre another religious minority, or even how to deny science. I know Christians who’ve been in the Pride March – and I know none who’ve protested against it.

Many of the areas you talk about occurred under Islam, yet anti-theist comedy routines hardly ever aim at Islam.

The aim is turned to the Christian God. It’s like wanting to have a go at the school bully but deciding he’s too dangerous, so picking on his nicer brother instead.

What is heartening is that both you and I are out for justice.

If you’re taking on Big Religion, then fair enough. Big Religion has been behind everything from the Crusades to 9/11, but then it has included several billion people, so really there are bound to be a few wrong ‘uns in there. If you get bad eggs, you don’t throw away all eggs.

The problem really is Big Humanity.

But yes, Catholic (and even Anglican) cover-ups, organised religious hatred, institutionalised homophobia… I stand against all of these things. Ministers in the Church often do not act on my behalf, just as the actions of our MPs often don’t reflect the rest of the nation’s wishes.

So mock and scrutinise the dark offshoots of Big Religion by all means. I just wish I heard more in comedy clubs going after those specific wrongs you mention, rather than the simplistic writing-off of Jesus as fictitious, or even, as I’ve heard several times, gags about Christ’s sex life.

Laughs of outrage, some walk-outs, no genital mutilation held to account.

I’m offended, but on the ground of lazy comedy; religion should have no immunity from mockery.

Nobody has the right never to be offended, but it’s nice to be nice, and when it gets personal, we reserve the right to tut, and maybe pray for the comedian.

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Pope Francis meets the Cardinals

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