[expletive deleted]

Dear loyal Bloggist,

Thank you for bearing with me during my recent cold. I am sorry that the inspiration levels were low, but mucous and phlegm have that effect on me. But now my nose has stopped training for a marathon and my throat has decided that it’s perhaps alright to breathe and swallow without causing me pain.

Enough of the blatant attempt at drawing sympathy from you. On with the bloggerel.

On Sunday morning we will be celebrating an anniversary at our church. It is 25 years since Open Door began. You can find out more about Open Door on their website but in short is is a drop-in centre for anyone who would like to come and have a cuppa, perhaps wants someone to chat to or to listen to them, maybe needs some help or advice.

I have been helping out there once a week (Fridays) and have experienced laughter (it is banter-central), occasional sadness, great conversations and non-judgemental acceptance. I think Jesus loves it in there.

On my badge I am simply ‘Nick’ and designated as ‘Helper’. But the regulars know that I am one of the Ministers at the church. It’s often the cause of some hilarity to me when someone forgets one of the house rules and an expletive slips out when I am in earshot. The rest will pick up on it and tell the swearer off, while they offer deep and sincere apologies for swearing in my presence. It’s almost as if they think my head will explode if I hear rude words or that my ears are so sensitive that they will fall off if they hear such things. My usual reaction is to accept the apology but try to remind them that I am a normal human being.

I wonder how people spoke around Jesus. Were there Aramaic swear words that people used in his presence and then realised that they were in the presence of the Rabbi and apologised? If so, the gospel-writers have edited those bits out. Perhaps they thought we were too sensitive to cope with them. And if people did swear and curse in Jesus’ presence how did he react? Would he warn them against blasphemy? Would he tut and tell them off? Would he threaten them with lightning bolts from heaven if they did it again? Or would he accept them as they are and hope that they would experience God through him?

I’m not condoning swearing. It saddens me that some words have now become punctuation for some people while others only have one or two adjectives and adverbs to enrich their conversation. But I am reminded of the parable Jesus told of two brothers who were asked to help their father. One said ‘yes’ and did nothing while the other said ‘no’ and then changed his mind. What they did revealed their heart more than what they said.

Hmmm

Read Matthew 21:28-32 if you want a challenge, especially with Jesus’ punchline…

Be blessed, be a blessing.

One day an elderly pastor confides in his parishioners that he’s feeling a bit lonely and depressed. So one of the parishioners suggests to the pastor that he buy a pet. Thinking this a grand idea, the pastor hurries into town and after much deliberation, buys a parrot.

Unfortunately not five minutes after arriving home, the parrot starts hurling a string of expletives at the pastor.

After about an hour it gets to be too much, so the pastor walks up to the parrot, slaps him on the beak, and yells, “QUIT IT!” But this just makes the parrot madder and he starts swearing at the pastor in even more colourful language.

Finally the pastor has had it and says, “All right, that’s it. Grabbing a blanket, the pastor throws it over the parrot’s cage and screams, “Now, SHUT UP!” Well, this really irritates the parrot and he starts clawing and scratching at the bars of his cage. Finally the pastor removes the blanket. Immediately the parrot starts right in on the pastor again.

By this time, the pastor is so infuriated that he grabs the parrot by the throat and throws him into the freezer. Well, the parrot starts swearing and thrashing about so loudly that the pastor is considering killing the bird. Just as he’s thinking this, it gets very…very quiet.

At first the pastor just stares at the refrigerator, but then he starts to think that the parrot might be seriously injured. He becomes so worried that he runs over to the refrigerator and throws open the freezer door.

The parrot climbs out of the freezer, flaps the ice off his wings, and says, “Awfully sorry about the trouble I’ve caused you, rev. In the future, I’ll do my best to improve my vocabulary.”

The pastor is astounded. He can’t believe the sudden transformation that has come over the parrot. Finally the parrot turns to the pastor and says, “Um….by the way, what did the chicken do?”

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