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locus classicus

_________ ................................... a resource file for pastors/feachers/speake

LOCUS CLASSICUS   Spring / 1987  Volume 1, Number 1 Page 1

WHICH ANSWER DO YOU WANT? A first grade Sunday School teacher decided to add a bit of interest and clarity to her communication of the morning lesson, so she asked, "What do you think of, children, when I ask, 'What has a grey body, a bushy tail, two beady eyes, and runs up and down trees?1"

No one answered. So she repeated the question and still no one answered. Finally, a little girl raised her hand and said, "Teacher, I know the answer is supposed to be Jesus, but it sounds like a squirrel to me."

Submitted by Martin Jose, Valley Christian Center, Dos Palos, CA.

WHAT WE DON'T KNOW MIGHT VERY WELL HURT US There was a certain Mexican bank robber by the name of Jorge Rodriguez, who operated along the Texas border around the turn of the century. He was so successful in his forays that the Texas Rangers put some extra men along the Rio Grande to try and stop him. Sure enough, late one afternoon, one of the these special Rangers saw Jorge stealthily slipping across the river and trailed him at a discreet distance as he returned to his home village. He watched as Jorge mingled with the people in the square and then went into his favorite cantina to relax. The ranger slipped in and managed to get the drop on Jorge. With a pistol to his head he said, "I know who you are, Jorge Rodriguez, and I have come to get back all the money that you have stolen from the banks in Texas. Unless you give it to me, I am going to blow your brains out." There was one fatal difficulty, however, Jorge did not speak English and the Texas Ranger was not versed in Spanish. They were at a linguistic impasse.

LOCUS CLASSICUS   Spring / 1987  Volume 1, Number 1 Page 2

Just about that time an enterprising citizen came up and said, "I am bilingual. Do you want me to act as translator?" The Ranger nodded, and he proceeded to put the words of the Ranger into terms that Jorge could understand. He explained the threat of the Ranger. Nervously, Jorge answered back: "Tell the Texas Ranger that I have not spent any of the money. If he will go out of town two miles to the north to the well at the crossroads, climb down into the well about three feet, he will find a loose brick there. Pull it out and all the money is hidden in a hollow behind the bricks. Please tell him quickly before he shoots me. He looks like he means to kill me!"

After hearing this confession, the translator got a solemn look on his face, took a deep breath and said to the Ranger in perfect English, "Jorge Rodriguez is a brave men. He says he is ready to die. He would rather die than tell you where the money is hidden."

As Jorge found out, what we do not know most assuredly does hurt us. Submitted by David Spencer, Long Beach, Mississippi.

HIGH TECH CHICKEN A stranger, it seems, was driving along a country road when he looked out his window and saw a three-legged chicken running alongside his car. He was driving 55 miles per hour and the chicken was keeping up. A little piqued, he stepped on the gas and speeded up to 70. The chicken kept abreast (you should pardon the pun). Thoroughly challenged, the driver accelerated to 90. The chicken looked over its shoulder, passed by in a cloud of dust, and left the speeding car behind, as he made a right turn into a driveway.

Now the spectacle of a three-legged chicken running more than 90 miles an hour tends to arouse one's

curiosity, so the driver turned and followed the bird's trail of dust up the long driveway. At the end

of the lane he encountered a man in bib overalls and plaid shirt. He presumed the farmer could satisfy
his curiosity about the mysterious bird.

He stopped the car, got out, and asked with, "Did you see a three-legged chicken go by here doing more than 90 miles and hour?"

The wrinkled old gent nipped off the end of the oat straw he was sucking, took it out of his mouth, and said, "Yup."

Understandably, this monosyllabic response produced something less than total enlightenment and the driver inquired further.

The farmer explained, "The chicken is mine. I raise three-legged chickens. I have developed the breed myself. The wife and I have four children and we all like the drumstick. In order to provide a meal we must kill and fry two chickens. So, you see, the three-legged chicken is perfect for us. Two chickens provide six legs -- enough for each of us to have a drumstick.

The stranger, duly impressed with the wisdom and ingenuity of the farmer, asked the only question yet unanswered, "How do they taste?"

His response came back, "Dunno. We've never been able to catch one!"

Submitted by Hoyt Johnson, South Haven Christian Church,   Dayton Beach, Florida.

PRAGMATISM It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.  J. R. R. Tolkien

LOCUS CLASSICUS (ISSN APPLIED FOR) is published quarterly for $6.95 (US$) per year by Saratoga Press, 14200 Victor Place, Saratoga, California 95070. Third-class postage paid at Saratoga, California. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to PARABLES, ETC. c/o Saratoga Press, 14200 Victor Place, Saratoga, California 95070. Copyright 1987 by Saratoga Press. Subscriptions to foreign countries -- -- $24.95 for a three-year (12 issues) subscription in US$ or equivalent value. Phone 408 867 4211

LOCUS CLASSICUS   Spring / 1987  Volume 1, Number 1 Page 3

MOTIVATING GOD Little Benjamin sat down to write a letter to God asking for a little baby sister. He started it out:

"Dear God, I've been a very good boy ..." He stopped, thought about it and said to himself, "No, God won't believe that." He wadded up the paper, threw it away, and started it again.

