Thursday, October 19, 2006

No joke, no satire, no sarcasm

Yesterday, I spent two hours pouring over the Scripture references, checking the cross-referenced passages, reading and re-reading the comments, and trying to make sense of “What’s Wrong with Ablaze! – part 6.” None of what follows will make any sense if Frank’s post and posted comments (mine included) are not read first. I am posting a follow-up comment here on my own blog, rather than on Frank’s, as my reply is lengthy, and I do not want to hijack his intent to explain his concerns over Ablaze! by his shedding the light of Scripture and the Confessions on it.

Dear Rev. McCain,

I wasn’t kidding when I said it took me a great deal of courage to write you in the first place. This is no false praise or toadyism. I really DO have a great deal of respect for you. After your return from your summer break, you questioned the pros and cons of blogging. I’m glad you stuck with it, because your posts at Cyberbrethren have been a valuable part of what I consider my training in the Confessions. Like it or not, to many of us you ARE an imposing (and I mean that in its most positive construction) figure in the LCMS, CPH, and the blogosphere. I was truly hoping you would shed some additional light on this post and comments.

Though it was a harsh blow, your chastisement of my having no integrity or courtesy was not wholly unexpected, as I’ve read the same chastisement given to other blogs/bloggers who have attempted to contact you anonymously. I do respect your personal policy of not responding; that is why I have never posted a comment at your site. But since you’ve recently communicated with an anonymous aardvark, an anonymous dead theologian, and most immediately, the anonymous comment-writer known as “A. Blaise” in this post, I thought you might also grant exception to an anonymous mouse. I obviously misread your cues; the fault is mine. I believe I have also misread the dynamics of the comments posted before mine. In retrospect, they appear to be a private (though posted publicly) discussion between you, Frank, and “A. Blaise”. I apologize for butting in and furthermore apologize for injecting the question of your believing Frank’s comments. Whether you do or not is between you and Frank, and my input was neither necessary nor helpful. Please forgive me. As for my own comment, I ask you to re-read it, picturing in your mind’s eye someone who is eagerly hopeful of knowledge, not someone full of haughty disrespect. I have re-read it numerous times, and can see how easy it would be to picture my “voice” as belligerent. Please know this was never, never the case.

Rev. McCain, I have shed more tears over the LCMS than I ever thought my body was capable of producing. Over the last several years, my contending for the sound doctrine of the Lutheran Confessions has reaped personal attack and/or betrayal by two boards of elders, a pastor, a congregation, a circuit counselor, a reconciler, and two district presidents. I try not to feel overly sorry for myself at this. Through the pain, God has matured my faith a great deal, and for that I give Him thanks and praise. Many in the synod have suffered worse than I, yourself included, and Jesus suffered far, far worse -- and that for my transgressions. So, like yet another anonymous blogger, I, too, trust when dark my road.

I know there is no way you could have known any of my personal background as my blog entries are usually of a more frivolous nature, and I am, after all, anonymous. I understand that knowing a bit of it now may make no difference whatsoever in your no-anonymity policy, and since I am remaining anonymous, I have no expectations that you will take me any more seriously now than you did at Putting Out the Fire, nor do I expect any response. Truth be told, I actually fear that you will respond, and only beg you not to hit me again, remembering that behind every anonymous blogger lies a flesh and blood person, and some of them already quite bloodied and scarred.

Dear “A. Blaise,”

If this is your real name, I apologize for putting it in quotes. As the home of Luther N. and Justin Stauld Pastor, I thought A. Blaise was just a clever take on Ablaze!.

Dear Readers,

I am now approaching 32 hours without sleep, the bulk of it spent in thinking about and working on these posts and this reply. Even now, I am concerned that I may be perceived as some self-styled martyr, tooting my own horn like an obnoxious, twelve-chorus, I-I-I praise ditty, but frankly, I’m too weary in body and especially spirit to invest any more time in it, and it's still another ten days before I taste the comfort of our Savior’s Body and Blood. My pastor has suggested my cruising the internet (reading blogs and researching doctrine) is, at least for now, constantly renewing the pain of my battle scars, and he has prescribed rest. It obviously is not helping my insomnia and depression so I guess he’s right. Therefore, I’m going back into another posting-hibernation, maybe until spring, maybe permanently.

Lastly, Dear Frank,

Thank you so much for everything. I look forward to your next fine, timely, step-by-step critique of Ablaze! They’ve been of great assistance in yet another defense-of-doctrine situation I’ve found myself in. I hope you will continue them.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Separation of Church and State?

Not out here in rural America. Sometimes we can get away with things our city cousins can’t. For instance, the school districts in my part of the prairie plainly state that the children have the Monday after Easter off as “Easter Monday,” a decided nod toward Christianity. But a couple of Wednesdays ago, I was rather surprised to see that one of our male confirmands had come to class dressed in a skirt. He told us it had been “dress as the opposite gender day” at school. My initial thought was “Oh, sure!! Let’s just teach the boys that aberrant behavior is fun and normal.” I think one of the two girls present summed it up nicely. “I hope I never have to see THAT again.”

However, coming home from Divine Service that Sunday, I realized that my ire was unfounded. I now think this particular school district had actually gone out of their way to prepare young Lutheran men for that special day of the year when it's "sing as the opposite gender day." Yes, good ol’ LWML Sunday. I know nothing warms my husband’s heart more than singing Lutheran Women One and All as the congregational closing hymn. What a grand way to celebrate all those “Women in Mission.”

But wait!! Weren’t we supposed to be celebrating Christ in mission through his Word and Sacraments? Hold the phone; I’ll check.

No, nope, my mistake. Never mind; I was wrong. A quick look at the other hymn we sang, Serve the Lord with Gladness, says in the third verse: “As we build His kingdom, angels too rejoice.” Well, there you have it: “We build; angels rejoice.” How embarrassing! I must have gotten confused because when we sang verse ten of I Come, O Savior, to Thy Table, it says the angels rejoice over Christ’s Holy meal. Silly me.

Oh, well. I guess it’s just part of the charm of the Lutheran Church of Total Chaos. In fact, taking a page from our young friend’s playbook, next year my husband plans to wear a skirt for LWML Sunday. Purple, of course.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Proposed Resolution

I know this has been tried in the past, but this one just might unite the synod!

An Overture to address that “Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod” no longer describes this church body, which should undergo appropriate name, constitution, and logo revision:

WHEREAS some of the innovative, contemporary, “moderate” (hereafter referred to as ICM) members of the LC-MS claim that Allah is also the true God, which causes the collective hair of all the traditional, historical, “confessional” (hereafter reffered to as THC) members of the LC-MS, and even some the ICM members, to stand on end, and

WHEREAS some of the THC called and ordained ministers go by “Father” rather than “Pastor,” which causes the collective hair of the all the ICM members, and even some of the THC members, to stand on end, and

WHEREAS the THC members cannot seem to agree on
A. when and/or how often to Commune;
B. at what age to begin to Commune;
C. from what kind of cup to Commune;
D. in what manner of vestments the Pastor/Father should dress while administering the Communion;
E. whether “administering” Communion means that only the Pastor/Father should distribute the elements or that he oversees the distribution by assisting elders; and
F. whether female altar guilds or male elders have the authority to set-/clean-up Communion, while
1. the ICM members really couldn’t care less about any of the above and
2. wonder whether they should just simply join a commune, and

WHEREAS the ICM members cannot seem to agree on
A. where in the Sanctuary to place the praise team;
B. whether praise music played by a live, amateur, praise band is superior to that played from a CD by a professional, Top-Ten, praise band;
C. how high you can lift your hands during a song that says to lift them before you seem ostentatious;
D. if the size of the praise screen should overpower the presence of the praise team; and
E. if moving to a jazz/tap liturgical dance number, in favor of a traditional ballet liturgical dance number, will split the synod even further, while
1. the THC members ponder whether it is more liturgically correct to sit with your fingers in your ears, singing “la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you” or
2. simply run to the nearest vomitorium, and

