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from: Laughing Gods, Weeping Virgins, Laughter in the History of Religion, Ingvild Saelid Gilhus, Routledge, 1977. [See: #3, 80-81 (Laughter)].

"Modernity and Therapeutic Laughter"

"The theologian Gerhard Schwarz uses another such joke about doubt in the opening to his discussion of the death and resurrection of Christ. Although Schwarz does his best to take the sting out of the joke, its point goes to the heart of Christian belief and Christian doubt.

One Jesuit has got permission to make excavations in Jerusalem. Eventually he finds the grave of Jesus, UNFORTUNATELY including his bones. The Pater General is sent for. Together with different specialists, he travels to the place to make an inspection. Again they open the grave, and make sure that there is no mistake. No mistake has been possible. They stand staring at the bones. After a long while one of the Biblical specialists is overheard, mumbling to himself, 'So, after all, he has really lived!' (Schwarz 1971).

In a time when even priests come forward saying that they do not believe in the dogmas of the Church, it is not surprising to find radical doubt also expressed in theological treatises. Clearly, this joke is built on a contrast between a realistic and a religious interpretation [which commonly includes the "spins" ("grotesque ingenuity", etc.) of Christian apologists] of events, a mechanism we also saw at work in the Roman empire examples of critical laughter aimed at religion. Schwarz's joke refers not only to DOUBT ABOUT THE BODILY RESURRECTION OF JESUS, but to THE MORE FUNDAMENTAL DOUBT ABOUT JESUS HAVING EVER LIVED AT ALL. In addition, this joke includes connotations of that type of Biblical criticism which does not leave any fraction of traditional belief safe for scientific exploration, and which has forced theologians in the last century to give up stronghold after stronghold of their creed." [119]. [See: Appendix X, 826 (black cat)].



The Ancient Near East

Laughter of derision and laughter of


Nobody knows when humans began to laugh, nor does anybody know when a concept of 'laughter' originated. It is possible to discern early religions in prehistoric tombs, burials and remains of buildings, but the sound of laughter has died away. Laughter is not [commonly (or commonly interpreted)] preserved in artifacts, so we are forced to focus on symbols of laughter and narratives of laughter, acknowledging that they are different from the laughter of the living. The most ancient laughter in

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our world is found in myths. As narratives about the connection between gods, humans and the world, the best myths are universal and entertain people across cultures and through the centuries, at the same time as they are intimately intertwined with the culture in which they originated and the people that used them. Their transmittal to us is dependent on writing. How textual laughter stands in relation to actual laughter in ancient cultures is unknown. It is, however, reasonable to regard the ancient texts as indicative of what these societies regarded as significant contexts of laughter (Foster 1974, Römer 1978, Kraus 1960).

Laughter and Trickery

The earliest recorded laughter exists in the context of divine male power. The laughter of the Mesopotamian head of the gods, Anu, cunningly keeps humans in their place and the laughter of the Hittite deity Kumarbi strives for supremacy in the divine world. Anu's laughter is found in the myth about Adapa, written in Akkadian on a tablet of clay from the fifteenth or fourteenth century BC.1 ...." [14].

"Creation, Change and Control

In Egyptian texts, laughter (zbt) is rare, and seldom connected with humour (Gugliemi 1979, 1980, van de Walle 1969). When it does occur, Egyptian laughter is often derisive and is an expression of superiority, though it may also be regenerative and creative.

In one Egyptian myth laughter is clearly erotic and represents a turning point in the narrative.5 ...." [18].




When laughter touches the unthought [? ("unimagined", "unexpected", etc.)]

The symbol of laughter (geloion) in a religious context is more visible in Ancient Greece than in the ancient cultures of the Near East.1 This is partly due to better source material, but laughter in Greece was also a primary medium for religious expression, even a god in its own right.2 Laughter was part of cultic life. It was part of the theatre, where different aspects of the laughter culture were taken up by the dramatic genres and played out in honour of Dionysos. In festivals and comedies, laughter was utilized in the interest of the polis....

The derisive laughter of Jahweh was related to tragic laughter, but Greek tragic laughter was aimed at specific victims and not, as Jahweh's laughter was, at foes and antagonists as a group. In Greece, tragic laughter's first purpose was its use as an efficient sanction against shameful behaviour, while JAHWEH'S LAUGHTER first of all REFLECTED THE FIGHT FOR THEOLOGICAL SUPREMACY." [28-29].

