David Bruce: Resist Psychic Death — Christmas, Church, Clothing

Christmas

• At a Christmas pageant, young Paul Candler Porter had to play a barefooted shepherd. He wasn’t interested in being in the pageant, but being the son of a preacher, he knew he couldn’t get out of it. Still, he wished to find a way to make it more interesting. During the pageant, young Paul stood still and looked down at his feet, and all of the other children in the pageant kept breaking out in laughter, although they tried to stifle it. After the pageant was over, Paul’s parents found out what had happened. Young Paul had drawn funny faces on his feet and during the pageant had amused himself — and the other children in the pageant — by moving the muscles in his feet to make the faces change expression.

• In a Nativity play acted by 1st-graders, Mary was attended by a physician, who announced to Joseph after the birth of Jesus, “Congratulations — it’s a God.”

Church

• During church service, Barbara McKeever’s grandson told her that a woman singing a solo couldn’t sing very well. She answered, “She sings from her heart, so it’s good.” Afterward, she was singing along with the car radio, and her grandson told her, “You sing from the heart, too, don’t you?”

• Church of Christ preacher Raccoon John Smith spoke about Repentance for several Sundays in a row. When his congregation complained, Raccoon John replied, “When you doit, I’ll quit preaching on that and take up something else.”

Clothing

• In July 2008, Mary J. Blige overheard a stranger at the Diane von Furstenberg store in New York talking to a sales assistant about a dress. The customer had a $900 dress on hold, but she was dismayed when she heard the price because she had thought the dress cost $500, and she couldn’t afford $900. Ms. Blige gave the woman $400. At first, the woman did not want to take the money, but Ms. Blige said, “I know what it’s like to want something and not be able to have it. I insist.” The woman then accepted the money, but said that she wanted to send Ms. Blige a check when she had the money. Ms. Blige declined the offer, saying, “Just enjoy it. I’m blessed, so let me do this.”

• Opera singer Mary Garden led a fairly simple life. Once, she and her sister Aggie were traveling out west on a train. Aggie wore a very nice nightgown made of silk and lace, while Mary had cold cream on her face, and was wearing a shawl and knitted cap to keep her warm. Aggie looked at her and said, “Mary, what an awful-looking woman you are! Shall I tell you something? If this train is wrecked tonight and both of us are killed, I shall probably be buried as the beautiful Mary Garden.” Mary asked, “And I?” Aggie replied, “You will be buried as Mary Garden’s maid.”

• English fans of punk rockers sometimes engaged in gobbing — spitting on punk rockers as they performed. Supposedly this was a compliment, although as you would expect often the punk rockers did not like it. English singer Honey Bane once performed a concert wearing a raincoat and holding an umbrella. After her performance, the raincoat and umbrella were drenched with saliva, but she was dry.

• Rabbi Joshua ben Levi visited Rome, where he saw a homeless man wearing rags on a street lined with statues adorned with expensive clothing. He prayed, “O Lord, here are statues of stone covered with expensive garments. Here is a man, created in Thine own image, covered with rags. A civilization that pays more attention to statues than to living men shall surely perish.”

• Choreographer John Taras wore good clothing — Pierre Cardin created many of his outfits. Mr. Taras also wore what he considered a good fragrance — Vetiver — although some other people disagreed about that. One day, Mr. Taras got in a taxi, and the driver sniffed, then asked him, “Hey, mister, do you smell something burning back there?”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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