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Church

   

   A YOUNG  woman teacher with obvious liberal tendencies explains to her class of small children that she is an atheist. She asks her class if they are atheists too. Not really knowing what atheism is but wanting to be like their teacher, their hands explode into the air like fleshy fireworks.
   There is, however, one exception. A beautiful girl named Lucy has not gone along with the crowd. The teacher asks her why she has decided to be different.
   "Because I'm not an atheist."
   Then, asks the teacher, "What are you?"
   "I'm a Christian."
   The teacher is a little perturbed now, her face slightly red. She asks Lucy why she is a Christian.
   "Well, I was brought up knowing and loving Jesus. My mom is a Christian, and my dad is a Christian, so I am a Christian."
   The teacher is now angry. "That's no reason," she says loudly.
   "What if your mom was a moron, and your dad was a moron. What would you be then?"
   She paused, and smiled. "Then," says Lucy, "I'd be an atheist."
   

A preacher was telling his congregation that anything they could think of, old or new, was discussed somewhere in the Bible and that the entirety of the human experience could be found there.  After the service, he was approached by a woman who said, "Preacher, I don't believe the Bible mentions PMS." The preacher replied that he was sure it must be there somewhere and that he would look for it. The following week after the service, the preacher called the woman aside and said PMS is in the Bible, he showed her a passage which read, "And Mary rode Joseph's ass all the way to Bethlehem."


Making Money for the Church

   Father Murphy was a priest in a very poor parish and asked for suggestions as to how he could raise money for the church. He was told that the horse owner always had money, so he went to the horse auction, but made a very poor buy, as the horse turned out to be a donkey.
   However, he thought he might as well enter the donkey in a race. The donkey came in third, and the next morning, the headlines in the paper read:

FATHER MURPHY'S ASS SHOWS

   The Archbishop saw the paper and was greatly displeased. The next day, the donkey came in first and the headlines read:

FATHER MURPHY'S ASS OUT IN FRONT

   The Archbishop was up in arms. Something had to be done. Father Murphy had entered the donkey again and it had come in second. The headlines read.

FATHER MURPHY'S ASS BACK IN PLACE

   This was too much for the Archbishop, so he forbade the priest to enter the donkey in any more races. The headlines then read:

ARCHBISHOP SCRATCHES FATHER MURPHY'S ASS

   Finally, the Archbishop ordered Father Murphy to get rid of the donkey. He was unable to sell it, so he gave it to Sister Agatha for a pet. The Archbishop ordered her to dispose of the animal at once. She sold it for ten dollars. Next day, the headlines read:

SISTER AGATHA PEDDLES ASS FOR TEN DOLLARS

   They buried the Archbishop three days later.


WHEN stores in the Edmonton area began opening for Sunday shopping, one local church posted a large electric sign on the lawn: YES!  WE ARE OPEN SUNDAYS, TOO!   9:00 AND 11:15 A.M.


   A man who went to Church with his wife always fell asleep during the sermon.  The wife decided to do something about this and one Sunday took a long hat pin along to poke him with it every time he would doze off.  
   As the preacher got to a part in the sermon where he shouted out ". . . and who created all there is in 6 days and rested on the 7th?" she poked her husband, who came flying out of the pew and screamed "Good God all mighty".
   The minister said "That's right, that's right" and went on with his sermon. The man sat back down, muttering under his breath, and later began to doze off again when the minister got to ". . . and who died on the cross to save us from our sins?" the wife hit him again and he jumped up and shouted "Jesus Christ".   
   The Minister said "That's right, that's Right" and went on with his sermon.
   The man sat back down and began to watch his wife and when the minister got to ". . . and what did Eve say to Adam after the birth of their second child?" the wife started to poke the husband but he jumped up and said "If you stick that damn thing in me again I'll break it off!"


