xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' The Mid-Week Message: January 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Bank of the Poor

January 31, 2012

Dear St. Paul’s Family,

How about some good news for a change? In a time when the economic downturn has hit countries around the world, it is refreshing to hear a story about a banking institution that has made the news for all the right reasons.

The Credit Municipal de Paris has decided to forgive the debts of nearly 3,500 of its customers, all of which owe a maximum of 150 euros (about $190 U.S. dollars). The bank is also known as “Mont-de-piete,” or “Bank of the Poor,” and has had a 375-year-old history of catering to the poorest in France. They offer low-interest loans against inexpensive valuables, a kind of alternative to pawn shops that made it one of the world’s first micro-lenders. It was started in 1637 by philanthropist and journalist Theophraste Renaudot, who started the bank as a way of combating poverty and giving the needy access to fair banking. Since its founding, it has served famous customers like author Victor Hugo, painter Claude Monet, and Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife Josephine. Today, it maintains a capitalization of 60 million euros, covering loans totaling 93 million euros. And in 2010, the Bank of the Poor took its 1.3 million euro profit and assigned part of it to rebuild substandard emergency housing for the poor.

But none of those good deeds compares to what just happened a few weeks ago, when the bank sent official word of its one-time cancellation of debts to some of its poorest customers. Lina, a young mother who put her jewelry up for collateral and took out a mere 120 euro loan, was amazed by the news. “It was nice. I have recovered it all,” the grateful mother told a regional newspaper.

When Genevieve, a woman in her fifties, heard the news, she went straight to the bank to recollect her gold coin and small wedding ring she pawned there three years ago. She later told Good Magazine, "I'm very happy, it's the first time I get something for nothing. There came a point when I needed money. They're not worth much but they're important to me." [1]

The preacher part of me has to resist the temptation to theologize too much over this news. After all, this story could serve as the perfect metaphor for one of Christianity’s earliest and most widespread theories of atonement. The Satisfaction Theory, first offered by medieval theologians Anselm and Thomas Aquinas, conceives the cross as payment for a debt that we could not repay on our own. Whether that debt be to Satan (for Anselm) or God (for Aquinas), our sinful condition forced us into a kind of “Bank of the Poor,” and we could not pay our way out. The work of Jesus on the cross satisfies that debt and wipes us free and clear.

I could also make a connection between this story and the Hebrew concept of Jubilee, the mandate from Mosaic law that every fifty years, the land lies fallow, all property returned to their rightful owners, and slaves are set free. It is a concept that was the basis for Jubilee 2000, an international coalition of 40 countries that called for the cancellation of third world debt by the year 2000. Since that effort, several Jubilee groups around the world have formed, including Jubilee USA, which advocates for cancellation of debts to the U.S. by third world nations.

And, of course, the pragmatist in me would want to reflect on the current state of our political and social discourse, in which terms like “too big to fail,” and “Wall Street bailout,” and “class warfare” have framed our national conversation about the growing divide between rich and poor. Especially during an election season, we would do well to remember the very first words uttered by Jesus in what would be the most famous sermon he ever preached. Blessed are the poor.

Rev. Jim Wallis, author of God’s Politics and founder of Sojourners Magazine, remarked on the importance of remembering the poor during this election year: "If a candidate for president claims to follow Jesus, then their concern should be for the poor. If they profess faith in God, they should faithfully observe God's concern for the oppressed. It's up to voters to evaluate how the candidates respond to these numbers and it's up to the media to hold leaders accountable to their professed beliefs. We know what campaign bundlers, special interests, and big business are watching for in this election, and it is not the poor.” [2]

And for a celebrity quote of an entirely different flavor, consider the words of comedian, satirist, and political neo-commentator Stephen Colbert: “If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.” (from The Colbert Report, December 16, 2010)

Skeptics might say that the shocking announcement by the Bank of the Poor is a mere publicity stunt, a cunning way to gain more customers and promote its 375th anniversary. Regardless of their intentions, their work should be received as a rare dose of good news, and a reminder for all of us Christians that our work, theologically and pragmatically, should be a living embodiment of the prayer that Jesus taught us:

Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Grace and Peace,


The Rev. Magrey R. deVega
St. Paul's United Methodist Church
531 W. Main St.
Cherokee, IA 51012
Ph: 712-225-3955
Email: mdevega@sp-umc.org

[1] To read more about the Bank of the Poor, visit http://www.good.is/post/a-375-year-old-french-bank-forgives-debts-of-paris-poorest/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+good%2Flbvp+%28GOOD+Main+RSS+Feed%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

[2] http://blog.sojo.net/blogs/2011/09/13/jim-wallis-poverty-should-be-1-issue-2012-election

This Sunday, we turn our attention to the darker passages of Ecclesiastes, chapters 7-8, in which the Teacher vacillates between hope and cynicism, optimism and despair. Halfway into his immersive social experiment, he comes to the conclusion several times that “all is vanity and chasing after the wind.” Still, we will be able to learn some important principles for getting through the ups and downs of life, with a sermon titled “Survivor: When the Chips are Stacked against You.” See you Sunday, and bring a friend who can use a dose of good news!