"Dear God, Most of the time I've been a good boy ..." He stopped in the middle of the line, again thinking to himself, "God won't be moved by this." So into the trash can went the second wad of paper.

Next Benjamin went into the bathroom, grabbed a big terrycloth towel off the towel bar, brought it into the living room and laid it out neatly on the couch. Then he went to the fireplace mantle, reached up and took down the familiar family statue of the Madonna.

Benjamin placed the statue in the middle of the towel, gently folded over the edges, and placed a large rubber band around the whole thing. He brought it to the table, took another piece of paper and began writing his third letter to God:

"Dear God, If you ever want to see your mother again ..."

COMMUNICATION A woman came to an attorney seeking help to get a divorce. The attorney asked her: "Do you have grounds? The woman answered: "Yes, about an acre."

The attorney replied, "No, I mean, do you have a grudge ? The woman said, "No, but we have a car-port."

Rather exasperated by now, the attorney asked her, "Does your husband beat you up ? She said, "No, I always get up before he does." Finally the attorney sighed and said, "Lady, why do you want a divorce?" She quickly retorted, "Because he doesn't understand me!"

Submitted by Rabbi Mervin Tomsky, Temple Emanu El, Burbank,     California.

TOUGH DAYS We all have tough days. Some are worse than others. Like the classic story the hard-hat employee reported when he tried to be helpful. Maybe you heard about it too; the account appeared on a company accident form. Bruised and bandaged the workman related this experience:

When I got to the building I found that the hurricane had knocked off some bricks around the       top. So I

rigged up a beam with a pulley at the top of the building and hoisted up a couple barrels full     of bricks.

When I had fixed the damaged area, there were a lot of bricks left over. Then I went to the       bottom and

began releasing the line. Unfortunately, the barrel of bricks was much heavier than I was —       and before
I knew what was happening the barrel started coming down, jerking me up.

I decided to hang on since I was too far off the ground by then to jump, and halfway up I met the barrel of bricks coming down fast. I received a hard blow on my shoulder. I then continued to the top, banging my head against the beam and getting my fingers pinched and jammed in the pulley. When the barrel hit the ground hard, it burst its bottom, allowing the bricks to spill out.

I was now heavier than the barrel. So I started down again at high speed. Halfway down I met the barrel coming up fast and received severe injuries to my shins. When I hit the ground, I landed on the pile of spilled bricks, getting several painful cuts and deep bruises. At this point I must have lost my presence of mind, because I let go of my grip on the line. The barrel came down fast -- giving me another blow on my head and putting me in the hospital. I respectfully request sick leave. Submitted by Steve Jester, First Baptist Church, Stuart, FL.

LOCUS CLASSICUS   Spring / 1987  Volume 1, Number 1 Page 4

TOTTING THINGS IK PERSPECTIVE A girl in college wrote home to her Christian parents at the end of the semester:

Dear Mom and Dad, I'm sorry I haven't written for so long but I've really been busy! We moved into the new dorm today after the old one burnt to the ground and there wasn't much to move! My eyesight is starting to get back to normal since the car accident. I've had a hard time but it's getting better and better as each day passes.

Ed, the boy who pulled me out of the wrecked car is a very special person, in fact, I've been living with him on the week-ends and will be expecting your first grandchild in about six more months.

By the way, please ignore all I've just written above. I just got all D's and F's on my exams and I wanted you to have it in the proper perspective before I told you the REAL bad news about the grades.

Love, Julie P.S. Please send $10.00.

Submitted by Mark Cottrill, United Pentecostal Church,     Bourbon, Indiana.


Just a line to say I'm living, That I'm NOT among the dead; Though I'm getting more forgetful And more "mixed up" in my head.

For sometimes I can't remember, When I stand upon the stair If I'm going up for something Or I just came down from there.

And before the '"fridge", so often, My poor mind is filled with doubt, Did I come to put the food away, or Should I start to take it out?

And when it's dark and cold outside My nightcap's on my head, I wonder if I'm going to sleep Or getting out of bed?

If it's my turn to write to you, There's no point your getting sore, I think I may have written once, Don't want to be a bore.

Remember, I do love you, And I wish that you were here, But now, it's nearly mail time, So, I'll say 'Adieu' my dear.1

I II I I[I I I I I I I I+++

Here I stand beside my mail box With a face a fiery red. Instead of mailing you my letter, I had opened it instead. From, The Outlook

EACH HAS A PERSi^JftJllVE As you know, most European trains are divided into separate traveling compartments. Riding together in one compartment on a Polish train were four passengers. On one side sat a Russian soldier and a Solidarity Union member. On the other side of the compartment sat an elderly lady and an attractive young woman in her 20's.

As the train travelled through the Polish countryside, the four passengers exchanged glances with suspicion, none of them daring to utter a word. Suddenly, the train entered a dark tunnel. In the darkness two unmistakable sounds were heard — first a kiss, then a slap.

As the train emerged from the tunnel and the compartment was again bathed in light, the old woman thought to herself, "Why those scoundrels! One of those men kissed that young girl and got slapped for his rudeness. Good for her!"

