Denominations are often the subject of church humor. For example, it was reported that it was so dry one summer in Sumter, S.C., that the Baptists were starting to baptize by sprinkling, Methodists were using wet-wipes, Presbyterians were giving out rain-checks, and Catholics were praying for the wine to change back to water.
The caution in using such “dry” denominational humor is that one must be careful not to insult another’s denomination, unless it is your own. For instance, since I am a Baptist, I can tell you about two Baptist groups that met in Europe, one from America and the other from Germany.
At the dinner table several of the American Baptists began to smoke. The German Baptists were highly offended. In fact, the Germans were so shocked, they almost dropped their beer.
I suppose the beauty of denominational stories is that it pokes fun at stereotypes of who we are and what we stand for. One of my favorite such stories is about a Baptist man named John Smith who moved into a large Catholic neighborhood. On the first Friday of Lent, John was outside grilling a big, juicy steak on his grill. Meanwhile, all of his neighbors were eating cold tuna fish for supper.
His neighbors decided to talk him into converting to Catholicism. They took him to church, and the priest sprinkled some water over him, and said, “You were born a Baptist, you were raised a Baptist, and now you are a Catholic.” However, the next Friday they smelled steak coming from John’s grill again. They rushed over and saw John standing over his grill with a small pitcher of water.
He was sprinkling some water over his steak on the grill, saying, “You were born a cow, you were raised a cow, and now you are a fish.”
No wonder Jesus said, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). It takes a supernatural act of God to truly change me, not a denomination. Aren’t you glad that instead of a Baptist or a Catholic dying for your sins, God sent a Jewish carpenter?
(Copyright 2013 by Bob Rogers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read this column each Friday in the Herald. Visit my blog at www.bobrogers.me.)