A CHRISTIAN CARTOON RESOURCE - by Jeff Larson - December 7th, 2013
I’m Dreaming of a 'Secular-Humanist' Christmas Note to self.. Work hard to relax for Christmas! oxymoron? YES I AM!
Like an ugly ornament that I cannot bear to throw away is the following retelling of a Christmas Concert from just a few years ago. In December of 2007 my wife and I went on a Christmas date to get the season started off right, but I am not sure it was anything depicted by Bing Crosby singing White Christmas. Dinner..We started the evening off with a nice dinner at a local steak house in front of a roaring (gas/fake) fireplace as the temperature outside was moving down down down that Minnesota winter night. After dinner we were off to downtown Minneapolis to the Pantages Theatre to listen to an A Cappella group called the Blenders for their Christmas concert. <pause> The Weather Outside? frightful & freezing..Did I mention it was cold out? It was as my protestant friends would put it.. “BLESSED COLD!” and parking was not a simple task. There was a downtown Christmas parade in progress so after driving in a slow moving automotive circle/parade consisting of a series of one-way right hand turns for about 30 minutes we completed what was in affect a 360 degree oblong circle where we parked about 4 blocks from the theatre. The Walk..Then.. we began our Frozen Mecca to the Pantages Theatre walking into the wind. Air temp was about 2 below zero and wind chill we heard (and felt) was about 14 below. I was not wearing a hat, and my coat was was not a great coat for MinneFROZEta. So the weather outside was as the ol Christmas song goes.. FRIGHTFUL. Along our walk we passed by several downtown establishments.One was a gay bar and then we passed a club advertising topless girls, with the words.. hot, hot, hot over the topless ad. Now this is where I was tempted.. not to see topless girls.. but I asked my wife since they were hot maybe we could go in for a moment and warm ourselves by the heat. Ok, honestly there was no temptation here for me, just an excuse for me to share another bad pun with my wife so she could roll her now frozen eyes at me.
Pantages here we go.. We arrive about 15 minutes before the concert began. Shivering and frozen we bought a $3 cup of coffee from the cash bar in the lobby which my wife and I took turns holding it to keep warm. When another couple entered the theatre and sat next to us visibly cold too, I offered to let them hold my coffee for $1 apiece. They both laughed, but I did not see what was so funny. Let the Show Begin..So inside we go and the concert begins. The Blenders are very good and for me, one evening with an A Cappella group is enough. The Blenders are 4 guys I would guess their mid to late 30s in suits with choreographed movements like four Caucasian Temptations. professionals on parade..To add to the atmosphere there was a group of well dressed professional looking people taking up a large block of seats in front of us. I am guessing they were part of a company holiday party. That was fine.. I GUESS.. but this brought back bad memories of when I was part of a now defunct consulting firm that liked the look & style as only young professionals can. All in suits and dresses looking and ACTING the part of Type-A schmoozers without their ritalin. PLEASE PASS THE BUCKET. Ooops, sorry.. I guess I wrote that.. OUT LOUD.
Anyways..Being what I would describe as a blue collar person trapped for years in a white collar job I find that I loathe this kind of behavior. Shallow, notice me people that stood at intermission in front of my wife and I til I found myself again appreciating my departure from corporate America to my world of people wearing stripped shirts (not prison inmates, but referees) For those of you in corporate America.. let me offer both my apologies for my biased views, and my condolences for you being a part of it.
Let's have a drink.. NOTThen to add to their festive corporate schooze, was the booze. Besides the cash bar in the lobby there was one young good looking guy dressed and acting the part of this corporate love fest passing a flask with something that I am pretty sure was stronger than 7-Up.
My Night in a Nutshell..So here is my big Christmas night out with my wife.
I may make fun of my Friday evening out, but that is what I do. I am Christian who SMIRKS. I did have a good time with my wife.. I was cold.. but to be with the woman I love and to take time to be with her and appreciate her was a great way to start Christmas.
The next night.. was more low key as we spent it with our son Nate and his then girlfriend Kendra, and our daughter Erin with her boyfriend. We listened to Christmas music, made gingerbread cookies, and played the protestant approved game of cards.. Rook. It was a great evening which included a mini-fight with flour while making cookies.
