Monday, May 30, 2011

Overheard at the Counter

Niall Carter, looking at his phone, blurts out, "Jesus has a Facebook page!"

John Steppenwolf says, "You didn't know that?"

The Barista, handing Steppenwolf his Cinnamon Frappe, says, "I like His status: JESUS - PUBLIC FIGURE."

Niall says, "Like we've brought Him down into our little status 'box'."

Steppenwolf says, "You've been reading Your God is Too Small."

"Yeah, thanks for that. It's a good little one. Little too dated back to the 50s, but still got some good points . . . we need a new one now for this - Jesus on Facebook! Does He also tweet?"

Steppenwolf says, "I'm just waiting for the text that from Him that says FLASH MOB RAPTURE ------- RIGHT NOW!"

The Barista says, "All I know is that I'd hate for Him to 'unfriend' me!"

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Left at the Counter

With a note written on the inside:

Read this again with new eyes.

Remember that you don't have to burn words in order to destroy them.

Overheard at Booth 5

Billy: Know what the most popular name to name your baby in Britain was last year?

Joe: William?

Jim: Nope, that was second.

Bob: First was Mohammad.

Billy: Looks like them Muslims're taking over.

Joe: Sure looks like.

Jim: So, what was the most popular in America last year.

Bob: Jacob.

Billy: And Edward.

Joe: Isabella for girls.

Jim: Look like we all name our kids after what we worship.

Bob: Sure looks like.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Overheard at Booth 2

Girl #1: Hey how come you haven't texted me back?

Girl #2: My dad took away my cell.

Girl #1: Dude, your dad is like, so mean.

Girl #2: No joke! It's like living in hell, like, you know, I can't DO anything. Like, he's always like making me study and telling me to pick up my dishes, and it's like, sucky.

Girl #1: Dude, your life is like, major fail.

Girl #2: Like, no joke!

Girl #1: So, have you like, finished your report on the Elie Weasel guy, like, that book "Night"?

Girl #2: Almost. I mean, like, I wrote something. Like, about how he got separated from his mom and his sister and his dad and he were like, in the concentration camps, and he like, got his foot fell off because of frostbite, and then his dad died.

Girl #1: Yeah. Sucks to be him!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Overheard at Table 1

Man #1: I now know why in the olden days they used to marry their daughters off at the age of 15.

Man #2: How's that?

Man #1: Because my daughter is 14.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Overheard at Table 5

Some guy is pulling frantically through page after page of a thick black book, saying, "Where in here does it say that Christ told us it was OK to kill 'enemy combatants'? I can't find it!"

Another guy at Table 4 says, "Isn't there something in there where he tells his disciples to go out and spread the word and if they won't hear, then to 'shake the dust off your sandles' as you leave their house? I think that's tantamount to ridding yourself of them."

Yet another guy at Table 1 says, "But doesn't that mean more of ignoring them and moving on?"

And still another guy at Booth 2 says, "And that's even TELLING them the word of God FIRST. I don't see how we can deliver the message of Christ on the tip of a bullet."

Overheard at the Counter

Niall Carter says to Verble, take a look at this link, tell me what you think?

Verble says, interesting how there's no mention of the engorged military spending over endless war that got us upside down.

Niall says, ain't it funny how they can always come back and blame the sick and the old for the financial mess?

The Barista says, it's always the bully who picks on the weakest target.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Overheard at Booth 5

Listen to this passage I'm reading in this book I found the other day, it goes - lemme see . . .

"and the paranoic truth that we as humans refuse to recognize is the infinite and intricate limitations of our own humanity, both in the infinite capacity for evil and the finite opportunities for good. We turn to religion to both debase ourselves at the same time we try to sanctify ourselves, and we are left with a schizophrenic narcissistic self-loathing.

"On the other hand, to ignore religion and its precepts that assist on keeping our focus truly on God, we eventually open our eyes to see nothing but ourselves. Beyond narcissism, this choice leads us directly into megalomania, wherein the world exists solely to satisfy every whim. Our thought becomes the mind of God, and every word that sprays from our lips is the breath that moves across oceans and creates worlds.

"So, where is the healthy balance? Where is the healthy balance? I think we can find it in the words of Jesus Christ, when He said, 'Love God with all your soul, heart, strength, and mind' because by doing this, we are so fully concentrating on that which is the dawnspring and the final closing of all creation, that we have no time for the selfishness that creeps into both the following of religion and the following of ourselves.

"And then, His second great commandment, in which he cuts right through to the heart of our own Love of Self, where He commands us to 'Love your neighbor just like you love yourself.' That's probably more difficult than loving God, because to us God is a concept, so far beyond ourselves that we can cut Him some slack. But with this, we're left thinking, 'Love other people the way I love myself? Really? Even that stinky sick homeless guy who puked all over the street right in front of me? Even that nasty woman at work who always makes the whole department yell at each other because she's so stupid and miserable?'