WHEREAS plaguing our church body are many more areas of disagreement, ranging from
A. the size, church-year-timing, and degree of viability vs. fakeness of altar flowers, to
B. whether there is a need to distinguish between a female holding an undergraduate or master’s degree in theology and a female holding a 10-class certification as “Deaconess” and “Deaconette,” respectively, as well as whether either Deaconesses or Deaconettes should hold any title whatsoever, and

WHEREAS “synod” means “walking together,” and this church body’s insistence on calling ourselves such opens the door to those who would seek legal retribution for spiritual and/or physical injury resulting from
A. misleading the public with false advertising,
B. impersonating an Officer of the Ministry, or
C. illegal sparking, etc., be it therefore

RESOLVED that the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod change its name to the Lutheran Church of Total Confusion, and be it further

RESOLVED that the LCTC distribute to all members a new, one-page Constitution/Handbook, simply stating, "Under Constant Construction and Revision. Please carry on with whatever it is you are doing, being mindful that everything is beautiful in its own way, while we attempt to figure out what it is we are doing and then hold you accountable to it." and be it finally

RESOLVED that the LCTC’s new logo honor its synodical roots by depicting the tri-shaded burgundy cross now standing in a hand basket being lowered into a lake-ablaze!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Spaghetti Western Missions

“The great command says: 1. Go out – ablaze!!! and 2. baptize and teach”

Well, I’ll tell ya, pilgrim. For some reason, this guy’s parting shot at Consensus just put me in mind of an old spaghetti Western. In fact, it just plumb inspired me! So grab some popcorn, settle back, and…. Roll film!!

The Goof, His Fad, and It’s Ugly

(opening music) See them tumbling down,
Playing the new, “ modern” sound.
Liturgy-free, they’ll be found
Drifting along with the doctrinal tumbleweeds…….

He was a stranger in a strange land, saddle sore and dusty-throated. Dressed in black, except for his collar, his spurs glittered at his heels as he stepped into the hard-packed street in the center of the sun-baked town. (ka-chink, ka-chink, ka-chink, ka-chink)

“Reach for the sky,” he great-commanded the unwashed heathen facing him from about fifty feet away. Women screamed, dogs barked, and shopkeepers ducked behind their counters. The heathen did as he was told, and the stranger approached. (ka-chink, ka-chink, ka-chink, ka-chink)

“Now listen up, and listen up good. I’m gonna teach you a lesson you won’t forget.” The heathen started to lower his hands. “Keep your hands up where I can see ‘em,” the stranger growled. “Good. Now, sway ‘em to the left. Now to the right. Left. Right. Now, you just keep that up and repeat after me.”

Warbling with a voice more suited to the night shift on a cattle drive, the stranger began. “Shine, Jesus, Shine…,” and the heathen echoed him and swayed obediently. After five choruses, the stranger’s hand was suddenly on the butt of his pistol. “That’s enough! Now, say your prayerssssss.”

Quick as lightening, the stranger pulled his six-shooter-look-alike-water-pistol from its holster and let off three quick rounds, dead-center on the heathen’s forehead. The shouts from the crowds drowned out the stranger’s words and brought the marshal running.
“What’s going on here?” his authoritative voice rolled from his handsome, stern visage.

A bristly man with all the characteristics of an old goat answered in a nasally voice. “He done it, Matthew! He really done it! The stranger done baptized ol’ Adam! Whaddaya think of that!! Let’s all mosey on over to Miss Kitty’s and celebrate!”

Soon the night was falling, and like the sun, the stranger knew it was time for him to go out – ablaze!!!. “Thanks for the show, stranger,” the townsfolk called after him.

“No programo,” he replied and rode off into the sunset. E

(closing music and credits) Happy trails to you, until we meet again;
Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then.
Who cares about the cross when you’ve got glory,
And liturgy seems just like purgatory.
Happy trails to you,
‘til we meet again!!!

The Goof, His Fad, and It’s Ugly

A Ravioli-Ragu Production
in co-operation with
Twice Burned Prairie Dogs Film Corporation


Presido Geraldo………....The Stranger
Inferno! Calculatorio…..The Heathen
E. Clessio Supravisio…..The Marshal
Hey Zeus Primio……….The Old Goat


Sons of the Praisineers


Barnum and Bailey Circus

No animals’ feelings were hurt during the production of this film, with the possible exception of old goats.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Summer’s End

Well, Mouseketeers, I had a wonderful summer with you all, but my creativity is being called away from my blog. Starting next week, I begin my new job of teaching 7th grade and being the Sunday school superintendent and 5th grade Catechism teacher at church. I want to at least get my routine well established, so I’ll let out a squeak when I’m up and running again. Meanwhile, I’ll content myself with scurrying around your blogs now and then.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Chapter 7 - Flames and Names

I awoke with a start, still sitting in my car. The Hot-n-Taughts had gone, and daylight was about to as well. All that was in front of the Kirche place was the biggest clunker I’d ever seen, belching smoke and backfiring every twenty seconds or so. The driver shut off the engine and started toward me. It was none other than the freight master! He told me he’d been coming to find me. He’d spotted me snoozing in my car, and pulled in. I asked him if his car always did that.

“No! That thing isn’t mine. I wouldn’t give two cents for one of these CW Blenders! Look at it! Probably built from one of those do-it-yourself kits.” He said he drove a Walther, and that this bucket of bolts was his new “company car” given to him only an hour earlier. Just then the engine of the Blender burst into flames. I grabbed the fire extinguisher from among my brother’s purchases, and took care of it. I stood there looking at the extinguisher in my hand, thinking about that dream I’d had. The last thing I really remembered was something about Deacon O’Leary and a cow kicking over a lantern. The freight master cut the cord on my navel gazing.

“Thanks,” he said. “I was coming to ask if you’d like to have a partner.” A partner? It had never occurred to me. “You see, the Pinafore Captain had a little talk with the CEO after he got back from the Hot-n-Taught concert. They told me it was against company policy to criticize the changes they were making, and that they had a new job for me. I’m supposed to be keeping my eye on you a few days, and report back. The only reporting they’ll get out of me is where they can pick up their car.” I thought of my dream again. The hotter things got, the more back-up I’d need. “You’re in,” I said. “As you know, these are dangerous times, but you meet some good, solid guys now and then,” and we shook hands.

He helped me put the boxes on the front step, but I put the alb in the trunk. I couldn’t help looking. Nope. Concordia Publishing House. Polyester. As we got into the Augsburg, I started thinking about the partnership. (I’d been doing a lot of that lately.) Pastor and…..? I didn’t even know his name. So I asked him.

“Pastor,” he replied. “Juan Toby Pastor.” Now it was my eyebrows’ turn for a joyride. He laughed. I told Juan he’d need a good deal of training, but lots of guys like him start later in life. I pointed the Augsburg down the path toward Lern & Digest’s.

“And you?” he queried. “I know your last name is Pastor, but if we’re going to be working together after all…”

“I’m Luther N. Pastor, Private Eye”

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Chapter 6 – Dress for Success

“Wait!” I said. “If I have to do this, at least let me dress the part. I’ve got what I need in these boxes. I’ll just take them into the Kirche place and get ready.”

“Okay, but no tricks,” growled the captain.

Two of the boxes were from CPH, so I opened the one on top first. Something was different about this alb. The material was odd, and this wasn’t the way CPH usually shipped vestments. I looked at the packing slip. Conflagration-Proof Habiliments and what I was holding in my other hand was something called “the Albestos.” “We said ‘no tricks;’ what’s going on in there?!!” accompanied a loud pounding on the door.

“Keep your habiliments on,” was as polite as I could make my reply. Besides, it would give them something to chew on while I quickly donned the alb. I hid the fire extinguisher in the folds.

They all escorted me over to the optimitrist’s office, somehow packing themselves in. “Welcome! Here to test your Ablaze! vision? Have a seat!” cackled the doctor as he threw me into the chair.

He grabbed the knob on the ab-lazer Ecclesiastical Super-Vision 2004 and sadistically cranked it to “MAX.” “Ready….” he said.

“AIM…” they all said.

“Fire,” the captain quietly directed.

What happened next, happened fast. I whipped out the fire extinguisher and started spraying. My asbestos alb fended off the attacks of the ES-V2004 easily enough, and aided by the slippery foam, I squeezed my way through the crowd and out the door.