IF.. IF by chance anyone from that corporate America party in 2007 reads this email about my great Saturday night making cookies you can thank God instead for your night out schmoozing sipping from your flask, with NO gingerbread cookies, flour prints on your $300 suit, or gingerbread crumbs stuck in your cleavage while donning a black backless & low cut dress that you bought special for this occasion and certainly NOT from the local JC Penney. Merry Christmas to all of you TOO who were on display at the Pantages Theatre Saturday night BLOCKING MY ‘BLESSED’ VIEW OF THE BLENDERS!!!!
Note: In stark contrast to my 2007 Blender Christmas, this year my wife and I are doing out to dinner and concert tonight. It is going to be -10 below zero and after going out fo a nice dinner, we are driving to downtown St. Paul to the Excel Energy Center to see Michael W Smith and Third Day offer a Christmas concert. It should be good A Cappella, and flask free night of worship and NOT a secular humanistic Christmas in any way.
Jeff (frozen in the back pew) Larson
The Back Pew is a collection of Christian cartoons and writings sharing Clean Humor and God's Truth.
The Back Pew believes you can have a sense of humor and still be allowed in Heaven.
A CHRISTIAN CARTOON RESOURCE - by Jeff Larson - December 3rd, 2013
This last week I have been sick.. alot. Sick the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving unable to keep food down. Healthy the next three days including Thanksgiving.. then sick again early Saturday morning through Sunday morning in search of an imodium IV. I don't like being sick (who does), and having sickness bookend Thanksgiving this year left me bored, frustrated, depressed and discouraged. And now with only 23 more shopping days before Christmas I do feel better but am in kind of a funk. I think I have the BLAA-HUMBUGS. My attitude was south of the North Pole or any Bethlehem Manger venue. My energy level is low to match my attitude, and so I better shape up before Santa comes. Slow Down & Savor the Season..So off I go to church this last Sunday, still very much in recovery mode from my week of sickness. I contemplated not going to church, but decided to persevere and worship with the saints. What I did find was the healing power of worship even for this norwegian with a mediocre singing voice and no sense of rythum. It was a service where I could sing or at least listen to the wonderful worship service and sermon that followed. This Sunday service helped me get my eyes off my blah-humbug attidtude and back on to my faith and the Christmas season.
Attitude Adjusted..Now that I am feeling better I see my glass of Christmas Eggnog is half full not half empty, and as we leave church and I am feeling pretty ok. So we stop for a drive through Sunday 'burger' dinner and then do a little Christmas shopping.
There is a popular jewelry commercial on TV with the jingle.. 'Every kiss begins with Kay's' implying men should buy the one you love the romantic gift of jewelry for Christmas. Well my wife and I have been married 29 years are very much in love, but instead gave each the romantic gift of furniture... while humming our own jingle.. 'Every Sunday Afternoon nap begins on a comfortable 3 piece living room set.' .. note: this furniture order should arrive before Christmas.
We then went home, had pizza for supper and so after a day not spent in the bathroom and while eating fast food for lunch and pizza for dinner.. I declare Jeff whole again.
A New Day is Dawning..So this brings me to Monday morning. One week ago I was miserable sick, today I am well and preparing for a big weekend of basketball games where I am responsible to assign officials for 500+ games. Besides this job I have tickets to a Christmas concert on Saturday night and will be attending a family Christmas party on Sunday. So it will be a week again much in need of prayer. I do not want the pace and demands of this week to bring back the blah-humbugs. I do look forward to a great week, and a great Christmas season, but like I said.. it will be a matter of prayer to accomplish what needs to be accomplished but slow down and even in our 24/7 society to enjoy Faith, Family, Friends, with a focus on the Birth of Jesus Christ. More than a Santa Fantasy, more important than any gift given or received is the birth of our Savior. as the Worship Leader Elvis Presley once sang... I'll have a blue Christmas without Jesus... or something like that. I pray your Christmas season is blessed with faith, family, and and friends as you celebrate the birth of Jesus.. and I pray you are blaaa-humbug free.
Jeff (blah in the Back Pew) Larson
A CHRISTIAN CARTOON RESOURCE - by Jeff Larson - November 29th, 2013
Naked as a Jay Bird ‘Naked as a Jay Bird’ sounds like the title of a Red Neck girlie magazine endorsed by Larry the Cable Guy, but I believe defined as someone who is totally vulnerable… and exposed.
Neither figuratively or negatively does Vulnerable and Exposed sound appealing. Naked as a Jay Bird In the Back Pew, does not describe a progressive church with a clothing optional Sunday, but it could describe..
