Poor Preacher, Baptist Fish, Fool’s Signature- More Interesting Anecdotes (Post No.4866)

Poor Preacher, Baptist Fish, Fool’s Signature- More Interesting Anecdotes (Post No.4866)


COMPILED by London Swaminathan 


Date: 30 MARCH 2018


Time uploaded in London –  7-45 am (British Summer Time)


Post No. 4866


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.





Poor Preacher!

Jerome D.Engel, the famous Baptist preacher, was once vacationing at a well -known shore resort. One of the local churches had expected to have its pulpit filled on Sunday morning by a “supply” or visiting minister. At the last minute, the visitor was unable to appear, and the church found itself with no one to conduct the services.


The leaders of the church scurried around distractedly in search of a preacher, and were unable to find anyone. At last to chancing to hear of the presence in town of the eminent divine, one of the church members sought out Engel and begged for his



Delighted and relieved, the committeeman said, “You know, Dr Engel, we’d have been willing to accept a poorer preacher, but it was impossible to find one.”



Fool’s Signature

Reverend Henry Ward Beecher entered Plymouth Church one Sunday and found several letters awaiting him. He opened one and found it and contained the single word, “Fool”. Quietly and with becoming seriousness he announced to the congregation the fact in these words:

“I have known many an instance of a man writing a letter and forgetting to sign his name, but this is the only instance I have ever known of a man signing his name and forgetting to write the letter”.




More Repentance!!


xxx Bursting with her news, Mrs Meadows hurried to her neighbour’s house.


Have you heard, Mrs Smith? The minister’s son has decided to become a jockey. Of course you know that he was supposed to go to the Theological Seminary this year.


Mrs Smith, more of the woman of the world than her friend, replied drily,

Well, I must say that he will bring a lot more people to repentance that way than he would as a minister.




Baptist Fish

Jerome D Engel, the famous Southern Baptist divine, was strolling along the sea walk during a Church Convention at Charleston. He came upon an old colored man who was fishing from the pier. For some time Engel watched the Negro patiently waiting for a bite. At last he pulled in a fish of repulsive appearance, seeming to be something between a toad and a bullhead. Knowing little about so worldly a matter as fishing, Engle asked,

What kind of fish is that, George?

“Dey call it a Baptist fish”, croaked the old man.

“A Baptist Fish? inquired Engle sceptically.

“Sho”, answered the fisherman, throwing his catch back into the sea,

“ Dey calls dem dat ‘cause dey spoils so fast after dey is taken out of water”.



Specifications of a Good Minister!

The Reverend Doctor Edgar Dewitt Jones propounded the specifications of a good minister (preacher):

“He should get religion like a Methodist;

experience it like a Baptist;

be sure of it like a Disciple;

stick to it like a Lutheran;

pray for it like a Presbyterian;

conciliate it like a Congregationalist;

glorify it like a Jew;

be proud of it like an Episcopalian;

practise it like a Christian Scientist;

propagate it like a Roman Catholic;

work for it like a Salvation Army lassie;

enjoy it like a colored man.”






COMPILED by London Swaminathan 


Date: 29 MARCH 2018


Time uploaded in London –  14-48 (British Summer Time)


Post No. 4862


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.





Heaven and Hell Deal

A new clergyman in town sought the services of the best local physician, a man irregular in his church attendance. The medical treatment was prolonged, and the young pastor, worried over the accumulating expense, spoke to the doctor about the matter of his bill.


I will tell you what I will do, Pastor, said the doctor.

I hear you ae a pretty good preacher and you seem to think that I am a fair doctor. W will make a bargain. I will do all I can to keep you out of Heaven and you do all you can to keep me out of Hell, and it wont cost either of us a cent.

Sunday Amusement

Henry Ward Beecher asked Park Benjamin, the poet and humourist, why he never came to preach. Benjamin replied,

Why, Beecher, the fact is, I have conscientious scruples against going to places of amusement on Sunday.


People’s Voice went against Jesus!

John Wesley, in a considerable party, had been maintaining with great earnestness the doctrine of vox Populi vox Dei against his sister. At last the preacher, to put an end to the controversy, said, I tell you sister, the voce of the people is the voice of God.

Yes, replied his sister mildly, “it cried: Crucify him! crucify him”.


Zeal and Vigour!!!

A young minister who was temporarily filling a city pulpit made the following request in his prayers:

May the brother who ministers to this flock be filled full of fresh veal and new zigor”

Christian Life

Can I lead a good Christian life in New York City on $15 a week? a young man once asked Dr S Parkes Cadman.

My boy, was the reply, that’s all you can do


Illiterate preacher!

I am thankful that the Lord has opened my mouth to preach without any ‘larning’, an illiterate preacher.

A similar event took place in Balaam’s time, replied a gentleman present.


Religious Dispute

John Wilkes was once asked  a Roman Catholic gentleman in a warm dispute on religion:

Where was your religion before Luther?

Did you wash your face this morning? inquired the facetious alderman.

I did ,sir

Then pray where was your face before it was washed?