  A young nun, after saying her morning prayers in the church, decided to take a short cut back to the Convent through the woods.  As she was walking through the woods, a man jumped out from behind some bushes and accosted her.  She ran into the Convent and went directly to the Mother Superior.  The young nun said "Mother Superior, Mother Superior, I took a short cut through the woods when a man jumped out of the bushes and had his way with me!"   The Mother Superior calmly said, "The first thing I want you to do is to go to the kitchen and get a lemon and slice it in half, then I want you to suck all the lemon juice out of both lemon halves."  The nun replied, "Mother Superior, will that keep me from getting pregnant?"  The Mother Superior replied, "No, but it will wipe that smile off your face."


  After Quasimodo's death, the bishop of the cathedral of Notre Dame sent word through the streets of Paris that a new bell-ringer was needed.  The bishop decided that he would conduct the interviews personally and went up into the belfry to begin the screening process.  After observing several applicants demonstrate their skills, he decided to call it a day when a lone, armless man approached him and announced that he was there to apply for the bell-ringers job.
  The bishop was incredulous. "You have no arms!"
  "No matter," said the man, "Observe!"  He then began striking the bells with his face, producing a beautiful melody on the carillon.  The bishop listened in astonishment, convinced that he had finally found a suitable replacement for Quasimodo.  Suddenly, rushing forward to strike a bell, the armless man tripped, and plunged headlong out of the belfry window to his death in the street below.
  The stunned bishop rushed to his side.  When he reached the street, a crowd had gathered around the fallen figure, drawn by the beautiful music they had heard only moments before.  As they silently parted to let the bishop through, one of them asked, "Bishop, who was this man?''  "I don't know his name," the bishop sadly replied, "but his face rings a bell."
  The following day, despite the sadness that weighed heavily on his heart due to the unfortunate death of the armless campanologist, the bishop continued his interviews for the bell-ringer of Notre Dame. The first man to approach him said, "Your Excellency, I am the twin brother of the poor, armless wretch that fell to his death from this very belfry yesterday.  I pray that you honor his life by allowing me to replace him in this duty."
  The bishop agreed to give the man an audition, and as the armless man's twin brother stooped to pick up a mallet to strike the first bell, he groaned, clutched at his chest and died on the spot.  Two monks, hearing the bishop's cries of grief at this second tragedy, rushed up the stairs to his side.  "What has happened?", the first breathlessly asked, "Who is this man?"
   "I don't know his name," sighed the distraught bishop, "but he's a dead ringer for his brother."


   A nun was sitting at a window in her convent one day. . . when she was handed a letter from home. Upon opening it a $10 bill dropped out. She was most pleased at receiving the gift from her home folks, but as she read the letter her attention was distracted by the actions of a shabbily dressed stranger who was leaning against a post in front of the convent.
   She couldn't get him off her mind and, thinking that he might be in financial difficulties, she took the $10 bill and wrapped it in a piece of paper, on which she had written, "Don't despair, Sister Eulalia," and threw it out of the window to him. He picked it up, read it, looked at her with a puzzled expression, tipped his hat and went off down the street.     The next day she was in her cell saying her beads when she was told that some man was at her door who insisted on seeing her.  She went down and found the shabbily dressed stranger waiting for her. Without saying a word he handed her a roll of bills. When she asked what they were for he replied, "That's the sixty bucks you have coming.  Don't Despair paid 5-1."


WHILE renovating and expanding their facilities, a local church congregation worked feverishly to beat the three-month deadline they had set. The church secretary noted the steady progress in the Sunday bulletin, and the pastor praised the members of his flock. Applying a coat of finish to the new woodwork was his contribution to the project. A misprint in the bulletin provided the congregation with a good laugh: "Even our pastor has been pitching in to help. We thank him for vanishing all week so much more work could be accomplished!"


