07 November 2016

VCBC's Favorite Religious Jokes


The 18th Camel

Long ago, an old Bedouin died and left an inheritance to his three grown sons. His will stated specifically that his first son should get half of his estate, his second son should get a third, his third son should get a ninth. Unfortunately, the man's entire estate consisted of 17 camels, so that the division could not be made without slaughtering at least one of them, which none of the sons wanted to do. They could not resolve their dispute, so they consulted their mullah.

The mullah gave them his camel. Now they had 18 camels. The first son took 9 camels, the second son took six camels, the third son took two camels, and they gave the remaining camel to the mullah as a gift for settling their dispute. — From a Marriage and Family Therapist


The Wailing Wall

In Jerusalem there lived an old, orthodox Jew, who would get up every morning, don his tzitzis and tefillin, put on his yarmulke, and walk to the Wailing Wall at the base of the Temple Mount to pray. He would pray all morning, take a break for lunch, and then pray all afternoon, chanting and rocking from his heels to his tiptoes. One day, a reporter noticed him, and asked him about his devotion.
"For forty years, I have come here every day to beg our Lord for justice and peace in the Middle East," he explained.

"And what has that been like for you?" asked the reporter.

"Mostly," he said, "It's been like talking to a wall!"

- told to me by Al Kaufman


The Pope vs Moishe

Imagine that the year is 1492 A.D., and the citizens of Rome want expel the Jews, just like Ferdinand and Isabella expelled the Jews of Spain. The Pope, being somewhat more openminded than his followers, decided to give the Jews a chance to be heard on this question, and challenged them to a public debate. The elders of the Jewish community considered the matter carefully.

"We have many learned and erudite men among us," they reasoned, "but the Pope is also learned and erudite. By learning and erudition alone, we may not prevail. Perhaps we may prevail by common sense." So they chose the most common sensical among them, a crusty old fellow named Moishe, to represent them. Moishe agreed, but on one condition: The debate must be held in silence, without words.

Surprisingly, the Pope agreed. On the appointed day, the Pope and Moishe took the stage and seated themselves before the crowd.

The Pope held up three fingers. Moishe held up one finger.

The Pope pointed with his three fingers to the four horizons, East, South, West, and North. Moishe pointed with his one finger to the ground at their feet.

After some moments, the Pope held up the elements of the Eucharist, the wine and the wafer. Moishe immediately held up an apple.

Suddenly, the Pope stood up and declared, "The debate is concluded. The Jews have won. The Jews can stay."

Some days later, a Cardinal finally got up the nerve to ask the Pope, "Your Holiness, just what exactly did you guys say to each other?"

"First," began the Pope, "I held up three fingers to symbolize the Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Then Moishe held up one finger to represent the essential Unity of God. OK, so he got me on the first round. Next, I pointed to all the horizons to indicate that God is all around us. But Moishe pointed to the ground between us to indicate that God is right here with us. OK, he got me again. Finally, I held up the Eucharist to indicate the redemption of humankind through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. But Moishe held up the apple to indicate the Original Sin of Adam and Eve that made that sacrifice necessary. I realized that he was right - that we are all one in Adam, and announced the Jews' victory."

Not long after that, one of the Rabbis asked Moishe the same question.

"The Pope," said Moishe, "held up three fingers to mean, 'the Jews must leave Rome in three days.' I held up one finger to say, 'Not one Jew will leave.' Then the Pope pointed to the horizons to say, 'the Jews must disperse into the wide world.' I pointed to the ground between us to say, 'We are staying right here!' Then," Moishe shrugged, "he held up his lunch, I held up mine, and it was all over."

— From L. Pittenger


Top 10 Reasons Why Beer is Better than Jesus

From the Thou Shalt Not Bear Witness in Hokey Ways department:

When the Campus Crusade for Christ at Texas A&M University donned pro-abstinence T-shirts bearing the legend "Top 10 Reasons Jesus Is Better Than Beer," A&M's Agnostic and Atheist Student Group responded with the following (to which they retain copyright):

Top 10 Reasons Why Beer Is Better Than Jesus
10. No one will kill you for not drinking beer.
 9. Beer doesn't tell you how to have sex.
 8. Beer has never caused a major war.
 7. They don't force beer on minors who can't think for themselves.
 6. When you have beer, you don't knock on people's doors trying to give it away.
 5. Nobody's ever been burned at the stake, hanged or tortured over their brand of beer.
 4. You don't have to wait more than 2,000 years for a second beer.
 3. There are laws saying that beer labels can't lie to you.
 2. You can prove you have a beer.
 1. If you've devoted your life to beer, there are groups to help you stop.
I am pleased to see this and it reads well this way, but for your personal edification I thought I would drop you a note. I don't think the Agnostic & Atheist Student Group (AASG) actually existed when we printed these shirts up. The AASG began selling them as fund-raisers soon after its inception, and continues to sell them (here is their website). The origin of this shirt and its first two printings actually lies with a loose group of people who posted to a Vax Notes board at A&M. It was the "Forum" vax notes and we generally referred to the group as the forum crowd, but we were just a group of people who went to A&M. As soon as the CCC (Campus Crusade for Christ) came out with their Top Ten shirt, a guy who goes by the moniker "SubG" immediately posted his Top 50 Reasons Why Beer is Better Than Jesus and the thread snowballed. Within a week we had several hundred. Someone said "we should print a t-shirt." We argued for another couple of weeks over which ten reasons were best for the shirt, wording of the reasons, and what order the reasons should go in (for Pete's sake!). But, eventually, we had it set and one of the group went about collecting money and printing out the first 20 or so. Another printing was done at the beginning of the next school year and the AASG was formed not too long after that. They pretty much took it over, but this was natural considering the overlap between the Forum crowd and the AASG. Anyway, as a former member of both groups, it amused me to see it on your page. Like I said, I don't think you should change the story as it appears on your page. It is a lot easier to read the way you have it, and a lot easier for people to track down the AASG if they really want to see about getting one of these shirts for themselves. — jamie [Here is the AASG list. which started from an original list by Paul D. Jones.]


