Though I hate to admit it, this morning on the way to work I listened to Air America, the progressive talk radio station found in the upper reaches of the local AM dial. I hate to admit further that I laughed particularly hard at a call-in guest named "Laughton" who claimed that "God's got a wok and is stir-frying sinners". The line reminded me of my good friend Billy Sumday, a man know to a few of you here; a man not just of the cloth but one whose britches are aflame, lit permanently by the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Below is a quick excerpt from Sumday's sermon to the unwashed at a Bingo game in Sterling Falls, Montana, April 1937. Reprinted by permission of the Sumday estate.
I read of a preacher who said that the miracles of the Bible were more of a hindrance than a help. When I called him on it he proceeded to spout some insane blasphemy the gist of which follows. The heretic asked me first to re-imagine the famous scene in which Jesus was talking to the five thousand. He said that like many speakers, Jesus was overrunning his time limit so that the disciples, who weren't too stupid to notice that nightfall was upon them, said: "Master, you have talked this crowd out of their supper and there is nothing to eat in this desert place; dismiss them so they can go into the towns and country and get food."
We all know what Jesus said and did. He fed the crowd with only one measly minnow and a piece of his flesh that symbolized a loaf of bread. Well, the old rooster I seen telling his congregation the Bible contained no miracles said that those words were merely a metaphor - a literary flourish, the poofer said - and that it was not "scientifically accurate" for Jesus to feed all those people with such a meager bounty. Well, damn it to hell if he wasn't right. I looked him in the eye in an effort to more closely approximate the influence of the devil in him and uttered with a clenched jaw, "You ignaramous, that's why they call it a miracle."
Some people will dazzle with shiny silk robes and a well-wood-worked pulpit, but try getting them to tell you about Jesus and what he stood for and you can here the neurons triggering in the brain vessel slower than a cripple dropping a dime in the collection plate. That's why I claim there are the agents of the devil in our midst - because God wouldn't allow such dunces to lead his flocks the likes of which you can find today.
I'm sure you're all familiar with the story of the prostitute from the city of Galilea who sold her body for a half-penny and ended being the queen of the Egyptian empire. Your life is like that, too - sell what you most prize and get the world in return. But at what cost, sinners?