By Pastor Jeff Fox-Kline
There’s a book that I love that I’m never able to find the right way to use. It’s called God is Disappointed in You. It’s an irreverent paraphrase of the entire Bible written by Mark Russell with cartoons by New Yorker cartoonist Shannon Wheeler. To give you a sense of Mark Russell as an author, he is also known for writing a comic book adapting the Hanna Barbera cartoon Snagglepuss, in which he is reinvented, as Wikipedia puts it, as a “gay southern gothic playwright” under investigation by the House Unamerican Activities Committee. His comics can be a little weird.
I love God is Disappointed in You. Every time I preach, I try and see if there’s a way I can use it in a sermon, but it’s either too irreverent or too difficult to explain, so I end up putting it back on the shelf. But in this blog, I have all the time in the world to share whatever weird or silly thing crosses my mind, and so you get to read the story of Pentecost as told by Mark Russell:
After Jesus Christ rose from the dead, his disciples couldn’t wait to annoy the world
with the good news.
Now, there is no better way to start a new religion than on a stomach full of waffles,
so the disciples went out for breakfast.
They realized that if they were going to spread the word of Jesus Christ throughout
the world, then they had a bit of a problem. They all came from the same place and
spoke the same language. So how were they supposed to preach in other
countries? As they argued amongst themselves, they started mumbling in strange
words. The other diners in the restaurant thought they were drunk on syrup or
something, but they weren’t. They were speaking in tongues. God had sent The Holy
Spirit, who was sort of the George Harrison of the Holy Trinity, to lend a hand. The
Holy Spirit had given them all the ability to speak in foreign languages. So problem
With their new foreign language skills, the disciples broke up into small groups and
began traveling the world. Like Jesus, they popularized their message by performing
magic tricks along the way.
Here ends the reading…
Obviously it doesn’t map to the original story one-to-one, but anything that describes the Holy Spirit as the George Harrison of the Holy Trinity is fun enough for me. Personal opinion, Paul is God the Father and John is God the Son. Ringo can be Peter, I guess.
And as a word to my fellow Presbyterians, we need to be more attentive to the Holy Spirit. We love to talk about these things, but it can be really hard for us to feel it. We can study and learn all we want, but it’s the Holy Spirit that makes us move in ways of love and hope. Presbyterians love “Imagine," and “Band on the Run," but I think we should give “All Things Must Pass” some of our time as well.