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“He Was a Saint!”
THERE WAS THIS GUY and his brother, both of them were notoriously wicked, who went about terrorizing a small town in the Midwest.
Now the town was filled with good Christian folks, who loved their neighbors and helped strangers in need. But these two brothers taxed them to their limits. While nobody would ever come right out and say it, everybody secretly wished some ill fate would befall these two trouble-makers.
Sure enough one of the brothers died. And the surviving brother now had the responsibility to make funeral arrangements. However, he could find no pastor in the entire county who would agree to officiate at the funeral.
It wasn’t because they lacked compassion; it was because of the unusual request made by the surviving brother. He wanted the pastor during the funeral to say of the deceased, “He was a saint.” Of course, no pastor would agree to do such a dishonest and ridiculous thing.
In desperation, the brother offered $1,000 to any pastor who would say the words — and one pastor agreed to do so. He was a prominent pastor of a prestigious church, and the entire community was shocked when they heard of his decision.
On the day of the funeral the whole county turned out, not because they cared anything about the dead guy – they just wanted to be there and see the pastor compromise himself for a mere thousand dollars.
The place was packed, every seat taken. People were standing along the walls, and in the vestibule. An overflow crowd spilled out onto the church lawn and into the parking lot. Speakers were set up so those outside could hear the proceedings, and reporters were them with cameras to broadcast the moment throughout the county.
The pastor walked up to the pulpit with confident stride and looked the great throng over. He paused until the place grew still and silent, and then said without a stutter, “We all know that Charlie here was a wicked man.”
He paused for a few moments longer and then continued, “No, he was worse than wicked. He was foul, twisted, perverse and full of the devil. But, compared to his brother — he was a saint!”
The Preacher and Texas Longhorn
THERE WAS THIS GUY — a traveling preacher who had been invited to speak at a church in Lubbock, Texas. He accepted the invitation and showed up as planned. Everything went along fine, despite the fact that he was a more than a little long-winded, much over-stated, and rather high-minded for the down-to-earth inhabitants of West Texas.
He spoke about his travels throughout the world, his appointments with people of power, the books he had written, and the special deals that were available for purchase at the back table after church services concluded. Somewhere in the mix of all that, he actually managed to read a passage of scripture and make a few stellar comments on the text. The good folk of that country church were gracious in their endurance, and respectful in their attention. But, their pastor was not so charitable.
After the services concluded, the pastor invited the guest speaker out to lunch. He took him to a Steak House in Lubbock that served the finest prime-rib in all of Texas. Next to the Steak House, in a sturdy western corral, there was a huge Texas Longhorn calmly eating grass and watching people pass by.
The traveling preacher had only seen photographs of Longhorns; this was the first time he had ever seen one up close and personal. He was awestruck. The span between the tips of the bull’s horns was over seven feet, and the bull itself stood over six feet tall.
“Wow!” exclaimed the preacher, “Would you look at that! How astonishing!”
The pastor responded, “Friend, that’s how I feel about your sermon today.”
“Why, thank you so kindly,” the preacher said, blushing at being so wonderfully complimented.
“Yep,” the pastor continued, “a point here, and a point there, and a whole lot of bull in between!”
The Sailor and the Old Pirate
THERE WAS THIS GUY — a sailor stationed in San Diego — who was walking along the Pier when he saw an old pirate sitting on a bench along the dock of the Bay. At first the sailor supposed him to be an employee of nearby Sea World, taking a lunch break in his costume. But as he drew nearer he saw that the old pirate really had a peg leg, a hook for a hand, and a patch over his eye.
The sailor was more than curious, so he stopped and asked the old man, “Hey mister, how did you lose your leg?”
“Arghhh,” the old pirate replied, “a shark on the high seas ate me leg.”
The sailor, finding it hard to believe the pirate, then said, “And I suppose the shark bit your hand off, too, huh?”
“Arghhh,” the old pirate replied, “a sword fight with the great grandson of Black Beard the Pirate cut me hand off.”
“Yes, of course it did,” the sailor answered, totally incredulous, “and I suppose the sword poked your eye out as well?”
“Arghhh,” the old pirate replied, “a seagull dropping landed in me eye.”
“Wait a minute,” the sailor retorted, “you expect me to believe that a seagull dropping put your eye out?”
“Arghhh,” the old pirate replied, “it was me first day with the hook!”
The Miracle of the Floating Stetson
THERE WAS THIS GUY — a young reporter eager to be the first with some breaking news story, who got caught in the middle of a torrential downpour in West Texas. The rain fell so hard and the waters rose so fast, that people only had time to scurry to their rooftops.
The young reporter was on a roof with a neighbor lady, watching the powerful waters sweep things past them. There were cows, and cars, and clumps of assorted shrubs whisking by, when the reporter spotted a crisp, clean white Stetson cowboy hat moving along in the current.
He watched in amazement as the hat suddenly stopped, turn 180 degrees and started moving back against the tide. Then, it stopped again, turned around and flowed with the water back downstream. And, yet once more it stopped, turned back around and started going against the flow of water.
The young reporter grabbed his pen a notepad and said, “That’s a miracle! I’m going to write a story about the miracle of the floating Stetson!”
“That’s no miracle,” the woman sitting next to him on the roof replied, “that’s my husband Cecil. He said he was gonna mow that lawn come hell or high water!”