My trusty Augsburg IV didn’t fire right up! In stead, it actually back-fired!!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Chapter 5 – My Worst Nightmare

They sang something for the boomers: “Come on baby, light my fire. Gonna set the night on fire!” They sang something for the kids: “Ten nights ago, while we were all in bed, Deacon O’Leary took the lantern to the shed….” Would they never end?

At some point in time, I noticed Miss Oura standing right beside my car! Tears were rolling down her cheeks. “Miss Oura, come away with me,” I said.

“No, he’s got too strong a hold on me,” was her reply.

I begged and pleaded but could not convince her. What I hadn’t noticed was that the crowd was now around us. I was trapped. The captain of the Pinafore was there, holding a shot gun. “Time for your wedding,” he calmly said to me.

Miss Iona Ree Mindset tearfully pleaded with her brother, J.F., “But he doesn’t like me! I want Justin Stead!”

“Stauld,” I snapped. “And neither one of us wants you!”

Doc Knott grinned, “Don’t cry, Iona, honey. Just let me adjust his Ablaze! vision first. You’ll be okay.”

“I’ll perform the ceremony!” cried some woman.

“Ruth,” the captain snapped, “I’ve already told you; soon, but NOT YET! You can say a few words while I take a break during the ceremony.” She consoled herself with that.

“We’ll provide the music!” Con and Sharon Lovejoy offered.

“No, let us!” said the H-T/P-T choir.

“Think, Luther, you idiot, think!” I said to myself. Then I had an idea!

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Fell asleep under the tree yesterday, so here's two chapters today.

Chapter 3 – Time to Go

“Got your stuff here,” the master said.

“Mind if I ask you a question?”

“Nope, go right ahead.”

“Do you like the new management?”

“Well,” he settled himself down on some of the crates. “It used to be that you could come here, drop your load, and wash up a bit. Oh, sure, they’d always remind you of the laws, but you’d always hear the good news, too. We’d sing the old songs, you could get a bite to eat and drink, and get back on your ship feeling rested and refreshed.”

“And now?” I prompted.

“Now,” he growled, “it’s like a Las Vegas floor show!” Look at those hoity-toity yachts. I’m telling you, there’s big money ‘round here somewhere. And those dancing girls all dressed in purple on the cruise ship decks… ‘liturgical’ they call themselves. I call them ‘Santa’s Reindeer.’”

I couldn’t figure that one out, so I asked. “You know,” he said. “Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen?”

I glanced at the Pinafore captain. He was looking straight ahead, stony faced, and all ears.

My friend continued, “Look.” He pointed and said, “There’s the place where you used to be able to wash up a bit. They’re building a band stage over it!”

“I take it you don’t like it much?”

“Some of my mates do, but I don’t. Well, I best be getting back to work. Do you need some help with your boxes?”

I declined. I could feel the Pinafore captain’s gaze burning into my back as I left the docks. I needed to drop these things off quickly, and leave.

Chapter 4 - I Feel a Song Coming On

My plan was simple. I’d put the boxes on Ms. Kirche’s door step and get outta Dodge. I pulled up. It would seem my simple plan wasn’t to be so simple after all. Apparently the entire Hot-n-Taught College of Pyrotechnics choir had decided to take their spring break together on a cruise. That explained the “H-T/P-T” shirts I’d seen. They’d been especially excited because one of their stops was the town of their favorite son, Doctor Trinabus Knott. The whole community had gathered for an impromptu concert. I decided to hunker down in my car and wait it out.

They started off with the Hot-n-Taught school song. Out came guitars and a banjo. The tune was familiar…was it Rocky Top?

“We all love our dear old Hot-n-Taught
College of Pyro-T skills.
Lots of firy smoke at Hot-n-Taught!
Lots of cash for the tills!
Baptists, Luth’rans all love Hot-n-Taught,
E-Frees, Methodists, too.
We tell folks the Spirit can be caught,
And keep track when we do.

Hot-n-Taught you will always be
Home, sweet home to me!
Good ol’ Hot-n-Taught;
Hot-n-Taught, Pyro-T
Hot-n-Taught, Pyro-T”

Then Trinabus stepped forward for a solo!

“Anyone can come to Hot-n-Taught;
Don’t need doctrinal skill.
There are no programs at Hot-n-Taught,
Only a test of your will.
We catch visions here at Hot-n-Taught;
See the flames leap and grow!
Even though the Spirit can’t be bought,
Please send us lots of dough!

The choir joined him: “Hot-n-Taught you will always be
Home, sweet home to me!
Good ol’ Hot-n-Taught;
Hot-n-Taught, Pyro-T
Hot-n-Taught, Pyro-T”

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Chapter 2 – What’s up, Dock?

The next morning I drove down to the docks. About a quarter mile from the gate, there was something in the ditch. I slowed down. I took a look. It was a sign, spattered with mud. “Ortho Docks” it read. At the gate, a new sign had been hastily hung in its place.

Under New Management
Shipping – Cruises – Yacht Club

I proceeded with caution. It was a busy place. The cargo ships were offloading goods, so I stopped to check in with the freight master. When I gave him my name, his eyebrows took an express elevator to his hairline. He gave me an odd look, but didn’t say anything. I told him I’d be hanging around.

I passed by the cruise ship LCMS Pinafore. There was the captain on deck, overseeing a group of tourists, all dressed alike, and making their way off the ship. The back of their shirts said, “H-T/P-T”. “There goes trouble,” I thought to myself.

I moved on down the docks to tour the area where the yachts were moored. People give them funny names. A man sunning himself on his Hip O’Crit glanced up from under the brim of his “I’m a Lutheran” hat, and addressed nobody in particular. “This Tappert guy’s a jerk!” I walked on.

The next yacht held the biggest sound system I’d ever seen. The Happy Clapper. Why was I not surprised?

Number three was the Biz Marks II. Looked more like a mini-battle ship to me.

The owner of number four, Ruthie K’s Dreamboat, apparently liked a challenge. In stead of a motor, she was outfitted with albs for sails and stoles for rigging. Now that just wasn’t right!

“Hey, Pastor!”

I was being hailed by the freight master. And carefully observed by the Pinafore’s captain.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Fun in the (shady) Sun

Everyone tries to cram in as much fun as possible during the waning days of summer vacation. The mouse is no exception. Since the oppressive heat seems to be broken (at least for a few days), I plan to spend every day this week sipping my tea and reading my new book outdoors under the shade tree. Oh, come on; you knew it had to be a trilogy, didn’t you?

Chapter 1 – Justin Case

It was a dark and stormy night. I liked it better that way. Just & I had been at Lern & Digest’s place for a couple of days now. I’d been thinking. A lot.

“Brother?” Just interrupted my thoughts. “Could you do me a favor?” I said I would.

“About a week before, well, you know, I place this order for Ms. Kirche. It’s not much; a shipment of Good News Magazines, a Gene E. Veith boxed set, a chalice to match her silver service, some furnace filters, and a new fire extinguisher. Oh, and a new alb for me. Guess I won’t need that now, though. Anyway, they’re due in at the dock tomorrow, and I am hoping you can pick them up for me and take them over to the Kirche place. Just drop them off; you don’t even have to talk to anyone if you don’t want to.”

“Sure, I’ll take your case,” I told him. “After all…”

“I’m Luther N. Pastor, Private Eye,” he finished for me with a smile, something I hadn’t seen since my arrival.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Peace, man

I went to a health food store recently and grabbed a box of maple pecan cereal. Sure the brand name was “Peace,” but you get used to that after strolling down a few aisles in a health food store. It is truly one of the tastiest cereals I’ve eaten, but to my surprise, as I sat at the table reading the back of the box and munching away, “Peace” isn’t just a brand. It’s an organization, and ten percent of my purchase now supports Yogi Bhajan. To add insult to injury, the stuff is only 70% organic! Oh, well. Considering the rest of my diet is only about 30% organic, I guess it all comes out in the wash.

Anyway, how can I, as a Confessional Lutheran, keep shoveling the yummiest cereal ever down my throat, knowing I’m also shoveling money into a really big crock of hooey? Practice, practice, practice!