Two Monks and a Woman

Two monks were walking toward a village when they chanced upon a small woman at the edge of a stream, which was partly flooded.

"Will you help me?" asked the woman. "I need to get to the village to help my sister, who has fallen ill. But I am afraid that I am too small to wade across the flood. I fear I shall be swept away. Could you help me across?"

Now this perplexed the monks, who belonged to an ascetic order that required them to renounce all contact with women. They had vowed not to touch a woman, not to talk with a woman, or even to look on a woman, for the rest of their lives. Nevertheless, the younger of the two monks, wordlessly picked the little woman up, and carried her across the swollen stream on his shoulder. His companion followed, and after the woman had thanked them and walked out of earshot, the elder monk began to berate the younger for having broken his vows.

The tirade went on and on. Eventually, the younger monk, who had silently endured his brother's criticism for over an hour, turned and spoke.

"I put that woman down five miles ago. Why are you still carrying her?" — From J. Pruneda


No Dogs in Heaven

A kindly old man died peacefully and found himself resurrected in the middle of a country road. And behold! Running toward him was his favorite dog! He knelt and embraced his long lost pet in tearful reunion. After some time, the dog seemed anxious to walk the road in what seemed to be the direction of the rising sun. The man followed.

Before long, they came to a fence of wrought gold, with pearly gates, behind which there stood mansion upon mansion. The gatekeeper, a tall man in flowing white robes, greeted the man, and welcomed him to enter.

"But what exactly is this place?" said the man, who had been a lifelong agnostic.
"This," said the gatekeeper, is Heaven. But you'll have to leave him outside. We have a strict no-pets policy."

The man stood in confusion for some moments. His face became grim. "No thanks," he said. "I'll take my chances with my dog."

For a long time, the man and his dog wandered down the road. At last they came to an unpretentious farming community with no fences or gates of any kind. What appeared to be a contented old farmer was sitting on a stool next to an old-fashioned hand operated water pump. The dog ran up to the farmer, who petted him, and gave him some water.

"Where is this place?" asked the man.

"This is Heaven," answered the farmer. "It's all around you. You've been in it, or at least the outskirts of it ever since you died."

"But that fellow back yonder behind the pearly gates said that place was Heaven." replied the man.

"Nah, that's Hell," replied the farmer. "We leave the entrance there to weed out the hypocrites who'd leave their best friend behind."


The Lottery

A man prayed for 10 years to win the lottery. Finally, the clouds parted, the light shone from above, and a voice like many waters boomed, "Do us both a favor, BUY A TICKET!" — From L. Pittenger


The Kiss and the Slap

A young infantryman, his sergeant, a beautiful young woman and her grandmother wound up sharing a compartment on a train in Europe just after World War II. Suddenly the train went into a tunnel, plunging the compartment into darkness. Just before the train emerged into the light, a loud kiss was followed by a sharp slap.

"That young man was very impertinent to kiss my granddaughter," thought the grandmother. "I'm glad she had the presence of mind to slap him like that!"

"That young man was very impertinent to kiss me like that," thought the young lady. "But I'm glad he did. I hope he won't be intimidated by my grandmother slapping him like that."

"The young fellow is certainly enterprising for kissing the young lady," thought the Sergeant, "but I wish she had landed the slap on him instead of me!"

The infantryman thought, "What a wonderful world God has made, in which a soldier can kiss a young lady, slap his sergeant, and get away with both!"


What is Talmud?

A young man asked a rabbi, "What is Talmud?"

"Consider two men who climb inside a chimney," said the rabbi. "One comes out clean, and the other comes out dirty. Which man washes himself?"

"I'm not sure," admitted the young man.

"The clean one washes," said the rabbi, "because he sees the dirty man, and thinks he must be dirty, too, whereas the dirty man sees the clean one, and thinks that he, too, must be clean. Now, two men climb inside a chimney. One comes out clean, and the other dirty. Which one washes?"

"The clean one," answered the young man. You just told me so.

"The dirty one washes," replied the rabbi. Each man looks at himself. The clean one sees that he is clean, the dirty one sees that he is dirty, and the dirty one washes. Now, two men climb inside a chimney. One comes out clean, and the other dirty. Which one washes?"

"I guess it could be either one," said the young man.