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Critic of laughter and critical laughter"

"In works by Cicero [106 - 43 B.C.E.] and Quintilian [c. 35 - c. 100 C.E.], laughter, wit and humour are extensively commented upon (Cicero, De Oratore, II, 54-71; Orator, 26; De Officiis, I, 29-30; Quintilian, Institutio Oratioria, VI, 3). According to their view, laughter should be an instrument in the service of an orator, who, on his side, was advised to use laughter with care, consideration and, not the lest, control:

We here merely suggest that the orator should use ridicule with a care not to let it be too frequent lest it become buffoonery; nor ridicule of a smuty nature, lest it be that of low farce; nor pert, lest it be impudent; nor aimed at misfortune, lest it be brutal; nor at crime, lest laughter take the place of loathing; nor should the wit be inappropriate to his own character, to that of the jury, or to the occasion; for all these points come under the head of impropriety.

(Cicero, Orator, 26, 88)

By classifying kinds of jokes and things laughable and by abundant quotes of jests made by their contemporaries or forefathers, the ancient rhetoricians demonstrated how to raise a laugh. The usefulness of laughter was that it prevented people from thinking a speech tedious; instead it helped them to absorb its message and take the side of the orator (De Oratore, II, 58, 236). In Greek and Roman works about laughter, it is emphasized that wit is like salt, it flavours the food, but should be used sparingly. In other words, the position of laughter should be subordinate. That does not mean that what was joked about was of marginal interest. If we take into consideration the conviction of Cicero 'that whatever subjects I may touch upon, as being sources of laughing-matters, may equally well, as a rule, be sources of serious thoughts' (De Oratore, II, 61, 248), and apply it to religion, it follows that what was singled out for scorn in religious matters may well reflect serious religious concerns of the Roman empire. So, in order to derive 'austere and serious thoughts' (De Oratore, II, 61, 250) from laughing matters we ask: what sort of religious themes were chosen as 'laughable' by pagan and Christian rhetoric in the Roman empire? What do these themes signify for the symbolic value of critical laughter? What characterizes this critical laughter in relation to the types of laughter we have already examined in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece?" [45].

"An easy way to ridicule Christians and to create comical incongruities was to contrast reality and appearance, to take literally what was meant to be taken symbolically. One example is the pagan CELSUS [2nd century], who FOUND THE IDEA OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY AND THE VENERATION OF THE CROSS LAUGHABLE, and who ridiculed these beliefs in an ironical passage. The Christian exegete and theologian Origen [c. 185 - c. 254], who handed down Celsus' criticism, did not find it funny at all (cf. Wilken 1984:96):

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And everywhere they speak in their writings of the tree of life and of resurrection of the flesh by the tree-I imagine because their master was nailed to a cross and was a carpenter by trade. So that if he had happened to be thrown off a cliff, or pushed into a pit, or suffocated by strangling, or if he had been a cobbler or stonemason or blacksmith, there would have been a cliff of life above the heavens, or a pit of resurrection, or a rope of immortality, or a blessed stone, or an iron of love, or a holy hide of leather. Would not an old woman who sings a story to lull a little child to sleep have been ashamed to whisper such tales such as these?

(Contra Celsum, 6, 34)

However, we learn more about anti-Christian jests from the Christians themselves than from their adversaries. Several of the Christian apologists refer to the mockeries of their contemporaries. From Tertullian [c. 160 - c. 220 C.E.], we learn that non-Christians must have laughed at the prospect of Christ's resurrection from the dead: 'Laugh at what you will,' says Tertullian, 'but let them [the demons] laugh with you!' (Apology, 23, 13). In his usual style, he promises the mockers eternal damnation. Yet, Tertullian admits that he too had found Christian beliefs laughable before he became a Christian: 'Yes! we too in our day laughed at this', and with his [Tertullian] famous sentence: 'We are from among yourselves. Christians are made, not born!' (Apology, 18, 4), he points to the common cultural background which both Christians and pagans shared." [57-58].

"It is not surprising that with the ascendance of Christianity, the traditional sources of laughter were attacked, and the laughter culture of the Roman world was gradually forced into retreat. CHRISTIANITY WAS A RELIGION OF WORDS [WORDS!] AND TEXTS. In Christianity God is modelled on language, not on forces of nature. When religious symbolism centres around literal texts and on an ideal human body, marked by chastity and a continent life, laughter is bound to become a stranger.