My dollars have supported Thrivent, which in turn supports the ELCA. My dollars have supported LCEF, which in turn supports the Church Growth Movement. My dollars have supported my congregation, which has supported my district, which has supported my synod, which has supported an ecclesiastical supervisor, who has supported “Allah is also the true God.” Which brings us right back to Yogi Bhajan! He also wants to unite people of all faiths to pray for “Peace.” It’s okay to pray, right? And since many LCMS churches’ practice is about 70% Lutheran at best, I guess that all comes out in the wash, too.

Pass the milk, please.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Chapter 7 - (Mo)Surry with the Fringe on Top

… o’er to CURF right up the street;
You’ll find Luth’ran ortho-babes to meet!
When you’re there at Fort Wayne,
You’ll have a Scaer time, a Pless and Resch time,
You’ll have a Gaaaaard oool’ tiiiiiiime!!!

Welcome back to Car Talk, etc. I’m Fr.Ick…

And I’m Fr.Ack. We’ve been talking to our caller, Practicia, who’s been having a bit of Car Talk at her own house lately.

(Fr.Ick) Now, before the break you said it does make a difference if you’re purpose drivin’ down a new road or sticking to the old, historical paths, right?

(Practicia) Yes, that’s right.

(Fr.Ack) Practicia, what you preach is true for the whole family, and we heartily recommend you go ahead and trade your Audi off for a..

(Fr.Ick) For a vintage Augsburg IV!

(Practicia) Oh, most of my family wouldn’t be comfortable doing that, especially Adam.

(Fr.Ick) Ol’ Adam, huh? He’s your not-so-better half? (Fr.Ack laughs)

(Practicia, laughing) Something like that, yes.

(Fr.Ack) Well, there’s a bit of the ol’ Adam in all of us. We all like our comfort levels cranked up high.

(Fr.Ick) And I bet he loves his tunes played loud, and his engines ablaze!

(Practicia) That about sums it up.

(Fr.Ack) Practicia, we still hope your family will come to see the beauty and fine points of the Augsburg from UAC, and….

(Fr.Ick) Hold up there, Fr.Ack. Folks, you know Jerry, our big time supervisor, and we’re getting a signal from him that we need to be out of here.

(Fr.Ack) All righty! Tune in tomorrow when our guest will be Miss Elsie Mess-Chaos. She claims to drive a car that has a steering wheel, accelerator, and brake pedal not only in the traditional driver’s seat position, but also one for each passenger!

(Fr.Ick) Folks, Jerry’s givin’ us “the look,” so it’s time to go! We’ll just leave you with this last little market trend advice: Those that keep their eyes on UAC will have A. marked increase in foreign exchanges, and B. commodities here in the U.S. You’ve been listening to Car Talk, etc., on NPR.

(Fr.Ack) Both Car Talk, etc. and Nixon Pietism Radio are listener-supported, and we thank you for your support. You can visit us at

(Fr.Ick) Forwards or backwards, it’s the same…

(Fr.Ack) Or link to us from the NPR website at Bye-bye!

I turned off the radio. That Practicia dame was right. There was a difference. And Fr.Ick and Fr.Ack had given her some good advice. I turned my trusty Augsburg IV down the old, historical path to Reed Mark Lern & Ward Lee Digest’s place.

My brother had fallen asleep. He was muttering something. Be Justin…..dependent….Luther N…. Pastor….” Was he dreaming of himself, or me? Things aren’t so clear when the problem hits this close to home.

Even when you’re Luther N. Pastor, Private Eye.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Chapter 6 - That's the Way It Happens

“What am I to do?” came a mocking voice. “You can get outta my way.” I’d know that voice anywhere. I.M. Knott, here to “help” the situation, was standing at the bottom of the steps. He quickly placed a new name on the second mailbox, and left, grinning. We got a good look at it. We looked at each other. We looked across the street. We saw a man - no doubt the “Newly D. Claird, Deacon” we’d read on the box, already walking contentedly, arm in arm, with Uma. Her voice carried across the street. “Uma Stobay. Better than that fellow over there, I’m hoping you to be,” she said, pointing toward us.

I turned to the broken, singed man beside me. He’d avoided that prostituted Mindset dame, but he’d been burned by Knott’s ES-V2004. The wily ol’ false ‘Doc Trin’ had even managed to get his phone removed, so he couldn’t receive any more calls. “Brother, you probably feel like you’ve lost yourself, that you’re not Justin Stauld any more. But remember, you’re still a Pastor. Great-Great-Great Grandpa says so, and he knows what he’s talking about.” I helped him into my car. “Lern and Digest have invited you to stay with them. You get some rest. I’ve got some thinking to do.”

We headed away from the Kirche place. I turned on the radio.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Chapter 5 - A Real Nice Clambake

“Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, this Elsie-Em S. Kirche announces Sharon Lovejoy and Con can get married at her place, and I have to perform the ceremony! Of course, the ol’ Sir Kutt nods approval.” Again he looked straight into my eyes. “You know I couldn’t do that, so I told them all, as gently as possible, that even Grandpa doesn’t approve.” He fell silent, shaking his head.

Suddenly, his anger broke through. Up came his head, and out came, “Well, you’d think I’d ripped a loud one during silent prayer. Pure bedlam breaks out, and next thing I know, they insist that it must be a DOUBLE ceremony! Sharon and her Con man, and some ‘hot item’ from the All Blazin’ Lutherans Approve Evangelism branch named Miss Iona Ree Mindset and me! They force me next door, and Doctor Knott has the nerve to say, ““Welcome! Here to test your Ablaze! vision? Have a seat!” Suddenly, there are shouts and screams flying everywhere while mister ‘Reformed Doc Trin,’ being ever-helpful with his ab-lazer ES-V2004, tries to ‘correct my vision’ – yeah, RIGHT! - set me on fire is more like it, while Reed Mark Lern & Ward Lee Digest are jumping in to offer support and protection for me!”

As suspected, I had smelled Knott’s smoke on them when they came into my office. Then what?” I asked Justin.

“I run out the door and am in hiding until this morning. When I come back here, they take my name off the mailbox, and my hat & bags sit on the front porch. Then you come along. What am I to do, Brother? What am I to do?”

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Chapter 4 - The Lonely Goatherd

I nodded and he continued, “As the months go by, I meet more folks, but it’s strange. Ms. Kirche had said the community was well acquainted with B. O. Concord, because after all, he is their Great-Great-Great Grandfather, too. But every time I mention him, the elder Frank Lee Bellows, becomes agitated and aggressive! And every time Lern and Digest faithfully listen or say anything, here come dirty looks from Uma Stobay! She constantly dismisses everything Lern and Digest try to say, and even gets some guy, Arnie Clever, to say that my quoting Grandpa was like an ass braying.”

These words made me wince. I knew there was more. I gave him some time.

“Next thing I know, the Kirche family makes an appointment for me with some British guy, who they say will help me. His office is right next door to Dr. Knott’s, and sure enough, Sir Kutt, Counselor, is waiting to get his hands on me. The whole community packs themselves into his office, and he tells me, ‘Clever, Bellows, and Uma Stobay mean business.’ About dismissing Grandpa and Lern and Digest’s comments? I’m telling you, Brother, the pressure was really on.”

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Chapter 3 - Getting to Know You

I let my brother gather his thoughts. After a few minutes he began again, the flicker of a smile on his face. “Sharon Lovejoy merely winks and says, ‘Oh! I also want you to meet my fiancé.’ She waves over a fellow sporting a spiky, pink do. ‘This is Con, Temporary Muse/Ichthyologist,’ she says.”

“‘Lovey, you’re so silly,’ he says and extends his hand. ‘Radley Conrad, actually, old chap. Transfer from the English District, you know. I write fishy songs by day, and I’m a stand-in for the local P.R.A.I.S.E theater group by night. Call me Con; everyone does.’”

“P.R.A.I.S.E.?” I ask.

“'Lovey started the “People Really Adore Insipid Song Experiences” theater group here about five years ago, and I joined after my transfer.' Then he offers me a couple of free tickets, but I tell him I'm more of a didactic kind of guy.

