Category Archives: Spirituality

The Gift

Once a great wizard had a son, who grew up with every benefit, and yet was ungrateful and unhappy.

Willing the son’s good, the wizard removed him from his grand estate, and set him on a lonely road in a foreign land. But as things went, the son wandered off the road, got lost in the dark and fell in a pit some hunters had dug for beasts.

He suffered there. He grew hungry, afraid, hopeless. Just when all seemed lost, the great wizard came to his rescue and lifted his son to safety.

Seeing his son’s miserable condition, the wizard magically healed his injuries, gave him food, dressed him in fine new clothes, and loaded his bags with gold.

Thus equipped, the son again set on his way, and coming to the next city, using the gold he had been given, invested in land, married well, prospered and forgot his near-death encounter.

He became a great man in the community. And yet, and yet, over time, as before, he again became unhappy.

All he could think of was his work, his possessions and his fear of losing all he had gained.

Then one day, the wizard came again to his son, in disguise, and finding him on his estate asked, “How is it that you have come by such a vast and beautiful home, and such a wonderful family?”

And then the son answered, “I worked hard, and invested wisely.”

The wizard sighed, the looking keenly on his son, he noted his continuing deep unhappiness, and again having great compassion on the him, the wizard stuck the estate with a spell and it disappeared in an instant.

The son was again on a remote road, again he was poor, and alone, and again he wandered from the path and again he fell into a covered pit and again the wizard came to him, again as his father, and lifted him out.

But this time, willing his son’s happiness more than anything, the wizard did not give him clothes, or food or gold. Instead the wizard, out of great love for his son, gave him the gift of a powerful memory.


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The Mystic

One year after he retired he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

It didn’t phase him. He took this chemo, he did his stem cell transplant. He went back to work as a consultant.

When his wife left him for an ice skating pro turned instructor, he took up chess.

When his house burned down he rebuilt it.

This is who he was.

His first career had been in fuel injectors. He had improved them.

His second career had been in fabric — bulletproof vests. He developed a material superior to Kevlar.

His third career was with NASA designing doors for the shuttles. He made them safer.

He finished up his stellar resume with a job as the CEO in a company that made lasers to create three-dimensional cross-sections of art works.

Then early one fall morning, not long after his stem cell, while he was lying in bed asleep, a red leaf fell in the White Mountains, a grain of sand blew on to a ridge in Sossusvlei, a fog obscured the San Francisco Bay bridge, a proscenium curtain closed in Makati, the sun rose over Vesuvius, and an aneurism burst in his head.

He had lived his entire life knowing things, but in that moment, a second before he perished, he saw as if in one moment, a million wonderful things that he did not understand.

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Hell Yes!

“I want to talk to the boss!”

“Yeah, so does everybody.”

“There has been a mistake!”

“Yeah, everybody says that.”

“I went to church!”

“Good for you.”

“I still go to church!”

“Then you are in exactly the right place.”

“What? There are churches here?”

“Are you kidding me? There are more churches in hell than any place in the cosmos. Hell, there is a church on every corner. ”

“What? That’s crazy!”

“Yup, ca-razy man, ca-razy. Little churches, big churches, mid-sized churches — you got it all here!”

“No, you’re lying!”

“No, I swear to God, with all the religious people who are here, all the priests and pastors, Sunday school teachers, elders, worship leaders and Bible study leaders — you think somebody didn’t do a church plant? You think somebody doesn’t still need to prove something? You think somebody isn’t still building the kingdom? You think somebody isn’t still taking the offering?”

“But what about the fire?”

“Fire? Fire? We got the fire, and the brimstone! Hell yes! You ain’t heard a fiery sermon ’til you’ve heard one preached in hell! And alter calls, and prayin’ and slayin’ — we got all that here! You are gonna love it here! There is no better place for a good churchman or church lady to make a permanent home and join a church than in hell!”

“People don’t want to leave?”

“Are you kidding me, church people want to leave hell? Why would they want to do that?”

“To go to heaven!”

“Man, you don’t get around much, do you? There are no good churches in heaven!”








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He stepped to the edge, paused for 78 years, and then leaning forward, fell, off the cliff.

Below him, thousands of meters below, angled and jagged like the Alps, peaks, points, and particularized pro-frontal promontories rose to meet him; prior plans, past promenades and particularly attractive pouts, pips, pants and pie charts, familiar all, shot upward to meet him.

Falling fast, he looked to the sky above — nothing — then glanced down again at his fall. The jutting razor-sharp edges below were nearer now, and they seemed to be knifing up towards him as if alive, coming at him now like vicious sets of teeth, gnashing the air he would soon fall into and pass through.

He extended his arms, he closed his eyes, he relaxed his body, and swan-diving, he opened, and fell fast now, symmetrically, cutting through the hissing air, and then — as if his feet had exploded with fire — his trajectory altered, and he swooped, back up, began to ascend, and suddenly as if powered up, he rocketed back the way he’d fallen, shooting skyward like a small bottle rocket, flying upward now like a great space craft, charged now like a superman, he put his hands together in front of him and disappeared into the universe.

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He came to church in his three-piece suit, fitted, stylin’, stood on the platform with a wireless mic at his cheek, iPad in hand and soliloquized!

He was eloquent! It was beautiful! Totally inspiring! The thousands of people who heard him went home raving!

Once the sermon was put on the church website, there were thousands of hits within a few days! Word got out.

“He rocked it! That was so inspiring”

There was another man who came to that church the same Sunday and stood in the back with a skirt on. Then dropped it. Then he took off his shirt. He was totally naked in church.

