The Gospel According to a Sitcom Writer
by James Cary
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Pub Date 17 Jun 2021 | Archive Date 16 Jun 2021
Maybe Jesus was joking, the disciples didn’t know what they were doing and the New Testament is a lot funnier than you might think.
You would think it weird if someone suddenly ascended into heaven, right? Reading between the lines, do we detect a touch of rivalry between Peter and John? And surely the lack of parables in the latter’s mystical tome is simply crying out to be redressed . . .
In this sparklingly witty book, BBC sitcom writer James Cary gives us a new and liberating way of looking at the gospel as he entertainingly relates it to a modern context, with references ranging from Charles Dickens to The Vicar of Dibley. Cheerfully playing around with the text, he takes the Bible seriously but allows us to laugh at our own petty vanities and foibles – and be enlightened in the process.
The Gospel According to a Sitcom Writer is ideal for anyone wanting to liven up their Bible reading and looking for new ways to be thrilled by this sacred text. It’s also perfect for priests, pastors, youth leaders and all those involved in ministry and giving sermons, as James Cary shows using comedy and humour is a brilliant way to communicate the gospel.
Warm, funny and full of brilliant insight and Christian humour, The Gospel According to a Sitcom Writer will make you laugh out loud and shake your head in awe. You’ll never read the Bible the same way again.
Average rating from 7 members
At first, I would like to thank Netgalley and SPCK for allowing me to review this book. Keep in mind that my review, however, is my true opinion on this book.
James Cary is a sitcom writer for the BBC. And he likes to look at how religion and comedy intersect. And this is what “The gospel according to a sitcom writer” is about.
It is a funny book. But it is also a book about religion. It is an exciting combination. I think you might like it!
“You would think it weird if someone suddenly ascended into heaven, right? Reading between the lines, do we detect a touch of rivalry between Peter and John? And surely the lack of parables in the latter’s mystical tome is simply crying out to be redressed . . .”
I had no idea what to expect from this book. But I was pretty entertained.
I love how James Cary takes pieces from the Bible, just as we know them, and present a funny viewpoint or a fun thought on this topic or the actions. And then he rewrites it into something hilarious.
Whether or not you are a Christian and whether or not you know the Bible, I would say that this could be a fun read for you.
If you do know the Bible well, you will get to notice some details by reading this book, and you might be able to pick up on some other details and funny bits yourself when you read the Bible next time.
Imagine An Evening With James Cary, sitcom writer of the likes of Bluestone 42 with episodes of Miranda, My Hero, and My Family to his name, creator and writer of radio series Think the Unthinkable and lots more. Imagine he's taking a sideways look at Bible stories you know (so well you haven't really thought too much about them). Imagine he throws in some insights on why writing a sitcom about Christians would be a really tricky thing to do, tells a few personal anecdotes and imagine he throws in some really funny rewrites of Pilgrim's Progress. Now you're ready to read this book.
James has an obvious love for the Bible and his approach is in no way disrespectful, quite the reverse. The Bible isn't a joke book, it isn't a laugh a minute but there are times when you see the funny side of a situation. Familiarity means we usually miss it and it's good to see it afresh. No spoilers (James concentrates on John's Gospel) but take the book of Jonah. It could be an extended sketch. From the outset the joke is on Jonah. Having spent 3 days and 3 nights in the gastric juices of a big fish the reluctant missionary, looking and smelling like a fish, goes on a preaching tour in a town that worships Dagon the fish god. And the big reveal at the end of the book is Jonah sulking with God because his mission was a big success - you don't hear that in Sunday School.
This is a great book and an easy read. I highly recommend it. I'm not sure whether I'd prefer it to go in the wacky religious section of the secular bookshop or join the other three books on humour in the Christian bookshop (read the book for the reference). I guess online sales takes care of that.
Thanks to Netgalley and SPCK for the ARC.
It's comedy, it's light relief, it's funny and makes you think. Don't take yourself or the book too seriously, settle down with a nice coffee and have a wee read. Some sermon pointers here too!
Thanks to NetGalley and SPCK for ARC.
James Cary is a sitcom writer and he also happens to be a Christian. He is a member of the General Synod and the Archbishop’s Council, so it can be said with certainty that he takes his beliefs seriously. However, this does not mean that he does not find humour in the Bible. He uses his writer’s skills to produce a highly amusing book.
He focuses mainly on John’s Gospel, but also includes parables, Pilgrim’s Progress and A Christmas Carol. He looks at certain situations and stories and then, using his imagination, he delves into the possibilities of rivalry between John and Peter, of interpretations of the parables and motives. The results are often very funny and thought provoking. I was particularly amused by the “sign off” after each imaginative interlude:
“This is not the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.” Those of you attending Anglican church services may spot the word introduced by James Cary.
With references to different television and radio programmes featuring vicars, there is plenty to interest the casual reader, but this is also a book which delivers a powerful message about the Bible and Christian belief. Well worth reading!
Thank you to NetGalley and S.P.C.K. for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Time for some light relief, a break from the seriousness of life , well read this book. it's so good and it has the added bonus of making you think and laugh at the same time. Definitely the perfect time to have a laugh
Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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