Jerry Clower, By Top Billing INC (ebay.com, back of photo, front of photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Country comedian Jerry Clower is a Christian first. Some people wonder why he hasn’t received the gift of speaking in tongues, but he says that although he does not doubt the power of the Holy Spirit to give him any gift, he has noticed that sometimes being able to speak in tongues has bad results. For example, when some people have received that gift, they were advised not to take medicine any more. Mr. Clower says, “Some of them ended up in the insane asylum because the medicine was taken from them. I wouldn’t do any criticizing or point a finger at anybody, but I’ll tell you one thing — anytime something happens to hurt the cause of Christ, it’s no kind of gift from God. You write that down. I’ve seen happy Christian couples in the church, then one of them would get this gift of speaking in tongues and it’d end up in unhappiness … at home, and in the church. God is not the father of any kind of unhappiness.”
The Roman Empress lost a valuable bracelet just when Rabbi Samuel ben Sosratai visited Rome. The Empress caused a proclamation to be made, saying that if the bracelet was found and returned within 30 days, then the person returning the bracelet would receive a reward, but if the bracelet was not returned within 30 days, anyone found possessing the bracelet would be put to death. Rabbi Samuel found the bracelet, but he deliberately waited 31 days before returning it to the Empress. She asked why he had deliberately waited until after the deadline to return the bracelet, and he answered, “So that you should not say that I returned it because I was afraid of you. I returned it because I fear God.” The Empress then said, “Praised be the God of the Jews!”
Professional baseball teams have chapels that their players can attend. However, one season the Seattle Mariners weren’t playing well, and management wondered if religion was a bad thing for the players; after all, should a professional baseball team turn the other cheek and say “It’s God’s will” when it gets beat? Wouldn’t it better if the players got angry when they lost? A football player made perhaps the best comment about this controversy. Seattle Seahawk Steve Largent was aware that Mariner management had made some bad trades, so he said, “It doesn’t surprise me that the Mariners want to get God out of their locker room. They’ve gotten rid of all their other good players, too.”
The Torah requires treating justly the weakest members of society. Note that whenever the Torah has a commandment of this kind, the commandment is followed by the phrase “You shall fear your God.” For example, “You shall rise before the aged and show deference to the old: You shall fear your God” (Leviticus 19:32) and “You shall not place a stumbling block in front of a blind man: You shall fear your God” (Leviticus 25:43).
Baltimore Oriole shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr., broke Lou Gehrig’s record of consecutive games played in. Mr. Ripken is a good person as well as a good athlete, and he has not let fame and fortune harm him. Very seldom has Mr. Ripken been thrown out of a game for arguing with an umpire. After umpire Drew Coble threw Mr. Ripken out a game, he commented, “I felt like I was throwing God out of church.”
R’ Menachem Mendel of Romanov gave his married son money each week to pay for expenses, but he always gave his son slightly less than what was needed. When his son asked if he could give him a little extra to pay for all his expenses, R’ Menachem Mendel replied, “No. If I give you enough to cover all your expenses, I will, Heaven forbid, take away your need to have faith in Hashem.”
The Kirov Ballet of Leningrad once performed a satiric Creation of the World. The angels try to tidy up chaos, but the devils keep interfering. God and his cherubim play with the world, which is represented by an inflatable ball. God creates light by using a cigarette lighter to set the sun on fire, and he creates fish by throwing a can of sardines into the ocean.
In 1976, the Missionaries of Charity opened a home in a very poor section outside of Mexico City. The Sisters were surprised by the requests of the poor people they were there to serve. Despite their poverty, these impoverished people did not ask for food, medicine, or clothing. Instead, they said, “Sisters, talk to us about God.”
Rumi once surprised his disciples when he spoke well of some men believed to be lewd, and badly of some men believed to be pious. However, Rumi explained: “God looks only to Humankind’s heart. Those seemingly lewd fellows are really God-loving saints, while those outwardly pious livers are merely inward hypocrites.”
Bil Keane is the artist behind the cartoon titled The Family Circle. Once, while he was drawing the cartoon, his young son Jeffy watched him for a while, then asked, “Daddy, how do you know what to draw?” Mr. Keane replied, “God tells me.” Jeffy asked next, “Then why do you keep erasing parts of it?”
A Washington toastmaster spent 15 minutes praising Senator Chauncey Depew. On and on came the compliments for Senator Depew and the description of Senator Depew’s virtues. Finally, Mrs. Depew leaned toward her husband and said to him loudly, “Hello, God.”
Kate Moore, an American widow in the days of Edward VII, was known as a social climber who enjoyed dining with great people. When she died, it was said of her, “Ah! This will be a great night for Kate! No doubt she will be dining with God.”
In 1964, choreographer Kenneth MacMillan had the character God display a Union Jack on his shirt. Why? God is an Englishman, as everyone (in England) knows.
During an earthquake in Los Angeles, Pat McCormick telephoned a friend of his to joke, “The God is Dead Rally has been cancelled.”
The Lighthouse Baptist Church in St. Louis once displayed this outdoor sign: “If you’re looking for a sign from God, this is it.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure: A Retelling in Prose, by David Bruce