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Congratulations, you’re going to Bethlehem!

It's almost time for your stay in The Manger.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


A rustic self-contained dwelling separate from the main house, The Manger is a studio-plan holiday accommodation, with original furnishings and fixtures, local artisan fabrics, exposed brick walls, windows that open, always, a well half a mile away, rustic stone floors and no furniture. There is straw to sleep on in the main room. There is parking for your donkey in the main room.  There are toilet facilities in the main room.

First, tell us a bit about yourself:

My wife Mary is the sole human being born without sin, and is with child which, following her impregnation by the creator of the Universe, will be born as both the God himself and his Son who will cause himself to be put to death by the people he created in order to expiate the sins he gave them, causing her to ascend to transitional Godhead status in two world religions.

Me, I’m a carpenter. Shelving, mostly. Bit of shop fitting.

Why have you come to BETHLEHEM?

Due to a wholly fictional Roman census which doesn’t stand up under even a few seconds scrutiny, we have returned to Bethlehem, the non-place of our birth, a journey reverse engineered into our narrative to create symmetry with Jewish exile, six centuries BMC (Before My Kid), which makes me ropable, especially if its a girl and thus of course all in vain, as I was hoping for a few days to take the tinnie out.

How many will be staying in THE MANGER? 

Well, there’s my family so three to six depending on how many people God is this week, and three shepherds will be joining us, who tended to be about 13-14 years old in those/these days, so really looking forward to that, and their sheep, and three camels, so what did you say the bond was, and three old Iranian men who want to throw my child a party.

Will you be … hang on, what?

Three old Iranian men want to throw my child a, I guess its a zeroeth birthday party. They’ll be in fine colourful silk robes, with myrhh for rubbing,  gold and frankincense. Frankincense is…

We know what frankincense is

Yeah but 40% of kids from the 1930s on don’t. They will think that Jesus was visited by three wise men and Frankenstein. They’ll see it in their heads, Lon Chaney clumping across the dunes. I-

You’re not worried about the myrrh?

Look, the kid’s the infant pretext version of a composite of several radical Essenic Jewish preachers from the Roman-Jewish upheavals of around 25 AMC. I mean, yeah nah.

Tell us about your likes, dislikes etc

Well my entire family is a repurposed version of a man-God myth arising from political changes in pharoanic rule recapitulated in turn through Isaiah to which book gospel writers conformed us, all flowing from the rich culture of Egypt … so, hummus.

Do you have any other questions for us?

Yeah, when we’re there, what’s open on Christmas? 

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14 thoughts on “Congratulations, you’re going to Bethlehem!

  1. Jack Robertson

    Have a safe and happy break. Your writing makes Australia a bigger and better place. Chrs.

    1. graybul

      Good to know you’ve made it through another year Jack. Hoping 2018 will provoke a trademark mix of epistle/epithet to curl remaining single hair left on my bald head. By the way . . . didn’t you say Grundle never reads what we plebs offer up?

      1. Jack Robertson

        Your man did hisself, Graybs. He is smart like that, tho I think bends the rules occasionally, in a Josh Homme kind of way…

        Have a splendid holiday season G.

  2. paddy

    You’ve obviously been out drinking with Ben Pobjie again Guy.
    Have a good one.

  3. Andrew

    Appreciate the effort to be vaguely amusing. Fail for content though. Silly, historically dubious and far less compelling than the original. Happy Holidays.

  4. zut alors

    With that outstanding CV Mary was quite the catch for a humble chippie. The one night stand with the Creator of the Universe certainly changed her career path.

    Apart from S J Perelman no author, with the exception of Rundle, can deliver me a belly laugh.

  5. AR

    Fing I don’t unnerstan was why they didn’t use the gold for decent accommodation and sell the frankenfurter for myrh money to live on.
    And no room in this mangled manger for Astarte? Solstice, life made glorious Summer again with this son of Yorick?
    Alas, I didn’t know him, Nelso.

  6. Michael Howard

    I hope Guy was not paid for this article!

  7. Nudiefish

    Guy, somehow makes, Christianity appear to be a nonsense?

  8. campidg

    I guess you had already lobed enough grenades but you missed that there is no reference to the number of the wise men an any of the gospels, just the number of prezzies.
    Thanks for helping us digest 2017.
    Happy hols to you and to all the regulars.

  9. Keith1

    This gets it about right, except for the fact that the manger is the feeding thing Jesus is plonked in, not the stable. No RE prize for you this year GR.

  10. Peter Hannigan

    Fun, but the origin stories and history of Christianity are so bizarre as to be almost impossible to satirise. The modern application of the cult of Jesus is certainly very open to satire though.

    So what do we know about origins?
    – there was a person called Jesus who seems to have had quite an impact in Roman Judaea, Galilee and Samaria
    – his followers started what might best be described as a reformist sect of Judaism
    – this cult of Jesus got opened up widely to non-Jews with a particular push from Paul of Tarsus (who never met Jesus and is called by some the Apostle of the Gentiles) – an opening which was not well accepted by some strands of Jesus followers linked to particular apostles
    – the many strands expanded away as a semi-subversive new religion in the Roman Empire without a particularly coherent structured set of beliefs
    – ‘Christian’ was originally a pagan term of abuse and it took some time to be accepted by believers as an appropriate description
    – This all got made over into Christianity when the documentation was edited by the Council of Nicaea in 325AD at the request of the Emperor Constantine. This helped make it suitable to become the established religion of the Roman Empire – the universal Roman church – which later became known as the Roman Catholic Church
    – It even developed its own expression of the core of the belief – the Nicene Creed – which these days we would recognise as a statement of the party line.
    – numerous doctrinal disputes and convoluted compromises resulted, with many heresies from those who did not go along with the official line, right up to the present day.
    – After all of this it is not exactly clear what Jesus said beyond a few key elements. There is some danger that if he did have a second coming he might decide that Sunni Islam was closer to his experience of religion than any alternatives. Or maybe he would be a Baha’i.

    Anyway – merry Christmas (a term from the 4th century) and a happy new year.

    1. zut alors

      Enjoyed your informative post. Will copy & send to a couple wobbly Catholics of my acquaintance.

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