First of all, let me say that Q&A is a series of questions from readers all over the globe who want answers. These queries come to me from email and envelope. Yesterday, after the posting from a brother in New York, I was flooded with two more letters. Both had the same question and the same return address. Since they are identical I will post only one. And let me just mention at the outset, that THERE ARE NO STUPID QUESTIONS. Please remember that. I want everyone to feel that they can ask anything related to Scripture without fear of looking foolish. Thank you. This question is from Toby and Moby Fernwallet of Blindbug, Maryland. They write:
Dear Eddie, Is Scientology a cult? Toby and Moby
Dear Toby and Moby, That is one of the dumbest questions I have ever heard. Look in any Christian book that lists the cults and, "wah-la" it's right there inside! Don't you ever go to the Christian bookstore? Every cult has:
Christ-demeaning Un-Biblical Loony Theology
...and Scientology certainly fits into that category!
This letter comes from Gabe Blubberman in Schenectady, New York:
My mother named me after the angel Gabriel and I have taken trumpet lessons since the age of nine. My question is this - When he announced to Mary the coming of the birth of Jesus, did he play his trumpet? I also noticed he is the herald who foretold the birth of John the Baptist. Did he take lessons or did this just come naturally? Do you think he likes to listen to Louie Armstrong or Miles Davis?
Gabriel is NEVER portrayed in the Bible with a trumpet at all. More than likely he can play any instrument he picks up. If I had been around as long as an angel I think I could play a few different instruments...including the banjo and bagpipes! Keep in mind though, why pick an earthly, man-made musical instrument when you have heaven-made ones that are the best in the universe! That would be like me choosing a small plastic fiddle over a Strativarius! Anyway, the only "man-made" things in Heaven are the wounds in Christ's body. Just be thankful you are named after a being whose name means, "Champion of God"!
Many have written to me and asked about the "Mysterious Marty Robbins Song" and Calvinistic Cartoons. I can only say, that when one reader pointed out the occurrence of the hidden message in the lyrics of "El Paso"…it was a goosebumpin' chillin' moment in time, I assure you! You don't get this from the audio but, the words contain a code revealed below. Coincidence, you say? You decide my friend…you decide.
Out in the West Texas town of El Paso I fell in love with a MexiCan girl. Night-time would find me in Rosa's cantina; Music would play and Felina would whirl. Blacker than night were the eyes of Felina, Wicked and evil while casting a spell. My love was deep for this Mexican maiden; I was in love but in vain, I could tell. One night a wild young Cowboy came in, Wild as the West Texas wind. Dashing and daring, A drink he was sharing With wicked Felina, The girl that I loved. So in anger I Challenged his right for the love of this maiden. Down went his hand for the gun that he wore. My challenge was answered in less than a heart-beat; The handsome young strangEr lay dead on the floor. Just for a moment i stood there in silence, ShockEd by the FOUL EVIL deed I had done. Many thoughts raced through my mind as I stood there; I had but one chance and that was to run. Out through the back door of Rosa's I ran, Out where the horses were tied. I caught a good one. It looked like it could run. Up on its back And away I did ride, Just as fast as I Could from the West Texas town of El Paso Out to the Bad-Lands Of New Mexico. Back in El Paso my life would be worthless. EverythinG's gone in life; nothing is left. It's been so long since I've seen the young maiden My love is stronger than my fear of death. I saddled up and away I did go, Riding alone in the dark. Maybe tomorrow A bullet may find me. Tonight nothing's worse than this Pain in my heart. And at last here I Am on the hill overLooking El PAso; I can see Rosa's cantina below. My love is strong and it pUshes me onward. Down off the hill to Felina I Go. Off to my rigHt I see fivE mounteD cowboys; Off to my left ride a dozen or more. Shouting and shooting I can't let them catch me. I have to make it to Rosa's back door. Something is dreadfully wrong for I feel A deep burning pain in my side. Though I am trying To stay in the saddle, I'm getting weary, Unable to ride. But my love for Felina is strong and I rise where I've fallen, Though I am weary I can't stop to rest. I see the white puff of smoke from the rifle. I feel the bullet go deep in my chest. From out of nowhere Felina has found me, Kissing my cheek as she kneels by my side. Cradled by two loving arms that I'll die for, One little kiss and Felina, good-bye.
