Cracked 5 … July 3rd, 2018


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The Reason Fireworks Make a Lot Of Sense for July 4th

A. They make a lot of sound but not much sense

 

B. They sparkle but quickly fizzle

 

C. You can blow things up

 

D. “God Bless America” doesn’t sound quite so arrogant

 

E. They’re cheap

 

 

 

 

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Catchy (Sitting 47) Fallen from the Sky… May 6th, 2018

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Perhaps a great discussion could have ensued between Carlin and Jubal about the power of ethics and transparency with the public. Think tanks could have weighed in on the historical nature of complete candor as opposed to releasing information gradually, so as to not overwhelm the common man.

Surely many churches, businesses and even politicians could share their rendition of “liary” as opposed to just simply stating the facts.

But on the following Thursday afternoon, in Salisbury, North Carolina, in the town plaza, eight thousand beautiful human beings gathered underneath a hilarious burst of sunshine, to eat North Carolina barbecue and listen to Jubal and the boys crank out the tunes.

Politicians, rock stars and mill workers walked together with tears in their eyes over the tenderness of the fellowship and the simplicity of what could be accomplished with a little food, love and music. In the midst of the jubilation, a private airplane flew overhead trailing a banner which read, “God Bless America.”

The crowd cheered. The plane flew by three more times, banner flapping in the wind. Jubal instructed his bandmates to improv a salsa version of “God Bless America,” which totally revved the audience into a joyous mania.

Then, to complement the banner, three skydivers jumped out of the airplane wearing red, white and blue jumpsuits and sporting American flag parachutes as they tugged on their ropes and floated to Earth.

The cheers were nearly deafening.

The crowd assumed that Jubal planned the beautiful surprise, and he thought it was a courtesy extended by the community. The three sky visitors landed, each one holding a flag, waving them in the wind. The crowd screeched and ran forward as the police edged ahead to protect the gents from being swallowed up.

Jubal and the band continued to play, although they had temporarily lost the attention of the audience.

The three newcomers disconnected from their parachutes and tore off their flags, throwing them to the ground.

Then the crowd gasped in horror. What had appeared to be flagpoles in the hands of the skydivers were actually assault rifles.

Because the police had approached the trio first, the paratroopers shot them down in thirty seconds, then raced into the crowd, shooting, maiming and killing as they went.

The scene was so surreal that it took Jubal and the cast a moment to realize what was happening. When Brother Carlos finally understood that they were under attack, he quickly ushered all of his friends into the nearby semi-truck which had carried the equipmnent for the rally.

All the participants jumped into the empty trailer of the semi as others from the crowd tried to make their way in as well. After about thirty seconds, Jubal ordered the door closed, jumped into the driver’s seat, and headed off toward the closest murderer. The man was so busy shooting that he didn’t realize that Jubal was bearing down on him with megatons of truck. Jubal didn’t give it a second thought. He slammed down the gas pedal and rolled over the killer, crushing him beneath the wheels.

The shock of this bought some time for one of the policemen, who was lying wounded, to grab his gun and aim carefully, firing a bullet into the face of a second attacker.

There were two down.

Jubal had to decide whether to go back around, risking the truck being riddled with bullets, or depart the area, with his passengers intact, and then come back after delivering them to safety.

Meanwhile, the third assassin continued to shoot at will. There were bodies everywhere. People were crying for help, others kneeling and praying over their friends.

But the police–an escort of about eighteen officers–lay very still on the ground, near the spot where the perpetrators had landed. Before Jubal could get the truck turned around to chase the third offender, five men from the crowd charged the assailant. Two were shot and a third grabbed the assassin, taking the gun, as the shooter ran into the nearby trees, attempting to escape. Unfortunately, he ran in the direction of about twenty men from the crowd, who were hiding in the woods. They tackled him and they beat him and beat him–until he was dead.

Jubal drove the truck up, careful to not strike any wounded soul on the ground. He climbed down and walked among the dead and wounded.

He fell to his knees. Jubal wept.

By the end of the day, thanks to the kindness of strangers and the excellent work of emergency medical staff, 167 wounded people were transported to hospitals. Seven were paralyzed, four were brain dead–but about 150 were treated, with a prospect of surviving the hellish ordeal.

Unfortunately, five souls died in the hospital, joined by another 83 who lay dead in the plaza.

88 people gone.

Jubal took his staff to the airport and they flew out immediately. Several of them questioned whether it was proper to leave the area without talking to the authorities. Jubal didn’t care.

