Friday, April 10, 2009

Super-Duper Amazingly Fantastic Friday, All Sins Forgiven Or Your Money Back

What follows is a repeat from Good Friday of the last few years. I always seriously ponder about putting this out here again. In the end, I always come to the conclusion that I still believe every word in it. Whether I put it out here or not, the sentiments expressed in the piece are still in my heart. So, if God is omnipotent, and likes a joke as well - both of which I believe wholeheartedly - I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by re-publishing.

The only other thing nagging at me is whether or not it's self-serving to publish it again. After all, I just said "I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by re-publishing" and that sure sounds self-serving.

Nah. God knows what's in my heart. I might be misguided, but I have to believe He would find my intentions to be good. And, as everyone knows, the road to heaven is paved with good intentions!

Well, it's something like that. Enough blathering! Enjoy. Or, if you don't enjoy it, be a better Christian than me and say a prayer for my forgiveness.


It is probably Good Friday as you read this. If you're late getting here, it could be Easter. If so, what in hell are you doing reading this crap, you heathen? You couldn't possibly believe that anything I have to say is divinely inspired. Get your ass to church.

OK, now that the easily-guilted holy rollers are gone, let’s get down to business.

(By the way, I wrote this on Thursday night, wise guy; that’s why I’M not in church, OK?)

(Well, all right, it was Maundy Thursday, but my feet were already clean.)

(That’s a Catholic joke. See, Maundy Thursday was when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, showing them that the way to do His business was to serve others, no matter how high and mighty you might be perceived by those others. In the Catholic Church, some parishioners have their feet washed by the priest at Maundy Thursday services.)

(Except in Boston, the Archbishop refused to wash the feet of some female parishioners a couple of years back. He said something to the effect that Jesus only washed men’s feet, so he wasn’t going to wash women’s feet. That’s why I haven’t been to a Catholic mass in quite some time now, even though I’m most definitely still a Christian.)

(Ugh. I’ve gone from lightly sacrilegious and flippant to deadly serious. Bummer. Let’s see if we can recapture the mood.)

Jesus is hanging on the cross. He looks down and sees Mary Magdelene crying.

Jesus says, “Mary...”

Mary looks up, still crying, and says, “What is it, Lord?”

Jesus says, “Mary...”

Mary again says, “What is it, Lord?”

Jesus says, “Mary, it’s... amazing.”

Mary says, “What, Lord? What is it? What’s amazing?”

“I can see your house from up here!”

Whoa, Pilgrim! Don’t go away mad. You may think it’s just a crummy blasphemous joke, but I can justify almost anything. Nothing up my sleeve... PRESTO!

See, Jesus is closer to heaven and he can see Mary’s house IN HEAVEN. He’s telling her that her faith has saved her and that she will spend eternity in paradise. Hah!

And I guess that’s today’s lesson: It all depends upon your point of view. This is "Good" Friday, right? Why? Why do Christians call this "Good" Friday, when this is the anniversary of the day when their savior was murdered, the day He was nailed to a tree and died a miserable, painful death?

It's because without the cross – without that death - none of us can ever see our house in heaven, no matter how high up we are here on earth.

Hey! That was pretty good! Quick! Are the easily-guilted holy rollers still within shouting distance? Call them back. Maybe this is divinely inspired.

Let’s see if I can wriggle out of another one.

So, see the painting up above, of Jesus on the cross? There’s a plaque nailed to the cross, just above His head. The plaque reads "INRI." Want to know what it means?

I’m Nailed Right In.

Well, what it really means is lightning bolts should be coming any minute now, and I’ll be going to hell immediately, IF God doesn't have a sense of humor. However, I believe that God has an amazing sense of humor. My belief is that, when we die, we’re going to find out that this whole thing was one long and involved joke. And we’ll laugh and laugh and laugh when we hear the punch line.

Or, if you don’t find that terribly convincing, try this on for size. If God doesn’t have a sense of humor, what can we expect in the afterlife? An eternity without laughter? Hey, kill me now and leave me dead. None of that resurrection shit for me, thanks.

Or are some jokes theologically sound and others not? Maybe. We all have subjective senses of humor, I guess. Maybe God does, too. If so, the only way to know for sure is if we can hear God laugh. Then we’d know what He finds funny. Let's try it. Everybody be very quiet for a minute. Here goes.

Two nuns cycling down a cobbled street. The first one says "I've never come this way before."

The second one replies "Must be the cobbles."

So, I don’t hear God laughing. I’m assuming you don’t hear anything, either, right? Well, that's OK, it wasn't a great joke. Maybe we'll try again later.