The Logger and the White Spotted Owl
THERE WAS THIS GUY — a logger in Oregon, who was out of work because of the disruptive effects of a couple of protest groups. One was the environmental activists who want people to stop chopping down trees, and the other was the animal rights activists who want people to stop killing animals. The two groups came together when they discovered that a rare bird, the White Spotted Owl, was living in the woods where the logger had worked.
The logging company had been temporarily shut down pending a court decision, but the proceedings had drawn out into months of legal maneuvers and political bantering.
So one day the logger went out into the woods and shot the white spotted owl. You can only imagine the uproar that created. He was arrested, and rushed to court. They wanted to make an example of him so that no one else would do what he had done.
When he entered the courtroom he discovered that the presiding judge was an old childhood friend. The judge looked at him and ordered him into the judge’s private chambers.
“Charley,” the Judge said, “you want to tell me why in the world you would do something so stupid as to go out and shoot one of those blasted birds? You know I’m going to have to throw the book at you and give you the maximum sentence the Law will allow; I mean the world press in tuned in on this one; we can’t get away with nothing here. What in the world were you thinking?!”
“You honor,” the logger replied, “It’s not what you think. It is true that I shot the bird, but I didn’t do it out of spite, or nothing like that. I have been out of work for sometime now, and we have run out of food. I went into the woods hunting for game, and so help me – the only thing I could find was that white spotted owl. So I shot the thing to feed my kids. That’s why it did it.”
“Well,” the Judge responded, “that may change things for us somewhat. After all, you’ve just added a human interest element into the equation. I’m sure if we present these facts it will soften things a bit and maybe you’ll be able to walk away with only a small fine. But, before we go back into the court room and proceed, I’m curious about one thing.”
“What’s that?” replied the logger.
“What does a spotted owl taste like?” the Judge asked.
“Oh,” the logger answered, scratching his chin to come up with an accurate reply, “it tastes kind of like a cross between a California Condor and an American Bald Eagle.”
The Mystery of the Red Shirt
THERE WAS THIS GUY — a captain of a British warship during the times when pirates plundered vessels upon the high seas. The Captain was a man of great reputation; a man of unflinching courage and remarkable skill. His first mate, newly appointed by the high command, was thrilled to sail under his renowned leadership.
After being at sea for about three weeks, the first mate had his first encounter with the dreaded pirates. “Captain! Captain!” he cried nervously, “Pirates are preparing to attack us starboard!”
The captain calmly replied, “Sound the bell. All hands on deck; man the battle stations; and bring me my red shirt.” The first mate complied with the captain’s orders. They fought off the pirates, and won a resounding victory.
A few weeks later it happened again. The first mate raced into the Captain’s quarters, “Captain! Captain!” he cried nervously, “Pirates are preparing to attack us portside!”
The captain calmly replied, “Sound the bell. All hands on deck; man the battle stations; and bring me my red shirt.” The first mate complied with the captain’s orders. They fought off the pirates and again won the battle.
This went on a few more times during the following weeks, and the Captain’s calm resolve and decisive orders were always the same. “Sound the bell. All hands on deck; man the battle stations; and bring me my red shirt.” And victory was certain every time.
Finally, after several days of calm, the first mate spoke to his Captain. “Sir,” he said, “I have served on many ship and have never seen anything like this. I am perplexed by one thing, however. It’s the red shirt. Why do you always wear it when we are faced with battle?”
“Simple, really,” the Captain explained. “In the event I am wounded, I don’t want my crew to see me bleeding and then lose their courage to fight. So, I wear the red shirt to mask any indication that I’ve been struck by the enemy.”
“How noble a thing it is you do, Sir,” the first mate declared. “I am honored to serve under your command!”
Well, a few weeks later things took a turn for the worse. The first mate ran breathlessly into the Captain’s quarters and yelled, “Captain! Captain! We are surrounded by an entire armada of heavily armed ships, and they have lowered their great cannons, ready to fire upon us!”
Once more that Captain responded with calm resolve and unflinching decisiveness, “Sound the bell, all hands on deck; man the battle stations; and bring me my brown pants.”
The Smartest Man in the World?
THERE WAS THIS GUY — the smartest man in the world, who was on a small plane with four other passengers, flying over the Rockies. The other passengers were a doctor, a politician, a minister, and a college student. And, of course, there was the pilot.
Things were going along smoothly when a sudden blast of air forced the plane upwards, and then caused it to stall. Beads of sweat formed on the pilot’s brow as he try to restart the engine — to no avail.
He turned to the passengers and said, “We have six people on board, but only five parachutes. I must take one of them because my large family needs their father.” And with that he grabbed a parachute and jumped.
The politician said, “The country needs me now more than ever,” and he, too, grabbed a chute and jumped.
Then the doctor said, “I have many, many patients who desperately need me. I must have one of the parachutes.” So he grabbed another pack and jumped.
The smartest man in the world said, “I am brilliant beyond my years. I know everything about anything; and am on the verge of some of the greatest discoveries and the most amazing breakthroughs in history. Certainly the world needs me more than ever!” And so he grabbed a pack and jumped; leaving only one parachute between two remaining passengers.
The minister turned to the student and said, “Young man, I’ve lived a full and meaningful life. I’m ready to meet my Maker. You take the last parachute and go.”
The student calmly replied, “Oh I don’t think that’s necessary, Pastor. You see, the smartest man in the world just jumped out of the plane with my back pack!”