New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
Way In

Laughing at the church?

Some of Jesus's best-known lines, like the one about the camel and the needle, could have been intended as jokes, it has been claimed.

The suggestion came at this year's Christian Resources Exhibition, where clergy were invited to take part in stand-up comedy training to liven up their Sunday sermons.

Bentley Browning, a comedian and political impersonator, had already been working with a handful of Church of England dioceses to train clergy to introduce comedy into their messages.

Mr Browning, a vicar's son, said that many of the clergy had displayed an unexpected comic talent, but one that is too rarely on display in the pulpit.

'I decided to start doing this because I did a survey and asked what people think about sermons,' he said.

'Half of them said they were boring, the other half said they were very boring.'

But he argued that Jesus's public ministry showed evidence of similar communication techniques to those being deployed by stand-up comedians today.

'It uses a technique, exaggeration … that's just classic Monty Pythonesque exaggeration.

'I think there is a lot more humour in the Bible than people might think.'

The Rev Cindy Kent, vicar of St John the Apostle, Whetstone, London - who was one of those who signed up for the course - agreed.

Rev Kent had her first go at comedy with an appearance in a BBC show Vicars Telling Jokes last year. She made a quip about seeing the face of Jesus in a slice of toast but telling a neighbour who replied: 'I can't believe it's not Buddha.'