Ship of Fools (website)

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Ship of Fools
Web address www.shipoffools.com
Type of site
Christian online magazine
Registration Registration required only to use forums
Available in English
Created by Simon Jenkins and Stephen Goddard
Launched 1 April 1998; 16 years ago (1998-04-01)
Alexa rank
1,072,676 worldwide
288,813 in the United States[1]
Current status Active

Ship of Fools is a UK-based Christian satirical website. It was first launched as a magazine in 1977. The magazine folded in 1983 and was resurrected as a website in 1998 on April Fool's Day. Subtitled "the magazine of Christian unrest", Ship of Fools pokes fun and asks critical questions about the Christian faith. The site is part magazine and part web community.[2]

Ship of Fools was founded and is edited by Simon Jenkins (editor) and Stephen Goddard (co-editor). Jenkins is an author, designer and cartoonist from London (not to be confused with Simon Jenkins, who has written a more traditional guide to England's Thousand Best Churches), while Goddard is a journalist and public relations consultant; both have formal theological education. They also perform a show, Ship of Fools Live, in churches, universities and elsewhere, with excerpts from the site's magazine content. The show toured in the USA in February 2004.

The website presents itself as ecumenical/pan-Christian, although the prevailing ethos is English-speaking Trinitarian Christianity. The diversity of the users range from complete atheists to evangelical and liberal Christians.

Some notable features of Ship of Fools website are:

  • "The Mystery Worshipper"[3] – reports on churches made by users of the site: the intention is that churches find out how they appear to outsiders.
  • "Gadgets for God" – kitsch Christian-based products on the internet.
  • "Features & Projects" – irregular columns and a range of projects including "R Father" (2001 competition for rewriting the Lord's prayer as a text message[4]) and "St Pixels" (see below).
  • Discussion boards – debate and discussion amongst registered members ("shipmates").

Activities sometimes leave the site to take place in the real world. There are frequent "Shipmeets" where shipmates get together at different locations around the world. Ship of Fools also ran a Ned Flanders Night at the Christian festival Greenbelt.

"Church of Fools", an online 3D interactive church, ran as a multi-user 3D environment from May to September 2004,[5][6] and as a single-user environment since that date. The Church of Fools has now renamed itself St Pixels.[7]

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