"They both wash," replied the rabbi. "It is impossible that a man should climb inside a chimney and come out clean."

"Now wait a minute," challenged the young man. "You have just given me three contradictory answers to the same question. That's impossible!"

"No," said the rabbi. "That's Talmud." — Thanks to Neal Klein


Three Synagogues

Two shipwrecked Rabbis were rescued from a remote island after years of isolation. As they were getting ready to board the rescue boat, the captain asked, "Why are there three synagogues on the island?"

"That one is my synagogue," answered one Rabbi.
"And that one is mine," said the other.

Then, pointing to the more distant synagogue, they both said, "And that is the one in which neither one of us will set foot." — Thanks to Guy Smith


STOP Sign Hermeneutics

Hermeneutics is "the science or art of interpretation, especially of Scripture."
Suppose you're traveling to work and you see a stop sign. What you do depends on your implicit hermeneutics.
  1. A postmodernist deconstructs the sign (i.e., he knocks it over with his car), thus ending forever the tyranny of the north-south traffic over the east-west traffic.
  2. Similarly, a Marxist sees a stop sign as an instrument of class conflict. He concludes that the bourgeoisie use the north-south road and obstruct the progress of the workers on the east-west road.
  3. A serious and educated Catholic believes that he cannot understand the stop sign apart from its interpretive community and their tradition. Observing that the interpretive community doesn't take it too seriously, he doesn't feel obligated to take it too seriously either.
  4. An average Catholic (or Orthodox or Coptic or Anglican or Methodist or Presbyterian or whatever) doesn't bother to read the sign but he'll stop if the car in front of him does.
  5. A Fundamentalist, taking the text very literally, stops at the stop sign and then waits for it to tell him to go.
  6. A preacher might look up "STOP" in his lexicons of English and discover that it can mean either: 1) something which prevents motion, such as a plug for a drain, or a block of wood that prevents a door from closing; or 2) a location where a train or bus lets off passengers. The main point of his sermon the following Sunday on this text is: when you see a stop sign, it is a place where traffic is naturally clogged, so it is a good place to let off passengers from your car.
  7. An Orthodox Jew does one of two things:
    1. Takes another route to work that doesn't have a stop sign so that he doesn't run the risk of disobeying the halachah (Jewish Law), or
    2. Stops at the stop sign, says "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who hast given us thy commandment to stop," waits 3 seconds according to his watch, and then proceeds.
    Incidentally, the Talmud has the following comments on this passage:
    R[abbi] Meir says: He who does not stop shall not live long. R. Hillel says: Cursed is he who does not count to three before proceeding. R. Simon ben Yudah says: Why three? Because the Holy One, blessed be He, gave us the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. R. ben Isaac says: Because of the three patriarchs. R. Yehuda says: Why bless the Lord at a stop sign? Because it says: "Be still, and know that I am God."
    R.Hezekiel says: When Jephthah returned from defeating the Ammonites, the Holy One, blessed be He, knew that a donkey would run out of the house and overtake his daughter; but Jephthah did not stop at the stop sign, and the donkey did not have time to come out. For this reason he saw his daughter first and lost her. Thus he was judged for his transgression at the stop sign.
    R. Gamaliel says: R. Hillel, when he was a baby, never spoke a word, though his parents tried to teach him by speaking and showing him the words on a scroll. One day his father was driving through town and did not stop at the sign. Young Hillel called out: "Stop, father!" In this way, he began reading and speaking at the same time. Thus it is written: "Out of the mouth of babes."
    R. ben Jacob says: Where did the stop sign come from? Out of the sky, for it is written: "Forever, O Lord, your word is fixed in the heavens."
    R. ben Nathan says: When were stop signs created? On the fourth day, for it is written: "let them serve as signs."
    But R. Yehoshua says: ... (continues for three more pages)
  8. A Haredi [ultra-Orthodox "black hat" Jew] does the same thing as an Orthodox Jew, except that he waits 10 seconds instead of 3. He also replaces his brake lights with 1000 watt searchlights and connects his horn so that it is activated whenever he touches the brake pedal.
  9. A Breslover Hasidic Jew sees the sign and makes hisboddidus (a form of spontaneous personal prayer) saying: "Robono Shel Olam [Master of the Universe] — here I am, traveling on the road in Your service, and I'm about to face who knows what danger at this intersection in my life. So please watch over me and help me to get through this stop sign safely." Then, "looking neither to left nor right" as Rebbe Nachman advises, he joyfully accepts the challenge, remains focused on his goal — even if the car rolls backward for a moment — then he hits the gas pedal and forges bravely forward, overcoming all obstacles which the yezer ra [evil inclination] might put in his path.
