Sit Down Comedy … September 28th, 2018

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Silly Wabbit

 


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Cracked 5 … May 29th, 2018


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Ways You Can Tell a Washington Politician is Lying

A. He offers an explanation before an answer

 

B. He drinks water between answers

 

C. He wears a blue or red tie

 

D. He brought with him a staff member to blame

 

E. His comb-over seems “poofier”

 

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Good News and Better News … February 19th, 2018

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During a particularly glorious pee-pee break during the night, I turned on the TV to light my path, muting the sound (as I didn’t require any audio commentary while urinating.)

Upon returning to my bed, I reached for the selector to turn off the TV–my normal practice–so I could roll over and hook Sleep One up with Sleep Two, when I looked up and saw Joel Osteen on the screen.

I have no strong sentiment about Pastor Osteen. There are some people who think he is handsome, with his million-dollar smile and house to match, and others who call him everything from a charlatan to a heretic. (The worst thing I probably have done is finding myself holding the coats of those who were stoning the Houstonian.)

But I also do not favor his instruction. Oh, that’s stupid. I just really have never listened to him. After all, I find myself so fascinating there’s little time for others. (I hope you know I’m kidding…)

But on a whim, I unmuted the messenger and let him speak. Amazingly, for the next three-and-a-half minutes, this young gentleman spoke directly to my heart. His message was so specifically designed to my circumstance that I was startled. If I were the superstitious sort, I might even believe the actual show did not exist, but was manufactured in the heavens to be aired on my screen and mine alone.

For three-and-a-half minutes there was nothing but Joel talking to me. After that it got a little clunky, but I treasured my three-and-a-half minutes.

Clarity. It is one of the greatest things God can give us. We all pray for healing, finance and retribution, and He offers us wisdom and strength, knowing that these two powerhouses usually set everything else in motion. I was struck by the simplicity of it all.

You see, I’m tapped.

I’m not angry, I’m not frustrated, I’m not disillusioned. I’m just tapped.

I am drained of any further toleration for a religious system that spends time bickering instead of beckoning.

Drained of a political collision in Washington which is no merely longer involved in gridlock, but has transformed our country into bumper cars.

And a business world which decides to charge more for a candy bar while simultaneously shrinking its size.

So in a sense, I have great empathy for the WWE (another show I’ve never watched). I am tapped out.

I don’t want to wrestle any more. I’m tired of the struggle. I’m weary of watching people pretend they’re passionate, only to resume their mediocre lives once the cameras are turned off.

I don’t want to hear any more about school shootings–not because I’m indifferent to brothers and sisters who were slain, but rather, enraged by those who use the event to become overly religious, maudlin, improve ratings or posture for votes.

God came into my room last night with the aid of Joel’s words, calmed me down and gave me another gallon of hope for truckin’ on.

I am no longer tapped. I am open for business, to be gentle, kind, humble and therefore, powerful.

The good news is, God spoke to me through Joel Osteen.

The better news is, I didn’t act like a jerk, but instead, listened.

 

 

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Catchy (Sitting 34) Three Fronts … February 4th, 2018

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It didn’t take long.

Twenty-four hours after the announcement of Morgan’s murder, the country was ablaze with controversy, assumptions, conspiracy theories and accusations.

There were enough questions about the circumstances (and since it was well-known that Prophet had betrayed Jubal Carlos by holding interviews) it was determined that Jubal was to be brought to headquarters to answer some questions.

Unfortunately, Jubal and the band had hopped the jet, along with their merry patrons, flying to Europe for a five-city tour–which he had dubbed “The New Jesus.” London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin and Rome were about to get a healthy dose of “the gospel according to Carlos.”

It was a ten-day tour, so the authorities in Clark Country agreed to wait until Jubal’s return to hold the session.

At the same time, in Washington, Congressman Michael Hinston stepped out of the shadows, where he had been disguising his plot, and stirred up the House of Representatives and many in the Senate to demand that the Justice Department conduct a thorough investigation of the murder.

Normally such a request was ignored, but the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptists added their “yeas and amens” to the demand. Since these two institutions were not known to agree on much of anything, the investigation was sanctioned and set in motion.