Most of the official entertainment in the Roman empire had been intertwined with pagan religions. Tertullian wrote a venomous treatise, On the Spectacular, which is notable for its reflection of an unvarnished Christian opinion about such entertainment. Tertullian compared the worldly joys of the pagans with the future happiness of the Christians, 'things of greater joy than circus, theatre or ampitheatre, or any stadium' (De Spectaculis, 30). He reserves his laughter not for the comedies of his day, but for the great show at the end of the world, where all the entertainers will be roasted in the eternal fire:

[Tertullian] And then there will be the tragic actors to be heard, more vocal in their own tragedy; and the players to be seen, lither of limb by far in the fire; and then the charioteers to watch, red all over in the wheel of flame; and next, the athletes to be gazed upon, not in their gymnasiums but hurled in the fire-unless it be that not even then would I wish to see them, in my desire rather to turn an insatiable gaze on them who vented their rage and fury on the Lord.

(De Spectaculis, 30)" [58-59].

Page 1024


from: That Unknown Country, What Living Men Believe Concerning Punishment After Death, Recorded Views of Men of Former Times. The Whole Field Explored. Every source of wisdom, past and present, made Tributary to the illumination of this theme. Man's Final Destiny. A Standard Book for All Time, Illustrated with a full-page engraving of each author. Sold only by subscription. Springfield, Mass. C.A. Nichols & Co., Publishers, MDCCCXC.






First Patristic Period. The First Three Centuries.

Justin Martyr-A.D. circ. 100-165?

[The writings of this author represent the general agreement of Christian believers on this subject, up to his day. Whatever important doctrinal differences prevailed in the Church at that time related to other subjects, especially to the second coming of Christ. The quotations from Justin and the other writers in the first Patristic period are taken from the translations in Clark's Ante-Nicene Library.]

[Justin Martyr] And that no one may say what is said by those who are deemed philosophers, that our assertions that the wicked are punished in eternal fire are big words and bugbears, and that we wish men to live virtuously through fear, and not because such a life is good and pleasant: I will briefly reply to this, that if this be not so, God does not exist; or if he exists he cares not for men, and neither virtue nor vice is anything, and, as we said before, lawgivers unjustly punish those who trangress [transgress] good commandments. But since these are not unjust and their Father teaches them by the word to do the same things as himself, they who agree with them are not unjust-Apologia, ii, 9.

[Justin Martyr] And Plato [c. 428 - c. 348 B.C.E.] in like manner used to say that Rhadamanthus and Minos would punish the wicked who came before them; and we say that the same thing will be done, but at the hand of Christ, and upon the wicked in the same bodies united again to their spirits, which are now to undergo everlasting punishment; and not only, as Plato said, for a period of a thousand years.-Apologia, i., 8. ....' ["33"].

'Tertullian-A.D. circ. 150-216.

[This extract is one of the earliest examples of a certain spirit and temper in the contemplation of the subject, of which there are many

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manifestations in later writers. It is taken from Gibbon's [Edward Gibbon 1737 - 1794] translation.]

[Tertullian] At that greatest of all spectacles, the last and eternal judgment, how shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud monarchs groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness; so many magistrates liquefying in fiercer flames than they ever kindled against the Christians; so many sage philosophers blushing in red-hot fires with their deluded pupils; so many tragedians more tuneful in the expression of their own sufferings; so many dancers tripping more nimbly from anguish than ever before from applause.-De Spectaculis, XXX.' [35].

'Jerome-A.D. 340?-420.

[Concerning gradation in future punishment. It is questionable whether the "Christians" here spoken of as damned are not thought of as in Purgatory.]

[Jerome] And just as we believe there shall be eternal torments for the devil, and all skeptics and impious ones who have said in their hearts, there is no God, so also for sinners and impious ones. And nevertheless for Christians whose works are to be tried and purified, we suppose that there will be a moderate sentence, and one mixed with clemency.

-Comm. in Jerem., lxvi., ad fin.' [45].

'Chrysostom-A.D. 347-407.

[Of the nature of hell-fire.] [more, "Christian love"! (see 989)]

[Chrysostom] For truly when thou hearest of the fire, take care not to think that it is like this fire: for this lays hold of anything, devours and consumes it; but that burns those whom it once lays hold of forever, nor ever desists; and therefore is called inextinguishable....But how horrible it is, it is impossible even to tell in words; but from the experience of lesser things we may be able to obtain some slight conjecture of the greater. If ever thou has been in a furiously boiling bath, think then of the hell of fire: and if ever thou hast been on fire with a more consuming fever, carry the mind back to that flame, and then thou wilt be able to discriminate correctly.