Truly Exposed..There is no arguing the trauma of those found literally exposed in the above scenarios, but there is also the fear of those ‘figuratively’ found naked as a jay bird. Exposure Today..So since the literal beginning of time all the way through this moment as I type.. being ‘out there’ exposed to the elements for everyone to see is not what most of us want. I believe most times I fly under the radar. You will not find my name on any FBIs most wanted lists and more likely can be found on their LEAST wanted lists. That's the way I like it. For the most part I get by without anyone knowing the extent of my circumstances and flaws. Professional Exposure..Professionally Naked as a Jay Bird sounds like I work as a male stripper.. BUT no need to worry, my exposure was due to layoffs and/or me being 'let go'. While I am not the first person to make a career change around the age of 50, it still was a difficult time for me. I struggled with feelings of failure, and truth be told I worried as much if not more about the negative impression others may now have of jobless jay bird Jeff as I did the negative finacial reality I was now burdened with. God is good as I am thankful now to be self-employed, but the stinging memories of corporate america do sometimes haunt me. I know I am not alone with these feelings.. But that’s just a Jay Bird’s Job. What about other exposures we face. WHAT IF..
Jaybird Bingo..I have to say if this was Jay Bird Bingo, and the above mentioned possible exposures were spots on my NAKED JAY BIRD BINGO card, I should be able to either fill in most of these boxes myself or know someone that could.God's Grace = So What? So what if.. any or all of our secrets or secrets of others are exposed leaving us to feel ashamed and Naked as a Jay Bird. What can we do? Where can we turn? The proper question we should be asking is not SO WHAT IF?..but rather SO WHAT? Mankind’s goodness and abilities are limited, and our naked as a jay bird moments are many.. but God’s grace, and love is perfect and complete. The Bible is filled with stories of God’s forgiveness, providence, grace, and blessings for the redemptive heart. So .. WHAT IF we are
All these stories and more are the Victory over Mankinds Jay Bird Nakedness. So ..
WHAT IF .. you are flawed, and have secrets? SO WHAT!
Just like Moses, David, Elijah, Paul, and even the thief on the cross the possibilities for ‘life’ are limitless. We are not defeated, we are victors.
Remember.. Over exposure to the ‘Son’ is a good thing, and a repentant heart is all that is required of us to be on the path to peace, grace & forgiveness that covers any of our Naked as a Jay Bird moment.
May God bless each of you today with victory, and peace over all secrets that is found in the light.
ps note to pastors - Zip it!
A CHRISTIAN CARTOON RESOURCE - by Jeff Larson - December 1st, 2013
Every year during the Christmas season I take out and share this Christmas story like I do other Christmas decorations. I pray you enjoy. The BUZZ Around The Coffee Maker I am not in the traditional workplace anymore, but I remember the coffee maker was the gathering point for socializing with coworkers. While pouring a refill there was talk about family, upcoming vacations, sports, or the ever popular grumbling in hushed tones about the boss.
So imagine.. the buzz around the coffee maker in Heaven a little over 2000 years ago when God’s plan for saving mankind was 'leaked out' around Heaven's coffee maker where Betty and Larry the angels meet to fill their morning cup of Heaven's finest brew. <pause> I am talking COFFEE not BEER just to be clear. Betty the Angel: “Hey Larry, did you hear about the plan the 'boss' has for saving the world?” Larry The Angel: “No, so what’s the scoop?” Betty the Angel: “Well rumor has it, God's son Jesus will come to earth as a child born of a virgin in a barn and sleeps in a feeding trough for animals. His birth will not be proclaimed to the world to kings but to .. get this.. shepherds.“ Larry The Angel: “Shepherds?.” Betty the Angel: “No really it’s true. , and Jesus will be raised by a common carpenter and his wife” and for the next almost 30 years in rural Israel. Larry The Angel: “ Good one Betty, and so being a carpenter.. I suppose he will then build his father’s kingdom?” LOL! Betty the Angel: “I know this sounds bizarre, but I heard it all from a very reliable source. And THAT'S NOT ALL. Next, Jesus will choose 12 men to assist him as key members of his kingdom movement.” Larry The Angel: “You mean like a presidential cabinet of sorts comprised of priests, rabbis, maybe a few influential politicians, and seasoned military leaders would seem reasonable selections. Betty the Angel: “No, .. they are mostly fishermen.” Larry The Angel: “I see.. fishermen… So far we have Jesus born in a barn in obscurity except to shepherds, his critical years of development to be the King and Savior are spent as a carpenter instead of seminary? Yes, yes.. this makes ‘boat loads’ of sense…. NOT!” Betty the Angel: “I know, I know.. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL... Next Jesus takes on the established religious community. He will challenge, and mock their rules and motives.. which of course flies like a politically and religously incorrect Lead Balloon.“ Larry The Angel: “Now who is it you said you heard this all from? You were not talking to Cliffy from the mail room again were you? I know this is Heaven, but Cliff is full of it.” Betty the Angel: “No .. it was not Cliff, it was from a very reliable source. Now be quiet for a minute and let me finish.. then you can let your jaw drop to the floor… because THERE IS MORE!” Larry The Angel: - [ Larry motions that he is zipping his lip and smiles.. in silence ] Betty the Angel: “All of this leads to a final week when the salvation message is realized. Jesus in this unconventional plan lulls the leaders of the day into ..
