Monday, November 16, 2015

How It Must Have Happened

The Reverend Roy Herberger, pastor of St. Columbia-Brigid Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo, New York, wanted to put up a funny sign. "Everybody likes funny church signs," he thought, so he went to Google where he found a lot:


DO YOU KNOW WHAT HELL IS?
COME MEET OUR PREACHER

GOD SHOWS NO FAVORITISM
BUT OUR SIGN GUY DOES
GO CUBS!

IPOD? IPAD?
TRY IPRAY
GOD IS LISTENING

One sign in particular, though, struck close to home. He prided himself on keeping tabs on his congregation, and he knew it included a lot of remarried parents. Weren't some of those kids struggling with stepparents? he wondered. Shouldn't he show some support? "I sure as heck will!" he declared, and he went outside and put up this sign:



Within seconds the church's phone was ringing off the hook. Catholics don't support gay marriage! the callers screamed. This is blasphemy! Are you crazy? Are you saying it's okay for gay couples to raise kids?

Naturally Rev. Herberger was shocked. He didn't mean anything like that! He was just providing encouragement to the children in his congregation who had, say, a regular dad along with a new stepdad.

Embarrassed, he raced outside and added a clarifying line:


JESUS HAD 2 DADS
AND HE TURNED OUT JUST FINE
BUT THEY WEREN'T MARRIED TO EACH OTHER

Still, the phone didn't stop ringing. "Are you saying God and Joseph were dating?" Old Lady Blandings screamed. "I'm trying to come up with a reason why you think Jesus' two dads should have gotten married," yelled Willie Grimshaw, a local plumber. "But all I can come up with is YOU'RE A MORON."

Rev. Herberger quickly jogged outside, and he changed the message to this:


JESUS HAD 2 DADS
WHO DIDN'T HAVE SEX WITH EACH OTHER
AND HE TURNED OUT JUST FINE

"I'm a little confused," said "Tiny" Mike Gastrudo. "Are you saying the two dads never had sex with each other, or stopped having sex with each other?" "So everything's cool if the two dads don't have sex with each other?" asked a furtive, anonymous voice. "Can they still, like, come on each other's chests?

This time Rev. Herberger sprinted outside, and he rewrote the message to say this:


JESUS WAS CO-PARENTED BY OUR HOLY FATHER
AND SOME RANDOM GUY WHO HUNG AROUND MARY
AND HE TURNED OUT JUST FINE

The first phone call he answered was supportive. "Thank you so much for the comforting message, Reverend," said parishioner Ida Rae Thompson. "I thought the church would frown on it if they knew I left my Cremona for weeks at a time with a guy I met at Skunky Junk's." The fifty-odd calls that followed, though, used words like "heretic" and "burned at the stake."

Rev. Herberger was at his wits' end. "I'M LOST!" he yelled to God. "I'M CONFUSED! PLEASE, GOD, HELP ME! GIVE ME A MESSAGE! SEND ME A SIGN!"

A parishioner walking by heard the plea and decided to get back at the Reverend. In his most booming voice he shouted, "I can't! I'm too busy having sex with some random guy who used to hang around with Mary!"

Rev. Herberger freaked out. Was that really God? he asked himself. Or had the flap driven him nuts? Had he gone stark, raving mad? It didn't matter. He was finished. He'd been broken in two, flattened, humbled. The previous Rev. Herberger didn't exist any more. But then it hit him like a bolt of lightning: wasn't that what religion was all about? Letting go of one's ego so Our Lord can take charge? He took down the message and replaced it with this:



The Reverend admired his handiwork and put the spare letters away. Just as he was locking up the church for the evening, the phone started to ring, and he thought, "Wait."

1 comment:

Yet Another Steve said...

I'd heard minor rumors about this big flap, but your explanation finally sheds a much-needed light on it. Thank you!

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