Idiot’s Vocation

Sydney Smith, the clergyman, had a combat of wit with a friend. His defeated antagonist intending to cast a slur on Smith’s vocation, fired back,

If I had a son who was an idiot I would make him a parson.

Your father was of a different opinion, was Sydney Smith’s answering thrust.




Adi Shankara on Wives and Friends !

lady in bloom - Copy

By London Swaminathan
Post No. 866 Date: 25th February 2014

Adi Shankara was a philosopher. His hymns such as Viveka Chudamani, Bhaja Govindam, Guru Ashtakam, and Dakshinamurti Hymn are purely religious. But his Question and Answer hymn known as Prasnaottara Ratnamalika is different from others. He talks about secular subjects in addition to spiritualism. (Prasna means Question and Uttar means Answer). The question and answer format was used in the Upanishads. Dialogues are in the Vedas. Socrates borrowed it from India and used it in the West. The Western scholars named it Socratic Method. But it has become popular after Yaksha Prasna in Mahabharata. Buddhists copied it in their Milinda Panha.

(Socrates used the Upanishad command Know Thy Self. Paramahamsa Yogananda in his Autobiography of a Yogi gives more details about Socrates’ encounter with a Hindu Yogi in page 367 which I have already published in this blog)

Let us look at a few secular questions and answers from Shankara’s Prasnaottara Ratnamalika:

About Government Service!
In Sloka 37
And what assembly is to be shunned?
That which is devoid of elder councillor.

Here in what should a man be conscious?
Verily in the service of the king
(King= governments)

In Sloka 30
Which place is to be shunned?
One abounding in wicked people and ruled by a greedy king

Add Sloka 32
What is the cause of ignominy?
Currying the favour of unregenerate people.

In Sloka 57
Who is a king?
One who makes others happy.

On Wives and Friends

Equally interesting is his views on wives, women and friends. Before looking at his answers we must remember the age he lived in and the views of other cultures around the world at that time.

What attracts the mind of a wise man?
Good poems and a wise lady. ( Sloka 28)

It is a beautiful answer of a man with a very good taste. But we would’t have expected from a philosopher like Shankara. He has met one of the wisest ladies of ancient India Sarasavani, wife of Mandana Mishra and defeated her in arguments. He wrote commentaries to all the major Upanishads where he had come across the wisest ladies Gargi and Maitreyi .No wonder he gave such an answer!
I have dealt with Mandana misra – Adi Shankara clash in “Lie Detectors in the Upanishads”– posted on 27 June 2012.

If we believe the arguments of Kanchi Paramacharya, Shankara lived a few centuries before Christ. I have also proved that Paramacharya was right by quoting verses from 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature. The majority view placed him in the eighth century. They were confused because of Abinava Shankara ( Abi nava shankara means ONCE AGAI N A NEW SHANKARA. He was a ditto of Adi Shankara). So we have to take into account the age he lived in before scrutinising his answers.


In verses (slokas) 9, 15, 23, 31, 38 and 49 he makes interesting comments on women and wives:

What is inscrutable? (kim gahanam?)
The conduct of woman (Stri Charitham)
(Inscrutable= impossible to understand or interpret!)

Q: What activities should one resist from doing ?
(avadhirana kva karya?)

A: Association or indulgence with the unscrupulous, others’ women and others’ wealth.
(khala, para-yosit and para-dhana respectively)

What is momentary like lightning?
Bad company and young women.

By what means can a person be griefless?
By obedient wife and undiminishing wealth.

It is strange that Adi Shankara talks about wealth.
But Tamil poets Valluvar also said the same. His wife Vasuki was an obedient wife who put her husband above everything. Valluvan also said that such a woman can make rain pour down. Valluvan also said that there is no other world if you don’t have god’s grace (Arul) and there is no life in this world if you don’t have money (Porul).

What is to be well protected?
Good name, devoted wife and discernment

Who is the friend of a house holder?
His wife

In this answer, he follows Yudhitra in Yaksha Prasna of Mahabharata.
Yudhistra described wife a a friend, philosopher and guide.

Q: Who is the clever man ? (kah caturah)
A: One who does not become the slave of the influence of females.

The finale comes in his answer to the question
Who is the perceptible Goddess? (Prathyaksha Devata Ka?)
Mother (Matha)
This is the same answer we have been getting from the days of Vedas: “Matha, Pitha, Guru ,Deivam!”

shanakara face

About Friends

He gives his views on friendship in slokas 13, 16 and 22:
What bestows happiness?
Friendship with good people.

This he repeats for the umpteenth time; in his Bhajagovindam hymn he sang about Sath Sangam. All the Hindu sages repeated it hundreds of times.

What is to be cultivated with affection?
Compassion towards the helpless and friendship with the good.

Where should we live?
Near good people.

But the finale on this subject comes in his answer to
Who is a friend?
He who prevents us from doing sin (one who saves from sin).

English people knew that
A friend indeed is a friend in need.

Valluvar says lot of things about friendship. But Adi Shankara is unique in giving this answer. A lot of people are spoiled by their friends. They make them do bad things for the sake of giving company. Probably Adi Shankara knew what is going to happen in 20th and 21st centuries. So imagined this question and gave an appropriate answer!

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