With Prophet Morgan dead and Jubal in Europe, the work in America was left in the hands of Sister Rolinda. She had been taken out of the spotlight and placed, as Jubal called it, “backstage” ever since she had ruffled the robes of the Pope in Rome. But now, since there was no one to take over the work in Las Vegas, she was called forth and put in authority, with the assumption, “What harm could she do?”

Matthew checked out.

He refused to take calls, only allowing his two old friends, Jack Daniels and Jim Beam, into his sanctuary. It was all so crazy. All he had ever wanted in his life was to make money without hurting anyone, with his name in the paper every once in a while. Now he wasn’t making money, it seemed like people were getting hurt (if you counted a murder) and his name was in the paper with slanderous overtones.

He also received an accounting from his financial advisors on how much money had been spent of the 250 million dollars. $31,285,652.38. It was a staggering sum. Yet truthfully, in the world of advertising, the amount of publicity that had been received was worth ten times that much. Still, what did they have to show for it? Matthew mulled as he communed with Jack and Jim.

The press arrived for the first night after the announcement of the murder at the Las Vegas “warehouse-turned-church,” to see what would transpire. There was a large crowd, and since the band was overseas, Sister Rolinda had decided to invite a black choir from Los Angeles. They sang the place happy, they chorused the room sad.

At length, as the entire gathering fell silent, Sister Rolinda took the stage, wearing a little nun hat, a gingham dress and an apron.

She clumsily grabbed the microphone and began to speak. “I’ve lost my friend, Morgan. I hurt so badly I can’t breathe. He was not perfect. I suppose some of you wouldn’t even think he was good. He was arrogant–in a humble way. He was loving–with a spiteful streak. And he was a human, searching for his humanity.

“I saw him literally give the coat on his back to a stranger. I was with him when white supremacists beat him up because he condemned their ignorant bigotry. Did you know he was abused himself? But considering that, he tried very hard not to be an abuser.

“I loved him. Did you? Or did you find yourself judging something about him? Maybe it was his funny, overstated hair. Maybe it was because he was so young, he still had pimples. Maybe it was because he dressed like a 1950s backwoods evangelist.

“We feel very powerful when we can criticize. We think voicing our opinion is our God-given right. We have only one God-given right: ‘love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Suddenly Rolinda raised her voice to a scream. “Did you hear me? Love your goddamn neighbor as yourself!”

The building fell more silent than the silence it already possessed. Rolinda continued, softly.

“I am not a speaker. I am not glib. I am not full of wisdom. When I became a nun, I asked God to fill me with only one thing–compassion. That’s it.

“Tonight we need to rid ourselves of revenge, attitude, discussions of foul play and just general stupidity. We don’t need to celebrate Prophet Morgan. He would tear his shirt off in horror if he knew we were doing that. We need to acknowledge the Jesus who Prophet loved, and the best way to do that is to love one another.

“So since the press has shown up tonight, I am going to take this time to answer any questions they may have, to the best of my ability.”

Sister Rolinda paused, lifting a finger, ready to point in the direction of anyone who might want to pose an inquiry. But perhaps for the first time in the history of press conferences, no one had anything to say. There was nothing to ask.

Rolinda took a deep breath, and suddenly tears began to stream down her face. More and more she cried, until she was squalling. Buckling at the knees, she nearly fell on her face, catching herself with her hands, until members of the audience rushed forward to lift her and comfort her.

As if on cue, everyone else who remained turned to each other and embraced, then quietly moved toward the exit.

Meanwhile … Jubal and the band performed in front of ten thousand screaming, hollering Germans, sharing bratwurst and beer.

Meanwhile … Michael Hinston perused a private email from the CLO which applauded his efforts to instigate an investigation.

Meanwhile … the decomposing, chopped-up body of Prophet Morgan lay very dead in the morgue.

And meanwhile … Matthew just drank.

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Good News and Better News… March 6th, 2017

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jesus-politician

They were known as the Herodians.

They were one of three political parties that stumped around in Jesus’ time, completely enveloped in a cloud of self-importance.

Unlike their counterparts, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the Herodians had quietly given up on the power of Jewish tradition, scriptural integrity and even the intervention of God. They had decided to seek a more “earthly” solution. In doing this, they proclaimed that Herod was the Messiah and the King of the Jews. This immediately eliminated a need to wait for anything, believe in anything outrageous or follow commandments which seemed to be a dead-end street.

It was the Herodians who actually put the nails in Jesus’ hands.

