#1. The Ministry of Clowning, 1983
When a normal person sees a book about clown ministers, their third reaction is a desperate need for explanation. Obviously, the first two reactions are pee. If you happen to actually be a clown minister, then you already know that your only reaction to anything is sharpening your knives. For the others, let's move on to the desperate need for an explanation. Here is the first paragraph of the book in its entirety: "The Ministry of Clowning is the direct result of the surging interest in Christian clowning." Wait, what?
It's an explanation that raises more questions than it answers. Where are these Christian clowns surging? Why? And what nation or God would allow it? Do their giant shoes foil missile targeting systems and lightning bolts? It doesn't count as bringing Jesus Christ to someone if all they do is scream his name while you chase them.
The book doesn't read like an instruction manual for clown ministers, or as I call them, the worst way to die. It's more like a distant anthropological study on them. It reads like a Martian military scientist compiled data on what they perceived to be an Earth PSYOP weapon. For example, someone enthusiastic about spreading Christ's joy through wacky antics probably wouldn't fill their book with dozens of pictures like this:
These photos didn't come from a chapter with seamstress patterns for costumes. The book just stopped to show pictures of empty clothes, like scarab beetles ate their owners or they were evidence photos in a court case. Fun fact: Eventually all pictures of clown clothes will be used for this purpose.
Is a photo of random wigs necessary or helpful? Is this to help make sure amateur clowns don't accidentally buy dog food at the wig store? The only reason to put this picture in your book is to show children what their remains will look like after you take their face off.
"Hi, children! With these binoculars I can see everything, always. And I use this 1,000-pound barbell to get strong because I'm in charge of this list of PEOPLE GOING TO HEAVEN. Oh, my! All your names are here. Would you kids like to know what time you get there? Listen closely, because it rhymes with now."
The pictures are obviously bizarre, but the text isn't much better. Even in the middle of clinical explanations on the basic types of clowns, The Ministry of Clowning will throw in vaguely terrifying sentences like "Many consider large, full-bodied puppets as actually being clowns." What kind of technicality is that to bring up in a person's very first five seconds of clown knowledge? To me that's a subtle warning that at least some of the clowns pictured in the book are puppets, moving of their own accord. That message seems a little off for an evangelist, since a shambling puppet is a surefire way to get nearby people to question God.
I wish there were a word for the moment when a large, full-bodied puppet is tying a noose and catches you taking a picture of it, because I hate knowing that this photographer's last word was 17 days of shrieking.
All these clowns brandishing ropes help support my point. And that is that if it's important for you to share your religion, maybe nightmares aren't the best avenue to take. Using a clown to share Jesus with someone is like using a bag of unexpected snakes to share Jesus with someone. Here, I'll let this clown explain it.
For more from Seanbaby's collection, see 4 Instructional Videos Made By and For Crazy People or Dr. Laura - The Worst Board Game of All Time.