“Brother, I worry about the two of them. Con is nice guy, but doesn’t seem like one who would be able to put much meat on the table for himself and his Lovey. Unfortunately, it’s obvious her heart is “Conned,” and they only have eyes for each other.”

“Anyway, I turn to leave and run smack into a man I didn't know is behind me. I apologize, of course, and introduce myself. All he says is, ‘F.L. Bellows, Jr. is my name. No doubt you’ll be meeting my father soon enough.’ That’s it. No welcome. No how-do-you-do. Nothing. Of course, now, I’m wondering just what kind of situation I’d accepted, but decide to give it my all.” His haunted eyes looked straight into mine. “I know you understand, Brother. We’re Pastors, after all.”

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Chapter 2 - There is Nothing Like a Dame

Lern & Digest left me shaken and my office tainted with the smell of sulfur. The object of my new investigation was none other than my own brother, Justin. He’d received a call from one Elsie-Em S. Kirche. It was only about a year ago and, now, he’d gone into hiding.

I drove out to the Kirche place. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There he was sitting on the front step, covered in bandages. He’d been handed his hat alright, and his bags, too. Nearby were two mailboxes, one bearing the name “Kirche,” the other “Justin Stauld Pastor,” too hastily removed, so still visible. “Start talkin’, Brother.” I said. He did, in his peculiar little present-tense manner.

“The first person I meet in this community is a dame, a Sharon Lovejoy. Oh, she is well-intentioned enough. No matter who she sees as we talk, there is Lovejoy, waving hands, smiling, and shouting encouragement to everyone. Personally, I find it a distraction, and it really grates on my nerves. Then she really gets excited, see, and waves over a particular friend of hers. This other dame introduces herself. ‘Uma Stobay. Everything I say about how this community is run…. You can count on it! I know how it is with you newcomers.’” My mouth fell open.

Justin continued, “My reaction, too, Brother, but before I can even begin to absorb that, Uma quickly points out two men talking quietly together. ‘There are two you’re not going to want to get mixed up with. Mr. Reed Mark Lern & Ward Lee Digest. Now, remember… Uma Stobay.’ Her grin is hungry, and she shakes my hand with an iron grip and leaves.” He paused, shuddering with the memory.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Summer Sequel

Man, this summer heat is ridiculous! It’s too hot to do anything but sit in front of the fan with a tall glass of iced tea and a book. Fortunately, I heard that the book I’d read has a sequel. I went back to the library, so now it’s just me, my fan, my tea, and book two!

Chapter 1

It was a bright and sunny morning. That in itself was odd. Two men came through my office door. Oddity number two. They brought a peculiar smell into the room with them, but there the oddities ended. I recognized that smell.

They introduced themselves. “I’m Reed Mark Lern”, said the first.

“& Ward Lee Digest, here,” said the second, as they shook my hand.

“You gents lawyers?” I asked.

“No,” said Lern, “but you could say we’re on a journey of Law.”

“And good news, too,” added Digest.

“Well, what can I do for you?” As their tale unfolded, it was as if Onaleah Laymen had walked back through my door all over again.

“Two days ago….Dr. Knott…..his ES-V2004 on overload….” Then they said something that shocked me to the core. I had to take the case.

I’m Luther N. Pastor, Private Eye.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Scene VI

The curtain opens once again on the church basement. No pot-luck in progress this time, the returning Confessional pastor has called a congregational meeting to report the proceedings of the Pinafore convention. He and the elders are sitting at a table, facing the congregation. Cue music -

(Man 1) I hear that we might split up.

(Woman 1) Fear that we should break up.

(Man 2) And I can surely see why.

(Woman 2) When by-laws are oft brought up to act as cover up…

(Congregation) How can it not blow up high!?

(Elders) We’ve got praise bands, Ablaze! fanned a-plenty,
And kids’ sermons by girl DCE’s….
Nobody can spare time for doctrine,
They’re too busy with their ministries!

(Pastor) But, though synod’s all fouled up,
‘07’s coming up.
Let’s stick around, wait, and see.
If overtures they shut up
As votes are counted up,

(All) Then, we will pack up and flee!

Final curtain.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Scene V

The curtain opens on a hallway just outside the convention floor. The Pinafore District president, with the synodical president next to him, loudly addresses a group of Delegates-Ablaze!. Nearby, a small contingency of face-scowling, throat-growling, Confessional delegates, their arms firmly crossed, also wait to go in. Cue music -

(DP) I am the captain of the Pinafore
And a right good arson, too.
I’m very, very shrewd and be it understood,
I will purge my “divisive” crew.

(Confessionals, among themselves) He may be very shrewd, but be it understood, we’ll resist ‘til we’re black and blue.

(DP) I’ll grow the church and set ablaze the brush and the prairie,
So polish up the screen to a nice and shiny sheen,
And really push contemp’rary.

(Conf 1, calling over): Push often? (DP answers) Yes, often!

(Conf 2, calling over) How often? (DP answers, pointing at them) VERY often!!

(Confessionals, loudly) We will not push contemp’rary…. So give three jeers and one jeer more for the pushy captain of the Pinafore! So give three jeers and one jeer more for …….the captain of the Pinafore.

(DP, now addressing Confessionals) I am the captain of the Pinafore
And I pack a flame-thrower, too.
You’d better get aboard, with praise band and keyboard,
Or the plank you will walk on cue.

(Confessionals) We will not get aboard, with praise band or keyboard, and we’re wearing swimming trunks, so pooh!

(DP, his anger errupting, pointing) You’ll keep the sheep excited, reassured; teach them to see
That their ministry is sound if on purpose-driven ground;
And don’t explicate the Book of C!

(Conf 3) What? Never?? (DP) No, never!
(Conf 4) Not ever? (DP spoken) Well, (sung) Hardly ever. (heaves a sigh)

(Confessionals, as they exit hallway to the convention floor) We will explicate that Book of C…. So give three jeers and one jeer more for the expletive captain of the Pinafore! So give three jeers and one jeer more for …….the captain of the Pinafore.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Scene IV

The curtain opens one more time on the Village Inn meeting room, early the next morning (Village Inn LOVES convention season!). A deacon is addressing a hand-picked group of lay delegates at a prayer breakfast. Cue music -

(Deacon) When I was a lad I served a term
As a church trustee after I’d been confirmed.
I cleaned the windows, and I swept the floor,
And I polished up the handle of the big front door.

(Men) He polished up the handle of the big front door.

(Deacon) I polished up that handle so carefully, that now I am a Deacon in ol’ Missouri.

(Men) He polished up that handle so carefully, that now he is a Deacon in ol’ Missouri!

(Deacon) As church trustee I made such a mark
They elected me the striker of the spark.
I struck the sparks with a smile so bright,
And I fanned the flames with gusto, made events ignite!

(Men) He fanned the flames with gusto, made events ignite!

(Deacon) I fanned the flames with gusto with a hand so free, that now I am a Deacon in ol’ Missouri.

(Men) He fanned the flames with gusto with a hand so free, that now he is a Deacon in ol’ Missouri!

(Deacon) In striking sparks I made such a name,
That my congregation’s elder I became.
I voted for the screen and the songs ‘bout me,
And I made sure that the pastor stayed contemp’rary.

(Men) He made sure that the pastor stayed contemp’rary.

(Deacon) And that pastor stayed so contemp’rary, that now I am a Deacon in ‘ol Missouri.

(Men) And that pastor stayed so contemp’rary, that now he is a Deacon in ‘ol Missouri!

(Deacon) “Why stop at elder,” I was advised;
“To teach and preach you can be authorized;
And Sacraments you can at ease dispense,
And it doesn’t really matter if it gives offense.”

(Men) It really doesn’t matter if it gives offense?

Deacon) ‘Twas passed in ’89, conventionally, so now I am a Deacon in ‘ol Missouri.

(Men) ‘Twas passed in ’89, conventionally, so now he is a Deacon in ‘ol Missouri!

(Deacon) Now, laymen all, whoever you may be,
Why take four years to learn theology?
Just take ten classes and you’ll know enough;
You can take over the pastor’s Sunday morning stuff.