  10. A Lubovitcher Hasidic Jew stops at the sign and reads it very carefully in the light of the Rebbe's teachings. (In former times he would have used his cell phone to call Brooklyn and speak to the Rebbe personally for advice, but this is no longer possible, may the Rebbe rest in peace.) Next, he gets out of the car and sets up a roadside mitzvah mobile [outreach booth], taking this opportunity to ask other Jewish drivers who stop at the sign whether or not they have put on tefillin today [male ritual] or whether they light Shabbos candles [female ritual]. Having now settled there, he steadfastly refuses to give up a single inch of the land he occupies until Moschiach [the Jewish Messiah] comes.
  11. A Reform Jew sees the stop sign, and coasts up to it while contemplating the question "Do I personally feel commanded to stop?" During this internal process he edges into the intersection and is hit from behind by a car driven by a secular Jew who ignored the sign completely.
  12. A Conservative Jew reacts by calling his rabbi and asking him whether stopping at this sign is required by unanimous ruling of the Commission on Jewish Law or if there is a minority position. While waiting for the rabbi's answer he is ticketed by a policeman for obstructing traffic.
  13. A Reconstructionist Jew, seeing the stop sign, might say: First, this sign is part of our evolving civilization and therefore I must honor it and stop. On the other hand, since its origins are in the past, I must assert that "the past has a vote and not a veto," and therefore I must study the issue carefully and decide if the argument "to stop" is spiritually, intellectually and culturally compelling enough to convince me to stop. If yes, I will vote with the past. If not, I will veto it. Finally, is there any way that I can re-value or transvalue the stop sign's message for our own time
  14. The Renewal-Movement-Jew meditates on whether the STOP sign applies in all kabbalistic Four Worlds [Body-Emotion-Mind-Spirit] or only in some of them, and if so which ones? Must he stop feeling? thinking? being? driving? Since he has stopped to breathe and meditate on this question, he is quite safe while he does so, barukh HaShem. [Praise God.]
  15. A scholar from the Jesus seminar concludes that the passage "STOP" undoubtedly was never uttered by Jesus himself, but belongs entirely to stage III of the Gospel tradition, when the church was first confronted by traffic in its parking lot.
  16. A NT scholar notices that there is no stop sign on Mark Street but there is one on Matthew and Luke streets, and concludes that the ones on Luke and Matthew streets are both copied from a sign on a completely hypothetical street called "Q". There is an excellent 300 page discussion of speculations on the origin of these stop signs and the differences between the stop signs on Matthew and Luke street in the scholar's commentary on the passage. There is an unfortunate omission in the commentary, however: the author apparently forgot to explain what the text means.
  17. An OT scholar points out that there are a number of stylistic differences between the first and second half of the passage "STOP". For ample, "ST" contains no enclosed areas and 5 line endings, whereas "OP" contains two enclosed areas and only one line termination. He concludes at the author for the second part is different from the author for the first part and probably lived hundreds of years later. Later scholars determine that the second half is itself actually written by two separate authors because of similar stylistic differences between the "O" and the "P".
  18. Another prominent OT scholar notes in his commentary that the stop sign would fit better into the context three streets back. (Unfortunately, he neglected to explain why in his commentary.) Clearly it was moved to its present location by a later redactor. He thus exegetes the intersection as though the stop sign were not there.
  19. Because of the difficulties in interpretation, another OT scholar amends the text, changing "T" to "H". "SHOP" is much easier to understand in context than "STOP" because of the multiplicity of stores in the area. The textual corruption probably occurred because "SHOP" is so similar to "STOP" on the sign several streets back that it is a natural mistake for a scribe to make. Thus the sign should be interpreted to announce the existence of a shopping area.
  20. A feminist scholar notes that all commentary refers to "he" and concludes she is thus exempt, so she runs the sign and is killed.
  21. A radical feminist, observing what happened to the first feminist, concludes this is a misogynist plot to get all feminists killed by inciting them to run stop signs. So she gets out of the car and stages a protest against the inherent sexism in all traffic signs.
  22. An observant Orthodox Jewish woman concludes that she is not allowed to observe the mitzvah [commandment] of stopping because she is niddah [menstruant]. This is a dilemma, because the stop sign is located on the way to the mikvah [ritual purification pool]. She refers the dilemma to all the Rabbinical scholars, who shrug.
  23. A feminist Jewish woman sees this as a sign from the Shekhinah [feminine aspect of God] that translates roughly "enough already...."
submitted by "Gator" Bob Mantei