Betty the Angel: Of course Jesus will not stay dead, but is RISEN from the dead, but not everyone will witness this.. and so believing in Jesus, and accepting his free gift of salvation will still be a matter of choice and requires a personal faith in things not seen or every fully understood. Larry The Angel: [still silent, Larry stands with his arms crossed] Betty the Angel: “That’s it Larry, believe me or not.. this is the God’s honest truth (no pun intended).”<pause> “Ok, now you can speak.” Larry The Angel: I don’t know who put you up to this.. but I would NOT tell these wild tales to anyone else… This is all CRAZY TALK.. and I have better things to do with my time. Next time you have anymore ’Revelations’ .. get it in writing on God’s very own BLESSED executive stationary!! Next time consider your sources before swallowing a whopper like this one hook line and sinker. You are just soooo gullable.” [Larry then walks back to work leaving Betty looking exasperated] Ok maybe it was not quite like this, but I don’t think this is a story line embraced in Hollywood. Kings, great rulers, and most certainly saviors would be scripted to be spectacular and not born in a barn, surrounded by sheep, raised as a poor carpenters boy to be the ONE challenging the motives ot the established church, stirring the hearts of the people, who is ultimately crucified as a criminal, but rises again our savior.. Then again.. Hollywood’s vision of drama is Law & Order reruns and ’passion’ is a steamy Hollywood 'love' story.
I thank God for the beauty of his plan. God's ways are not our ways, and his thought are higher than our thoughts Is 55:8-9. What a perfect and loving plan to save the world. Just like the wisemen when Jesus was born I pray we all seek to find the Messiah.May God bless each of you with a great day and may the great news of hope and salvation shared around Heaven's coffee maker over 2000 years ago be realized in each of our lives.
A CHRISTIAN CARTOON RESOURCE - by Jeff Larson - November 26th, 2013
Hi,ho, hi ho.. Now off to the Barnyard we go.Now the prelude to all good thanksgiving dinners must begin on a barnyard venue where turkeys run scared from ax wielding farmers bent on their demise.
Turkeys have long been recognized as a people er..aaa.. poultry group whose human er aaa.. BIRD rights and dignity obviously compromised each Thanksgiving. In response to this annual oppression a few great birds and movements have risen up to stand against the class system found on the farm. These birds of modest ideals dream of someday NOT being stuffed with bread crumbs.
Great Birds and Movements Remembered..
Over the years, there were many other attempts with little success to defy the inevitable dinner destiny of turkey town.
The seeming futility, and hopelessness on the turkey farms brought some birds to believe there is more to this life. The words of King Solomon in Ecclesiastes "There is nothing new under the sun", and "all of life is futile" seemed all that more true for turkeys. Could turkeys have a personal faith in a greater power. The reading of God's word has strangely provided comfort to turkeys on the farm.
Some turkeys cling to the words of the Apostle Paul who states "He can be content in all situations with Christ in his life."
Poultry Pop Culture..Within the Turkey population there is growing Pop Culture where reality television is all the rage. Shows like ..
A Healthy Mind, Body, and Gizzard..
As you can see, being a Turkey is not an easy life. This is true for turkeys on the farm, and those turkeys running our government in Washington DC.
So there you have it.. life on the farm and all thinks that go gobble, gobble have been covered with tedious detail.
I am thankful for the blessings of family, friends, faith, and the the journey of the turkey who will find his way to my dinner table this year.
I pray God will bless each of you in ways that are beyond your dreams, and never leaving you CRABBY on Thanksgiving.
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