GOD ONLINE: Exploring media spirituality

Web sites, TV, films, books and the search for meaning.

Laughing at religion

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“It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it,” the British writer G. K. Chesterton said. This week we’ll see how good — or bad — the jokes are.

First we set sail on . . .

Ship of Fools

For a spot o’ tea with your holy humor, try this breezy offering from across the pond. The England-based Ship of Fools, celebrating its 10th anniversary, twits with a broad array of tools:

  • Gadgets for God, including a chair shaped like a sitting Jesus and Jewish-style beer called He’Brew.
  • A monthly Caption Contest, posting a picture — perhaps an old engraving or a photo of skateboarding vicars — for readers to supply descriptions.
  • Volunteer scouts called “mystery worshipers,” who write reviews of church services around the world — from Liverpool to Sydney to Islamabad to Milford, Pa.
  • The Fruitcake Zone, surveying lunacies like The Bible Answer Machine and a group that says UFOs are piloted by fallen angels.
  • Signs and Blunders, with readers retelling gaffes from church signs and bulletins.

But this so-called Magazine of Christian Unrest doesn’t merely smirk; it also carries searching, sometimes outraged essays.

A recent column by cofounder Iwan Russell Jones reflects on Martin Luther King’s life. Religion reporter Mark Pinsky fumes at how much Paul Crouch of Trinity Broadcasting Network gets away with. And church historian Stephen Tompkins gives some backhanded praise — after a slap in the face — to atheist ideologue Richard Dawkins.

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Written by Jim Davis

August 10, 2008 at 3:24 am

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