"Yes, we think this way. Our selves are, in the end, the only thing standing in the way of our true happiness, which is found only in getting ourselves out of the way, ripping ourselves out of our hearts and replacing it with thoughts of God and love for the rest of humanity."

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Overheard at Booth 1

Saw a bumper sticker yesterday, it read

God Bless Our Troops,
Especially Our Snipers

I was sick to my stomach. As a Christian, I can no longer stand silent against the coldness of the invective to call down the name of the Most High God to celebrate the death of another human being, no matter how repugnant our country has told us they are.

Jesus said we are to love our enemies, because to hate our enemies makes us just like everybody else. If we have this attitude of "God's on our side when we kill our enemies," then we are worshipping the same unholy diety that everybody else invokes from time immemorial - some strange god who thirsts for blood and death and destruction.

Our Jesus is a loving God. He commanded us not to kill. He commanded us to love our enemies. You can't love your enemy with a rocket launcher, a rifle shot, or a drone attack. You love your enemy by walking into his land with a Bible in your hand and telling him that even though he might put a bayonet through your heart, you are there to help him build a well for clean water for the children of the village.

The true warriors for Christ? The true soldiers for Jesus?

Our missionaries. Those who go out into dangerous lands with nothing but their wives, their kids, their love for Jesus and their desire to follow Him.

Metal armor, Humvees, air cover, missles - that is simply man's armor. That's not God's armor.

We need to bring our troops back home. Right now. Bring them back to their families and their loved ones and heal their wounds - both mental and physical - and pray God to make them whole again.

And we need to read our Bibles one more time, really good this time, and once we do, maybe we'll realize it's time to tear off those bumper stickers that extol the demonic lie that is the supposed virtue of "righteous murder."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Overheard at Table 5: The Ten Commandments in New Orleans

Been bothering me for awhile now.

What's that?

Something our pastor mentioned during one sunday school, where he wondered if there would have been any looting in New Orleans if the schools had had the Ten Commandments displayed at the entrance.

It's not what's written on the front of a building, it's what's written in your heart that matters.

That's kind of what I've been thinking.

I mean, dang, they could have had Thou Shalt Not Steal tattooed on their foreheads from the time they were little babies, and that wouldn't have made a difference. Likewise, the white mobs who took up guns and started shooting black indescriminately, well, why aren't we asking why they didn't have the Sermon on the Mount memorized or branded on their skin?

I don't know.

I'd like to ask your preacher that.

Well, we've got another class next Sunday morning.

I think I'd like to be there.

Overread at the Counter: from 365

from 365:


If I were to describe you,
my wife, I would say
that you are a poem
by Pablo Neruda,
and you bring forth
from my heart, the
poetry of e.e. cummings.

No other two.
Simply this.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Overread at Booth 4: Nick Flynn - Cartoon Physics Part 1

Cartoon Physics, part 1

Nick Flynn

Children under, say, ten, shouldn't know
that the universe is ever-expanding,
inexorably pushing into the vacuum, galaxies

swallowed by galaxies, whole

solar systems collapsing, all of it
acted out in silence. At ten we are still learning

the rules of cartoon animation,

that if a man draws a door on a rock
only he can pass through it.
Anyone else who tries

will crash into the rock. Ten-year-olds
should stick with burning houses, car wrecks,
ships going down -- earthbound, tangible

disasters, arenas

where they can be heroes. You can run
back into a burning house, sinking ships

have lifeboats, the trucks will come
with their ladders, if you jump

you will be saved. A child

places her hand on the roof of a schoolbus,
& drives across a city of sand. She knows

the exact spot it will skid, at which point
the bridge will give, who will swim to safety
& who will be pulled under by sharks. She will learn

that if a man runs off the edge of a cliff
he will not fall

until he notices his mistake.

from Some Ether, 2000
Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minn.

Copyright 2000 by Nick Flynn.
All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Overheard at the Counter

Steppenwolf says, "I heard that Trump was down in the polls."

The Barista says, "Yeah - even the polls that he made up himself!"

Niall says, "Did anyone really believe that interview where he suddenly came out as Pro-Life? Man, that is sucha fade. I suppose to get the nod even The Donald has to toe the party line."

Steppenwolf, "Apparently not well enough."

Verble says, "Even a pack of serpents knows which one is the rubber snake."

(a pause)

Niall says, "What does that even mean?"

Verble puts on his hat and takes his umbrella to step outside into the pouring rain, and says, "Let it sink in a few minutes. It'll come to ya."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Overheard at Table 2: Notes from Underground Revisited

Niall is reading from a new book that he has recently found in a used book store:

"My head is buried in the dirt and my face is toward the sky. The earth has been slowly smoothed around my limbs and my torso. I am half buried in the underground. If you were to look at me, it would appear to you as though only the front relief of a man's body was to be seen, pulsing up from the earth. I am as a sculpture made in the sand, and if the waves were to crash over me, my body would be swept into the sea.

"My eyes are open and I can see. However, I cannot move. I am melded here to this soil. I can move my fingers, but not my wrists or arms. I can wiggle my toes, but not my ankles. I am enmeshed, immobile, and trapped in this earth that holds me like stone and will not let me go.