(Men) We’ll take over the pastor’s Sunday morning stuff?

(Deacon) You’ll consecrate, preach and teach with glee; yes, you can be a deacon in ol’ Missouri!

(Men) We’ll consecrate, preach and teach with glee; and we will all be deacons in ol’ Missouri!


Friday, July 14, 2006

Scene III

The curtain opens on that same Village Inn meeting room, later that evening. Confessional pastors are meeting for Scripture and Doctrinal study, as well as mutual support and encouragement before tomorrow’s convention begins. Cue music -

(Pastor 1) A quia Luth’ran has a soaring soul, as free as a mountain bird;

(Pastor 2) His energetic yell should be ready to repel a false doctrinal word.

(Pastors 1 & 2) His nose should pant and his lip should curl, His cheeks should flame and his brow should furl, His bosom should heave and his heart should glow, And his voice be ever ready ‘gainst Confession’s foe!

(All pastors Chorus) His nose should pant and his lip should curl, His cheeks should flame and his brow should furl, His bosom should heave and his heart should glow, And his voice be ever ready ‘gainst Confession’s foe!

(Pastor 4) His eyes should flash with an inborn ire, his brow with scorn be wrung;

(Pastor 5) He never should give ground to Reformed, alluring sound or tang of Pentecostal tongue.

(Pastors 4 & 5) His foot should stamp, and his throat should growl, His hair should twirl, and his face should scowl; His eyes should flash, and his breast protrude, And this should be his customary attitude.

(All pastors Chorus) His foot should stamp, and his throat should growl, His hair should twirl, and his face should scowl; His eyes should flash, and his breast protrude, And this should be his customary attitude!


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Scene II

The Confessional pastor enters stage left, "driving" his way across the stage in front of the closed curtain. When he is about half way across, the curtain opens on a meeting room of the Village Inn located across the street from the district’s headquarters. It is filled with ladies clad in purple t-shirts, listening excitedly to one purple-clad woman making an announcement.

(p-c woman) And now without further ado, I give you our synodical president, here to address us before tomorrow's LCMS Pinafore District Convention opening day festivities!

Women applaud as SP takes the stand. Cue music -

(SP) I am the monarch of the See;
I supervise ecclesiastically,
And push the limits that the doctrine plants.

(p-c woman, jumping to her feet) And so will his sisters and his cousins and his aunts,

(All p-c ladies, jumping to their feet) His sisters and his cousins, who he recons by the dozens, his sisters and his cousins, who he recons by the dozens, and his aunts. (All ladies sit back down, as nodding, smiling DP motions them to do so)

(SP) Creation’s order’s obsolete
But transition must be discrete;
I’ll quietly work so women’s roles advance.

(p-c woman and all ladies repeat chorus, same actions)

(SP) I will allow all my DP’s
(though there may be some casualties)
To just slip in some liturgical dance.

(p-c woman and all ladies repeat chorus, same actions.)

(SP) And if the four winds blow,
I’ll casually go below
And seek the refuge that a by-law grants.

(p-c woman, jumping to her feet) And so will his sisters and his cousins and his aunts,

(all p-c ladies, jumping to their feet) His sisters and his cousins, who he recons by the dozens,

(all p-c ladies and DP) His sisters and his cousins, who he recons by the dozens, and his aunts! (DP, smiling broadly, comes from behind stand and embraces as many p-c ladies as he can reach)


Monday, July 10, 2006

The LCMS Pinafore - Scene I

The curtain opens on a large church basement where the men, women, and children of a Confessional flock are enjoying the remains of a pot-luck dinner, their pastor having just left for the Pinafore District convention. Cue music -

(man 1) Oh, the synod wants full pews, but our numbers sure are shrinking.

(woman 1) Could it be their words confuse and encourage wrong-way thinking…
…By sheep who squeal for needs they feel, and pastors who promise them bliss.

(man 1) Those men-of-the-cloth make them spiritually sloth by failing their full catechesis.

(woman 2) Oh, the synod wants full pews, but our numbers sure are shrinking.

(man 2) Could it be that folks refuse to give off’rings without thinking…
…To our DP’s whose staff nominees demand congregations’ dollars?

(woman 2) They should realize we object to their size, so we won’t give two hoots or a holler.

(children) Oh, the synod wants full pews, but our numbers sure are shrinking.
Could it be their words confuse doctrine with the culture’s thinking?

(boys) They stand there and croon some ol' 60’s tune and tell each other, “Kids like it!”

(girls) The more modern stuff’s even more full of fluff, so give us Sei du mir gegrüsset!

(All) They wonder why we’re shrinking?!
Yet insist on glory-thinking!
The Cross renews, and God will choose who fills the pews!!


Oh, my!!!

I am truly honored; thank you so much for the Aardie!

To celebrate, I’m taking you all to the opera tonight, so brush up your Gilbert and Sullivan tunes and get ready to sing along as we sail away on a summer’s day, peeking in on the various goings-on in the district of …

The LCMS Pinafore

Friday, July 07, 2006

Chapter 7 - The End?

As promised, I met with Onaleah after church on Sunday. She wasn’t alone. She’d brought the entire Laymen clan to hear what I had to say. I swallowed hard and spilled the whole sordid story.

Many of the Justmore MoSyn-Politics branch sat there clueless or in denial. One of the All Blazin’ Lutherans Approve Zippy Evangelism branch, patients of Doctor Knott, pointedly suggested I should get my eyes examined so I could more appreciate the beauty of Miss Iona Ree Mindset. This wasn’t good. This branch was the one currently in power. I knew if they forced me into Doctor Knott’s examination chair and offered me a shot-gun wedding, I’d have to make a run for it. At least I knew the Confessional Mosyn branch, for whom what I’d said only confirmed their fears, would follow me.

What could I do? Well, keep Great-Great-Great Grandpa B.O.Concord out of the nursing home, for one. I had to keep preaching, keep teaching, keep administering the Sacraments, and keep my bags packed and my running shoes on.

After all, I’m Luther N. Pastor, Private Eye.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Chapter 6 – Sad, but True

Maybe it was the look on my face, or maybe he just realized he’d said too much. Either way, he quickly changed the subject. “Say, you got kids in the YFL? I just got in a shipment of Ablaze! tongue studs. They’re a great witnessing tool, and the kids’ll feel just like one of the Apostles on Pentecost!

I’d heard all I could stomach and made for the door. “If you’re worried about your checkbook, we also accept vouchers from your congregation, credit cards….” I didn’t hear the rest; I was already far down the street.

Poor Miss Oura Synod…. Bamboozled again. And Knott was wrong. Great-Great-Great Grandpa wasn’t dead and he hadn’t lost a thing! Others were hiding his stuff so he’d appear to be nothing but a really mean old man ready for the Alzheimer’s wing. What could I do? What could I do?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Chapter 5 – “Doctor” My Eye!

Since I had to meet Onaleah Laymen on Sunday, I decided I needed to pay a little visit to Doctor Knott and see how things had progressed. He was now a prominent, big-city optimitrist with a thriving practice. I entered the office. He was on the phone. His back was toward me.

Listen, Oura, get over yourself! Ol’ Grandpa’s losing it. He’s practically dead, and you’re not his little girl anymore!”

I caught his eye.

“Gotta go. Customer.” He hung up the phone. He adjusted his smile. He turned toward me.

“Welcome! Here to test your Ablaze! vision? Have a seat!” cried the doctor.

“Um, no, I just wanted to ask you how you thought your son, Fred, was getting along.” Being a loquacious man, he took the bait.

“You mean Ignitus Morris? Hey, did I name that kid right, or what?! Why I even gave him one of my ab-laser “Ecclesiastical Super-Vision 2004” treatments for free! Of course, the Corporation is working on a more powerful version, the ES-V 2007. Heh! I’ll make sure of ol’ Will-B getting one of those for sure!” Lowering his voice, he added, “Heh, heh, and I’m trying to convince ol’ Miss Oura of adding a girl to follow in her brother Will’s footste…”

Friday, June 30, 2006

Chapter 4 – Walking Together on Separate Roads

Shortly after this time, a family reunion was held, and the pleasure was given to one Mrs. Shirley R. Proud to announce that the majority of folks proclaimed “I. M.” Knott really a Deacon, qualified to lead a congregation.