The following is a letter I received from Koko Kula, who lives in the Okavango Delta in Botswana:
Eddie, I have noticed lately that there has been no Caption Contests, no Lyrical Miracles or T&G, Chic & Gumbo, or Calvinist Cartoons per se. What on earth is going on? Sorry about the snail mail but, we haven't had electricity in four months and my computer was stolen by a Roman Catholic priest named, Father Nada Priest, and dashed against large stones. I have vowed never to drink Sprite because it contains the word "priest"! He has threatened to come back and have me beaten with rods. But, I am more concerned with the changes in your blog. Would you give me some insight as to why you haven't been Photoshopping lately? Thank you for the seven laughs, Koko
Koko, Thanks for taking the time to write. I needed to explain what has been happening lately and you have provided the perfect springboard to do so. My daughter, son-in-law, and grand-daughter are in from Kuwait. The only Photoshop loaded computer is now in the baby's room. I have only a two hour window, in the mornings to do my Photoshopping before I leave for work. Needless to say, I can't go in there without waking the baby. Someday, I hope to own a laptop. That day isn't here yet. When I come home from work, I am working on other important projects. Our two other daughters will be flying in from Colorado soon and staying with us as well. But, all of this is temporary. I will get back to Photoshopping and contests (because I can't create the certificates - I have decided to postpone the contests) (I will try to come up with another kind of contest, in the near future, where certificates are not needed - I am open to suggestions!) Anyway, I appreciate your concern. Your friend, Eddie
Few may remember how heavy the theological content was on "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet". Here is an episode where little Ricky Nelson, at the time only seven, asks his dad about a hermenuetical concern he had when reading Scripture:
Ozzie and the boys are at breakfast. Harriet is at the stove.
HARRIET: And there's a couple more pancakes here, if you guys are ready. DAVID: They sure do taste good, Mom. RICKY: Yeah, they sure do, Mom. OZZIE: Would you pass me the syrup, please, Rick? DAVID: Boy, nobody can make pancakes like Mom. RICKY: Nobody can eat like Pop. OZZIE: Just a second, young fellow. Think you're doing pretty well yourself for such a little guy.
RICKY: I take after you, Pop! ...uh, I have a question from today's Bible lesson..
OZZIE: Well, son, I'm all ears! What's bothering you?
RICKY: It's about certain verses that seem to indicate that God changes His mind
OZZIE: It just seems that way because that portion of Scripture is written as a narrative! It's from a human perspective. Remember the little acronym I made so you could recall the principle?
RICKY: I guess I kinda forgot...
DAVID: I know what it is, Pop! "DON" ...like when you don a hat or baseball cap!
OZZIE: That's right! "DON" stands for "Didactic Over Narrative". When you read a passage that is narrative you interpret that passage with teaching, instructional, didactic passages...say, from the Book of James or Romans or Ephesians! God never changes His mind. The Bible clearly states that He never changes at all. He is immutable! So..."DON your thinking caps" when you read the Bible!
RICKY: Thanks Pop!
DAVID: You're the greatest!
OZZIE: Well, I don't know about that...
HARRIET: Well, John Calvin, you've got syrup on your tie!
CQ - The Code / The Questioning In each of the five categories below find the one true statement. And as John Calvin would say, "Chercher les indices secrets !"
Writing 1. The first book Calvin wrote was on an ancient philosopher. 2. Calvin wrote a fictional series entitled, "Anna Baptist - the Rebel Nun". 3. John Calvin used an Underwood typewriter for most of his manuscripts. 4. When Calvin moved to Geneva, he first became a reporter with The Geneva Daily Planet. 5. Writing every night for five years, Calvin finally completed his "Chronicles of Noyonarnia".
Death 1. Calvin was buried at sea. 2. Unknown is his grave site. 3. John Calvin was frozen, then cremated. Sort of an ice cremation. 4. Calvin died in a hospital in Mentone, France. 5. The tombstone of John Calvin reads, "Here lies a man whose two lips spoke volumes."
Family 1. Calvin had twelve brothers and eight sisters. 2. Sherlock Holmes is descendant of Calvin. 3. Like John Wesley, John Calvin had a brother named Charles. 4. Calvin's sister, Jean Calvin, helped in the invention of Calvin jeans. 5. John's grandparents died when they were children.
Citizen 1. When Calvin was in Switzerland, he won a yodeling contest - two years in a row. 2. Calvin toured France with a traveling circus. 3. John started a Swiss bank account before his twentieth birthday 4. In the Swiss city of Geneva, Calvin was not granted citizenship until five years before his death. 5. The town of Lipton asked Calvin to become mayor in 1511.
