Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Not Short on Humour

I mentioned a few days ago Stephen Tomkins’ little book, A Short History of Christianity. It really is a great read, almost unputdownable. For those who are looking for a quick and readable overview of 2,000 years of church history, you could do a lot worse. Besides, Tomkins is one of the funniest Christian writers alive, which sometimes helps to get through the depressing bits such as the Crusades. For example, when describing the pathetic horrors of the third crusade and the bid of the coalition between Frederick Barbarossa, King Philip and Richard the Lionheart to reach Jerusalem in yet another bloody slaughter he writes:
‘They finally came upon a great river, and Frederick Barbarossa dived in a drowned. His son preserved the royal corpse in a large barrel of vinegar and took him on to fulfil his vow of reaching Jerusalem. The army, unhappy at being led into battle by a pickle, largely went home’!
For more of Tomkins comical genius, I highly recommend his Loose Canons column for the Ship of Fools webpage, here. For example, when writing under the heading ‘Boniface: interfaith dialogue wasn't his thing’, he explains: ‘In Germany, Boniface came across a tribe called the Catti, who worshipped an enormous tree in the forest of Geismar, Thor's Oak. He tried to tell them about the cross of Jesus being a much better tree, but they just kept going on about how good their tree was. So he hacked it down’! His description of certain events in the life of the snooping St Aelhaiarn is one of my favourites: ‘Idle curiosity not being commendable, the Lord rustled up a pack of wild beasts, who tore the hapless lackey limb from limb, and bit of limb from bit of limb’. His story can be found here. Also, though not for Fundies nor the easily offended, is his highly irreverent little book, My Ministry Manual by Rev.Gerald Ambulance. Funny as hell, but may also take you there if you laugh too hard.


At 12/19/2006 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I found it a delightful read also. My favorite line was the oft-repeated "and in the finest tradition, they killed them" of many reformers.


At 12/19/2006 11:57 PM, Anonymous James Crossley said...


ok, this is completely in the wrong comments section but the others were just so busy. Now as I just can't out-do all your fans and enemies with comments, you couldn't possibly tell me off, could you?

On Bauckham and miracles: well, I was wondering if Bauckham uses eye-witness to miracles. E.g. does he argue there were people who were there to see the miracles and therefore they may have 'actually happened'. That kind of thing.

At 12/20/2006 12:50 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Thanks for the smile, James! It is depressingly true yet funny.

Hi James C, I think he would argue they saw things they interpreted as miracles, yes. But he would also, I think, take each case individually. I'll have to read through the relevant bits to be sure, and I'll let you know tomorrow - its getting late here now.


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