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.
""Just as early morning and late afternoon light provides dimensions and depth to any landscape, so Gritsch's characteristic wry humor invites the reader to an appreciation and illumination of the history of Christianity. His signature drollness, which always enhances his writings, here becomes an entree, not an appetizer. Christendumb will give greater speech and intelligence to any reader who wondered how Christianity came to its current composition.""
--Reverend Lawrence R. Recla, retired ELCA clergy
""Gritsch leads us on a delightfully informative tour along the winding road Christendom has taken, from the birth of Christ to the present, including numerous off-road trips to 'Christendumb.' While providing marvelous insights into those who have tried to shape Christian thought, there are times when only a generous serving of humor can do justice to their actions, and Gritsch gleefully provides it. A must-read for historians and laymen!""
--John B. Williams, The Melanchthon Institute
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).
|Publisher:||Wipf & Stock Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)|