It took a while for the reality of the announcement to sink in, but when it finally did, sharp criticism was heard from others in the family, like Mrs. Ima Pauld, over the news. Said Ima Pauld, “To see that ten-class, undereducated man…. in sub-ordination vestments, no less! Why, if I ever hear his brother, Pastor Will-B Knott, in agreement with such…. or suggesting grape juice in stead of wine for… If I ever see Pastor Will-B Knott treating the hymnal like so much….litter – gee! It’s God’s Word, after all!!

Obviously, Ima had a lot on her mind and she’d kept it pent up for quite a while. The trouble was that there were now just too many like Shirley R. Proud and Mr. J.F. Mindset and his sister, Miss Iona Ree. They couldn’t be bothered over folks like Ima Pauld, Confessa N. Teach, or Gettha Message-Straight. They were just too old-school.

To top it off, under more pressure than ever, Miss Oura finally relented and chased after other business schemes, including an open-pit, flame-broiled bar-b-que joint.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Chapter 3 – The Thought Plickens

Twin boys were born. One resembled his father, so she named him Frederick Hanswurst Knott, and the other, given the moniker Wilhelm Brewmeister Knott, more resembled her. At first, times were tough for Miss Oura (and for the boys, with names like that!), but then she had a stretch of some barry good years (and the boys came up with nicknames they could live with). She was happy to see Will-B flourish during this time, and his desire to go to the seminary came to fruition. But, she worried about Fred. He’d kept frequent contact with his father, the now “Reformed Doc Trin”, who re-nick-named him “Ignitus Morris” (a name Fred said more accurately reflected his fiery personality and smoldering good looks). Like father, like son, they frequently reminded Miss Oura that she should get jiggy with the times. Together, the two of them pressured her to expand her catering services for the cultural mind-set crowd, and always keep in mind the bottom line. Only in this way would the family be able to afford paying Trinabus’ way through the Hot-n-Taught School of Pyrotechnic Medicine. Miss Oura consoled herself that at least he’d finally talked Fred into taking a few classes at the university.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Miss Oura takes a quick detour

Miss Oura Synod finally begins to wonder if patronizing "Le Salon de Practice Adiaphora" is such a good idea after all.

I wrote a reply on Friday to Pastor McCain’s post about the statue of Mary, however, I never got to post it due to an incredibly busy weekend and Monday. Since it looks like Pastor McCain has finally succeeded in getting the comments to his post going more toward his intended direction (a discussion of adiaphora), I won’t post my statue musings there. In stead, you all have to suffer through them here.

Since, as Lutherans, our focus is on Christ, we will begin there. Catholic Jesus is cradled so that His whole body is turned outward, toward the world. His face looks outward, toward the people He came to save. Why He is holding a banana, though, I cannot say. Or maybe Mary’s just letting him play with the moon for a while; I’m not sure. (Why is Earth and All Stars popping into my head right now?) The Lutheran Jesus looks like He just looooves His mama and can’t quite bring Himself to look at the world. As for mama herself, yes, Catholic Mary is depicted as the queen of heaven, decked out in her cosmic rays and crown, while Lutheran Mary is dressed very tastefully. However, by virtue of both Catholic and Lutheran Mary’s standing, as opposed to sitting, the size of them naturally outweighs the presence of (and therefore the focus on) the Child. Since both women have a look on their faces that says, “Man, this kid’s gettin’ heavy,” maybe that’s supposed to draw our attention back to Jesus.

Art, whether statue or painting, has movement. Well, I suppose if a “still life” had movement, it would kind of defeat the purpose, wouldn't it? Anyway, one of my favorite Mother and Child paintings is of a very young Mary kissing the face of baby Jesus. Proportionally, Mary and Jesus are on equal footing, and the implied movement draws the focus not so much to Mary, but to Christ -- the miracle of His allowing us to hold Him in our hands and to our lips. Catholic Mary has movement partly due to the quivering rays behind her, but also because her Child is active. Lutheran Mary and Jesus look, well, kind of bored. Maybe He dropped his banana.

I guess, there's no accounting for taste, and folks tell me mine is all in my mouth. So, I’ll just set aside my artistic critique and opine a bit: I do think that this statue and its candles give the impression that Lutherans do/did/could/should/may/might…all the helping verbs, really… pray to Mary. MAYBE (and that’s a really BIG “maybe”), if the center, extra-ornate, Marian-colored candle was replaced with a white Paschal candle, I could MAYBE be convinced that this “décor” is neutral or centered on Christ. On second thought, nope. Look at all the pretty white candles around Catholic Mary, some even in triplicate to remind us of the Trinity. No, surely a more appropriate place to pause for, and encourage prayer would be facing the altar or by the baptismal font.

Chapter 2 – Sowing Seeds of Scandal

I was already rather familiar with her case. Some 40 years or so ago, Miss Oura Synod was a nice respectable girl. Oh, sure, she’d had a falling-out with some friends who’d said good-by to her over the company she kept. But the biggest blow of all came in the form of one “Doctor” Trinabus Knott. He pitched woo to poor Oura until she’d entertained far more than a notion and found herself pregnant by the false “Doc Trin” as he fancied calling himself. The words of Great-Great-Great Grandpa saved the day, and seeing he was no doctor at all and nothing but a scoundrel, the Synod family sent him packing. But his semen-x remained, and now something grew quietly in depths of the body of a very naïve Miss Oura.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Story Hour

I went to the library the other day and picked up a book to read. Well, of course I was going to read it – I already have enough books just looking pretty sitting on my coffee table. The cover jacket said it was an old story, but contemporary at the same time. A story of scandal and cover-up, of war, and only a false sense of peace. I was hooked, and I just couldn’t put it down.

Chapter 1 - It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

It was late. I was sitting in my office when the phone rang. It was a dame. She was upset. She said her name was Onaleah Mosyn-Laymen, of the Confessional Mosyn branch on her Great-Great-Great Grandfather B.O. Concord’s side of the Synod family, and she’d heard some flim-flam man was after her entire family. She was hoping for an explanation she could understand and was hoping I was the man to give it to her. I took the case. I’m Luther N. Pastor, Private Eye.

I told her I’d meet her after church on Sunday with a full report.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Stupid squirrel.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Strong fences make good neighbors

A squirrel has moved in under the rafters above the pastor’s study. Tsk! Really!! A church mouse is one thing, but a church squirrel?!? I understand the concept (not to mention the reality) of Salvation being for the Gentiles as well as the Jews, but I don’t think I can share my space with this nut-meister!

Mice scurry, you know…

… so today we’re going to scurry around my cranial attic and see what we can find amongst the boxes and dust bunnies.

I want you to remember:
Ablaze! – It’s not a program, it’s a movement.
Multi-Site! – It’s not a mission, it’s a vehicle.
LCMS! – It’s not a synod, it’s a (to quote Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes) “It’s a madhouse!!!!!!!!”

Ooooo! Clever, clever Biz Marks crew! They’re using the ol’ “Create a need, then fill it” business axiomatic torpedoes now. The more Multi-Site Ministries they can create, the more they’ll say we need lay-ministry “deacons” to lead them!

Here’s a quick inspiration from Consensus:

Are your spiritual numerics in a slump?
Have your small group rotations ground to a halt?
Is your liturgical pest control pooped?
Perhaps we can help!





“Strategic Mystery Planting”

These seeds of growth are the results of years of dedicated research, mimicry, and careful cloning using mostly* Lutheran DNA. While individual yields cannot be guaranteed, we’re sure your money will be well spent. Call us today!

* at least 51% by volume

And finally, we go Back to the Future……

A riot broke out at the 2007 LCMS Convention yesterday when a significant, but minority contingency of delegates, calling themselves “Confessionals,” arose as one and began whipping out cinctures (which had been hidden in their pockets), overturning tables, and shouting, “Get out of my grandfather’s church!” while lashing those around them. When police arrived at the scene, a man, who claimed to be the synodical president, had his hands firmly clamped over his fanny and was trying to rally his loyal district presidents around him, crying, “Protect my rear! Protect your rears!” Ack! Advance to the rear!”

