Thursday, August 17, 2017

Timeless Truths: Who, Me? or A Fish, a Worm, and a Wrong Direction - Baccalaureate 1984

This is number 2 in the series of 5 baccalaureate blog posts.
Originally presented June 10, 1984
Program Cover
My name is Charles Downing. I teach Biology at Monte Vista. I am probably best known for the pig dissection I direct and the pig collection I have. No, I am sorry, but I did not bring any sample specimens to cut up today.

Being asked to speak before ANY group brings both a privilege and responsibility. It is my privilege to bring this address today. More of a privilege than in other years because there are some of you 0ut there, well, ONE anyway, that I have known for at least 10 years. There is a great responsibility I feel, also. There are so many things I would like for you all to hear.

I was a co-advisor for the Class of '84 for a couple of years. I have worked closely with several of you. I have had many of you in class as students. 

I hope you liked my advising (at least some part of it), and I hope that you liked Biology. Whatever the case in the previous two instances, it is my sincere prayer that today you will receive something you can look back on as a positive force in your life. 

But, enough of this maudlin—English vocab word—sentimentality.

As you looked at the program for today, you might have wondered about the titles of the address I am giving. The reason it has two titles is that I used to watch Rocky and Bullwinkle. On that show there were Professor Peabody's History Lessons, Fractured Fairy Tales, oh, just lots of good things. Anyway, many of these features had dual titles that might or might not have had any relationship to each other or the story. THAT is why the title is like it is—I mean in two parts.

The title is WHAT it is because of the subject matter. Pretty profound, huh? Today, I’ll be talking about JONAH. He is the WHO in the "who me?" Other members of the cast in today's story include his FISH, his WORM, and his WRONG CHOICE or—maybe choices. But, enough of this explanation, let's get on with the program.


Here we have a plain old book cover from school. (Hold up the cover and show both sides.) Now I will fold it in half and lay it on the table. (Fold the cover· and place it on the table.)

I also have three cards. I’ll need your help with the colors. (Point out each card and have the audience call out the colors.) 



Very good.

I am going to place the card inside the folded book cover. (Push the cards into a neat stack and place them inside the cover.)

We will be back to these cards later.
Unfortunately, I don’t have this trick any longer. The “new” version I can find on line won’t support this use. I can’t even find a video of the old school version. Therefore, I offer you an alternative.

Jonah’s Poetic Diary

Dear Diary:
I heard God talk to me today.
I didn’t like what he had to say.
Go and preach? No way!
I think I’m going to run away!

Dear Diary:
I found a boat to ride the sea.
Tarshish is the place I want to be.
No Ninevah in plans for me!
I’ll sail away across the sea!

Dear Diary:
This boat’s a joke. The sailors reek.
If it gets more stormy, it’s going to leak.
I think I’ll nap, no need to peek.
I’m going to go and go to sleep.

Dear Diary:
The sailors were so scared, they woke me.
They think a god is going crazy.
I told them it was my fault, probably;
They begged God, they all did plea.

Dear Diary:
Finally, they tossed me in
The sea with foam and froth and wind.
A fish God sent to reel me in.
And now I find myself within.

Dear Diary:
I write this from inside a fish,
A place I never thought I’d wish
To be. But here I am without a dish
Eating who stuff indigestible to a fish.

Dear Diary:
It’s been three days. I really smell.
I know these fish guts really well.
I never thought I pray until
I pray just to see a window sill.

Dear Diary:
The guts are dark. The guts are dank
They threw me in. I sank and sank.
The fish swallowed me, like in a goldfish tank.
Wait! Now he’s puked me on the bank!

Dear Diary:
In Ninevah, for God I preached.
I walked and preached and preached and preached.
Three days and finally I reached
The end of Ninevah’s city streets.

Dear Diary:
God spared those Ninevian folks.
I kid you not! This is no joke.
It seems the King’s a sensible bloke,
“Repent! We’re fools!” were words he spoke.

Dear Diary:
So I did my job, and now I’m done.
My work is Ninevah wasn’t fun.
God showed His mercy’s number one
And I am baking in the sun.

Dear Diary:
The plant I chose to shade my head
A worm came and ate, so now it’s dead.
It’s so awfully hot, I could bake bread
I think I’ll pout and leave instead.

(Now back to the original . . . )

         1.   Jonah sleeps through the storm (See also Matt 8: 23-27)
Then he [Jesus] got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 
The disciples went and woke him saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Jonah’s story has several parallels with episodes of the life of Christ. This is one of those parallels. The outcome of the episode recorded above is drastically different than the Jonah version.

We’ll finish this sermonette next week.

Next Timeless Truths: Who, Me? or A Fish, a Worm, and a Wrong Direction - Baccalaureate 1984 (Conclusion)

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