What Episcopalians Believe

Episcopalians occasionally believe in miracles and sometimes even expect them, particularly during stewardship canvasses or when electing bishops or vicars, or recruiting church school teachers.
Episcopalians believe in ecumenical dialogue because they are certain that after all is said and done, everyone else is bound to become Episcopalian.

Episcopalians strongly believe in Scripture, tradition and reason. While they aren't sure what they believe about these three things, there is almost universal agreement that that is hardly the point.
Episcopalians believe that everything in their life and faith is improved by the presence of good food and drink, not including lime-carrot jello, tropical punch koolaid, or canned tuna fish in any form.
Episcopalians believe that anything worth doing is especially worth doing if it has an obscure title attached to it (e.g. sexton, thurifer, suffragan, canon, dean).

Likewise, Episcopalians believe that any place worth visiting is greatly enhanced by a name that only obliquely describes it (e.g., nave, narthex, sacristy, undercroft, church school supply room).
Episcopalians firmly believe that coffee hour is the eighth sacrament, but only if the coffee is caffeinated.

Episcopalians believe that anthems are most efficacious if sung in Latin or German, especially during Lent.

Episcopalians generally believe that they are the only people God trusts enough to take the summers off from Church.

Some Episcopalians believe Rite I is the best expression of the liturgy. Some believe Rite II is better. Most Episcopalians haven't noticed the difference; they just hope the whole things gets over before noon.

submitted by an Anonymous Episcopalian Ordinand


The Fundamentalist and the Flood

A man was sitting on his rooftop as floodwaters rose. When a boat came by to rescue him, he refused, saying, "I don't need you, I trust in the Lord!" The waters rose over his roof, and the man had to stand on his chimney. When a second boat offered him rescue, he again refused, saying, "I don't need you, I trust in the Lord." The waters continued to rise, right up to the man's neck. A helicopter flew over, and the crew offered to lower him a rope, but he refused a third time, claiming, "The Lord will take care of his own!" Finally the waters rose over his head, and he drowned.

When he got to the Pearly Gates, Saint Peter welcomed him warmly, showed around Heaven, and asked if there was anything else he could do for the man. "I want to see the Lord," said the man. "I have a complaint." So, Saint Peter opened a pair of great golden doors to the holy of holies, and there the man stood before the Almighty Throne.

"I have a complaint," he said.

"Shoot," said God.

"I trusted in you, I called on you, and you let me drown -- you IGNORED my prayers!"

"C'mon!" said God. "I sent you two boats and a helicopter!" — From L. Pittenger


Hitler in Heaven

Adolf Hitler showed up at the Pearly Gates.

"Gee, Herr Hitler," stammered Saint Peter, "none of us expected to see you here. Would you mind sharing accomodations with someone until we can get a place built for you?" Hitler, considering that things could have been much worse, was agreeable, and walked off to meet his roomate.

A few minutes later, he ran back, shouting, "Are you people crazy? You roomed me with a damned Jew!"

"Not so loud," hissed Saint Peter, "he's the owner's Son!" — From P. Foldes, RIP


An Atheist in Heaven

A man died and appeared before the Pearly Gates. "Welcome," said Saint Peter warmly, "and which Heaven would you like to be in?"

"What do you mean, 'which Heaven,'" asked the man.

"Oh, we assign people to the Heaven of their choice, depending on their religion," answered the Saint. "So what's yours?"

"I'm an Atheist," stammered the man.

"Still?" asked St. Peter.


"Never mind," said the Saint. "I'll give you the tour. I do this for lots of folks."

With that St. Peter led the man past all the various Heavens -- the Muslim Heaven of beautiful mats of green grass and bright flowers on which blessed souls reclined while nubile houris ministered to their every need, the Catholic Heaven where blessed souls drank sherry and played bingo, the Jewish Heaven where blessed souls argued passionately about politics and ate latkes -- Heaven after Heaven. Finally, they came to a pair of heavy steel doors. "SHHH!" hissed St. Peter, and they passed in complete silence.

"What was that about?" asked the man, when they were out of earshot.

"Oh, those are the Fundamentalists," answered the Saint. "It would ruin it for them if they knew anyone else was here."


Marriage in Heaven

A couple was getting married when an earthquake struck, collapsing the church and killing them just before they could take their vows. When they appeared in Heaven, St. Peter welcomed them, showed them around, and asked if there was anything else they wanted.

"Well, you know we were about to get married when we were called here," the bride said. "Can we finish the ceremony here? Can we get married in Heaven?"

"Let me check," said St. Peter. "I'll be back in a jiffy." Now, a jiffy can mean different things in different places, and in Heaven where the Eternal is the standard, it took about five years. Suddenly the Saint returned and announced somewhat breathlessly, "Yes! You can get married in Heaven."

"Great," said the groom. "But in light of Eternity, we were wondering if we could get divorced if things don't work out."

"Give me a break," pleaded St. Peter. "It took me five years to find a preacher up here, and now you want an attorney?!!" — From L. Pittenger


The Golfer Priest

A priest got such a bad case of burn-out that one Sunday, he just called in sick, and went out for a surreptitious solo round of golf. On his first drive, he hit a hole in one. And again on his second, and his third. On seeing this, one of the angels in Heaven said, "God, this man turned away from your service today, and you're rewarding him!"

"Oh, yeah?," said God. "Who's he going to tell about it?"


Denominations by Lightbulb

How many Christians does it take to change a lightbulb?
  • Charismatics: Only one. Their hands are already in the air.
  • Roman Catholics: None. They use candles.
  • Pentecostals: Ten. One to change the bulb and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.
  • Presbyterians: None. God has predestined when the lights will be on and off.
  • Episcopalians: Eight. One to call the electrician and seven to say how much they liked the old one better.
  • Mormons: Five. One man to change the bulb and four wives to tell him how to do it.
  • Unitarians: We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb; however, if, in your own journey, you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your light bulb and present it next month at our annual lightbulb Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.
  • Baptists: At least 15. One to change the light bulb and two or three committees to approve the change. And bring a casserole.
  • Lutherans: None. Lutherans don't believe in change.
— submitted by Rick Flynn


Blessing the Ferrari

A businessman and motor enthusiast finally achieved the financial success that enabled him to buy his dream car. Being devoutly religious, he went to his priest, and asked, "Father, would you bless my Ferrari?"