...Truly we shall grate our teeth, borne down with labors and intolerable sufferings, and no one will bring succor; but we shall groan heavily, while the flame presses ever more fiercely upon us; we shall see no one except our companions in torture and an immense solitude....That fire does not consume, neither gives light, otherwise there would be no darkness....' ["Ad. Theod. Laps., i., 10."] [45].

[End of Excursus]

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"Early Christianity: Between Body and Spirit"

"....Only a moderate laughter fit Clement's [Clement of Alexandria c. 150 - 215] ideal of a well-behaved Christian.

Clement shared this elite view of laughter not only with Greek and Roman philosophers but also with leaders from other religions, Egyptians as well as Jews. According to Chaeremon [1st century], the teacher of the emperor Nero, the Egyptian priests seldom laughed, and if they felt the urge, they only smiled, because laughter was incompatible with their priestly dignity (van der Horst 1987). Laughing was also unsuitable for the Jewish rabbis, and the student of Torah should only allow himself a 'minimum of laugher' (Avot, VI, 5, in Reines 1972:182).

However, the peak of Christian aversion toward laughter was not reached with Clement. Over the next centuries it became clear that there was more to this aversion than late antiquity's considerations about decorum and discipline, as typical Christian discourse on laughter gradually developed. Whether in the East or the West, the learned men of the early Church-such as Ambrose, Jerome, Basil, Pseudo-Cyprian and John Chrysostom-are unanimous in their hostility toward laughter (Adkin 1985, Resnick 1987). The more it was the focus of hostility, however, the more symbolic significance accrued to laughter. Laughter attained a new religious significance, not as a genuine religious expression, but as a symbol of that which must be shunned by those WHOSE POWER DERIVED FROM THEIR RELIGIOUS VIRTUOSITY. Paradoxically, laughter acquired symbolic value from its absence rather than from its presence." [62].

'John Chrysostom [c. 347 - 407], Bishop of Constantinople, is known as the first to point out that Jesus never laughed (Resnick 1987:96-7). Instead he stressed that Jesus wept twice, once when he beheld Jerusalem, and the second time when Lazarus was raised from the dead. John Chrysostom found mourning most suitable on earth, considering the state of the present world. In connection with the life and suffering of Christ he repeatedly and rhetorically asks his audience 'dost thou laugh?' (Homilies on Hebrews, XV). To be fair, John Chrysostom, like Clement earlier, did not want to do away with all laughter. He aimed his criticism at the excess of laughter, laughter beyond measure and out of control. All the same, his homilies give the impression that there is something profoundly suspicious about laughter. To give vent to amusement was often the first step on the road to perdition. The steps between laughter and grievous sin could be few:

For example; to laugh, to speak jocosely, does not seem an acknowledged sin, but it leads to acknowledged sin. Thus laughter often gives birth to foul discourse, and foul discourse to actions still more foul. Often from words and laughter proceed railing and insult; and from railing and insult, blows and wounds; and from blows and wounds slaughter and murder.

(Concerning the Statues, Homily, XV)

When John Chrysostom contrasts those who are now laughing with their grinding and gnashing of teeth on the last day, an imagery of grinning skulls and death as a laughing monster seeps through the text. (We also recall Tertullian's making fun of actors, whom Tertullian foresaw as burning in eternal fire).

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When therefore thou seest persons laughing, reflect that those teeth, that grin now, will one day have to sustain that most dreadful wailing and gnashing, and that they will remember this same laugh on That Day whilst they are grinding and gnashing! Then thou too shalt remember this laugh!

(Concerning the Statues, Homily, XX)

John Chrysostom's criticism of laughter is more thoroughgoing than Clement's. In Chrysostom's time, at the end of the fourth century AD, two hundred years after Clement, there seems to have been a shared opinion among leaders of the Church that laughter challenged virtue and led to laxity. But the aversion against laughter was no longer primarily a question of reason and manners as had been the case with Clement, when it reflected a general opinion among educated men at his time. Rather, laughter was now conceived of as undermining the very foundations of the ascetic life from which the Christian Church was nourished. As John Chrysostom stressed, THE THOUGHT OF THE SUFFERING AND DEATH OF JESUS ON THE CROSS OUGHT TO QUENCH ALL LAUGHTER, ONCE AND FOR ALL. Within Christianity there were some who battled especially hard against worldly laughter-the Christian hermits and monks....' [62-63].

"Despite the Church Fathers' best efforts, laughter was never completely shut out of Christian life. We know, for instance, of John Chrysostom's complaint that his congregation burst out laughing when it should have prayed (Homilies on the Epistle to the Hebrews, XV". [68].