The whole event was especially stunning to Carlin, who had attended on his first missionary trip with the team, to encounter such a meaningless slaughter. Once in the air, Jubal conducted a prayer meeting for about a half an hour as his team, which had witnessed evil in motion shared hearts and lifted up their concerns to a heavenly Father.

At the end of the prayer session everyone fell silent, waiting to hear what Jubal would have to share.

“We need time for reflection,” said Jubal. “We need to quiet our souls and not flamboyantly be sharing the experience on every talk show with every giddy host who wants to slide us into a slot to fill time. We should go ahead and cancel the rallies for the time being, and let’s see where God takes us.”

There was a general agreement. Except for Carlin.

Carlin patted Jubal on the shoulder and said, “I know this sounds right to you, my friend, but it isn’t. This was done today because there are people who are afraid. I don’t know who they are. But they’re afraid enough that they organized this massacre. They have learned in their dens of iniquity, that if you can scare people, you can control them. Let’s be honest. We are fuckin’ scared. But it’s the last thing in the world we need to be. I think what we should do is to hold one rally two weeks from now, and gather hundreds of thousands of people, to object to the insanity, to reject the blood-shedding, and to stand up for what’s right.”

No one liked Carlin’s idea–but no one could argue with it.

That night it was announced on the news that two different organizations took credit for the “Salisbury Slaughter”–Zion’s Warriors, a renegade, pro-Israel terrorist group, and White Light, a supremacist organization, bound and determined to return America to its Anglo-Saxon roots.

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Matthew heard about the tragedy via television. For twenty minutes there was silence in every casino. Everything stopped running. Everybody ceased jabbering.

Matthew took that time to drive to the airport. He needed to be there when the jet arrived. He was certainly not going to be much comfort to them, but perhaps they could bring some solace to his tormented soul.

 

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Good News and Better News … March 12th, 2018

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“There’s blues in the pews.”

A quiet resignation to what is deemed to be an acceptable despondency: “Just a few more weary days and I’ll fly away.”

Motivated to only share a Gospel that gets us to heaven while maintaining a cultural grouchiness on Earth, the church is not ready to tear down the gates of hell.

Instead, the American church spends too much time tearing down one another. Congregations often act like they’re in the middle of a mine cave-in, where there’s a shortage of oxygen and those around them seem to have too many nostrils.

Abundant life and an existence filled with joy seem to be Biblical promises of a coming kingdom instead of the Kingdom of God, which is declared to be within us.

There’s blues in the pews.

It won’t do any good for us to ignore it. There’s no reclamation by refusing to discuss the problem out of political correctness. After all, there are some subjects we are not supposed to broach. For instance, it’s not proper to complain that a funeral is too long nor that Grandma’s Thanksgiving turkey is too dry. And it’s completely unacceptable to insist that for some reason, this year Santa Claus was too cheap.

But if we are willing to quietly consider the situation, we could come up with three realities which create some of the blues in the pews:

1. This is what we do.

Even though the Bible says “the Lord’s blessings are fresh daily,” we continue to warm up leftovers and pass them off as new recipes.

2. This is who we do it with.

We get to know each other too well. It invites criticism. And because no fresh blood is being infused, we “clot up” in disrespect and confusion.

3. Simultaneously, we are defensive about how it is done.

It may not make us happy, but “God bless America, we’re gonna keep on doing it because we’ve always done it this way.”

There will be blues in the pews until we realize that church is not meant for God–it’s meant for His people. It’s a place intended for fellowship–where folks can mourn, consider and embrace.

The good news is, Jesus left us a beautiful example of what church should be–for those around him said, “We have never seen it in this fashion before.”

The better news is, it stands to reason that if we follow the example of Jesus, we just might start getting “Jesus results.”

 

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Cracked 5 … August 15th, 2017


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Things Billy Joe McCrow Packed for His Weekend Rally with the Klan in Charlottesville, Virginia

A. Stars and Stripes boxers

 

B. Hair gel for his chest and back

 

C. Song book: “The Ku Klux White Album”

 

D. His “I’m part of the Super Race” T-shirt

 

E. “God Bless America” pasties for his exotic dancer girlfriend, Frieda

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant… February 25, 2015

 

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Pohymn Feb 25

Turnaround

Every fall comes from a trip

All my trips happen in the Fall

Laughter is a medicine

I am medically cleared to laugh

Ask and it shall be given

‘Tis a given that I will ask

God bless America, my home

Home is when America is a blessing for God

Cross that bridge when I get to it

Getting to the bridge is often the cross I get

I fell in love

Love fell on me

In the beginning, God created

Creating a beginning is God

Coming to my senses

My coming is sensible

All men are created equal

Equal men are all created

Don’t give up the fight

The fight is, don’t give up

Save myself for the right person

The right person helps me save myself

Terrorism kills people

Real people kill terrorism

For God so loved the world

The world loved … and there was God 

 

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Populie: God Bless America… July 2, 2014

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Kate Smith

God is still pretty popular.