Back by popular demand! The youth group (grades 7-12) will head back to Mt. Kato for another fun day of skiing on Saturday, February 18. Each youth can bring one friend. We will meet at the church at 6:45 a.m. and be back between 9 and 10pm. The cost will be $20 for youth members and $35 for friends. We do need adults to serve as drivers and chaperones. Interested persons can contact John Chalstrom at 229-3894 or the church office. Youth will need to complete a permission slip and medical release form, available on the table outside the church office.

To raise funds for the ski trip, the youth will be sponsoring a Super Bowl snack sale this Sunday. Church members can help by contributing snacks and treats to be sold after church, and can be brought in this Saturday or left in the kitchen before 9:00 am Sunday. Thanks so much!

Monday, January 23, 2012

High or Low Jesus?

January 24, 2012

Dear St. Paul’s Family,

It may come as a surprise to you to hear that I was in my mid-twenties before I ever sang the song “In the Garden.” The hymn that has become a staple in almost every congregation’s repertoire, and a near-unanimous request from hospital patients that I visit, was virtually unknown to me until 1997, when I was twenty-four years old. This is even more improbable considering my thirteen years of Christian school, which included weekly chapel services, and my active participation in a United Methodist Church since my sophomore year in high school.

As a youth, I can’t ever remember singing that hymn during worship. The church choir, often responsible for selecting the hymns, eschewed lyrics that “humanized” Jesus too much. Instead, we sang hymns that elevated Jesus to lofty regard: “How Great Thou Art,” “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” and “Rejoice! The Lord is King!” were standard staples. But that also meant we never sang songs like “Victory in Jesus,” “Jesus is All the World to Me,” and, of course, “In the Garden.” The idea of singing a song that emphasizes that Jesus walks with me, talks with me, and tells me I am his own would rarely dotted his radar.

It would be unfair to criticize that music director for his hymn decisions. He was expressing a preference, not unlike that shared by many in the churches history who have had to wrestle with one of the foundational questions of the Christian faith: to what degree was Jesus both human and divine? Yes, our doctrine claims that his divinity and humanity were of equal status, two natures in one person. But many Christians have swayed their emphasis toward one at the expense of the other. There are those with a "high" Christology, like my choir director, who see Jesus as the sovereign Lord and ruler of creation. This was a position first offered by the Monophysites (“one nature”) in the fifth century, who claimed that Christ had only one nature, which was mostly essentially divine. Many classical paintings throughout the ages depict this Jesus as the pantokrator, or cosmic Lord of the universe.

At the other extreme, there are those who have preferred the humanity of Jesus, the one who cried at the death of Lazarus, suffered real pain at the hands of his Roman captors, and who wrestled with real temptations in the wilderness. This position was first offered by the church theologian Arius and his followers in Antioch.

Eventually, the Christian church deemed both monophysitism and Arianism as heretical. Jesus is not mostly divine, who then assumed some human characteristics. Nor is Jesus less than God because he was God’s Son. Instead, the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD ruled that Jesus was “perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood.”

But despite this definitive statement 2,000 years ago, there still exists a range of perceptions about the nature of Jesus Christ, with nearly as many preferences as there are people. Though we claim the same creeds, we still have our own privately held convictions about who Jesus Christ is to each of us. Some of us like to think of Jesus as the rugged, square-jawed man with beautiful eyes and a winsome smile. Still others like to think of Jesus as sitting sky high on a throne, overlooking creation as if from a luxury box suite. Some of us like to call him "Master," while others call him "Friend." And the truth is, our hymnal caters to each of those preferences, from the lofty words of "Fairest Lord Jesus" ("Ruler of all nations") to the intimate scenes of "In the Garden" ("who walks with me and talks with me and tells me I am His own.")

Which brings me back to the first time I ever sang that song.

I am writing this message from the Life Enrichment Center in Leesburg, Florida, where fifteen years ago this week, I interviewed to become a pastor in the United Methodist Church. I can remember arriving in the afternoon, barely holding down my lunch, the nerves swirling in my gut in preparation for a long afternoon of examination. I would soon be sitting before fifty members of the Florida Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, who would pepper me with questions about my theology, my preaching, and my personal life. I was a wreck.