A greeter rushed over to help, a friend came down from the balcony to assist, his step-mom, seated besides him, immediately turned her attention to him, as if to a small child. They got his clothes back on. Very few people actually saw it; those who did, helped redress him.

No one involved said anything; they simply covered him, and walked out of the church with him and his step-mom at the end of the service.

A visitor, who had seen both the three-piece man and the naked man that day, said to his friend leaving church with him, “I’ll be back next week.”

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What’s Wrong With A Little Bit of Violet?

It was blue, he felt, that was wrong. It was unnatural.

The enemy, the deviants, the perverts — they were blue. These people must be confronted, and they must be stopped from wearing blue, from advocating blue, and from proudly being blue. Blue was disgusting!

So, he led a charge to preserve the existing laws against being blue. He went further. He did everything he could to change people from being blue to being violet. “God,” he proclaimed, pointing to his own color, “made us violet!” He founded an anti-blue organization. He funded a pro-violet campaign. He wrote several pieces on the effectiveness of color-change counseling, and he spoke at conferences for youth advocating color purity.

But shockingly, at the heights of his anti-blue influence, three set backs occurred that had him changing colors right and left. First, his wife discovered that he had a blue relationship with his personal secretary. But, upon defending his blue to his wife, he turned bright red. Secondly, his taxes were audited — he had hidden some income — which caused him to cameleon into a very deep shade of yellow. Finally, he was hit by a bus while crossing a busy street, which of course made him no color at all.

He went straight to heaven, and upon arriving there he announced to God, “Too soon, my good man! You pulled the plug too soon. There’s anti-blue work to be done. Send me back. I must defend your dear, violet people!”

“Not happening,” said God.

“I know I wasn’t perfect!” he protested. And then, oddly enough, before God and in heaven, as he spoke he began to color again, brightening into a light, thin shade of red. He continued, “But whatever you have on me, you know that I fought the blue people, and I defended the cause of natural, normal, decent folks.”

“It’s not happening, ” said God.

“But why?” shouted the man turning even more red. “Is this about my little bit of blue?”

“No,” said God. “Your blue was far too weakly human to cause me to pull your plug?”

“Is this about my yellow?” he shouted, now gradually turning from red to a very distinct shade of violet.

“What?” said God. “Are you kidding?”

“Then what is this about?” screamed the now very, very violet man. “I did a lot of good on earth! I deserve some respect here. I demand that you tell me, now!”

“It’s about that,” said God, pointing at him.

“What, in God’s name,” said the man, looking at his outstretched finger, “is wrong with a little bit of violet?”

“Yours,” said God, “is unnatural.”

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Dreaming of Beautiful Fish

One day, a man had a dream that he went fishing in a deep lake. The water was dark, green and beautiful.

He fished alone with an old pole he knew well.

He put on a small lure, plain and simple and ran it deep. In the first pass he took a heavy fish. The fish ran hard under the water, pulling his pole down, then broke the surface with a splash.

He waited for another run, the thrill of the fight, but the fish had given up, and he pulled it to the bank.

It lay in front of him, beautiful and quiet. Very gently took it up and removed the hook from its soft, red mouth.

It was a dark green fish with a perfect red mouth and a perfectly symmetrical pattern of vertical black stripes. It was long, healthy, fresh and so very finely demure. He looked down and thought how beautiful it was.

Then the fish looked up at him and said softly but so very clearly, “We are here.”

And he threw his lure back in the deep pool to fish again.

Then the old man awoke, and thoughts ran in his mind, and rising from his bed, he said to all the world, “Together we might fish like that for people and for their beautiful children, trolling deep, and throwing back in, and in doing so we may catch more beautiful ones as well.”

And then exiting his bedroom, he stopped and paused and said to know one in particular but to everyone in specific, “Come fishing with me.”

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The Cowboy and The Commandments

One day a large, particularly well-scrubbed cowboy walked into a church with a six-gun swagger, leaned over the raised partition of the desk of the lovely office manager and demanded, “Repeat the two most important commandments!”

The office manager rolled her chair back, looked over her shoulder to see if the cavalry might be riding in from the behind her, and seeing no one, did a quick check to see if the front of her desk was high enough to prevent a rodeo trick.

The big white hat then said loudly,“You shall love the LORD your God with all your might, all your soul and all your strength, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself!”

He paused for effect and asked dourly,”Don’t you know the commandments?”

Then the cowboy leaned further toward her over the desk and asked for a gas card.

In precisely that moment, the pastor came from the back to say that the church wouldn’t be giving out any gas cards to men in cowboy hats who could quote the commandments.

“What kind of Christians are you?” asked the cowboy incredulously.

“We are the kind who don’t give away gas cards,” said the pastor.

“No, you are the kind that will rot in hell!” said the cowboy.

“Are you freakin’ kidding me,” said the pastor, “we’re Baptists!”

“Hell was created for Baptists!” yelled the cowboy. “Because they don’t help anybody!”

“Actually, I have  thought of that possibility,” said the pastor. “We are so messed up here! You wouldn’t believe what we refuse to do for people. We refuse to pay their cell phone bills!”

With that, the cowboy turned abruptly on the heels of his shiny cowboy boots and blasted out of the office door.

“Pray, for us!” yelled the pastor to the large white hat as it floated away from him across the parking lot and headed straight toward a fullsized, late-model black and chrome truck.

Then, just as the office door had almost closed, the pastor and the office manager thought they saw the cowboy throw one of his hands in the air as if to worship — or perhaps not.

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