America, too.

Yet there are many people who believe the two are synonymous–practically inseparable.

Thus the populie: “God bless America.”

Politics loves this slogan because it enables them to incorporate just enough religion to get the evangelical vote and just enough patriotism to acquire the libertarians.

Entertainment plays off the idea by producing both tear-jerking war movies and also flicks that question the authenticity and purpose of nationalism.

And of course, religion is partial to this idiom simply due to the fact that if we are convinced that we are favored by God, we might be able to get by with a few more inconsistencies before Daddy calls a time-out.

Yet as we near Independence Day, I am focused in on the power and veracity of the statement, “To he who much is given, much is expected.”

So because I love my country, respect our attempts at democracy and favor our liberty, I would like to deny the populie of “God bless America” and replace it with, “God challenge America.”

I know that God chastises those He loves–to make us sharper and more powerful. Yet we are losing our authority, presence and respectability due to the belief in our exceptionalism.

  • When it comes to women, we should be world leaders in equality, but we trail behind others.
  • We should take it seriously to stop killing. After all, when we discover a few packages of tainted ground beef in a grocery store, every package is recalled. Yet if twenty-two children are killed in a school, we continue to taint our lives with guns.
  • We should expand ourselves in equality by including others we do not agree with, honoring their right to freedom. God respects free will above all else, even purity.
  • We should be a nation that excels in productivity. For instance, I think we’re taking the wrong approach to the minimum wage. To give people more money for what they’re already doing is not only foolish, but actually a slothful business practice. But by the same token, if we can encourage productivity in our work force while passing along the dividends by increasing paychecks retroactively or offering bonuses, then we’re making our workers part of the solution instead of tying them in with the problem.
  • Why aren’t we leaders in morality?
  • How about civility?
  • Instead of arguing about the climate of the Earth, why don’t we at least see if there’s something we could do and then surprise ourselves by doing it?
  • Why don’t we take our young generation and encourage them to be respectful, industrious and creative instead of working to legalize more drugs, to dull their senses?
  • Why do we allow our older citizens to become bitter and calloused instead of demanding they use their journey to become wise and merciful?
  • If we truly do have the best medical care in the world, why aren’t we healthier?

Hiding your talent and refusing to use it is considered to be the definition of a sluggard.

Knowing what to do and not doing it is the best example of sin.

And living beneath your privilege only generates self-pity.

The populie is, “God bless America”–a way to live off the past by pretending that the present is sufficient because a Divine Presence controls our future.

My hope in this season is that we will allow God to challenge America to live up to our ideals, abilities and dreams.

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One Size Frets All … January 20, 2013

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Jon SigningThe power is in knowing what is common and what is different.

What is common among us all is our humanity. What is different are the many paths we have taken which have tempted us to deny, hide or obscure our commonality.

Maybe you decided to join religion. Basically you were told that “God is mad but He still wants to save you.” That’s enough to make anybody mad at the whole world.

Maybe you joined the Republican Party. You were indoctrinated into believing you were not supposed to kill babies (unless you do it with a gun).

Is your definition of “difference” being a Democrat? That’s where you’re allowed to kill babies, but still raise money to feed the hungry children in faraway lands.

How about a conservative? “Let’s go back to when things were better”–even though most things were worse.

A liberal–let’s go forward blindly without using the common sense of history.

Maybe you’re picking up your check at the corporation. If so, you’ve been told to buy the product and learn to like it.

Did you jump in your car, go out and seek entertainment? Yes, it is a world where Hollywood tells you that THEY’RE the artists–so shut up.

Maybe you bought into the sanctity of family. With tears in your eyes, you proclaim that your particular collection of human beings is everything–until you realize that the world is much bigger than the boundaries of your property.

Have you found your solace in patriotism? “God bless America”–and good luck to everyone else.

In the process of trying to extol uniqueness, we have created single islands that are only linked by rivers of mistrust. So the “one size” that was intended to coagulate us into a bloodline of believers has just succeeded in covering up a series of bigotries which just fester blood feuds.

What will it take for us to understand that every time we alienate ourselves from the world around us and try to make ourselves better than others, we lessen the chance for our own opportunity at success.

NoOne is better than anyone else.

It is the abiding truth that tells us that when we attempt to separate into “birds of a feather,” we stop being able … to fly.

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