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August 7, 2017 · 20:18

When Worship Degenerates into Entertainment


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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Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

Surviving Boring Sermons

Toss around a giant beach ball before service,
like at Grateful Dead concerts.

Put stray dogs in the coat closets!

Untune the piano!

Ten minutes before the mass starts, give a dollar to a kid in
the front row and tell the youngster to ask the minister, “Would
you rather be stoned or crucified?”

Eat dry Cap’n Crunch or Count Chocula throughout the entire mass.

Twenty minutes into the service, look at your watch, stand up,
and say, “Oh shit, this isn’t the wedding!” Run out of the church.

Make the sun reflect off your watch into the preacher’s face.

Hand out condoms.

Ask where the nearest ashtray is.

Drool in the collection plate.

Pee in the holy water.

Position several bottle rockets on the floor, and light ’em!

Do “the wave”, like at a Reds game.

Walk up and down the aisle selling peanuts and beer, yelling,
“Get your ice cold beer here!”

Fart! Have a friend shout, “Hark! An angel has spoken!”

Fake a possession.

Blow huge bubbles with bubble gum that pop and stick in your hair.

Get somebody else to blow a bubble with bubble gum, and shoot
straw paper at the bubble.

Spit out your gum in the grape juice that everyone drinks out of.

For the part of the mass when you shake hands, be sure you have
either a buzzer or a booger in your hand.

Hide copies of Hustler inside the pulpit. Point them out.

Do cool things with the lighting.

When the choir sings, roll your eyes and whine, “Oh, Christ!
Are they gonna do another SONG?”

Make up your own lyrics to the songs.

Replace the organist’s sheet music with “Stayin’ Alive”.

Go through all the hymnals and mark song 666.

Write on the bathroom wall, “The eyes of the LORD are upon you!”

Inflate balloons and send ’em off!

When they pass around the collection plate, drop in a piece of
paper with Pat Robertson’s MasterCard number.

Put a piece of poop wrapped in toilet paper in the collection plate.

Have the stained-glass windows replaced overnight with new ones
depicting pornographic or ridiculous images. Send the bill to
the pastor.

If there is a crying baby, go over and tell the mother, “IF YOU

Wear a clown costume to Easter mass!

Make calls to 900 numbers on the phone in the kitchen.

For a church supper, bring a casserole with a piece of a
wristwatch or a pubic hair embedded inside.

Mark places in the Bibles or hymnals with religious-themed “Far
Side” cartoons or copies of The Last Word.

Open up a Bible to the Ten Commandments. Draw in asterisks and
write exceptions at the bottom of the page.

Snicker every time the preacher talks about someone being stoned.

During the service, play with plastic dinosaurs. If someone asks
what you’re doing, say, “These are dinosaurs. They ruled the
earth over 65 million years ago.”

Pierce the body of a small dead animal with stainless-steel wire,
and wear it in your ear like an earring.

Pass a note to the organist asking whether he/she plays requests.

See if a yawn really is contagious.

Slap your neighbor. See if he turns the other cheek. If not, raise
your hand and tell the priest/preacher.

Devise ways of climbing into the balcony without using the stairs.

Listen for your preacher to use a word beginning with ‘A’ then ‘B
and so on through the alphabet.

Sit in the back row and roll a handful of marbles under the pews
ahead of you. After the service, credit yourself with 10 points for
every marble that made it to the front.

Using church notice sheets or newcomers cards for raw materials,
design, test and modify a collection of paper airplanes..

Start from the back of the church and try to crawl all the way to
the front, under the pews, without being noticed..

Raise your hand and ask for permission to go to the lavatory.

Chew gum; if the sermon goes on for more than 15 minutes, start
blowing bubbles.

Try to indicate to the minister that his fly is undone.

By unobtrusively drawing your arms up into your sleeves, turn your
shirt around backwards..

Wiggle your ears so that the people behind you will notice.

Practice smiling insincerely.

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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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