What it comes down to is having faith. One way or another, you've got to have faith. If you don't, you're screwed. My faith lives in the belief that everything is for the best and that everything will be revealed in the end. Now, if what's revealed in the end is that God has absolutely no sense of humor at all, and He's royally pissed off at me for this, then that's the way it goes; I'm doomed. But, if God has no sense of humor, I've been doomed for a long, long time now. You, too - so at least we'll all fry together.

(The following will seem totally unconnected, but wait for it.)

I remember watching The Mike Douglas Show one day when I was a kid, and he had this comedy troupe on. For the life of me, I can't remember their name. However, the bit they did has stuck with me forever. It was a parody of Moby Dick.

Ahab and Ishmael are standing on the deck of the Pequod. Ahab is looking through a telescope. Suddenly, he sees something and gets all excited.

Ishmael: "What is it? What do you see?"


Ishmael: "Give me a look."

Ahab hands him the telescope. Ishmael puts it up to his eye and looks out at the sea. After a little while, he takes the telescope down from his eye and hands it back to Ahab. He says:

"Eh. It's a good white whale..."

I know why it's called Good Friday. It's because people were saying, "What a horrible day! They've croaked Jesus!" And so it had to be explained, over and over, that this was actually not a bad thing when you consider how it plays out in the end. So, "Good" Friday.

But why not really get the point across? Why not go all the way and call it Great Friday? Or even Super-Duper Amazingly Fantastic Friday, All Sins Forgiven Or Your Money Back? A little salesmanship wouldn't hurt.

Well, that's about it for me. I'm doomed, right? Eternal damnation; fire and brimstone; some guy with horns, in a red union suit, poking me with a pitchfork.

Nah. See, Jesus died for our sins and that even includes crummy jokes, Thank God. And, if you're an atheist or otherwise not a believer in Christianity, I got you to actually consider this stuff for five minutes. I got you to read the name - Jesus - 12 or 13 times. I figure that's got to count for something.

Have a joyous Easter and I'll see you on Monday - unless I'm struck by lightning.

(Which, by the way, I would consider proof positive that God has a sense of humor, although personally I'd find it much funnier if He did it to one of the producers of Wife Swap.)


Michelle H. said...

And, as everyone knows, the road to heaven is paved with good intentions!

I'll buy that! This is a great post, and I'm glad to be able to read it now since this would be my first time.

lime said...

I'd take my chances and stand right next to you even if you thought the bolt from heaven was about to fall. I do believe god has a sense of humor, of that i am convinced, in addition to the greatness of his gift to us.

wishing you and YOUR WIFE a happy easter.

Moannie said...

Hells Bells! I will not allow myself to feel shut out just because I am...a...what?
I just wish that dear old Stephan, a six foot four drainpipe of a man with a long cadaverous face and zealous eyes, who rings our doorbell once a month with the Watch tower, in French [because JP allows him to proseltize for a good five minutes]had your sense of the ridiculous. Maybe if we had an hour or two you might even convince me.
I guess five years with a band of the Brides of Christ turned me away from all organized religion, but in my defence I would proclaim myself a GOOD person.
I used to stand outside the sailing club, and the Tennis club and yearn to join...and that is the way I feel about your club.
You know there used to be a comedian Les Dawson, who ended his act with a tune on the piano, and he played atrociously, out of tune and out of time and it was very funny, and we laughed because we knew that in truth he could play like an angel...That's you, Jim.
Happy Easter.

MVD said...

Dammit Suldog! You beat me to the INRI joke (well, clearly you've beat me years in advance since this piece was apparently an evergreen). May the Lord have mercy when I throw it up on my next post (excuse the pun).

Happy Easter. Right In.

Karen said...

Fun post, and yes, I think God is laughing, too. Happy Easter!

lakeviewer said...

Face it, Suldog, you still have the story straight, and you want to believe. That's more than most people. But, it's hard. After all, we have invented a whole lot of stuff that goes with the story of Jesus, inventions that were definetely self/serving for the church fathers. You tried though. You must believe in redemption?

Buck said...

Happy Easter, Jim.

Gennasus said...

I approve of the 'I can see your house' joke and I'm sure He would too.

I won't show this post to LSH as he isn't so sure there is a Greater Power. He didn't always think that way but he read The God Delusion and now declares himself to be an atheist. I told him that he shouldn't take everything that Richard Dawkins writes as Gospel.

PS With reference to your comment on my blog - 'juxtaposition' is such a great word, one that I can honestly say I have never, ever used in a sentence before but will try my very best to make use of in the future.