Before the interviews began, the candidates gathered with members of the Board for an informal worship service. The worship leader invited us to turn in the Hymnal to page number 314. As he played the piano, the sweet melody of this unfamiliar hymn began to soothe my racing heart. Rather than sing along, I listened to those around me, hoping to pick up the melody. And I listened to the lyrics, about an early-morning encounter in a garden with Jesus, whose voice is sweet, and whose melody is serene: Then, we sang the chorus:

And he walks with me, and he talks with me,
And he tells me I am his own.
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.

At that moment, the image of Jesus that seized my soul was not a distant, imperial God on high, but a God who was even closer to me than my heart's restless fears. The assurance of God's presence, expressed poignantly and powerfully in that chorus, washed over me, prompting a catch in breath, and tears down my cheek.

A member of the Board sitting next to me, assigned to be my "Board Buddy" throughout the afternoon, caught me crying. After the song, he leaned over and whispered to me. "That song kinda gets to you, doesn't it?"

"Yeah," I whispered back.

"Me, too," he said.

Today, and every day this week, I'll be back in that very same room, with another batch of candidates anxiously awaiting their interviews. Except this time, I'll be one of the members of the Board: an examiner, not the examined. And this afternoon, I'll have another special privilege, as the one who will be leading everyone in worship. And, of course, I'll have us sing "In the Garden." Maybe there will be someone there who has never sung it before. Maybe someone else will need to hear about a God who is as close to us as our own breath. And maybe there will be someone who needs to be reminded that this almighty God, ruler of the universe, accompanies us along every journey of life, such that "the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known."

Grace and Peace,


The Rev. Magrey R. deVega
St. Paul's United Methodist Church
531 W. Main St.
Cherokee, IA 51012
Ph: 712-225-3955
Email: mdevega@sp-umc.org

Join us as we continue our sermon series on Ecclesiastes with a look at the value of community. It's a sermon titled "Big Brother: The Gift of Community," based on Ecclesiastes 4 and 5.

The church now has a Facebook page, which, for the time being, will serve as the church’s new website. You can access the site even if you are not signed up for Facebook by visiting www.facebook.com/cherokeespumc.

I am in Leesburg, Florida, this week, interviewing candidates for ordination. You can reach me by e-mail, or contact the church office in the event of an emergency. I will return this Saturday evening and will be back in worship this Sunday.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

To Everything There is a Season

January 17, 2011

Dear St. Paul’s Family,

Read this next sentence slowly, and see if it makes sense to you: Every straight line is actually part of a circle.

I know. It goes against everything you and I learned in grade school geometry, right? But it’s true. In theoretical mathematics, every straight line is in fact an arc. As a circle increases its radius towards infinity, and grows to near limitless size, any segment of that circle eventually “flattens out,” and seems to approach perfect straightness. In that event, what is linear is actually circular, as what is circular appears to be linear.

Mind-blowing stuff, huh?

But that’s what happens when our minds drift towards matters of the eternal. Our narrow view of reality changes as our perspective zooms out in infinite wide angle. The Teacher of Ecclesiastes grasped this idea and then took it one step further, applying this notion to the concept of time. To our limited sensibilities, time seems to be linear and sequential, progressing with a past, a present, and a future. We perceive it to have a beginning and an end, as we march forward in a straight line.

But Ecclesiastes challenges us with a glimpse of the eternal, elevating our view of time into the realm of the infinite. “God has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

This is a passage that is as true mathematically as it is theologically: the less we define our lives linearly, with a past, a present, and a future, the more we discover that we are part of God’s vast, boundless activity across time, with seasons of highs and lows, ebbs and flows. And no Scripture better describes this concept more powerfully – or poetically - than Ecclesiastes 3, our text for this Sunday. The word time appears twenty-eight times in just eight verses, and describes time not as a straight line, but as a circuitous, repetitive pattern of events.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break 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;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

So here’s the good news: while your time on earth is limited, your life in God is not. You are an important part of God’s grand, sweeping movement throughout the ages. Like the author of Ecclesiastes, you may be searching for a temporal respite from your pain and suffering. So you move forward, in a present situation that seems to be nothing more than an inescapable history fused with an unknowable future. But in God’s view, your linear life is actually circular, and you are part of something bigger than yourself.

Pete Seeger, one of the greatest folk composers in American history, turned the words of Ecclesiastes 3 into a number one hit by the Byrds in 1965. When asked by biographer Alec Wilkinson about the song “Turn, Turn, Turn,” Seeger described Ecclesiastes 3 in this way: “What a poem that is. It’s something worth considering. That the world is full of opposites, intertangled. The good and bad tangling up over time. Nobody knows. God only knows.” [1]

Indeed, God only knows.

