Christian Humor

Plass.jpgAdrian Plass, the book cover says, is a “bemused Anglican.” I can’t imagine any other kind today, except for the fuming sort who toss down their BCP and say, “I’ve had enough.” Anyway, Adrian’s not that second kind, as can be seen in his hilarious new book called Bacon Sandwiches and Salvation: A Humorous Antidote for the Pharisee in All of Us
. (I’ll forgive him for stereotyping Pharisees.)

If you want to have a good time, get this book and begin reading.
In fact, I’d recommend every church have a copy and ask staff and leaders over lunch to read a few entries a day — there’s one for each letter of the alphabet — and everyone will go back to work in a good mood and start spreading mirth.

The book is a bit of a Christian-ese dictionary, like this: “Condomnation: what Roman Catholics are likely to fall under if they use birth control.”

OK, Plass defines this one, but what would your entry be for this or, put differently, why do Christians say this: I sense that we ought to move into prayer over this…?



Here are some more:

Alpha: outreach system that has brought thousands to faith but has left in its wake a small, deeply confused group of people who have mistakenly asked Nicky Gumbel into their lives.

Feelings: negative, unreliable, misleading, and irrelevant in the context of Christian experience, according to many teachers and preachers. And how right they are! One can only express wildly passionate, tearful agreement with this view.

Give God a round of applause!: a suggestion occasionally made by worship leaders to congregations. Not entirely clear how God reacts to being treated like a Friday night performance of The Mousetrap but one supposes that he must get used to these things.

God told me: a spiritual half nelson. Widely used, in particular, by those who have not been told anything by God but wish to influence others.

Healing: (1) something God always does; (2) something God never does; (3) something God sometimes does and sometimes doesn’t do….

Impoliteness: major sin in old-fashioned Anglican circles, almost (but not quite) on a par with sitting in someone else’s pew.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://theeagleandchild.com Marc

    If you like Adrian Plass, I *highly* recommend the “Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass” books. Some of the funniest material I’ve ever read. It’s the kind of book filled with a character who would use many of the words in this post regularly.

  • Rick in Texas

    I’ll add my second to the referral of “Sacred Diary”. It has two bits I especially like. One is where Adrian has been asked to serve on the evangelism committee. He decides to “lay out a fleece”: He will do it … If a midget wearing the uniform of a Japanese Admiral knocks on the door at 9:07 pm next Tuesday.
    The second is his recurring references to his son’s Christian rock band, “Bad news for the Devil”. He comments “I’ve heard them rehearse; I think they are rather good news for the Devil…”

  • http://www.abcwesterville,org Mark Farmer

    Amen to the first two posts. Our family has read (aloud) “The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass” and its sequels again and again, not only for their very funny humor, but also for their originality and their truth. Gentle, loving, affectionate, devastating, and encouraging, the stories of Adrian and his fictional family have made us better people. Don’t miss The Horizontal Epistles of Andromeda Veal, one of the sequels! The series speaks not only to spirituality and the ways we do church, but also to family relationships and the well-meaning foibles and real wisdom of spouses and teens. (I am only familiar with the original British editions; I don’t know if they have been modified for the North American market.)

  • http://www.kilnfolk.org Ian Eastman

    I have read three of his books and loved them all! How sad that more of his considerable body of work isn’t available in the USA.

  • Wilco

    Living in Europe has the considerable advantage of being able to see Adrian Plass every once in a while when he’s on tour. We’ve been to Lee Abbey (www.leeabbey.org.uk/devon)in England twice when he was there for the week. Not for those who long for a week of deep and rich theology but it’s great if you’ve had plenty of that during the year and need a good laugh. A good laugh at yourself at times, I might add.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/flirtingwithfaith Joan Ball

    I have a friend who is an Anglican monk who is, as you can imagine, not the easiest person to buy for. Now I know what to get him…

  • http://www.jesustheradicalpastor.com John W Frye

    “I sense that we should move into prayer over this..” is a way of saying I’d liked to really gossip about this (person) but I need to do it under the guise of intercession.

  • marko

    doesn’t that picture of plass make him look like he could be rick warren’s bearded brother? or, even like the photo could pass for an old pic of rick from his pre-Hawaiian shirt days?

  • T

    That’s awesome. “Feelings” is my favorite. That describes my religious upbringing a little too well!

  • http://bobbyorr.wordpress.com MatthewS

    The picture reminds me of Al Borland, Tim the Tool Man Taylor’s sidekick.
    Enjoyed all of these, especially “Feelings” and giving God a round of applause.

  • http://bramboniusinenglish.wordpress.com brambonius

    I have read both of the sacred diaries and some other books in dutch translation. They were actually quite popular here some years ago in evangelical/pentecostel circles. Some things are so spot on, and others are so bizarre… He can be really great in observing the everyday weirdness of the christian subculture…

  • AHH

    Definition of I sense that we ought to move into prayer over this:
    “My position is losing ground in our reasoned discussion, so it’s time to end the discussion and go to Plan B.”
    And the “applauding God” as worship (or a “clap offering” — I’ll not make the obvious joke there) is a pet peeve of mine too.

  • RJS

    AHH
    Great definition, and too often true. A pious way to stall and rethink (or restrategize).

  • Aaron

    “I sense that we ought to move into prayer over this…?” aka I’m being challenged to do something sacrificial or out of my comfort zone :)

  • Karl

    “I sense that we ought to move into prayer over this.”
    “I don’t know what we should do and don’t like any of the ideas I’ve heard so far, but maybe if we pray for a while one of us will think of something good as their mind wanders while someone else is praying. Hey, it beats saying ‘lets all be really quiet and think about this for the next 30 minutes.’”

  • http://theoreflec.blogspot.com/ Pat

    I sense that we ought to move into prayer over this: phrase that feels like the right and spiritual thing to say when we’ve run out of ideas of our own.

  • Barb

    Rick @2,
    Hi, and you got me to buy another book!

  • Dave E

    Scott,
    When someone says we need to pray about this, it sadly means that someone will pray from his/her perspective (and subtly put across his views) so that God doesn’t get much of look in except acknowledgement.
    May we all need to pray with several perspectives evident, and then God thru us, may direct an outcome.
    Maybe we should ask:
    will it cause someone to stumble before God?
    will it encourage anyones faith?
    will it be perceived by some as an act of spiritual bullying?
    Can I spent eternity with anyone negatively affected?
    Best regards
    Dave E.


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