Can a Lawnmower Have a Demon


You know how it goes… You roll out the trusty old machine and push it purposefully toward the jungle that was once your yard. You prime it and pump it, pat it and position it. Then you pull the cord, full of hope and expectation.

You prime the thing again, shake it, move it a few inches, and pull again. And again. And again!

Expectation yields to frustration. You prime again, filling the air with vapour.

Your wife, who has never pulled the cord in her life breezes past and advises, “You’ve flooded it!” This invigorates your fervour and you pitch yourself against the infernal beast yet again, pulling with a vengeance not seen since your high-school athletics class.

Images dance in your mind. You recall that smooth-talking chap with the lisp, at the Diabolical Machine Company. His smooth and hypnotic tone promised your transcendence. You were meant for better things. Just one push would open your eyes to new landscaping possibilities. “Great snakes! You’ll mow like the gods, turning forest into lawn.”

You saw it was pleasant to the eyes and a machine to be desired. So you took it home.

But it cost you your paradise. In the sweat of your brow you pull the damnable cord to no avail. Occasional sputters have you leaping to the throttle, coughing in a cloud of smoke.

Heart thumping in your chest, you sense that two “stroke” has a deeper meaning.

You eye your neighbour’s shiny grass-chomping champion, purring over his billiard-table lawn. But you dare not ask again, since he guards it with a flaming tongue that turns in every direction.

Surely there’s a demon in your mower!

So, how does this kind come out? You’ve tried swear and cursing. You’ve laid on hands. You’ve uttered tongues over it.

…… So, my theological friends, what wisdom doth proceed from thee?

Canst thou enlighten those that do huff and puff?

We await your pontifications with hand on the pull-cord.

The Grammatical Bible

Here is a humorous piece from an unknown author, spoofing off the creation account in the first book of the Bible, Genesis 1. This will be particularly sweet for those who have laboured over the intricacies of English Grammar.


The book of “Gramesis”

1. In the beginning my English teacher created nouns and verbs.

2. And the verbs were without form and voice; and darkness was upon the face of the deep – my teacher.

3. And she said, “Let there be grammar”; and there was grammar.

4. And Teacher saw the verbs and laughed and said that it was good; and she divided the bright students from those who remained in darkness.

5. And Teacher gave the bright students A’s and kept the others after school. And the homework and the bell were the first day.

6. And Teacher said, “Let there be a sentence in the midst of the words, and let it divide the nouns from the verbs”.

7. And Teacher made the sentence, and diagrammed it on the board; I looked and saw that it was so.

8. And the Teacher called the sentence declarative. And the capital and the period were the second day.

9. And Teacher said, “Let the noun words in the sentence be gathered together unto one place, and let the verb words appear”; and it was so.

10. And Teacher called the verb words predicate; and the gathering together of noun words called she the subject; and Teacher saw that it was good.

11. And Teacher said, “Let the predicate bring forth modifiers, the transitive verbs yielding objects, and the intransitive verbs yielding complements after their own kind, whose place is in itself, within the predicate”; and it was so.

12. And the predicate brought forth modifiers, and transitive verbs yielding objects after their own kind, and intransitive verbs yielding a complement whose place was in itself, after their own kind: The

Teacher saw that it was good and confusing.

13. And the active and the passive were the third day.

14. And Teacher said, “Let there be modifiers in the firmament of the subject to further confuse and divide the students in the classroom; and let them be for proper nouns, concrete nouns, mass nouns, collective nouns, pronouns, and abstract nouns”.

15. “And let them be for to give meaning in the subject and to enhance the predicate”; and it was so -confusing.

16. And Teacher made two great words: the greater word – adjective – to rule the noun, and the lesser word – adverb – to rule the verb; she made the conjunction also.

17. And Teacher set them in the sentence in order to make it difficult to diagram.

18. And to make it easier for her to divide the bright students from those who remained in darkness; and Teacher saw that her system was good.

19. And the phrase and the clause were the fourth day.

20. And Teacher said, “Let the verbs bring forth abundantly the many verb forms, the gerunds, infinitives, and participles; the subjunctives; the auxiliary verbs, the linking verbs; and the phrasal verbs”.

21. And Teacher created mood for every living creature that moveth, and tense for all time, and voice after their kind: and Teacher saw that it was indeed good.

22. And Teacher blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and multiply in complexity, and fill young minds with bewilderment, and let the bewilderment multiply into chaos in their minds”.

23. And the lecture and the English test were the fifth day.

24. And Teacher said, “Let the nouns and verbs bring forth living sentences after their own kind, book reports, essay questions, and English themes for the students to write”; and it was very so.

25. And Teacher made all these things for the freshman English student to do, and everything that creepeth into her mind she gave to them to do; and Teacher saw to it that it was good.

26. And Teacher said, “Let us make one project in our image, after our likeness; and let the product have dominion over the other projects, and over every subject of the college student”.

27. So Teacher created the research paper in her own image, in the image of Teacher created she it; boring and difficult created she it.

28. And Teacher blessed it, and Teacher said unto the research paper, “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the supply of dropouts, and subdue the remainder of the college students; and have dominion over the other projects, and over the other subjects, and over every single grade that the students receive”.