The same year that the Byrds scored a number one hit with Seeger’s song, Dr. Martin Luther King was making history of his own. On March 7, 1965, five hundred people marched along U.S. Highway 80 from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. As part of that march, Dr. King uttered one of his favorite phrases, one that he included in several sermons throughout his career: “The arc of the moral universe is long,” he said. “But it bends towards justice.” King challenged the Selma marchers to see their finite efforts as contributing to God’s grander, more infinite vision, which is peace and justice for all people.

Though King made this phrase famous, it was not original to him. It was first spoken by Rev. Theodore Parker, a Unitarian preacher and an abolitionist. In 1853, he preached a sermon called “Justice and the Conscience,” declaring, "I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice."

The words of Ecclesiastes, Dr. King, and Rev. Parker are all timely for us today. Though we live in a world addicted to violence, ravaged by hatred, and bent toward sin, we can continue our work in the present day, believing in a God whose ultimate purpose arcs toward justice for the world. We may not see it. Our eyes may “reach but little ways.” But we can “divine it by conscience.” Today may be a time for war, but there will be a time for peace. Our world may be filled with hatred, but there will be a season of love.

And the same is true for your life. You may be in the midst of a difficulty that seems unbearable, and from your private perspective, it seems interminable. But for everything there is a season. Your mourning can turn to dancing, your weeping into laughter, your loss into new opportunities. You may feel like your life is crumbling. But Ecclesiastes offers you a promise. Though your stones are scattered, you will have a chance to gather those stones again. This may feel like a time of tearing down, but there will be a time to build up again. Some things may have to die, before they can be born again.

There is great hope in these words, which is why they have offered great power to people in times of need. Join us this Sunday as we explore the richness of these words and allow their impact to shape a dream that is greater than our present condition. And you’ll also want to hear our very own Charlie Leissler, who will perform The Byrd’s hit “Turn, Turn, Turn” and lead us as part of worship.

Let us move forward with confidence, courage, and conviction, in the presence of the infinite.

Grace and Peace,


The Rev. Magrey R. deVega
St. Paul's United Methodist Church
531 W. Main St.
Cherokee, IA 51012
Ph: 712-225-3955
Email: mdevega@sp-umc.org

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2OYfmiysWo

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Favorite Old Testament Book

January 10, 2012

Dear St. Paul’s Family,

Last September, I learned of the death of Mary Carter, a former parishioner in Tampa and a member of Hyde Park United Methodist Church. She was a grand and gracious 80-year old Southern gem from South Carolina and a member of the church’s altar guild, a group of women with whom I had the privilege of serving. Mary’s special role was to be caretaker of the church’s collection of oil-based votive candles, which she purchased in memory of her mother. Every Good Friday and All Saints’ Sunday, Mary’s candles were on proud display, glorifying God and inspiring people in worship. I loved working with her.

But Mary and I shared another connection: a love for the book of Ecclesiastes. After I casually mentioned my affinity for the book during one of my chapel sermons, she came to visit me in my office a few days later. We talked about how the book is often misperceived as hopelessly nihilistic, rather than a realistic, relevant, and authentic portrayal of the complexities of the human condition. We agreed that, in each other, we had found a rare comrade in our mutual admiration for a book in the Bible that is so widely disregarded.

A few months later, Mary returned to my office, this time with a present in hand. She wanted to talk about Ecclesiastes again, and wanted to know if I had ever heard of a collection of poems called the
Rubaiyat of Omar Kayyam
. I pled my ignorance, then she gave me the gift. “This,” she said, “is one of my favorite books. And it’s just like Ecclesiastes.” I opened the beautifully bound, antiquarian copy she had spent months locating for me, and I read it immediately.

Kayyam was an eleventh-century Persian astrologer, who made a modest living paid by the government to philosophize about the nature of the universe and the meaning of life. He was a scientist by trade, but a poet at heart. The 101 quatrains – or brief poems – that constitute the
are his most famous work, and read at times like they were written by the Teacher of Ecclesiastes himself. Kayyam reflects on his own pursuit of happiness and meaning, turning to wisdom, love, and wine in order to make sense of the world. Read the comparisons for yourself:

Ecclesiastes 1:10-11:
“Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new’? It has already been, in the ages before us. The people of long ago are not remembered, nor will there be any remembrance of people yet to come by those who come after them.”
Rubaiyat XXVI:
Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss’d
Of the Two Worlds so wisely – they are thrust
Like foolish Prophets forth; their Words to scorn
Are scatter’d, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust

Ecclesiastes 2:1-3:
“I said to myself, ‘Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.’ But again, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, ‘It is mad,’ and of pleasure, ‘What use is it?’ I searched with my mind how to cheer my body with wine – my ind still guiding me with wisdom – and how to lay hold on folly, until I might see what was goof for mortals to do under heaven during the few days of their life.”

