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Heard the One About the Comedy Vicars?

You don’t get to be a vicar or a priest by scouring the ‘situations vacant’ column in the paper or by being sent along by the Job Centre for an interview. No, those who enter the church as professional god-botherers get the job by answering a ‘calling’. A ‘calling’, apparently, is a sort of divine personal assurance to those who are sufficiently spiritually advanced that they have been chosen to explain the Almighty’s plans to the rest of us, and how we are to behave in carrying them out.

What happens is that the voices in the heads of the chosen ones (which turn out to be God talking to them) explain that they have the qualities required to become professional, pious, interfering do-gooders and, that rather than working for a living, they could breeze along fairly comfortably by jumping onto the Jesus bandwagon.

It’s pretty much the same with all religions, and, as the voices come from God himself, they can have absolute confidence that God’s concerns and prejudices are exactly the same as their own.

It’s quite surprising then, that in spite of him choosing his agents on Earth so carefully, and the countless hours they then spend talking to each other in prayer and discussing angels and hellfire etc (or whatever it is they talk about) that God and his clergy are unable to make an iota of improvement in our lives. Take the problem of hunger. All we need is another simple miracle like the loaves and fishes one – on a slightly larger scale, admittedly. But do we get one? Do we hell. No, we get nothing but excuses about sin, and the shifting of the blame onto the devil. Why can’t we have a miracle to get rid of the bloody devil? Get the job done properly once and for all? If you were God that’s the first thing you would do isn’t it? You have to wonder, is he really all he’s cracked up to be?

No wonder the churches are empty. Some vicars though do have a plan to improve things. Religion, they have decided, is not funny enough. According to the Guardian (1 July) a London comedian has set up a comedy workshop which the vicars are flocking to in an attempt to liven up their sermons.

They don’t give any examples of what we can expect from the comedy clerics but we could supply a wealth of ‘randy vicar’ and ‘what the actress said to the Bishop’ type gags if they need them, that would get the punters rolling in the aisles. There are also some hilarious ones about how we are all sinners, and about Adam and Eve and the talking serpent too. And if these are not funny enough, they could always borrow a few from Islam. There’s the one about Muhammad performing a miracle by splitting the moon in half , for example, or the one where he flew to heaven on a winged horse. Pure  comedy  gold. It’s the way they tell ’em.

On second thoughts it’s best to leave Islam out of it. Sometimes these stories are not funny but tragic. In another one from the Guardian (26 June) an ex-Muslim in Nigeria has been incarcerated in a mental health institution and forcibly medicated for ‘insanity’ after explaining that he had lost his belief in God.

Someone once said that God obviously had a sense of humour. Well, he’s certainly a bloody joker.

NW