"Sure, I'd be glad to," smiled the priest. "Bring the child in any time."

This won't do at all, thought the man, who wanted a blessing from someone who could appreciate all that his acquisition meant to him. He excused himself, and went to look for another priest. After a similar reaction, he decided to settle for a Protestant blessing. He skipped the Episcopalians, figuring they were just JV Catholics, and went straight to a Reformed (Calvinist) Pastor.

"An inanimate object has no need of blessing," admonished the pastor. "Particularly one that represents such a gratuitous display of mis-spent wealth."

In desperation, the man finally tried a Unitarian Universalist minister.

"Wow! You got a Ferrari?!!" she exclaimed. "That's fantastic! What's a blessing?"

thanks to Dana Rowley, whose late father, a UU minister, told him this joke


Numerology of the Beast

666 The Number of the Beast
667 The Neighbor of the Beast
660 Approximate Number of the Beast
DCLXVI Roman Numeral of the Beast
666.0000 High Precision Number of the Beast
0.666 Number of the Millibeast
/666 Common Denominator of the Beast
666*sqrt(-1) Imaginary Number of the Beast
sin(666) Transcendental Number of the Beast
1010011010 Binary Number of the Beast
6666 6666 6666 6666 Credit Card Number of the Beast
666-66-6666 Social Security Number and Taxpayer ID of the Beast
6-6666-6666-6 ISBN Number of the Beast's Book
1-666 Area Code of the Beast
00666 Zip Code of the Beast
66 & 66/100% Purity of Beast's Soap
1-900-666-0666 Live Beasts! One-on-one pacts! Call Now! Only $6.66 per minute!
$665.95 Retail Price of the Beast
$699.25 Price of the Beast plus 5% state sales tax
$769.95 Price of the Beast with all accessories and replacement soul
$656.66 Walmart Price of the Beast
$646.66 Next week's Walmart Price of the Beast
Phillips 666 Gasoline of the Beast
Route 666 Way of the Beast
666 F Oven Temperature of the Beast
666k Retirement Plan of the Beast
666 mg Minimum Daily Requirement of the Beast
6.66% 6-year CD interest rate, First Beast of Hell National Bank,
$666 minimum deposit
DSM-666 (revised) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the Beast
Lotus 6-6-6 Spreadsheet of the Beast
Word 6.66 Word Processor of the Beast
i66686 CPU of the Beast
666i BMW of the Beast
6 iron, 6 iron, 6 iron Contents of Beast's Golf Bag

After Jill Harvey, Andover Newton Theological School. Submitted by Alice Haugen. Contributions from Tim Romano and Norman Hinton.


Unix Paradigm Shift Utility

pshift - paradigm shift utility
pshift [-zzeitgeist] [-rragelev] [-v] [-c] [-wn] [+|-n]
The pshift operator performs a paradigm shift on its input stream within the context of the current or specified zeitgeist.
-z Specify the zeitgeist context. May be specified here or from the environment variable $ZEITGEIST. Supported values of zeitgeist are judeo_christian (default), postcommunist, new_age, and when_god_was_a_woman.
-r Specify rage level. Acceptable values of ragelev are ennui (default), deep_seated, and consuming.
-v Set to verbose mode. Normally pshift operates silently; in verbose mode it publishes a 500+ page bestseller entitled "Rethinking [input stream] in the [zeitgeist] Age" and then begins soliciting honoraria until the operator types ctrl-c. On some systems it runs for Congress.
-c Set to collective IO. Normally pshift takes its input from stdin and outputs to stdout; in collective mode it takes its input from the Collective Unconscious and writes to the Body Politic.
-wn Specify first, second, third or fourth wave. Acceptable values for n are 0,1,2 or 3, with 2 (third wave) being the default. [On Sun systems, the logical waves are 0,3,2,1, which map to physical waves 0,1,2,3; see Sun Technical Manual for details.]
+|-n Specifies the number of times to prepend 'post' to the zeitgeist context, if positive, or 'pre' if negative. The default is 11.
source $DEITY | pshift -zpostcommunist -rdeep_seated -v +1
On most systems, the above command will output a hardcover volume called "Rethinking God in the Post-Postcommunist Era", in which the irrelevence of erstwhile religious concepts is seen to have triggered a global, deep-seated rage vis-a-vis traditional sociopolitical norms leading to a premature breakdown of emerging postsoviet infrastructure.
pshift -znew_age -rennui
The above command produces no output, but privately processes a vague discontent which it will share if its space is honored. May be redirected to /dev/null.
pshift -c -w3 -1
Taking its input from the collective unconscious, the above command rejects the failed socioeconomic policies of the last thirty years and replaces them with a futurist, fourth wave polemic of traditional values, the two-parent family, and the supremacy of the private sector that was the foundation of the American utopia of the 1950s. Use a prepend value of -2 to restore the American utopia of the early Industrial Age, a value of -3 to restore the European utopia of the Enlightenment, -4 for catholic hegemony, etc. (note: Requires grass root permission. In verbose mode, it may also require a $4 million advance.)
You must have root permission to use consuming rage.
submitted by Adrian Melott