Rubaiyat XXXIX:
How long, how long, in infinite Pursuit
Of This and That endeavour and dispute?
Better be merry with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.

Ecclesiastes 3:11-13:
“God has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.”

Rubaiyat XXXVII:
Ah, fill the Cup: - what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our Feet:
Unborn TO-MORROW and dead YESTERDAY,
Why fret about them if TO-DAY be sweet!

Ecclesiastes 3:19-20:
“For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again.”
Rubaiyat XXIV:
Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and – sans End!

Of course, neither Ecclesiastes or the
resolve their quests with anything remotely close to Christian hope. To wedge that inference into either text would be a disservice to their respective Hebrew and Muslim perspectives. But what both books do model is a kind of open, frank assessment of our human condition. Ecclesiastes invites us to acknowledge the shadow side to our faith: any part of us that is uncertain about things that everyone else seems to be so sure about.

The Teacher of Ecclesiastes challenges us to engage spiritual matters beyond mere memorization, beyond pious platitudes, beyond rote religious formulas. He serves as our immersion journalist, digging deeply into issues of life and death, hope and despair, promise and pain. What results is a narrative that creates space and freedom for you to face your own skepticism, and perhaps even your cynicism. And it might even suggest to you that the only way to find ultimate meaning and purpose in God is to stretch yourself to the limits of your own humanity.

For all of these reasons, Ecclesiastes is my favorite book in the Old Testament.

I’m grateful for having known people like Mary Carter. Her desire to explore the complexities life with courage and authenticity gave her a strength that equaled her love and grace. Her surprising gift to me was more than a lovely copy of an obscure, thousand-year old book. It was the encouragement to live life in the face of death, for to do otherwise is to ignore the former and be held captive by the latter. Last September, when I learned that her time had come to leave the trappings of this earth, I knew she was ready.

This sermon series on Ecclesiastes is one that I have always wanted to preach. I hope that you’ll join us as we dig deep into the riches of this book, unafraid to ask our toughest questions, and be open to the complex beauty beholden in its answers.

Ecclesiastes: The Bible’s Dose of Reality

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? The Pursuit of Wisdom
Ecclesiastes 1
January 8

Hoarders: The Folly of Self-Indulgence
Ecclesiastes 2
January 15

The Real World: Ups and Downs of Living
Ecclesiastes 3
January 22

Big Brother: The Value of Community
Ecclesiastes 4-5
January 29

Survivor: When the Chips are Stacked Against You
Ecclesiastes 7-8
February 5

Amazing Race: Expecting the Unexpected
Ecclesiastes 9-10
February 12

Extreme Makeover: Living a Transformed Life
Ecclesiastes 12
February 19

Grace and Peace,


The Rev. Magrey R. deVega
St. Paul's United Methodist Church
531 W. Main St.
Cherokee, IA 51012
Ph: 712-225-3955

For those interested, an audio recording of “A St. Paul’s Home Companion” is available on mdevega.blogspot.com. It is the sermon from Christmas Eve, in the style of Garrison Keillor’s “Guy Noir” sketch from his popular radio program “A Prairie Home Companion.” Enjoy!

What a remarkable finish to an amazing year of generosity and faithfulness. Your efforts toward our first-ever Salvation Army bell ringing brought in over $3,500 dollars, 90 percent of which will stay right here in Cherokee County to help people in need. You also gave over $1,500 to Heifer International, Church World Service, and Stan Sitzmann’s Needy Children Program. You have given over 2,000 pairs of shoes to Soles4Souls, and donated coats and other outerwear to our new clothing ministry (to the point where donations are no longer needed at this time!). To top it all off, we have gained an amazing fifty new members in 2011, many of which are by profession of faith, paid all our apportionments in full, and paid all of our expenses for 2011! What a tremendous year! Thank you, St. Paul’s, and let’s look forward to another great year ahead!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A St. Paul's Home Companion

For those interested, here is the audio recording of "A St. Paul's Home Companion," the Christmas Eve sermon preached at St. Paul's UMC on December 24, 2011. It is in the style of Garrison Keillor's "Guy Noir" sketch from his popular "Prairie Home Companion" radio broadcast. It features Magrey, along with Bruce Dagel and Mary Cowan as voice characters, Jordan Taylor on sound effects, and Betty Point on piano.