Jocularity, Jocularity


M*A*S*H was one of my favorite shows during the early 70’s when I was in college and trying to find myself.  The 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital found life in the Korean war unbearable at times.  Whether by the weather, or circumstances of war, they were forced to make their own fun.  The whole show is at times poignant, at times brutally sad, but most episodes are filled with the shenanigans and exploits of doctors and nurses who become a witty, if not hilarious close-knit family just managing to get through the pain.  Perhaps my favorite character of the cast was Lt. Father Francis John Patrick Mulcahy.

One of the great episodes of M*A*S*H was an episode titled “Movie Night.”  The whole gang has been fussin’ and bickering, so Father Mulcahy procures Colonel Potter’s favorite John Ford western classic, My Darling Clemetine, to be shown in the mess hall that night. The film is full of cuts and splices causing it to break and Klinger having to turn on the lights to fix the thing.  When the film breaks the second time, Father Mulcahy plays the piano and leads the raucous crowd in “Gee, Ma, I Wanna Go Home.” The film keeps breaking periodically and the next breaks become a Father Mulcahy impersonation time.  Hawkeye, Klinger, Frank Burns, Margaret, Radar, all take their turn at the witty quotes, with the closing statement made by Colonel Potter in a fit of chuckles, “Jocularity! Jocularity!”

Father Francis was my favorite character because I identified with him on so many levels.  No I’m not a catholic priest, and no, I’ve not been to war.  What I found most in common with the good Father was his earnest desire to make a difference.  In fact, Father Mulcahy was earnest about everything.  So earnest to do a good job when his supervisor came to camp, that he got a little tipsy dipping into the sacramental wine.  Most of the time he went about his business of trying to offer counsel to young soldiers, or giving last rites to those young brave men who wouldn’t make it through surgery.  He was witty and funny and always willing, over-zealously willing, to jump in and offer a hand with just about any task… just to make a difference.

Perhaps if you’ve been reading my blog this year, and follow it regularly, you’ve noticed my propensity for taking on a serious tone, applying Scripture and God’s truth to the topics each day.  I guess that’s because most days I see the world around us and it seems like a spiritual nuclear war zone to me.  The stakes are too high to try to force myself to be witty or clever when eternity is at stake.  When the funny times do come, when the diatribe goes slack and the smiles come out, I count my blessings and laugh along with everyone else.  Just like the good Father Mulcahy.

[Ecclesiastes 3:1-4]

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

A time to give birth and a time to die;
            A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

      A time to kill and a time to heal;
            A time to tear down and a time to build up.

      A time to weep and a time to laugh;
            A time to mourn and a time to dance.

Take the time today to experience the witty, clever, funny side of life.  God designed these parts too, just for you.



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I have set before you…

Daily Post:  Lifestyle


The way in which a person, or group of persons lives is a simple definition of lifestyle.  Usually the connotation implies a set of choices an individual makes resulting in a specific pursued set of life goals.  Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, with host Robin Leach, and Shari Belafonte, ran as an American TV show broadcast from 1984-1995.  As given us in the title, the show allowed us inside the lifestyles of the uber-wealthy, taking us to glamorous resorts and opulent homes.  The viewer like tourists on a guided tour listened as Leach gave insight into what real money could buy.  Since most people don’t have this kind of wealth, while entertaining at times, the show had no redeeming value which would improve the viewers lifestyle at all.  Being envious doesn’t count.

“Be all you can be…” was the recruiting slogan of the United States Army from 1980 to 2001.  Running during commercial breaks for M*A*S*H and CBS Evening New with Dan Rather this slogan really worked.  It inspired a nation of young people to become their best by entering into military service, the commercial ended with “… in the ARMY!”  According to Miyoko Hikiji, a decorated U.S. Army and Iowa National Guard Veteran, author and mother, describing her deployment with the 2133rd Transportation Company she tells her story in an article titled, “All I Could Be.”  The Army, for Hikiji, was a lifestyle choice she wouldn’t change for anything.

If asked, what do you think most answer to the following question.  “Would you rather have Life and prosperity, or Death and adversity?”  I’m convinced when put this way, 99.99% would say life and prosperity, but only because I know some bohemians out there who just like to be opposite for the heck of it.  Most people I know would never knowingly choose adversity when prosperity would be just as easily gained.  I know some people who might choose death over life to end their own sense of being cursed, fighting disease, or so depressed they feel their is no hope left, but these folks are deluded by their circumstances into believing death will bring relief.  What if it doesn’t?

What if the choice between life or death, prosperity or adversity, is more of a Soul-life choice, than a material lifestyle choice?  What if most of humanity has missed the fact that life is not made up of material pleasures, or possessions?  What if true life consists of knowing the Creator of all things, and having Him bless you with His Lordship?  What if true death is dying without ever having established a relationship with the Creator, and knowingly choosing to stay disconnected from Him?  The same choice that God gave the Hebrew people, He gives to us today.  The Old and New Testaments say the same thing, just worded a little differently.

Here’s the Old Testament version:  Deuteronomy 30:15-20

See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.  

But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.

The blessing and the curse… God said, “you choose.”

Here’s the New Testament version:  John 3:16-21

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

Light and darkness… the blessing and the curse … it’s the same thing, and Jesus said, “you choose.”  It’s a lifestyle choice.  It’s made in taking a step of faith.  Moving from an unbelieving heart to one which believes in the claims of the Son of God.

It’s not about material wealth, happiness, comfort, privilege, or entitlement.  It’s about soul-lifestyle. So…

I have set before you today … a choice.  Choose wisely.


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