"All that I am able to do, from this point of view, here, in this earth, is watch. I watch my country. I watch the people. I watch the turning wheels of the machinations that are grinding these trees into sawdust and burning the rivers dry.

"Last week my country killed the villian who brought down the symbols of our financial world domination. We walked into his walled compound where he had lived in impunity in the country to which we give $80 billion per year, to pay their military to help us find this villian. They had trained their military soldiers under the shadow of his watchful, hiding eye. They, for their turn, did not know that we were going to raid his house and kill him. In retaliation, they have put another of our high ranking CIA officials in danger by calling him by name in the streets, streets filled with thieves, operatives, spies, soldiers of fortune - all who would kill him for money or sheer recognition. This is the game that we play in countries all across the world. We give them money to train their soldiers to use the guns that we sell them, guns which are occasionally used against our soldiers that we train to use the guns that we sold ourselves, to use against the countries who have the guns that we sold them to use occasionally against us.

"I am not insane. It is the we who are insane. The most sane decision that I have made is to be part of this immovable earth.

"Today the state of Illinois outlawed Planned Parenthood. An organization that was set up to lift inner-city women out of poverty by giving them some semblance of control over their own ovaries, their own uteri, their own fallopian tubes, their own vaginas, their own creation and procreation. The woman who founded the organization is vilified, and slandered. Sixty years dead and we still take her out of her grave and slap around her memory and our evangelicals rape her image, spilling their clean seed over her vile Nazi tendencies. And the girls who walk to the doors to these houses of the planning of the family are faced with the scowls and the condemnation, and we call our daughters whores for being tricked, for being slandered, and we blame them for believing in the idle promises that we have jokingly told our sons to tell whenever they want what they want whenever there is that need in their loins, and all the while we seal our mouths at the wrong times when we should be telling our daughters and sons the truth, the real truth about these bodies of ours. The truth is that these bodies are beautiful and they are made to be one half of a whole, that they are made to be joined together in holy unity, blessed by God, and we are made to enjoy each other in sensuality and in joy and to satisfy all the lustful cravings in our communal yin/yang thrashings in the marriage bed . . .

"But no. We never say this. We simply hand them a book and a class in 5th grade that tells them the mediocre scientific names of their body parts, and we say, 'If you get yourself in trouble it's all your fault.'

"And now we close the doors on the institutions that sprang up out of their need from our own inadequacies. We ourselves are too shamed to admit that we have done this to our children.

"Today I heard a story on the news, the news from a bird who had kindly consented to perch itself on a nearby fencepost and sing to me in alternating chirps and trills. At first I thought that the bird was merely sending out a locating beacon, but the chirps were different, varying, modulating in speed and tone and intensity. At times it was fast, at times slow, at times it was like a gyroscope, with a long arc up and down after cresting the wave. Eventually it dawned on me that this bird was giving the news report, it was calling out the history of America. Part of the history lesson from the news of this bird was of the Congo, in 1961, so many years before now, so many years and yet it is still happening now, in so many ways.

"We paid a butcher to assinate a democratically elected leader, because this democratically elected leader had told us that he wanted his country's natural resources to belong to his country and its people. So we had him killed. Killed by a man who, when he rose to power, put white officers in charge of black troops. These officers handed out very few bullets, for fear of mutiny. The troops were told that, for every bullet that they used, they must bring back a hand. The white officers were afraid that the black soldiers would hide the bullets, store them up, save them for a future mutiny. Many times, the black soldiers would shoot at a person and miss. The person might even get away. Then, the black soldiers would cut off someone's hand, to take back to the white officers to show them, say 'here. see? I used the bullet. here is the hand.' Sometimes it would be the hand of a child. Eventually, pictures were taken of a nation that had only one hand per person. A nation full of lopsided wraiths hip deep in mud, panning for gold for only 50 cents per day, gold which brought the butcher who ordered this collection of hands more than $50 million dollars per year.

"This was all in the time when our country was burning bras and wanting to drink from communal water fountains.

"When the bird finished her history report, she chirped three times, for some reason, and then flew away. I could not see where she went."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Overheard at Booth 3

I knew the instant I heard the news that the Repulsos were going to going to try to spew us the lies that it was because of waterboarding, and give all the credit to Bush.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Overread at the Counter

america you have invalidated your own
constitution for the sake of a handful of spit.
america you have tortured the privates of human beings
for the sake of your own desires.
america you stand on the brink now of the precipice,
looking down into the gaping mouth of the hole you have
drilled through the heart of the world,
filled with the open mouths of six billion souls
waiting to hold you accountable for the
rain that you have made them swallow
for five decades and counting.

america i saw on the back of your bumper today
that you are "GOD N GUNS SINCE 1776"
america you are sick with your own proseletyzing.
america don't you ever bleed from the eyeballs
from your own semper fi?

america do you even know that the screams of
the children in a desert in asia
may one day be the screams of your own in indiana?

from 365