"One group of early Christians, however, embraced laughter and made explicit use of it in their texts. This group was regarded as the enfants terribles [literally: terrible children] of the early Church-the Gnostics." [69].

"Gnostic laughter is ambivalent; it encompasses both knowledge and mockery. It represents an opening up to salvific knowledge, as well as a mocking of those who reveal their lack of knowledge through their actions, typified in the world-creator Jahweh/Ialdabaoth. Plato [c. 428 - c. 348 B.C.E.] taught that we laugh at those who embody the opposite of the advice from Delphi: know yourself. The Gnostics' goal was precisely to know who they were, from whence they came and where they were going. When their opponents were exposed, they were made ridiculous in Plato's meaning of the word, because they again and again revealed that they did not know themselves. As we have seen, the Gnostics were not alone in poking fun at the religious beliefs of their contemporaries. But they were different in that the group existed within the religion they mocked. They [Gnostics] knew Christianity in detail, wanted to prove its insufficiency and short-comings, and thus achieve salvation. They [Gnostics] did not, like Lucian [c. 117 - c. 180], wish primarily to entertain, but rather to reform." [75].

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["Notes"] "Rome: Critic of Laughter and Critical

Laughter" [144]

"6 In his exposure of contemporary religion, there is one area that Lucian [c. 117 - c. 180] does not touch, the cult of the emperor. Dead emperors, living emperors and members of their families were worshipped as gods. Lucian's lack of interest in this cult could be because he saw it more as political ceremony than a religious phenomenon in its own right. However, others did not take this cult quite seriously. The philosopher Seneca [Seneca "the Younger" 4 B.C.E.? - 65 C.E.] outrageously mocked the divinity of the emperor Claudius [10 B.C.E. - 54 C.E. (Emperor 41 - 54)] (Apocolocyntosis). ONE OF THE 'GODS-TO-BE', Vespasian [9 - 79 C.E. (Emperor 69 - 79)], uttered a famous line as he was dying, 'My goodness, I think I am turning into a god', revealing a half-joking attitude toward the religious content of the phenomenon (Suetonius [c. 69 - after 122], Vespasian, 23)." [145].

"7 Even if Christianity was the cult which grew fastest, especially in the eastern part of the empire, scarcely more than one out of fifty had become Christians by the third century AD. Among their contemporaries their beliefs were not very well known (Benkor 1980)." [145].


["Notes"] "Early Christianity: Laughter Between

Body and Spirit

1 Jesus is never pictured laughing in the New Testament. However, the laughter of Jesus is sometimes found in apocryphal texts, for instance in The Gospel of Pseudo-Thomas, where the child Jesus laughs rather maliciously (Hennecke and Schneemelcher 1959: 290ff., Rudhardt 1992:405, n. 68). Even if laughter has no prominent place in the New Testament, it has been the subject of investigation (Jonsson 1965). Jesus was met with mocking and disbelieving laughter when he was about to raise the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Matthew 9: 18-19, 23-5, Luke 8:53, Mark 5:40)." [145].

[See: #3, 80, 412.].

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from: Not The Bible, Containing The Good Ol' Testament and The Neo-Testament, Translated Out of the Original English, Condensed, Edited, Improved Upon and Authorized by The Reverend Oral McJorrity, D.D., with the assistance of Dr. Anthony Hendra and Professor Sean Kelly of the Not The Bible Institute, Oral State University8, U.S.A. Ballantine Books @ New York, Pb. 1983. [Note: no page numbers in book].


'"Hi there."

I want you to walk with me now in the footsteps of a truly great man, someone who's done wonders for Christianity through the ages. His name? PAUL THE APOSTLE.

"Almost single-handed Paul set the record straight on just what that enigmatic character Jesus had really meant.

"How did he do this? Well, he wrote letters. These letters were called Epistles. But did Paul just get an idea for an Epistle and sit down and write it? Of course not.

"Many early Christians were confused about their new religion. They needed help and guidance to avoid the bottomless pit of eternal damnation. So they wrote to Paul. And, workaholic though he was, Paul always found time to write back, from Rome or Jerusalem or wherever his busy schedule took him.

"He was a friendly folksy sort of person was Paul, a big bear of a fellow who liked people to call him by his nickname "APPY"-SHORT FOR 'THE APOSTLE.'

"Those early Christian questions and his answers are as fresh and relevant today as they were close on two thousand years ago.