WHEN our son-in-law was a Methodist seminary student, he served one period as an intern minister in a small Idaho town. During the absence of the resident minister he was asked to perform a funeral service for a devoted Baptist, because the Baptist minister was also out of town. Our son- in-law conducted the service, then began to worry if he had done the correct thing. When the resident minister returned, the young man asked if he had violated any church policy by performing a burial service for a Baptist. "Heck, no," his boss assured him. "Bury all the Baptists you can."


MY HUSBAND, a minister, has a file folder marked "Weddings." One day he lost it and looked everywhere for it. Then he went back to check if the folder had been misfiled. And there it was, plainly labeled "Weldings." The round part of the first "d" had worn away. He left the folder that way because it seemed so appropriate.


THIS story goes back to the time Michelangelo was in Rome. He was perched atop a rickety scaffold, and as he held out his arm, to make a brushstroke, he trembled and dropped the brush. He looked down to see it fall and then pronounced a "Well, I'll be. . ." phrase that echoed throughout the chapel, much to the dismay of a nun who was walking by.  Michelangelo made the long, tedious climb down to retrieve the brush. As he bent to pick it up, the nun said, "Michelangelo, you shouldn't swear. Always say, 'Heaven saves', instead." Michelangelo nodded and climbed to the ceiling to continue his work. This time, as he leaned far out, his ladder leaned with him almost to the point of toppling. He was about to repeat the forbidden phrase when he remembered what the nun told him and said "Heaven saves." The ladder immediately swung back into position, preventing his fall. That's when the nun looked up and, seeing what had happened, exclaimed, "Well, I'll be . . . "


FATHER Theodore Mesburgh, president of the University of Notre Dame, was the guest on Dick Cavett's TV show.  Cavett asked Mesburgh if he thought practicing birth control was a mortal sin. "I hope not," replied Mesburgh. "I've been practicing it for years."


FROM the doctor's clinic, my son, Dean, called to say the lens-implant surgery in his sightless eye had failed, but it was to be redone. The next day he called to say the second surgery had been successful.  Months later I learned from my cousin that Dean's doctor always asked his patients, prior to surgery, if they would like him to pray with them. Curious, I asked Dean if the doctor had asked him if he wanted to pray.  "Yes," was all he offered.  "Well?" I prodded. "Did you say yes?"  Silence.  I waited, nodding expectantly.   Slowly a sheepish grin spread across Dean's face. "The first time, no; the second time, yes."


A MEMBER of our church choir arrives every Sunday morning with her six children in tow, all a bit rumpled but never-the-less on time. Scarcely able to get my one child ready, I asked how she managed her brood so efficiently. "Easy," she replied with a smile. "I dress them the night before!"


AT ONE church's annual bazaar, the highlight is always a tall-tale contest. A few years back the lies grew wilder and more hilarious as the evening wore on. But the judges' unanimous vote went to my friend, who said in a quiet voice, "In my house, I have two flashlights and two sons - and they all work."


ONE Sunday morning we were all surprised to find the president of our congregation at the pulpit. He explained that the pastor had the flu, and had called him on Saturday to ask him to conduct the worship service.  "After agreeing to do it," the man said, "I began to panic at the thought of preparing a talk on such short notice. The panic subsided when I remembered those comforting words, 'Ask and ye shall receive.' "  He paused a moment before adding, "But, as you can see, I didn't catch the flu, and I still had to come here this morning."


A SOUP-AND-CHEESE get-together after morning service was not wholly a social event. It also provided an opportunity to distribute a leaflet appealing to the congregation to give more money to church missions. I looked up from my chowder and cheddar to be told by the parishioner handing out the leaflet, "Sorry, there's no such thing as a free lunch."


TWO soldiers on leave in Copenhagen went to church one Sunday. Not knowing the Danish language, they imitated everything the congregation did. When people stood, they stood; when people sat, they sat. When, after a question asked by the clergyman, the man in front of them stood up, they stood up. The whole congregation burst into uncontrollable laughter. A baby was about to be baptized and the minister had asked the father to stand up.