The Priest's Ass

Here's one on the way the press can spin a story just by the phrasing the headlines:

A priest wanted to raise money for his parish. After being told that there was a fortune in horse racing he decided to purchase a horse and enter him in the races. However, at the local auction the going price for horses was so high he ended up buying a donkey. The priest figured that since he had bought the donkey he might as well go ahead and enter it in the races. To his suprise, the donkey came in third and the next day the racing form carried the headline:
The priest was so pleased with the donkey that he entered it in the races again and this time it won. The racing form carried the headline:
The Bishop was so upset by this kind of publicity that he ordered the priest not to enter the donkey in another race. The racing form then carried the headline:
This was too much for the bishop so he ordered the preacher to get rid of the animal. The priest decided to give the donkey to a nun in a nearby convent. The next day the headlines read:
The Bishop fainted. He informed the nun that she would have to dispose of the donkey. She finally found a farmer who was willing to buy the donkey for ten dollars. The next day the racing form carried the headline:
They buried the Bishop the next day.

God is Missing

On methods of religious instruction:

A family just moved into a new town. They had two little hyperactive little boys that just terrorized the teachers at their previous school. The nearest school in their new town was a Catholic school. They weren't Catholic, but they decided to send their two boys there anyway, hoping that the Nuns' strict discipline would help the boys straighten out. It was to no avail.

One day, the younger of the two got caught for a not-so-minor infraction, for which a Nun grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, and hauled him off to see to the head Priest.

The head Priest glared at him and, hoping to instill a healthy sense of shame and guilt in the boy, said, "Don't you know, that no matter where you are or what you do, that God is always there, always watching you? God is everywhere. He's at your home, here at school, whereever you are, He is there, whether you are naughty, nice, good or bad, He is always there watching you!"

He continued in this vein for some time, and then asked the boy, "Now, where is God?" The boy just shrugged. Again, the Priest asked, "Where is God?" Again, the boy just shrugged. By now, the Priest was getting upset, and pointed at the boy and asked, "WHERE IS GOD!!!?" The boy looked around, under his chair, dropped his head down, and shrugged once more. The Priest was furious by now, and yelled at the boy, "Go Home! Get your mother, and bring her back here with you!"

By this time, school was already out, and all the other kids had gone home. The boy ran home, where he found his older brother playing outside. "Get in the house...we're in big trouble," he said, pulling his brother inside the house and into a closet.

"What is it? What did we do?" asked the older boy.

"God is missing," said the younger brother, "and they're blaming us!"


The Atheist and the Shark

An atheist, swimming in the ocean, sees an ominous dorsal fin, and heads for his boat. When he looks over his shoulder, the fin is gone, but when he turns toward his boat, he sees the horrifying spectacle of the Great White Shark's jaws gaping directly ahead of him. Instinctively, he screams, "Oh my God! Stop!"

And Time stops. A pearly light shines down, and The Voice of God says," You, an atheist, call upon Me, in whom you do not believe?"

The atheist, confused but knowing he can't lie his way out of this one, replies, "True, I do not believe. In fact, if I survive this, I'll probably think I had a hallucination. But, um... can you make the shark believe?"

"It shall be as you have spoken," replies The Voice.

With that, the pearly light vanishes, Time resumes, and the shark intones, "Lord, let me be truly thankful for what I am about to receive..."


They're made out of Meat

What is man that thou art mindful of him?

Imagine if you will... the leader of the fifth explorer force speaking to the commander in chief...
"They're made out of Meat," the famous piece by Nebula and Hugo Award winner Terry Bisson!
Sparrow told us that this piece once mistakenly posted here without attribution infringed on Bisson's and OMNI magazine's copyright. Due to this embarrassment, VCBC has adopted the following submission policy: If you wish us to post your submission to VCBC, you must certify that you are the original author, that you have the author's permission, or that your submission is in the public domain. You assume liability for claims of copyright infringement. And thanks to sparrow for helping us keep to the straight and narrow!


Praise Choruses and Hymns

An old farmer goes to the city one weekend and attends the big city church. He comes home and his wife asks him how it was.

"Well," says the farmer, "It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns."

"Praise choruses," says the wife, "What are those?"

"Oh, they're ok. They're sort of like hymns, only different," says the farmer.

"Well, what's the difference?" asks his wife.

The farmer says, "Well, it's like this - If I were to say to you: 'Martha, the cows are in the corn,' well, that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

'Martha, Martha, Martha,
The cows,
the big cows,
the brown cows,
the black cows,
the white cows,
the black and white cows
the COWS, COWS, COWS are in the corn,
are in the corn,
are in the corn,
are in the corn,

Then if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well that would be a praise chorus."

The same Sunday, a young, new Christian from the city attends the small town church. He returns home and his wife, also named Martha, asks how it was.

"Well," says the young man, "It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs."

"Hymns," says his wife, "What are those?"

"Oh, they're ok. They're sort of like regular songs, only different." says the young man.

"What's the difference?" asks the wife.