Sitting next to her, the attractive young woman thought to herself, "Of all the nerve! One of those men tried to kiss me, kissed the old lady by mistake, and got slapped. Well, he sure got what he deserved!"

The Russian sat with a smirk on his face as he thought to himself, "I knew that Solidarity member could not be trusted. He tried to take advantage of that young woman and she slapped me instead!"

LOCUS CLASSICUS   Spring / 1987  Volume 1, Number 1 Page 5

Meanwhile, the Solidarity worker just leaned back and smiled. "That's having the best of both worlds," he thought to himself. "All I had to do was kiss the back of my hand, and I got to slap that Russian soldier across the face!"

Submitted by Jon Honda, Phoenix, Arizona.

PRAYER is one of those topics that gathers so many marvelous stories to illustrate its many facets. In particular I like the story that William Gladstone told that illustrates prayer coupled with a sort of persistent (if also perverse) action. It seems Gladstone knew of a little girl in his neighborhood who

LOCUS CLASSICUS   Spring / 1987  Volume 1, Number 1 Page 6

believed strongly in the efficacy of prayer. Her current concern was a trap that her brother had made to catch birds. Being a bird lover herself, she prayed that God would frustrate her brother's designs and he would be unsuccessful in his plan. She had shared this resolution with Gladstone and told him how hard she was praying.

One day, upon encountering her, Gladstone observed a particular radiance to her countenance. He said to her, "Julia, you look so pleased. Are you still confident your prayers will be answered?" Julia smiled a knowing smile and retorted, "I know for sure that my prayers will be answered. Yesterday I kicked my brothers trap to pieces."

FACING DEATH As I sit in the study on a beautiful, cool August afternoon, I look back with many thanks. It has been a great run. I wouldn't have missed it for anything. Much could and should have been better, and I have, by no means, done what I should have done with all that I have been given. But the over-all experience of being alive has been a thrilling experience. I believe that death is a doorway to more of it: clearer, cleaner, better, with more of the secret opened than locked. I do not feel much confidence in myself as regards all this, for very few have ever "deserved" eternal life. But with Christ's atonement and Him gone on before, I have neither doubt nor fear whether I am left here a brief time or a long one. I believe that I shall see Him and know Him, and that eternity will be an endless opportunity to consort with the great souls and the lesser ones who have entered into the freedom of the heavenly city. It is His forgiveness and grace that give confidence and not merits of our own. But again I say, it's been a great run. I'm thankful for it and for all the people who have helped to make it so, and especially those closest and dearest to me.

"Credo," by Samuel Moor Shoemaker (written two months before    his death). From I Stand By The Door (Word) by Helen Smith  Shoemaker.

A STRATEGY THAT WORKS FOR YOU Three ministers (you pick the denominations) were talking shop after an ecumenical service. Conversation got around to the offering. The first said, "The way we take our offering is to draw a circle on the floor with chalk. Then we throw the money in the air; whatever lands in the circle is ours and whatever lands outside the circle is God's." The second one laughed and said, "We have a better way. We draw a line on the floor and whatever lands on our side of the line is ours and whatever lands on the other side is God's" The third one said, "You two don't know how to do it. We throw it up in the air; whatever stays up is God's and whatever comes back down in ours." Submitted by Scott Widmer, Harmony United Methodist Church, Morgantown, Pennsylvania.

RKPKNTANCE There is one case of death bed repentance recorded — that of the penitent thief, that none should despair; and only one that none should presume. Augustine

LOCUS CLASSICUS   Spring / 1987  Volume 1, Number 1 Page 7

KEEPING COOL One of those probably apocryphal stories that is going around tells the story of a lady who goes into an ice cream store in her community and much to her surprise sees Paul Newman in there purchasing a cone as well. (Various versions have Dustin Hoffman, you can fill in the celebrity of your choice.) She is immediately flustered at seeing so famous a movie star in their town, but she doesn't want to act like a hick, so she determines to be cool, and not acknowledge that she knows he is a famous celebrity. So, she orders her cone, pays for it and leaves. After she gets outside the store she comes back more to her normal self and realizes she doesn't have the cone she went in after. So she turns and goes back into the store and says to the clerk, "By the way, young man, where is my cone?" At this, Paul Newman, who is still standing there, observes the scene and says, "Lady, it's right in your purse, where you put it."

Tradition I have never been able to understand where people got the idea that democracy was in some way opposed to tradition. It is obvious that tradition is only democracy extended through time. It is trusting to a consensus of common human voices rather than to some isolated or arbitrary record.

Tradition may be defined as an extension of the franchise. Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death . . . . I, at any rate, cannot separate the two ideas of democracy and tradition; it seems evident to me that they are the same idea .... The ancient Greeks voted by stones; these shall vote by tombstones. It is all quite regular and official; for most tombstones, like most ballot papers are marked with a cross.

G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, (Dodd Mead, New York, 1954), pages 84-86, as reported in The Quotable Chesterton, ed. by Marlin, Swan and Rabatin (Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1986). And excellent source of the wise sayings of G.K.C.

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