Christendumb: A Tongue-In-Cheek History of Christianity

Christendumb: A Tongue-In-Cheek History of Christianity

by Eric W. Gritsch


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This book offers a swift trek through two millennia of Christendom, with all the information provided by boring textbooks. The author presents the Christian story within the framework of a warning of Jesus in his famous Sermon on the Mount: "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt becomes dumb, with what shall one salt?" (Matt 5:13). The story is told with wit, spiked by satire and a gallows humor. There are three chapters (symbolizing the Trinity), each encompassing seven centuries (symbolizing the seven days of creation), with four parts in each chapter (symbolizing the four Gospels). Chapter headings and subtitles are eye-catchers, such as "Edifice Complex" for the Middle Ages with its zeal for architectural and sacramental edification. Idiosyncratic features are highlighted, like the "pillar saints," monks who spent their lives on pillars in the desert; "castrated believers," who experienced the procedure as a refinement of penance; and competing popes, who succumbed to secular pleasures. Word plays, the wisdom of proverbs, and "dumb" Christian ways prevent readers from getting bored. A witty preface and a serious epilogue provide food for new insights.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620325384
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 02/05/2013
Pages: 186
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Eric W. Gritsch (1931-2012), a native of Austria, did his graduate work in Vienna, Zurich, Basel, and Yale (PhD), and was Emeritus Professor of Church History at Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary. He was also an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and an author of a number of books, including Martin—God's Court Jester: Luther in Retrospect (1983); Toxic Spirituality (2009); and A Handbook for Christian Life in the 21st Century (2005).

Table of Contents

Prologue ix

Chapter 1 Mission Impossible, c. 7-700 CE 1

Memory, Momentum, and Misery 1

Greed and Creed 19

When in Rome… 33

A Fuzzy Fusion 39

Chapter 2 Edifice Complex, 700-1400 CE 47

An East-West Wall 47

Skyscrapers, Bunkers, and Sand Boxes 58

Silos of Doctrine 74

Pay, Pray, and Obey 85

Chapter 3 Loose Ends, 1400-2010 CE 97

Retardation and Reveille 97

Mazy Means and Ways 120

Faith on the Rocks 133

Back to the Future 152

A Serious Epilogue 161

Timetable 167

Bibliography 171

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