A COUPLE was leaving church after Sunday services. "Did you see that designer suit on the woman in front of us?" the wife asked. "And the hat on that woman across the aisle? And the frilly blue dress on the woman sitting to your left?"  "Well, no," the husband confessed. "I'm afraid I dozed off."  She gave him a sharp look. "A lot of good church does you!"


AT A summer wedding, the tiny church was exceptionally hot and humid. The minister said he realized we were all very uncomfortable and he would keep his remarks short, yet he was extremely long-winded.  My husband removed his suit jacket in an effort to cool off. Then he loosened his tie and unbuttoned his vest. Very soon the vest joined the jacket. Shortly after that, he unbuttoned his shirt cuffs in preparation for rolling the sleeves. That's when the minister noticed. He cleared his throat and quickly ended his speech.  As we left the church, an elderly woman patted my husband on the back and said, "Well done, young man. Do you mind if I use that trick next Sunday?"


WE WERE all lined up for our first confession when little Johnny's turn came.  The priest asked him to confess his sins, and the boy promptly replied "Father, I threw a stone at Zezinho's head."  "That was a very misguided thing to do, my son," said the priest.  "It wasn't misguided at all, Father.  I hit him full on the forehead."


IN OUR town of Neepawa, Man., God wants His presence felt. One night, during a band competition in the church, a storm hit. When the last band had finished playing, one of the judges went to the podium to announce the winner and said, "That was the best band I've ever heard!"  Just then the brightest flash of lightning we'd seen all evening lit up the sky, followed by the loudest peal of thunder we'd heard. It shook the church like a sonic boom.  It was a subdued adjudicator who looked upward and said, "Well, ah, um . . . maybe not."


ONE Sunday our pastor, knowing that many members of the congregation were out of work and broke, put a hundred dollars in one-and five-dollar bills into a wicker basket. Explaining that the money was from the church's benevolent fund, he said, "I'm going to do something I have never done before in my ministry." With that, he passed the basket of money to the congregation, urging those in need to take from it, without shame.  They did, but when the basket was returned, it contained $67 more than it had when it started out.


AT A church council dinner, my mother and father were seated at the same table as the pastor. Near the end of the meeting, the pastor stood up to offer a few closing remarks, which became quite long-winded. As he rambled on, he lost his place in his notes for the third time. "Now where was I?" he asked, scratching his beard.  To the delight of audience and speaker alike, my mother spoke up and said,   "In conclusion!"


OUR church was looking for a new minister, and the selection committee finally recommended a young man just out of seminary. Many of the older church members protested that a more experienced man would have been preferable. Committee members responded with the argument that a younger minister might breathe some fresh life into the congregation.  At the end of the meeting I commented to an older man that this marked the beginning of better things for our church. "Yes," he said with a wry smile. "Moving on to greener pastors."


OUR church choir was raising money to attend a music competition and decided to have a car wash. To our dismay, after a busy morning, the rain began pouring down in mid-afternoon, and the customers stopped coming. Finally one of the women printed this poster:  WE WASH, (and with an arrow pointed skyward) HE RINSES!   Business was soon booming once again.


OUR preacher had tried unsuccessfully to get the members of our small congregation to sit in the front rows instead of scattered at the back. Nothing seemed to work, even roping off the last four rows with a sign that read, "For mothers with small children." One day he came up with the right solution when he announced the last pews were "reserved for lost souls."


A FEW years ago our sales manager invited my wife and me to his son's Bar Mitzvah. We arrived a little late at the synagogue and were seated beside a man who sensed we were unfamiliar with the service.
   The man opened a prayer book for me, with English on one page and Hebrew on the other, and indicated where the rabbi was reading in the text.
   "These are the laws of Moses," he whispered. I nodded, but perhaps did not look too sure, for he repeated, "Moses." I nodded again and as I was about to thank him, he nudged me gently with his elbow and said, "Moses. You know - Charlton Heston."
   

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