Both the Pharisees and Sadducees were so frightened of the people that they were never able to come up with a plan to trap Jesus. It was only when the cunning Herodians, with their defiled political thinking, came on the scene, that a plot was put in place to put an end to the “Jesus question.”

I bring up the Herodians this morning because we have a similar situation in America. The church has flirted with politics for years, feeling that it gave them some sort of pass to “big-town thinking.” Yet somehow or another, the religious system was able to keep itself from becoming the whore to Washington.

Then somewhere along the line, we gave up on faith.

We gave up on “love your neighbor as yourself.”

And to a huge degree, we gave up on Jesus.

We started looking for a secular leader to represent us–an imposter–so we once again have come up with a scheme rid ourselves of Jesus.

This is why we’re so confused. It’s why worship has a feeling of vanity and purposelessness to it. Numbers are dropping. The young people are uninspired, and the clergy teeter between fanaticism and apathy.

It is time for us to identify the Herodians, expose them as the quitters they are, and once again give our faith, hope and charity a chance to do its mystery.

Here’s the good news: Jesus is not political.

Here’s the better news: He’s still in the business of loving people and saving souls.

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Good News and Better News … January 25th, 2016

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Good News Messiah Lutheran

I arrived early.

Nothing had started popping at Messiah Lutheran.

I was sitting at my book table checking out a few details when I looked across the vestibule and saw the bulletin board pictured above.

My first instinct was to chuckle since I was peering at a snowman while abiding in Panama City, Florida. But I guess because it was Sunday morning and my thoughts had become a bit introspective, I considered the snowman.

It isn’t, you know–a man, I mean.

If you came across a snowman and decided to melt it and free the human being inside, after extensive warming, all you would end up with is a puddle.

There’s nothing within.

It’s an imitation of life–using lumps of coal, a broom, a button, a scarf, a carrot and a top hat.

But it got me wondering if there are frozen people crusted over by the iciness of our culture, who really are more than just snowmen. Is it possible to become so chilled by indifference that you live beneath inches of ice?

Well, I certainly see it in politics.

Freezing out your competition and appearing above the fray, free of fault, seems to be the “call of the wild” in Washington. But I fear if the real heat of pressure and responsibility fell upon any one of them, they would sink into a drippy mess.

How about entertainment?

What could be more hypocritical than a bunch of snowmen in Hollywood who think they are so open-minded and liberal, who make a stand against guns–even as they use pistils, automatic rifles and any number of instruments of mayhem to kill thousands of human beings in their plotlines.

Then there’s religion.

Seems to me that we have sunk to the position of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, who spent their time counting cups, cleaning plates and decorating their robes.

Snowmen.

Nothing really left inside–just a cold form of what they once might have looked like.

So as I prepared to share with the folks at Messiah, I was reminded of the sarcastic statement of the angel, speaking to the women who came to the tomb to embalm Jesus: “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”

I had to ask myself a two-part question:

  • Is my life the pursuit of melting snowmen, only to find there’s nothing really there?
  • Or, under this arctic exterior, are there still living human beings who would like to have joy and abundant life?

The good news is that Messiah lifted my spirits.

Although at first they treated us as strangers, our hearts soon burned within us, taking away the frigid fear.

It was powerful.

It was good.

It was hopeful.

And unlike the snowman on the wall of their bulletin board, what I discovered were human beings suffering from a little hypothermia from being exposed to too much cold. So here’s the better news: We can warm up society and find out where the snowmen are and where the people just need to come in out of the elements.

1. When you see somebody doing a good job and you know they make minimum wage, give them a buck and a word of encouragement for their extra-mile efforts.

2. When you’re in the doctor’s office, instead of pretending to read an out-dated magazine, attempt to strike up a conversation with a nearby human being and see where it takes you.

3. Let “thank you” come off your lips more and more easily.

4. Lead with a smile long before you come face-to-face.

5. Appreciate the small things and be amazed at how the big things begin to take care of themselves.

6. Sit in your quiet, staid church and clap your hands during one of the hymns and see if anyone joins you.

I could go on and on.

Here are two dangers in life: falling under the spell of the deep freeze, or believing that you have no power to thaw it.

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Quatrain of Weird State Names … July 8, 2014

 

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 a state sale

Wishing-a-ton

O-hell-o

Wash-con-sin

Tax-us

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Arizona morning

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