Letters 1. Calvin's letters, if placed end to end, would reach to the sun and back. 2. John Calvin always drew a picture of a tulip at the end of each correspondence. 3. Calvin never wrote his mama. 4. John would send theological essays with his bill payments. 5. Pictured on Calvin's seal was a burning heart in a hand.
As I sat down near the Bridge of Hominy at the outskirts of the town of Chutzpenik, my old friend, Hahmina-Hahmina Ben-Loafen, walked up to me with a look of wonder plastered on his face. I may have mentioned before that we attended the School of Prophets together, back in the day. "Please, Baklava, interpret my dream! I do not understand what it means! I cannot get it out of my mind!" "God willing, my friend, tell me what you have seen in your sleep," I said as I bit off a piece of meat from a roasted turkey leg. "I met a little man in my dream. He said his name was Ephod Ben Hosen. He wanted me to meet his twin daughters. When I asked their names, he laughed. "My daughters were womb-mates. Their names are Urim and Thummim. They have certain "gifts" and can impart them to whomever they please. Come with me." He laughed again and opened a door that suddenly appeared. He stepped through the door and motioned for me to follow. "Do they possess the gift of prophecy?" I asked. "No." He said and continued to walk up a hill. I could see a small cottage in the distance. "Do they have the gift of healing?" "No." "How about the gift of knowledge...do they have that?" "You'll find out what kind of gifts soon enough...now pick up your speed!" When we arrived at the cottage, Urim and Thummim came out, each with a colorful bag. They were very beautiful and I could hardly speak because of the uphill climb. "Here is a gift from my sister and a gift from me", they both said simultaneously, "Open them now." In each bag was a plastic container used in households to contain food and keep it airtight. They said each container had a "burping seal" to insure that the food was locked safely away. "I don't even know what "plastic" is, Baklava...can you interpret this dream for me?" I looked Hahmina-Hahmina straight in the eyes, put my hand on his shoulder and said, "No, I have no idea." I told my friend I would get back to him later. I am hoping someone out there has an interpretation. Do you know what his odd dream could mean?
That big announcement I mentioned in a previous post has been moved up to mid-July. I covet your prayers in the meantime. God knows the details. And you will understand after I disclose the situation. (FYI -- I am not dying...well, at least no doctor has informed me of that. In reality, we are all in the process of dying.) So right now, if you want a good laugh...go to The Sacred Sandwich.
This has been a paid humoradical (new word) announcement
The following is a scene from the Andy Griffith Show that certain sponsers decided to edit out of the final cut. It's a shame since it reveals more of the theological content the episode was aiming for.
Floyd Lawson: You know Andy, I like what John Calvin said, he said "If Christ on His cross intended to save every man, then He intended to save those who were lost before He died. If the doctrine be true, that He died for all men, then He died for some who were in Hell before He came into this world, for doubtless there were even then myriads there who had been cast away because of their sins. . . That seems to me a conception a thousand times more repulsive than any of those consequences which are said to be associated with the Calvinistic and Christian doctrine of special and particular redemption. To think that my Savior died for men who were or are in Hell, seems a supposition too horrible for me to entertain." Calvin said that.. Andy Taylor: No, Floyd, that wasn't John Calvin who said that, it was Charles Haddon Spurgeon. That statement was in his autobiography. I know 'cause I'm reading the first volume to Opie every night before he goes to sleep. Floyd Lawson: Then what did Calvin say? Andy Taylor: Calvin said a lot of things Floyd. Why don't you go to the library and read his Institutes of the Christian Religion. Floyd Lawson: That's a good idea, Andy…why, my grandson, Steven Lawson is there right now reading up on the Reformation. I will go there after I finish trimming your sideburns. Andy Taylor: Okay, Floyd, you do that. And tell him I said I think he is a fine boy…studying for the ministry and all… Floyd Lawson: Oh, Andy, one more thing…Opie still has my coffee table book on Leonardo da Vinci…do you think you could ask him to return it to me soon…I want to display it in my barber shop.