"Here are some choice epistles from Appy's mail-bag:"'


'Epistle to the


DEAR APPY, We live out here in Galatia. We know it's a long way from civilization but it sounds like a snappy name for a church. How can we start one?




PAUL, Earliest of Christians, Franchiser-in-Chief of the One True Faith:

TO A GUNG-HO GANG OF GALATIANS, Greetings: Thou betst it's a snappy name! I liketh it already. And heed not those who say "O foolish Galatians!"; for even out in the boonies there is no swifter way to store up riches for the LORD than the founding of a church. Canst thou take sweetmeat from a new [sic] new-born babe? This is easier. Consider thy tax breaks alone; on thy investment, on thy depreciation, on thy deficit financing, on all of these thou gettest a fat break. And shouldst thou build more than a church-let it be an hospital or an college or an gaming arena-thou gettest the same break for each one! Yea though thou build but the tenth part of each, still thou gettest the breaks. Nor is thy income subject to tax; nor that of the widow who giveth. Verily I say unto ye, Uncle Caesar practically

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payeth ye to found a church! Nor is this all, O wise Galatians, for ye may purchase all manner of goods, as chariots, books, casks of wine, instruments of music-so long as ye say they are needful for the business of thy church; and on these thou gettest yet another break!

Which is just; for are not such goods the Lord's? And art thou not simply their steward until He shall come again?

And yet I would caution thee in one wise: when ye build the church in Galatia, raise ye it up on a sandy plot. Heed not those who would counsel ye to build it on rock, for they have zero idea what it costeth to dig foundations therein. (Getteth me not wrong-I love Peter. Yet remember that in the Roman tongue his name signifieth 'rock' and ofttimes he thinketh like one).

Would ye know more, O Galatians? Then send for my fact-packed parchment "Reap Now, Sow Later"; and if ye taketh the plunge, I will send unto ye Timotheus, that he may aid in the raising of funds.'




'Epistle to the


DEAR APPY, You know what you are? You're a goddamn egotist, that's what! I counted the number of times "I" appears in your epistles and it averages five per verse. And that's just the short ones. Know something else? You never quote Jesus. You only quote yourself. Who the hell do you think you are? You never even knew Him! Know what? I think you made up that whole dumb story about the Road to Damascus, so you could switch sides and cut out the real apostles! Who says your version is right? You do, that's who! Where does Jesus say obey our parents and keep off wine and beat women and children and scourge the flesh and be utterly miserable? Nowhere, that's where! Know what you are, Paulie baby? You're a BORN persecuter, that's what! First you persecute us for BEING Christians, now you're persecuting us for NOT BEING Christian, ENOUGH!! Why don't you do us all a favor and go ascend up your own asshole?


P.S. I bet you don't have the guts to print this!


PAUL, By Appointment to the King of Heaven, Sole Purveyor of the Truth, Chairman of the Board of Faith, Hope, and Charity, and Chief Operating Apostle: (cc: Timotheus, Vice Apostle, Assistant to the Assistant of God, and Guard of His Body)

TO FED-UP, Knowest thou something? We often feel sorely grieved when the way becometh hard and we are cast down in our spirit. Yet I mindeth not this sort of filthy abuse, for, lo, it simply giveth me one more opportunity to express my great love for my flock. Yea even for the human garbage therein. In fact I welcome injurious words and the unutterable pain they strike into my heart, just as I welcome being flogged with steel-tipped scourges and shipwrecked without sustenance, and having mine testicles crushed in red-hot vises every time I go forth to preach the

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Word. What straineth my patience howsoever, is when ignorant little Corinthian creeps wound my dearest Savior by rejecting His One and Only Genuine True Teacher, me. That really getteth up my nose. But lo, it beeth not my job to wreak vengeance on such creeps. That belongeth to God. My job beeth to love them even unto death. Wherefore, Fed-Up, I urge thee to resist the temptation to write further letters like this. The way of forbearance is hard, I know. For surely thou art not as I am, who can kneel before a gorgeous, naked maiden of seventeen years, who danceth and proffereth me wine and drugs and let it not distract me one jot or tittle from pure holy thoughts of my Lord. Yet haply one day thou shalt be strong as I am, humble as I am. In the meantime, be of good cheer. Timotheus and I will call on you when next we are in Corinth, and bring unto you much comfort.

P.S. Thou seest? I print the stinkers also.


If you would like a copy of any of these Epistles,

send a stamped, addressed messenger to:

DEAR APPY, Station of the Cross, Appian Way, Rome.'

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