Noah Round Two

One day God called down to Noah: “Noah, I want you to make me an ark.” Noah replied, “No problem. Anything you want is fine; after all, you’re the boss.” But God added, “Ah, but there’s a catch, Noah. I want not just a couple of decks; I want 20 decks, one on top of the other.”

“TWENTY DECKS!” Noah screamed. Then, remembering at whom he was yelling, he added, “Well, whatever you say. Should I fill it with all the animals, just like last time?” “Nope,” God answered. “This time I want you to fill it with fish.” “Fish?” asked Noah. “Yes, fish. To be more specific, Noah, I want carp, wall to wall, floor to ceiling.” Noah looked to the skies. He was truly baffled. “But why?” he asked.

“Well,” said God, “I thought it would be nice to have a multistory carp ark.”

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My All-Time Favorite Pun – Mahatma Ghandi

Mahatma Ghandi walked barefoot everywhere, to the point that his feet became quite thick and hard. He also was quite a spiritual mystic. Even when he was not on a hunger strike, he did not eat much and became quite thin and frail. Due to his diet, he ended up with very bad breath. Therefore: he came to be known as a :

“Super calloused fragile mystic plagued with halitosis.”

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Friars and Flowers

These friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise the funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, the rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but of course, they would not. He went back a second time and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. In desperation, he asked his mother to go and ask the friars to get out of business. They ignored her too. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest thug in town to “persuade” them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, and told them he’d be back if they didn’t stay closed. Terrified, they did so-thereby proving (ready?) that Hugh, and only Hugh, can prevent florist friars.

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Simply Einstein: Relativity Demystified

I enjoyed the challenge of this read. There was very little math, and the author Richard Wolfson did a great job of making the concepts simple and understandable. Simply Einstein: Relativity Demystified helped me to grasp better the basic ideas behind special relativity and then general relativity. It explained the concept (and rationale) behind relative time and the notions of potential time travel. It gave me a little better background in trying to grapple with a couple ideas.

First, some people use Einstein’s General Relativity as an argument that time was created by God and therefore God must either be “outside” of time or that there could not have been any time before creation. I am of the opinion that this argument is a confusion of definitions. I think there is a difference between the measurement of time (which is the concern of General Relativity) and the sequence of events (one thing happens before something else) which is what I refer to when I believe that God works in time. In other words, Scripture says that God does certain things before he does other things. God walked with Adam before he walked with Abraham. God planned for us to be saved before he created the world, and Jesus appeared to Gideon before he became a man and was born of Mary. According to Wolfson, General Relativity shows that there is a clear sequence of time for most events. Because of the limits of our ability to measure and observe (that is, the speed of light) certain events may be so far distant from each other that the question of which happened first is unknowable. If God can move faster than the speed of light (of course, he can!) then these limits don’t pertain to him.

Second, Dr. Russell Humphries is a Christian retired Professor of Physics. He has developed a view of cosmology that explains how God could have created the universe about 6,000 years ago (the recent creation view) yet we can see stars whose light would have taken millions of years to get to earth. Humphries’ view was published in 2010 (Vardiman, L. and D. R. Humphreys. “A New Creationist Cosmology: In No Time at All Part 1.” in Acts & Facts. 39 (11): 12-15). Reading Simply Einstein: Relativity Demystified helped me try to understand what Humphries is saying. To grossly simplify his view, as I am trying to understand it, Humphries takes the many statements in Scripture where God “stretches the heavens.” Taking the math of General Relativity, combined with a literal “stretching” of space at or near the speed of light, the result is that on the 4th day of creation only minutes could have passed on the earth during the time that God stretched the heavens billions of light years. When God was finished stretching, stars would be in distant space and their light would be seen on earth. Physical observations that we should find if this view is correct would be the “red shift” that is seen when distant stars move quickly away from us (check!) and our Solar System or Galaxy would probably be about the center of the universe (remarkably there is evidence of this also).

Hmmmm. It makes a guy think! And God is glorified when we work to try to understand his amazing creation!

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Snow, Rudolf?

Late one evening, while sitting and looking out their kitchen window somewhere in northern Russia, Rudolf and his wife Tanya were observing the inclement weather.

“This rain is going to make a mess out of the roads tonight Tanya,” said Rudolf.

“That’s not rain,” says Tanya, “that’s snow!”

“Don’t be ridiculous!” huffs Rudolf.”That’s Rain!”

“That’s snow you old fool,” says Tanya.

“It is not snow old woman, it is rain, …Rudolf the red knows rain dear!”

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Too Familiar with God?

Sometimes I wonder if familiarity breeds contempt … toward God.

To Jesus and the Jerusalem religious leaders if anyone referred to God as “My Father” that person was claiming equality with God. In all the New Testament, only Jesus uses “my Father” to refer to God. (He says it 52 times!)

Making ourselves equal with God can go either way. We can elevate ourselves to God’s level, or we can bring him down to our level. Have we gotten to the place today where we don’t have the same caution against bringing God down? It appears that sometimes in our attempt to have people feel the love and acceptance of God we might demean God.

Saying “our Father” seems to be different since it doesn’t single out one person as specially related to God, but rather recognizes God’s role as creator of the whole human race. “Our” Father is used ten times in blessings (like in I Corinthians 1:3) and two other times (Matthew 6:9 and James 1:27) in the New Testament.

Even in the Old Testament, “my father” is only used twice to refer to God. Both instances could be argued as an exception, rather than an excuse for us to be familiar with God. (See Psalm 89:26 and Jeremiah 3:4.)

As I was researching this, I wondered about calling God “friend.” I found that no one in the New Testament calls God or Jesus his “friend.” (Though, in God’s graciousness, HE calls some people his friends – James 2:23, John 15:13-15 and Luke 12:4, Luke 5:20, Luke 7:34.) The Old Testament refers to only one person, Abraham, as God’s friend (2 Chronicles 20:7). The Lord would speak to Moses “as a man speaks with his friend” (Exodus 33:11). No one presumed to call God friend, except the same insolent mouth that called him “my Father” in Jeremiah 3:4.

So let’s always remember the majesty and glory of God. He is the Creator. We are his creatures. Then, the wonder of his love and grace will be magnified. And our allegiance to him will grow.

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Burial or Cremation?

At the evening discussion church meeting the topic was “Burial or Cremation?”  Two of the people got rather worked up. One said to the other, “If you have yourself cremated you will have gone back to your old bad habit – smoking.” “Well,” said the other, “I’m told that petroleum comes from fossilized old bones, so if you have yourself buried, all you will be doing is making a fuel of yourself!”

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