Ralph Kramden: Norton, I am now a member of the Second Free Will Baptist Church of New York City! And I am using my free will to inform you, that you too have the power of independent choice. Norton ol' pal, if you play your cards right, can become a Christian…at the drop of a hat! ANY old hat! Ed Norton: Ralphy boy, I am now and always will be a five point Calvinist! YOU just THINK you have free will! Ralph: Norton, you can't expect me to swallow all that doctrinal malarkey! Norton: You obviously have learned to swallow everything else! Ralph: From here on in, we are deadly enemies. I don't want to talk to you, I don't want to see you, I don't want to have nothing to do with you. If you see me coming down the street, get on the other side. Norton: When you come down the street, there AIN'T no other side! Ralph: OUT! GET OUT NORTON BEFORE I DO SOMETHING I COULD SERVE TIME FOR! Norton: Okay, okay…I'm leaving! But, it was something I was predestined to do. I leave you with this short poem:
Roses are red Tulip stems are long If I agreed with your theology We'd BOTH be wrong!
On the road to the First Baptist Church of Raccoon County in Pine Knot, Kentucky. I am thinking back to the time when I was considering joining the Holy Mackerel Club at Oxford. It was August of 1732 when Polycarp Simons approached me. He mentioned that he and the other ministers in the club had been watching me for some time.
These men included: Pillory Palmetto, Thomas Cokenlocken, Spencer Grommet, Charles Haddon Ducknee, Vinnie Boombana, and Pastor Cotton Mills.
He revealed to me that the name came from their own belief that Jonah had been swallowed by a "specially created giant mackerel". Mr. Simons explained that they believed Jonah had originated the phrase, "Holy Mackerel" and "Something is fishy here!" Members would have the sign of the fish tattooed on their forearm, and would greet other members with, "Am I herring you right?" as a code, verifying membership. Several other ministers meet each month to discuss problems and work out creative solutions.
For example, at the last meeting, Reverend Simons told me the council had decided to always refer to ants as Salvation Army ants. Months before, they decided to rename the "bishops" in their chess set to "pastor/teachers" as in keeping with their own church polity.
This all seemed to me to be a waste of time and energy, and I openly challenged Polycarp Simons to separate himself from such nonsense and join me in my circuit riding ministry. He then denied everything he had told me and said he must excuse himself because of a sudden illness.
I am now beginning to realize his intellect was rivaled only by a small garden tool with a broken handle.
I rode my horse, Calico, to the neighboring village of Dunder, Missouri, which is about ten miles from Mifflin. I heard of a pastor by the name of Cotton Patches, who after reading one of my tracts, formed a group called the A.C.L.U. (Anti-Calvinist Literature Union) Upon further investigation, I found out he was also president of C.H.O.I.C.E (Christians Have Omnipotence In Canceling Election) I plan on listening to one of his sermons and introducing myself, in hopes of a meaningful conversation. I fear he has a multiplicity of misinformation that needs correcting. The following is a small portion of what was preached:
"…dear brothers and sisters, do you really think this doctrine could be true?! Do you really believe that everything is predestined?! Do you actually feel that my being here today was determined before the foundation of the world?? I say to thee, nay…NAY!! I just decided to preach on this subject thirty minutes ago! …and that mud clod that just hit me in the shoulder…can you honestly say it was predestined? …and that small rock that bounced off my head…and those tomatoes that are being hurled in my direction…and that dead cat some wag has just sent flying my way…YOU SEE! I shouldn't have been in here in the first place!"
With that he jumped on his horse and rode off in a zig-zag fashion. I never got to converse with him. Maybe that day will come soon. Lord willing.
It's amazing to me how many ministers I meet with the name "Cotton". I have had the honor of meeting four such men in the last ten months. Yesterday, while preaching in Mifflin, Missouri I met a rather absorbing gentlemen by the name of "Cotton Mattress". My sermon that day included my belief that baptism should be done by immersion, as it represents being buried with Christ and raised to new life. I had mentioned that you wouldn't just sprinkle dirt on a man's face as he lie in the grave. And I emphasized it is for a new believer. Well, Rev. Mattress took issue with me on that subject shortly afterwards. Our conversation went something like this:
Cotton Mattress: "Do you always dunk a new convert?" Me: "Yes, without fail…I may have to look for a pond or lake, but I will always find enough water for the task." Mattress: "You mentioned in your sermon that you were in the Lord's Army." Me: "Yes, I believe I did." Mattress: "Well, I believe the Lord's Navy is more fitting for you, sir."
With that he turned around quickly and collapsed of heat exhaustion.