The young man says, "Well, It's like this - If I were to say to you, 'Martha, the cows are in the corn,' that would be a regular song. If on the other hand, I were to say to you:

'Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.
Turn thou thy whole wonderous ear by and by
To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.
For the way of the animals who can explain
There in their heads is no shadow of sense.
Hearkenest they not in God's sun or his rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
They all my mild Chilliwick sweet corn have chewed.

So look to that bright shining day by and by,
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn.
Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.'

Then, if I were to do only verses one, three and four and do a key change on the last verse, well that would be a hymn."


The Priest and the Drunkard

A priest is walking down the street when he recognizes a homeless man drinking from a bottle in a paper sack as one of his former parishoners.

"Bill, what on earth has happened to you?" He asks the man.

"Business went bad. Couldn't make payroll. Lost everything. Crawled into the bottle..." mumbled Bill, forlornly.

"I''ll tell you what," said the priest. "I'll set you up in a hotel down the street for a couple of nights. Maybe you can get yourself cleaned up and think about getting your life back together."

The hotel turns out to be a flophouse, but its clean enough, and in the nightstand lies a Gideon Bible.

"Here's what I want you to do," says the priest. "When you wake up tomorrow morning, before you do anything else — and certainly before you take another drink — take out this Bible, close your eyes, and let it fall open wherever the Lord lets it. Then, without looking, bring your finger down on the page. Then open your eyes, and open your heart, and read whatever is under your finger. Maybe the Lord will have a message for you that will help you get your life back in order."

A couple of months later, the same priest is walking down the same street, when a beautiful new car pulls up, and the driver, wearing a brand new suit and tie, calls to him. Sure enough, it's Bill.

"Wow," said the priest. "You sure seem to have turned things around!"

"I sure did," answered Bill, "and I have you and the good Lord to thank for it."

"Did you take my advice about that Bible, putting your finger down on a verse with your eyes closed, and all that?"

"Absolutely," said Bill, and that's what saved me.

"Well, if it's too personal you don't have to answer, but I'd love to know what it said, if you don't mind."

Bill smiled and answered, "Chapter 11." — From L. Pittenger


The Minister and the KKK

A Christian Fundamentalist preacher finishes the announcements to his congregation on Sunday with:

"Someone in this congregation has spread a rumor that I belong to the Klu Klux Klan. This is a horrible lie, and one which a Christian community cannot tolerate. I am embarrassed and do not intend to accept this. Now, I want the party who did this to stand and ask forgiveness from God and this Christian family."

No one moved.

The preacher continued, "Do you not have the nerve to face me and admit this is a falsehood? Remember, before God and this congregation you will be forgiven and be filled with glory. Now stand and confess your transgression."

Again, no one moved.

Then slowly, a beautiful blonde woman with a figure that would stop traffic rose from the third pew.
Her voice quavered as she spoke with bowed head:

"Reverend somehow there has been a misunderstanding. I never said you were a member of the Klu Klux Klan. I simply told one of my friends that you were a wizard under the sheets."

From D. Butler


Sleeping in the Front Pew

A Christian Fundamentalist preacher becomes annoyed when one of his parishoners falls asleep in the front pew during the sermon. Resolving to embarass the man, the preacher speaks ever more softly, until the people in the back pew can just hear his voice. Quietly he says, "Whoever of you who knows that you're saved, and knows you're going to Heaven, please stand up."

Everyone stands up but the sleeping man in the front pew. A quiet titter runs through the congregation.

Softly the preacher says, "Now I want whoever of you who knows you're lost, and knows you're going to Hell..."

And then he shouted at the top of his lungs, "STAND UP!"

At that the congregation fell to their seats, while the sleeper jumped to his feet, blinked, and looked around.

"I don't know what we're voting on, Reverend," he said, "but without me, you'd be the only one for it."


The Eucharistic Congress

During a Eucharistic Congress, a number of religious Catholics from different orders are gathered in a church for Vespers. While they are praying, a fuse blows and all the lights go out.
  • The Benedictines continue praying from memory, without missing a beat.
  • The Jesuits begin to discuss whether the blown fuse means they are dispensed from the obligation to pray Vespers.
  • The Franciscans compose a song of praise for God's gift of darkness.
  • The Dominicans revisit their ongoing debate on light as a signification of the transmission of divine knowledge.
  • The Carmelites fall into silence and slow, steady breathing.
The parish priest, who is hosting the others, goes to the basement and replaces the fuse.


A Priest and a Nun share a Room

A priest and a nun traveled to a convention only to find that their hotel reservations had been lost. Now there was only one room in town for the two of them, and the heat was barely functioning. Having no other choice, the priest and nun agreed to share it. They took turns using the bathroom to change into their nightclothes, and settled down to sleep, the nun in the bed, and the priest on the couch.

After a few minutes the nun began to shiver so hard that her teeth chattered, at which point the priest got up, fetched an extra blanket from the closet, laid it over the nun, and went back to his couch.

After another few minutes, the nun's teeth were chattering again, and again the priest got her another blanket.

Hardly a minute had passed, and the nun's teeth resumed chattering yet again.

"There's only one solution for this," said the priest. "We're going to have to pretend that we're married. Are you ready?"

"I suppose so," stammered the nun.

"Great," said the priest. "Now, get up and get your own damn blanket."

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