The Gospel According to St Plastic

Moses Receives the Commandments

I don't know how many of you are already aware of this, I certainly wasn't until now, but there apparently exists an illustrated bible called the Brick Testament, in which scenes from the bible are enacted using - wait for it - lego models.

This book is the brainchild of a man called Brendan Powell Smith, nickmamed 'The Reverend'. Launched online in 2001 (The Brick Testament) the book was published in paper format in 2003. Why this story was published on the The Telegraph's online page on Thursday I am not quite sure, but at least it has now come to my attention.

He says it is intended to educate people about the Bible “in a way that is fun and compelling, while remaining true to the text of the scriptures.

To this end, all stories are retold using direct quotes from The Bible.”

Said the Telegraph's report:- It is huge, detailed, occasionally gory and frequently satirical. The excerpts from 1 Samuel are entitled “Saul rejected for incomplete genocide”, after the leader of the Israelites left some sheep and cattle alive after being ordered to exterminate the Amalekites.

Similarly, Saint Stephen is shown saying: “If you ignore a few phrases here and there and completely ignore their original context, [the Scriptures] totally predict Jesus!”

Mr Smith claims that he is not at all religious, he just has a "long standing interest in religion, the Bible, and the study of ancient Christianity and Judaism, hence the nickname 'The Reverend.'"

Or perhaps just can't grow out of playing with lego.

I have mixed opinions on this - I think it's mostly silly, and the tongue-in-cheek way in which many of the scenes are played out is humorous and engaging, but still I find the idea of using harmless kids toys (especially lego, of which I was particularly fond) to tell religious stories rather worrying.

Just reading the comments to the Telegraph's story confirm the levels of abject cynicism to which the faithfull will stoop in their desire to pollute the minds of innocents; one respondent said:

"What a great way of communicating the message of the Bible to children in a medium that they can relate to.

I have seen children using lego reenacting some of the great stories of David and Goliath and putting these images together to make their own video sequences. Relatively easy and great fun.

The bible can still be relevant to children in 2009 providing them with a light in what is a very spiritually dark world."

I don't know what is worse about this comment; the sinister idea that toys are an engaging way of filling innocent minds with corrosive rubbish, or that the respondent is probably a nice person who thinks the above is a genuinely good thing.

What was immediately obvious was that they hadn't looked at the website. Another respondent replied:

"Clearly {a previous commenter] hasn't seen what the Brick Testament is all about. And neither has anyone who thinks children should be looking at it. It's done completely tongue in cheek. There's, gasp, lego sex, men tossing their lego foreskins in a basket, and people cutting each other in half complete with lego blood and guts..... It's funny. It's not evil-- or a teaching tool for that matter."

So it's worth taking a look at for the comedy value, but sad none the less.

Apologies if you knew about this years ago, but I didn't, so there.

Enjoy this post? Then why not subscribe in a reader, or subscribe by email (top right of the page) for updates?

View blog reactions


Anonymous said...

The Brick Testament in hilarious! I'm glad you discovered it.
I understand some of your concerns but the bible has been whitewashed and sanitized and taught to kids through every kind of medium that has been invented. Story books, colouring books, dolls, etc. Lego is no different.

I think the Brick Testament does a great service highlighting the violence in the Bible: these are the very things that gets sanitized out of Christian retellings of biblical stories.

Dave said...

Thanks for your comment Dr Jim, I'm just sad because I used to love lego so much! Mind you, it would be difficult to re-enact the stories using space lego...

carol said...

That's great

arts said...

Fantastic!!.. great work!..