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The Speaches of St. Peter
Delivered in San Pedro, California, 2010

1. No Haitis in Heaven
When I became a serious disciple and was invited to take on this roll—of the Apostle, Peter—I said, That sounds great! Now I can teach people this message of joy and love all the time wherever I go. Well, the response to that idea was, "Yeah, I guess you could do that—if you can stand the guilt. You see, Simon Peter, there are really only two things everybody is going to experience in common. One, everybody's gonna feel some serious pain through serious trials; and two, everyone dies. It's probably better if you just worked with that.
Well there's no silver lining in that, is there? It wasn't until I walked toward the light myself that I finally realized that death: not such a bad thing. It's a shocking realization to most, really. So many come to me and I welcome them into Heaven and they say, 'Great! We're ready to go. Put us to work. Could we help with some Haiti victims? There are probably a lot of those.' And I say, No, no. There's really not a need for that here. They pause as the gears turn in their heads, and they mouth, 'Ooohhh. Er, yeah. I guess they didn't make it here. Well how about some 911 victims! Is the work for them all done?' And I say, No. Listen. It's just that . . . 'Is it the Chinese earthquake victims, then?' No. You guys, just listen to me. There are no Haitian earthquakes here. No 911s. No Katrinas. I mean, what do you want? You just get used it.

2. Some Poor Seaman
I heard of a teen-age girl who flew to Puerto Rico with her mom and here little brother. This was some time after what you guys call the Second World War. They were going to attend a formal ball on an aircraft carrier with the girl's step-dad, who was a general in the navy and who the girl absolutely adored.
Well, at almost the very moment the girl, her mom and her brother touched down, the step-dad was shot dead by a U. S. National in the lobby of his hotel. (And just for the record, God hadn't said, "I think it's time for him to come on home. I think I'll have that crazy guy there shoot 'im." It just doesn't work that way.)
Anyway, you're probably thinking, Um, yeah, Peter. That's a tough trip to Puerto Rico for that girl and her family. But stuff like that does happen. In fact, hundreds of people get shot in Los Angeles every year. So what's so big about this one girl's story?
Well, I don't know. It's tough to explain, you guys. It's just that in Heaven, you become a lot more, let's say, sensitive. And mercy. Mercy's big there. But I have to admit that it's pretty easy to extend there. Like, one time this guys came up to me and he seemed very stunned for some reason. And he says, "Hey. I just saw a man with a gun. Where did he go?" And then he looks around and back at me and says, "Wait a minute. Where am I? this isn't . . ."
And I put my hand up to calm him down and say, "Yes. It is." And he says, "Well, what happened?" And I say, "Well . . . he shot you" And he says, "But I hadn't seen my wife in three months and she brought the kids!"
And I say, I know. But, I mean . . ." And I just motioned with my hand to the glory of the Heaven he is in now. Sometimes that's all I can do.

3. Pavement?
So you come down here and find that life is full of struggle. You try to find some way to sugar coat the pill of mortality. For many, this means comforting their selves with worldliness—with stuff. Cool cars. Electronic devises. Fancy clothes. Money. These things can help you feel in control. And you can even demonstrate where you stand among you peers. I mean, there's a leather jacket from Wilson leather; and then there's the calfskin jacket by Tom Ford. But then we read: I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kindom of God.
Well, now what? Do I have to drive some cruddy car so that people don't think I'm Jones'n' my ride? Well, it's not really like that. I'll just tell you this for some perspective.
This guy comes up to me and he says, "Well, I guess that's it. So, how did I do?" And I say, "You did great! Come on in" . And as he's just about to step over the threshold to Heaven, he calmly pulls his foot back and says, "Okay, I know it's probably impossible, but I've just gotta ask. I made quite a bit of money down there and I know you don't allow it, but could I please, er, bring it with me?" And I say, "No. You know what the scripture says." And he says, "I know. I know. But, Peter, just once. One exception, man, er, brother. Please. Let's just see how it goes." So I say, "Sure. This one time. This is what I'll do. I'll give you 24 hours to get what you need. At 24 hours, I'm gonna snap you back up here, though, whether you're ready or not. And do me this favor, please. Don't bring anything you can't fit in, say, a carry-on."
So off he went and exchanged all his money for gold bricks and he stuffed his rolling traveling bag with 'em. At 24 hours, I brought him back and he said, "Peter. Thank you so much. Just look at this!" He zipped open the bag to show me and I said, "What? You brought pavement?"
Now this begs the question: What can you take with you? To answer this for you would make the rest of your lives . . . so boring.

4. There Is No List
I want to tell you about one of my favorite parts of my job: the NDEs or the Near Death Experiencers. It's like, there just about to me and then it's always something like, "No! I've gotta stay here longer to help my mom more!." And I'm like, "No, buddy. Come on towards the light. Keep coming. It's okay!"
Well. They always come back. And just a little hint to you guys: you can't be on the list unless you're willing to be on the list.
In truth, there's no list of names. But one time, I had just been finishing up some random paperwork so I had this stapled pack of papers in my hand and up comes this kind of apprehensive looking guy.
I look at him and then down at my papers and say, "Hut hum. Name, please." And he says, "Umm, yeah. Uh, Robert. Robert McNairy." I look at my papers and pretend to find the Ms, and I say "Okay. Now is that Robert S. McNairy of Albany or Liverpool?" And he says, "Albany" And I say, "Quail Run Drive, apt # 12?" And he says, "Yeah. That's me". And I say, "Okay. There you are. Welcome home, brother." And he's like,"Um, that's Rob, eh, Robert S. McNairy, apt 12? I mean, are you sure I'm on the list?"
I say, Yeah. You're there. Come on in. And he says, "Well, I mean . . . did you guys, you know, see what I was up to down there? I just . . ."
And I say in my best Michael-gettin-serious-with-Sollozzo-and-McClusky voice, "Rob. Come on in, man."

5. To the Other Side, San Pedro
So let me tell you a little about Enoch. Enoch was a prophet of the Old Testament who was so righteous, God took him straight to heaven—before Enoch had even died. But that's not all. He took Enoch's entire city, too, on account of its righteousness. I mean, one day threy was Enoch and his city, and the next, it was just a mirage in the desert.
I'm telling you this, San Pedro, because I'm fond of you. We have a lot in common. I lived in a town by the sea, and we've got the same name! And that reminds me of a joke, (he hates it when I tell it around him, but) what do John the Baptist and Winnie the Pooh have in common? The same middle name!
Anyway, back to you, San Pedro. I like you. Sure. You're perched on a port that could easily be annihilated by 65-year-old technology. And, sure. You're on the wrong side of a major fault line.
But do you guys really want to live in fear? What? You might die? Well to put it in American business parlance, as you Monday-morning-quarterback the situation, at the end of the day, death is just a win-win opportunity with synergistic effects on your paradigm of the bottom line.
No, San Pedro, you're no City of Enoch, but well, I'm San Pedro. And I've got connections!
Be not afraid, you guys. Al otro lado, San Pedro. Al otro lado.

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