We Have Often Entertained Angels Unaware

, , , , , , | Related | April 22, 2021

I was raised Catholic and used to be very involved in the church. I was baptized and confirmed, I used to be a catechism teacher in high school, I was in the youth group and youth choir, my sister was in the choir and was an altar server, my mom was a catechism teacher for over a decade, and my father was a lector and Eucharistic minister. We went to church every Sunday. Sometime after I moved out of my parents’ house, I stopped going to church, mostly out of laziness.

It is Palm Sunday, the weekend before Easter. I am at my parents’ house, and they invite me to church with them. I decide to go — why not? On the car ride to church and during mass, my dad starts “preparing” me for what mass is going to be like, basically teasing me and pretending this is my first time ever in a church. He explains what a missalette is, tells me when to sit, stand, and sing, and makes small comments throughout mass with a tiny smile on, so I know he’s joking.

It is time for communion. My mom is standing between us. My dad leans over.

Dad: “After the priest gives you communion, you say ‘Amen’.”

I smile, he stands back on his side, and I whisper to my mom:

Me: “I thought I was supposed to say, ‘Compliments to the chef’?”

She lets out a laugh/snort and covers her mouth to hide her smile. My dad, clueless, asks her to relay what I said. She tells him, and he looks at me, trying to stifle a giggle. Hiding his smile, he tells me:

Dad: “You’re going to Hell.”

I hope God has a sense of humor.

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Moonshine Is The Devil’s Drink; Wine Is A Gift From God

, , , , , , | Related | April 12, 2021

My mother-in-law recently bought a house in a small rural town and asked my husband and me to move in with her. She is very religious and has an interesting take on what is moral and what isn’t. Once we get settled in, I decide to learn a bit about the local history.

Me: “And did you know that [Town] used to be called [Name] Tavern? It was known for its moonshine. It’s a shame that there isn’t a bar in town called [Name] Tavern, but since it’s a dry county, I guess that’s out.”

Mother-In-Law: “We have moved into a hotbed of sin and alcoholism! We live in a tavern! How will I ever face my friends again?! They’ll think I’m a dirty liquor lover if they ever find out! Moonshine is the devil’s drink!

My husband then comes out of his office. 

Husband: “Hey, [My Name], do you feel like driving to [Neighboring Town] and getting us some wine to go with the steaks tonight?”

Mother-In-Law: “Oh, get me a good Pinot Grigio while you’re there. I’m almost out.”

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Pain Isn’t Heavenly But It Has Its Perks

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 19, 2021

Some years ago, my dad hurt his leg and had to walk with a cane while it was healing. Around that time, a friend of our family, who has been blind from birth, came to visit. My dad and the friend went to church one Sunday, and the Bible reading happened to be about the people who will be invited to the wedding feast in Heaven.

Priest: *Reading* “’Go out into the highways and byways and seek out the poor, the lonely, the blind, and the lame.’”

My dad leaned over to his friend and said:

Dad: “We’re in!”

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Did… Did It Work?

, , , , , | Healthy | March 14, 2021

This is a story my colleague told me about his uncle. His uncle is rather superstitious and believes in a lot of weird things. When he tests positive for a certain rapidly spreading illness, his first reaction is to go to a bomoh — Malaysian witch-doctor — for an exorcism. For various reasons, my colleague is stuck accompanying his uncle to the bomoh.

Bomoh: “Okay, I can exorcise you. Hold still, please.”

Uncle: “Okay.”

Bomoh: “Begone, evil spirits!”

He pulls out a toy laser gun and points it at [Uncle]’s head.

Bomoh: “All-laaah!”

Typing this out does not give it justice. The way my colleague repeated it, it sounded like a mix of singsong, bombastic, and high.

He pulls the trigger and the gun lights up.

Bomoh: “Fire, fire, fire! Pew, pew, pew! Fire, fire, fire!”

My colleague’s jaw drops, [Uncle]’s jaw drops, and they sit there, stunned.

Bomoh: “Not enough? Okay. Duaaal wieeld!”

He says that last bit the same way he said, “Allah!” previously.

He pulls out another toy gun and fires it at [Uncle].

My colleague didn’t tell me what happens next, but when the exorcism is over…

Uncle: “Uh, maybe we should go to the hospital.”

Colleague: “You think?”

Once he finished his quarantine, my colleague returned to work and told me all about it.

Colleague: “Like, the man was hip. I didn’t think that bomohs were so advanced these days.”

Me: “He sounded like he was high on something.”

Colleague: “Oh, he probably was. But that was just silly, man.”

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Guess We’ll Just Live In Sin, Then!

, , , , | Working | January 29, 2021

When my fianceé and I were planning our wedding, one of our first decisions was the person who would perform the service. She had been raised in a fundamentalist Protestant sect, and although she had become more liberal in her thinking, she was still friendly with her pastor and his family, so he was a natural choice.

We made an appointment to ask the pastor to fill the ceremonial role. And we were shocked when he refused, quite cruelly, and turned on me, asking me pointed questions about my beliefs and referring to our “mixed marriage.” My metaphysics is more middle of the road. I stood my ground, at one point asking him:

Me: “So, you believe that Anne Frank, unbaptized infants, and toddlers go to Hell?”

Pastor: “There are degrees of punishment.”

So, yes. We left with my fianceé in tears, and we got my parents’ minister to officiate.

But it didn’t end there. Between then and the wedding, the pastor called and begged my fianceé not to marry me, saying it would be “her biggest mistake.” She hung up on him.

Everything got settled when his wife wrote my fianceé a letter and told her that they had always hoped she would marry their oldest son. He wasn’t worried about her immortal soul; he just wanted to keep her on the market!

We got married without her minister in attendance and, several decades later, we are happily retired with successful children and well-adjusted grandkids. And the oldest son they wanted her to marry? Mutual friends report he is living in a squalid trailer park in Florida, barely making ends meet.

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