Carol said...

Who could possibly raise men from the dead, make blind men see, forgive Mary Magdalene, walk on water and turn water into wine and NOT have a sense of humor?!

Happy Easter!

Chuck said...

I haven't gone to church for some time, although I do have some spiritual beliefs...just not very organized ones. I may attend a Universalist congregation on Sunday just for the Hell of it. Nice post.

The Things We Carried said...

I have always believed that God has a really fabulous sense of humor.

Happy Easter to you and YOUR WIFE, who I am sure spends a great deal of her life laughing!

tshsmom said...

God DOES have a sense of humor, and I've felt him chuckle!
The first time I realized this was when I was a young mother of a toddler. I prayed for patience and God dumped a whole shitload of minor tribulations on my head.
When I finally worked my way through the messes God had handed me, I realized that I already had all the patience I needed. I just had to learn to USE it! That's when I FELT God chuckling at me.

I don't find this post the least bit sacrilegious...God is giggling. ;)

A joyous Easter to you and yours Suldog!

Jenn said...

I've long believed life is nothing more than a crazy social experiment gone terribly wrong haha. Glad you reposted, first time reading this & its great. Hey the good news is if God doesn't have a sense of humor than all of us will be somewhere together in the afterlife & will be sure to manage at least a few laughs together. Have a wonderul Easter holiday!

Cath said...

God would have to have a sense of humour to look at the mess we made here!

Cath said...

I mean on earth Jim, not your post or the commenters... :)

Pat - Arkansas said...

Now, if I was still a Baptist, I might find some of this a bit, shall we say, off-putting. Come to think of it, if I were still a practicing Baptist, I might not be visiting your blog anyway. (Apologies to any Baptists who visit here regularly). However, since I'm no longer a member of that denomination, and since I keep coming back here to see what outrageous things you have to say this time, and since I find most of your posts to be of merit, if slightly on the 'far side' I will just take this opportunity to wish you a Blessed Easter, Suldog.. and YOUR WIFE, also!

Dru said...

It could be self serving, but it's also a bonus for the newbies to your blog like me who missed the original post. I have a graphic that I love that says, "God has a sense of humor. Don't believe me? Just go to Walmart and look at people." Where I come from, it's so true! :D

Happy Easter Jim!!

Pouty Lips said...

I have a difficult time with Crucifixion humor; the perils of being raised strict Catholic. I find lots of incongruous humor in the bible. Jesus talked about someone with a log in their own eye seeing a sawdust speck in someone else's eye. He asked why you would give a stone to someone who asked for bread, or a snake to someone who asked for a fish. I liked his attitude on paying taxes too. There's a lot to the man to admire, I think.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

I am sold, Sir - Please tell me where I should send the cheque to Suldog Ministries?!

Seriously, Suldog, I admire your strong convictions and faith, although I am closest in life to being a Pagan while recognising Jesus as a worthy prophet, and may I wish you and yours a peaceful. loving, and wonderful Easter...

Angie Ledbetter said...

Have a happy, holy and wonderful Easter, egg!

Peter N said...

A Good Friday/Easter gem from you. Thank you.
Have a happy and healthy rabbit Sunday, eggs and all...hard boiled, I hope.

i beati said...

Bottom line for me I can joke, I can smile , I can honor all religions- because I have faith in my beliefs. The rest is me smiling along with god I presume.

wife Swap oh groan along with about 30 other reality shows..please Take me back to Easter Parade with Garland and Astaire..skshowing my age again..

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Yup, God has a sense of humor...he created you and me... That's proof positive...LOL. Happy Resurrection Day!

Lakeland Jo said...

great post, and I am sure God has a great sense of humour. If he hasn't... see you in the hot place.

Woman in a Window said...

See, this is why I appreciate you. Even in your faith you punch a heckofa wallop! And if God doesn't have a sense of humour, I daresay most of us are screwed!

Janet said...

Well, the nuns made me laugh. Shut up.
Of course God has a sense of humor. Sick and twisted. Look at human reproduction. The entire procedure, start to finish, while quite fun, is just ridiculously funny.
I like Jesus and God, i just don't like modern organized religion. You've heard me quote Ghandi before. The fundamentalists I grew up with refused to recognize Good Friday because in order for Jesus to have risen on Sunday morning after spending 3 days *and* 3 nights in the grave, he had to have been crucified on Thursday. I firmly believe that if Jesus showed up today, 90% of the churches in the country would turn him away because they would think he was a Muslim.