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Monthly Archives: September 2019

Text: Genesis 32:22-32

Brothers and sisters, I’m going to begin this morning on an interactive note. I ask all of you: describe God. What is an attribute of our god?

(Answers. Folks said “Awesome” “All-knowing” “Loving” etc.)

OK, show of hands here: was anyone going to say: “Our God mugs people. Our God waits for folks in a deserted place, and when he finds them, he jumps out and starts whaling on them?”

Nobody?

Well, the scripture disagrees with you.

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Text: Luke 16:19-31

I felt very blessed when asked to preach. I consider it a great honor and a blessing to be entrusted with bringing the Word to you, brothers and sisters. And in that spirit of blessing, I turned to the lectionary and saw that this passage was set for this morning, and I said “Hoo, boy.”

This is why we have a lectionary. To make sure we look at those passages in Scripture we don’t always want to.

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(a juxtagraph is a prose poetry form, best described as “a collage of facts.”)

OIL: A JUXTAGRAPH
-DW Twiddy

In 2018, the world produced thirty-six billion, seven hundred and eighty-eight million, three hundred and fifty thousand barrels of oil, or about one thousand, one hundred, and sixty-six barrels per second.

In 1975, Gulf Oil held a series of seminars to educate the Nigerian public on the benefits of the crude Gulf was lifting from that nation’s Delta Region. For comic relief, out came Mr. Emmanuel Omatshola’s Magic Barrel, a magician who produced an endless bounty from a steel drum: gasoline, kerosene, insecticides, nylon socks, rubber shoes, lipstick & rouge, paint for houses, cellophane to wrap fish and meat.

All humanity clusters around Mr. Omatshola’s barrel. We depend on its generous depths. No one knows where lies the barrel’s bottom.

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“Whenever I stand on the back porch and hear those ‘la-la-lala-la-la’s, I know we’re in for it again.”

Mrs. Hortense Milksnake is surveying the destruction of her Dead Bird, Iowa farm. For as far as the eyes can see, crops have been reduced to stubble.

“I used to think Smurfs were harmless. Not no more.”

First brought to the United States as toys during a brief craze in the Eighties, smurfs have become, in the words of one scientist, “a developing ecological catastrophe.” Damage from the creatures this year is expected to top $1 billion in Iowa alone.

In contrast to the image in comics drawn by Belgian cartoonist Pierre Culliford—better known by his alias, “Peyo”–Smurfs are not cute, asexual little men. Experts say the female Smurf bears two litters a year of up to ten young each. Within a few generations, they form ravenous swarms.

“Don’t let their size fool you,” say local RV salesman Hal Spackle. “Being ‘three apples tall’ [six to eight inches] means they’re the perfect height to get under vehicles and burrow up through the floorboards. I’ve had customers open their camper doors and be engulfed in waves of the things.”

Smurf colonies have been detected across the Midwest and Northeast—anywhere they can find sufficient mushrooms. The creatures establish parasitic connections upon them, wiping out entire species.

“Smurfs destroy ecosystems at the base” said Tremontane University mycologist Andrea Hohenstaufen. “They are an abomination, ancient and cruel. How I long to annihilate them.”

In their native Belgium, Smurfs numbers are kept in check by predators such as the Great Pannonian Gargamel. Here in the United States, there are none. Attempts at aerial spraying have proved ineffective, though fun.

“My dog bit one and it done stuck in his teeth like kneaded eraser,” said Dead Bird retired logistics analyst Burt Mackinaw. “The vet had to carve him a set of dentures from an old PVC pipe.”

Perhaps the worst deception was in “Peyo”’s depiction of Smurfette. While there is indeed a single queen Smurf in every colony, they do not wear lace dresses and speak in high-pitched voices. In reality, Smurfettes have been described as “nature’s buzzsaw.” Reliable witnesses describe a Smurfette killing and gutting a full-grown steer in less than ten minutes.

“Imagine!” said Dr Hohenstaufen. “Rendering venomous dewlap spurs as a pair of high-heeled shoes!”

Attempts to secure Federal action have run into persistent notions of Smurf cuteness.

“A bunch of us went down to Washington to see Congress, and all they could talk about was “Oh, the Smurfs! I loved that cartoon!” said Mrs. Milksnake. “Well, what happened at Larry’s Bar & Grill was no cartoon. Some of those folks came out looking like fried dough at the fair.”

The outlook for the future remains grim.

“If those things come back to Dead Bird,” said Mrs. Milksnake, “I’m gonna smurf me a shotgun and smurf my smurfin’ head off.”