From Our Religious Correspondent, Doc Trinnaire
The Dean of Alma Mater College Cambridge, the Rev Dan Jerus-Nutter sparked yet more controversy last night when, addressing a congregation at the University Church, he claimed that Jesus was in fact a hunchbacked warrior dwarf who, had he been born in the 19th century, might well have featured as the star attraction in a travelling freak show or possibly the regimental mascot [in lieu of a goat, sheep or other ruminant] of a lesser known Welsh Regiment.
The illustrated sermon - ostensibly celebrating the feast day of St Mary of the Erupting Pustules - left many members of the congregation visibly upset with one mother going as far as to suggest that the sermon was wholly inappropriate for what had been advertised as a family-friendly service.
“In what is, after all, the lead up to the celebration of Our Saviour’s birth, we expected something joyous and uplifting, not a depressing portrayal of the Christ as a deformed half-wit looking, for all the world, like a minimum-wage extra from a budget remake of El Cid", mother of three Cynthia Holme-Maika said. "My daughter was in tears - as was my husband, but I think in his case it might have stemmed from uncontrollable laughter".
Taking as his text “And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and he could not for the crowd, because he was low of stature.” [The Gospel of Luke (19:3)] and using a 16th century portrait of Jesus by Renaissance master Juan van der Broken-Hymen [1596-1631] as supportive evidence, the Dean argued that "many who gathered in large crowds to see him couldn't, because he was less than 4 feet tall even in an orthotic court shoe". He added that assertions of Christ's diminutive stature were further corroborated by a passage in the Acts of John v. 90: “…I was afraid and cried out, and he, turning about, appeared as a man of small stature…”
Later last night Art Historian Pers Spektiv weighed into the argument suggesting that, whilst he was far from convinced by the Dean of Alma Mater's thesis, he [the Dean] could have chosen a much better portrait to support his case - notably one which hangs "not a mile from where the sermon was preached" in the Fitzbillies Tearooms Museum. "Vertically Challenged" by 18th century Dutch Master Willem Half-Pynte, depicts a dwarfist view of the crucifixion in which every participant is "of smaller than average stature".
Rising to the Dean's defence, his onetime PhD supervisor, former Master of Alma Mater College and ex-Chief Druid [Second Class]. The Rt Revd Blackthorn Stragglybearde, said "He's always seemed like a good egg to me, though to continue the fruitful metaphor, sometimes a bit cracked and perhaps of the curate's variety, though, to be clear, he is not, of course. a curate, rather a fully-fledged and C of E certified Dean, though perhaps if he carries on like this he will soon become a Has-Dean or, more likely, the next Archbishop of Canterbury".
The Dean has form in this regard ... , writes our Theological Advisor, Trini Tea-Sundae:
... Only last year, the Rev Dan Jerus-Nutter suggested that Jesus's powers to heal the sick and redeem the lost could be properly understood only by accepting that Christ was a Jedi Master with powers equalling if not exceeding those of Joshua Ben-Yoda himself.
Citing once again "clear and irrefutable visual evidence gathered from a time much closer to his earthy incarnation than the present" , the Rev Dan Jerus-Nutter went on to claim that what had hitherto been identified as a fossilised turd [Fitzbillies Tearooms Museum Catalogue Item FT78b n35[ii]c] was, in fact a Mark II handheld light sabre smuggled from Golgotha by Mary of Endor and recaptured from the Empire in Episode XII.