Norwich Helter-Skelter
Norwich Cathedral Helter-Skelter (image source)

More than most people, I revel in humour connected with faith. More than most people, I tend to see the humour (sorry, ‘humor’!) in a lot of Jesus’ sayings and stories. Jesus the Jester is a model at least as good as many others. But where are the edges between mystery and mocking? And, in a world so full of bait-and-switch, where is the line when we do this with faith? These are not rhetorical questions.

For those who need reminding, bait-and-switch is “the ploy of offering a person something desirable to gain favour then thwarting expectations with something less desirable.”

Norwich Cathedral put a Helter-Skelter into its nave. Some of the discussions had a bait-and-switch element: they will come for the fun and stay for God… And is the cathedral’s claim that the helter-skelter allowed people to stand close to its medieval roof bosses also a sort of bait-and-switch?

Before this, the nave of Rochester Cathedral was converted (did you see what I did there) into a nine-hole mini golf course.

A lot of Christianity appears to me as bait-and-switch: “God loves you as you are, BUT…” “Accept the free gift of grace… and now tithe/go on the flower roster/…”…

Is some of what Jesus is doing in gathering people bait-and-switch? [Is it bait-and-switch if it is from less desirable to more desirable: come for the story/meal/etc, stay for God?]


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