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Not since local newsagencies started handing sex-orientated newspapers has any publication caused such a stir amongst local churchgoers.

The book in question has no nude pictures (it doesn't even have a glossy cover), no dirty jokes, only two very tame four-letter words, is typewritten on cheap paper, and is a paraphrase of part of the Bible!

So what's all the fuss about?

Local author, Mr. Dave McKay, doesn't know, but he says the fuss has been the best thing that could have happened to him and his book, "You Can't Put God in a Box".

"The more they fight it, the more people buy it," he explained.

This Day Tonight in Adelaide has done two reports on the book, including interviews with South Australian clergymen.

Meanwhile, local churchmen have written protests to the Barrier Daily Truth, suggested to members of their congregations to stay away from Mr. McKay, and had words with churches in other towns Mr. McKay has visited.

One clergyman defended the book.  By coincidence or not, he transferred shortly afterwards to another post away fro Broken Hill.

One minister considered Mr McKay's word for the Old English "dung" to be "blasphemous".

Was he prepared to condemn a paraphrase of the life and teachings of Christ on the basis of one word?

"No, I condemn the book on the basis of the whole book," he retorted.

"Mr McKay appears to want to spread love, but he has only succeeded in spreading evil," said another clergyman.

Most ministers, however, refuse to comment on the book, aware that any comment, for or against, is likely to encourage sales.

The Rev. Peter Stephens from South Methodist Church says the book has alredy received "disproportionate publicity".

Mr. McKay claims: "Men whose life ambition is supposed to be that of publicising the teachings of Christ, coming out in public to voice their anger against the same teachings."

The book, which was printed in Adelaide, has been banned by religious bookshops there.  The only church shop handling it is the Catholics' St. Paul's on Rundle Street.

And the book in question, according to Mr. McKay, is a verse by verse parallel of the Gospel According to Saint Luke, written in the Australian idiom.

Most church leaders are general in their criticisms and sometimes contradictory, but apparently Mr. McKay's references to the Jews as "the church" is behind some antagonism.

"No other religious organization in history has had greater claim to the title," he says.  "Even Christ himself admitted they were God's chosen people.

"But trouble came when they thought it put them beyond criticism.  And it's teh same problem in the church today."

Two other books by Dave McKay will be released soon "A Letter to Rome" based on Pauls' epistle to the Romans, and "Last Lament for America," based on the writings of the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah.

He is working on a fifth paraphrase based on The Revelation of St. John.

"I don't make anything on the books, so I have to sell one lot before I can afford to print the next," he said.

The books are freely available in Broken Hill from newsagents and many corner shops.  They sell for one dollar.



(11:42-54)  "You damn church leaders make a big fuss over giving ten percent of everything to God, but you forget all about being fair and showing genuine love.  Do both! (see also Luke 20:47)

"You church leaders think a high position in the church and in the community is important.  You're nothing but damned hypocrites, trying to cover up the fact that you're just as dead as the rest of the world."
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