In the world of homiletics, at the bottom of the food chain lie the hardened cases who make their living compiling and selling books of canned sermon illustrations. In their pure, non-redacted form, these stories are recognizable from their unvarying introduction ("The story is told … ") and the odds of their being true (roughly the same as the odds that the South will rise again).
Since we are unable to get these people off the streets--the law reading as it does--I suppose the only recourse is to put a few of the hoariest and most unlikely of these stories out of their misery. Anybody caught using them should be the object of church discipline--preferably involving the loss of ordination--and require a restoration process of not less than one year before being allowed to even make the announcements again. Here are the worst offenders, and the truth that lies behind them:
1. The story about the guy who pushed a wheelbarrow across a tightrope strung over Niagara Falls, then challenged ...1