I am a long time fan of your blog. I am on death row for my crimes as a hit-man in Looten, Nebraska. Here is my question: I am sentenced to "the chair" at midnight on Saturday, June 13th. If I pray the sinner's prayer and promise to do good from now on, will you have the execution stopped? The warden is your uncle and he speaks highly of you. (it's his falsetto voice that bothers me) I think you should do the right thing if I do the right thing. What do you say? I sure would like to go to church with you next Sunday morning! But, don't ask me to keep going because I have other things to do.
I'll discuss this with our church elders next Sunday after our fellowship dinner. I will get back with you on Monday. Thanks for writing.
Well, my electricity came back on around 11 p.m. last night. I had just stocked our cooler with several bags of ice, trying to save what I could from the freezer. It was great to sleep in an air-conditioned house, with fans going, once again! We had hopes of having the house completely cleaned before my daughter, grand-daughter, and son-in-law arrive today from Kuwait. So with the power back in place, my wife and I started cleaning house. (It really doesn't do much good to push a vacuum around without electricity). All that to say this...woke up late (first time in months) and was not able to Photoshop the Caption Contest Winner's certificate or rework the original photo. Aaron, maybe God is teaching you patience...I am honored to be a part of that process.
Last night a storm with 85 mile an hour winds blew through north Dallas. My electricity went out and hasn't been restored yet. I had to write the Little Known Quotes when I got to my job and am posting this while on my lunch break.
I will not be able to do a Photoshopped treatment of Caption Contest #20 until tomorrow (Lord willing) but, the winner is Aaron. Thanks to all who participated.
Barney Fife: Well, today's eight-year-olds are tomorrow's teenagers. I say this calls for action and now. Nip it in the bud. First sign of youngsters going wrong, you've got to nip it in the bud. Andy Taylor: I'm going to have a talk with them. What else do you want me to do? Barney Fife: Well, don't just mollycoddle them. Andy Taylor: I won't. Barney Fife: Nip it. You go read any book you want on the subject of child discipline and you'll find every one of them is in favor of bud-nipping. Andy Taylor: Okay, Barn...first thing tomorrow, I will talk to Phyllis Tickle's and Rob Bell's parents.
Congratulations Angus W. Duncan! You should start your own humor blog! I mean it! Really!
I got up this morning at 5 a.m. and worked on this photo. I had a good joke (or so I thought) based on Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None"...then, decided to throw this into the Calvinistic Cartoon's Humor Arena to milk more laughter for everyone. Here are the Reader's Digest condensed version of the rules: 1. Funny 2. Theological
This time everyone who enters a caption will win a trip around the sun every year for the rest of his/her life! Look to June 16th for the final results!
Well, fellow Calvinists and those who eventually will be, this is the first time in the history of the world that Calvinistic Cartoons has had a tie for the Caption Contest. This was very difficult because there were so many great captions offered.
1. I have been getting comments on my Facebook page about my blog postings. I appreciate that, I really do...but, I would prefer them on Calvinistic Cartoons. (or both) I spend very little time on Facebook, probably an average of fifteen or twenty minutes a week. I am glad for the new friendships made, so please don't take this wrong. Comments on CC seem a lot more "permanent" to me and help things move along. Comments here also prompt others to respond.
2. The Limerick contest is still on and will end soon and I am including in the winners prize packet a few of my tracts, a few of my blog cards, and a one hundred dollar bill from my Monopoly game.
Want to promote your site? The most inexpensive way I have found (with the exception of just standing on the street corner and yelling) is to make yourself some "Blog Cards" like mine above. vistaprint.comoffers 250 FREE business cards. All you do is pay the postage. (I don't work for them I am just happy with the results) They have several templates to choose from and they also offer other promotional items for free. You can't beat those prices!
Thanks Let Us Repent and Believe for the hilarious caption above and to Phil for his equally funny caption below.
No...you're not seeing double! We have two winners. Congratulations guys...show the world that Calvinists know how to share the astronomical winnings... yes, you have won something in outer space. Take your pick of any planet outside our solar system.
Do your worst...or your best! Provide a comical caption and win the same thing everyone else has won. The winning caption will be announced on June 7th!
New contest! New certificate created! This time the winner will receive the original artwork of Chic & Gumbo. (the art I did of the two...I know it's not much, but you will be the only one on the planet who has it!) JUST REMEMBER TO MAKE YOUR LIMERICK THEOLOGICAL IN CONTENT - AND FUNNY! Here is an example sent in by Herbie Popnecker:
A Christian Scientist from Theale said “I know that my pain is not real. When I sit on a pin and it punctures my skin I dislike the illusion I feel.”