29. “And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth into the classroom, wherein there is life, I have given every rule and principle for good English”; and it was so.

30. And Teacher saw everything that she had made, and behold it was very good.

(Author Unknown)

McNeill the Scottish Spurgeon

This is the day that … John McNeill was born in Scotland, in 1854.

(Now this John McNeill is not to be confused with the Canadian John T. McNeill who became leading Presbyterian professor and author; or with John MacNeill who was also born in Scotland in 1854, but spent much of his life as a Presbyterian evangelist in Australia.)

This John McNeill is he who was sometimes called the “Scottish Spurgeon”.

Whilst working for the railways as a lad he had a narrow escape as he was “engaged in coupling the carriages together … the finger the buffer nipped is ever before him” (Christian Portrait Gallery, page 227).

At the age of 19 he came to know the Saviour as his own, “and at once stood up and testified to being on the Lord’s side”.

He threw himself into YMCA work, a strongly evangelical organisation at that time.

By 1886 he was pastoring a Free Presbyterian Church in Edinburgh. The small congregation soon grew to over 3000.

Warren Wiersbe points out that McNeill “had a wonderful sense of humour that helped to keep his hearers alert and his sermons alive”. For example, speaking of the fierce cannibals in the South Seas he commented, “I have some elders I would like to send out there. I can assure you that if the cannibals got a taste of these elders, they would never touch a missionary again!”

In 1889 he accepted a call to Regent Square Church, London (where Edward Irving’s controversial ministry had taken place), then he resigned to help in the Moody/Sankey meetings.

During this time he married Margaret Miller, his first wife having died about 10 years earlier, leaving him with four small children.

In 1908 he followed F.B. Meyer into the pastorate of Christ Church, London; but he was more an evangelist than a pastor and found himself unable to stay in one church for a long period. “He pastored 10 different churches in 25 years!” (Back to the Bible magazine, August, 1985).

Then there were 16 years as an itinerant evangelist – preaching over 300 times a year.

In 1933 – 19 April – he went to be with his Lord, and Dr Graham Scroggie conducted the funeral service.

This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at

Church History Hits the Blog

The late Donald Prout was a dear friend to me and hundreds of others. Don loved books and loved digging through them for the most amazing things related to his faith. He spent his life reading, researching, collecting books and delving into the history of the Christian church.

Don is what I call a ‘wag’, a humorous, teasing individual who was determined to enjoy the moment and make people laugh. His presentations were unique. Over the years I not only learned from Don’s extensive reading, but I prompted my sons to learn from him as well. In his last few years I helped him post many of his gleanings and his personal notes, including his humourous nonesense, onto a website. The very first website I worked on was Don’s.

So it is my great pleasure to share with you some of the amazing information Don brought together in a lifetime. He compiled a Church History, linking dates to many events he had read about in his decades between the covers – “book covers” that is.

My aim is to post a daily Church History update, with information about people and events linked to that day. In a year from now the whole calendar should be covered.

Now, before we get to the church history stuff, let me share with you a touch of the Don Prout humour. Don would prattle on with a patter full of one-liners about people and things. Here is a sample of some of that. Note: please don’t write dear Don off, just because of his style of humour.

Uncle Charlie wrote a song about his wife, Rose. She was a singer too. But Uncle Charlie said he wished she would only sing Christmas carols. That way she’d only sing once a year.”

Did you know he always went out on the front porch when she was singing. That was so the neighbours would see that he wasn’t beating her.

Unc. Charlie was choir master at a Baptist church.
That reminds me of riddle. What is the difference between a Baptist Church Choir master & the PLO?

You can negotiate with the PLO!

Now that reminds me of song.

There was a young lad in the choir
Whose voice …it rose higher & higher
Till one Sunday night
It rose out of sight
And they found it next day on the spire.

A young choir singer named Hannah
Was caught in a flood in Montanna
As she floated away
Her sister – they say –
Accompanied her on the pianner!

Well, so much for the humour. Tomorrow we get to the Church History stuff.

How Unromantic! My first poem for Susan

The drive to Wollongong (pronounced Wool – ong – gong) to visit my sweetheart, Susan, provided me a number of new experiences: navigating the infamous Bulli Pass (which has claimed many lives during the years); driving through the thickest fogs I have ever seen; nearly running off the road at high speed; actually running off the road at high speed; being hemmed in by huge articulated coal trucks (which were known as semi-trailers); and so on.

As I drove Susan down Bulli Pass one afternoon in one of those whipped cream fogs, with huge trucks emerging just yards in front of me, I found myself “waxing lyrical”. On the spot I composed my first poem for my beloved.

Aussies are known for their larrikin (teasing / joking) humour and I was in one of those moods too. What came out was to become a treasured memory for Susan and me. Which goes to show that you don’t need talent or money to create something of lasting sentimental value.

Are you ready to be enlightened?

My tome formed on my lips as follows ….

“I Love You More Than ElephantsI
Love You More Than Frogs
I Love You More Than Semi-Trailers
Coming at Me in Wollongong Fogs!”

“The Poem was an immediate hit. My shoulder took the first blow!