When it was all sorted out, what Biblical scholars would call a “David and Goliath event” had taken place. As they were ushered off the premises, the shocked majority was heard mumbling “I knew we should have tried to pass that by-law the last time about disallowing vestments at convention activities.” With a firm grasp on the YFL sponsor’s ear, one Confessional was seen wrestling the writhing, aging baby-boomer out the door. Planting one good, swift, parting kick on the sponsor’s posterior, the Confessional bid him farewell. “And I’ve got 12 more choruses of THAT for you if you ever soil the minds of our youth with that tripe again!”

Oh, come on! It’s my attic and I can dream here if I want.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

church, churches, churched, churching

According to my 3-volume, 450,000+ word, Webster’s Third New International Unabridged Dictionary (are you impressed?), “churched” is not just used as an adjective describing someone who is affiliated with a church, it is also a form of the verb, to church, meaning “to bring or conduct to church to receive one of its rites," and “unchurched” means the opposite, that is to deprive someone of the church’s rites. Thus, one could say, “I’ll be churching Grandma today.” We must be careful, however, for the specific word “churching” can also mean “a ceremony by which, after childbirth, women are received in the church with prayers, blessings, and thanksgiving.” So, if I say I'm “churching grandma,” it might give the illusion that it's been a looooooong time since ol’ grandma’s been to church.

Now that I know that all forms of “church” (and would you believe “churchified” is a legitimate form?) can be used as nouns, verbs, or adjectives, in addition to singing, “I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together,” I can also sing, “The church am churched, the church are churched, all the church are churched together…” Of course, that’s kind of like saying that a cheese sandwich is a piece of cheese sandwiched between two slices of sandwich bread.

Now I ask you, if an unchurched happens to church another unchurched, does that make the first unchurched churched? And, how often do churched or unchurched have to church the unchurched before the unchurched are churched and can sing “The church am churched?”

Too hard? Here, I’ll make it simpler: How much churched can an unchurched church ‘fore the unchurched could church churched?

Still too hard? Try this: Chipper Charlie churched a church of unchurched chip-monks. If churlish unchurched chip-monks unchurched Charlie’s chipper chip-monks, where’s the church of Charlie’s chip-monks churlish unchurched churched?

Ow. I’m going to wrap my brain pan in an ace bandage and apply ice now. I think I sprained something.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Multi-Site Miseries

Hey pastors, don’t feel bad if you can’t keep up with the Joneses. You say you don‘t have one of those new-fangled Multi-Site Ministries like they do in Missouri? Why, #1 of their Key Characteristics is “worship services in different locations.” So, as you’re going about your parish, making calls, bringing Life and Forgiveness to shut-ins, remember, you’re not doing “pastoral care,” you’ve got yourself a Multi-Site Ministry! Oops! Wait… hold the phone! Key Characteristic #5 says it “exists to serve unchurched people.” Well, shucks, that disqualifies your shut-in calls because they’re already churched.

Okay, so let’s say you've managed to set up an off-site, storefront, preaching station. Um, extension site. Er, satellite ministry. You should attract many new people, because “new ministries” are what really brings ‘em in, at least according to Key Characteristic #3. Now, I know this may make you a bit uncomfortable at first, but you will not be using ushers any more. In stead, you need to pick the biggest, strongest, meanest-looking hombre from your primary congregation to serve as a bouncer at the preaching station, extension, satellite thing. As new people come in the door, he’ll need to screen them to see if they meet Key Characteristic #5's criteria of being unchurched.

“Welcome to St. Ignitus’ Multi-Site Ministry Mission Model. Churched, or unchurched?

“Well, um, okay I must confess, we go to church on Christmas and Easter, but I was attracted to your new ministry, and I’m so happy…

“Nope, sorry. You’re churched. Please step aside.”


“Look, don’t make me get rough, man. You’re churched! You need to run on down to St. Ignitus’ Main-Site Ministry Mission Mega-Mother Church. Next!”

You’ll then need to determine how many times the unchurched folks who attend your storefront ministry-site may come before they are considered churched and need to be sent back to the mother-ship, er, church. To help them make this transition smoothly, you’ll need to have your
SPIFE assimilation drones, er, team in place and ready to…

Wait just one cotton-pickin’ minute! Did I make a wrong turn and end up in the Twilight Zone again!? It’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference. I thought I heard some do-do-DO-do’s, but I just figured it was a praise band warming up. Look! There’s a sign up ahead….

AAAUUUGGGHHH! It’s just as I feared!!!

Aglaze! - Sugar and SPIFE and everything nice,
that’s what happy little Lutherans are made of.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I should have known better

Today, I decided to visit my city mouse cousin. This usually results in some sort of cultural trauma, and today was no exception. I spotted a shingle hanging above a door. “OPTIMETRIST,” it read. I hesitated over a sign in the window. “Get a better outlook on Ablaze! in thirty minutes, or your exam is free! Walk-ins Welcome.” I figured I might as well, because this Ablaze! vision has just been giving me fits.

“Welcome! Here to test your Ablaze! vision? Have a seat!” cried the doctor.

“My, Doctor, what pointy ears you have!”

“The better to hear you with, my dear,” he purred. “Now, first we’ll use this machine with the little flippy-lenses. Just look through here and tell me which is clearer. Is it better on one,


“or two?”


“Well,” replied I, “there’s a kind of smoky haze covering part of number one, but number two is clear as a bell.”

A little scowl creased his brow and something swished back and forth beneath his white coat. But, he cheerfully continued, “Let’s try this next set. Is it better on three, or…”

“Oh, wow! How’d you get that 3-D effect of a hand reaching out to grab my checkbook” I cried.

“That’s not important right now; just tell me which one is clearer.”

“Okay, flip ‘em again.”

“Here’s three, and here’s four.”

“That’s just amazing! Only this time, a hand is giving me a copy of “What About – Christian Stewardship.”

And which one is clearer?”

“Oh, sorry, number four is definitely clearer.”

Now a frown joined his scowl, but he persevered. “Let’s try this third set. Is it better on five…” I saw a picture of Jesus hanging on the cross. “Or, six?”

“Hey, that’s a picture of me! Wait!! Now I’m holding a mirror in front of my face, and I’ve got one of those infinity-reflection-things going on. Me, me, me, me, me... cool! This is the most amazing flippy-lens technology I’ve ever seen! Only… now it’s all out of focus, and I seem to be in constant motion. I think I’m getting “see” sick. No, number five is definitely better – steady and clear.”

“I see,” he said rather flatly. “We’re done with that portion of our test. We will now test your resistance to pressure.”

“You mean that poofy test for glaucoma?”

“No, that’s what an optOmetrist does. I suggest you see one of those, too. I’m an optImetrist, ever hopeful that Ablaze! will catch on. Now, get ready. Just look into this machine, focus on the logo, and you’ll feel a small “puff” of air. Ready?”


“Hey, that was no small puff; it was a blast of hot air!”

“Yes, I’m sorry. We’ve found that we get better results if we turn up the pressure really high. You seem to be pretty resistant; shall we try again?”

“Um, no thank you,” I said as I sprang out of the chair.

“But, you’ll feel so much better!”

“I’ll pass,” I said as I headed for the door.

“But, your Ablaze! vision needs correction!”

“No,” I said as I turned the knob, keeping a wary eye on him.

“We’re running a special,” he called. (Was it my imagination, or had his fingernails suddenly grown longer?) “2 for 1 on the Ablaze! Counter because we’re optimistic that your enCOUNTER might spark……”

“NO!!” I shouted and ran for my life.

I could hear his voice receding as I fled. “If it’s your checkbook you’re worried about, we gladly accept gold, silver, cash, money orders, electronic transfers, Visa, Mastercard, Diners’ Club, Discover, American Express, Western Union, Wal-Mart gift cards….

I headed for Blog’s Pharmacy. My eye was on fire, and I felt a bad case of heart burn coming on. I grabbed a bottle of Frank’s Eyewash and a box of Aardvark’s Antacid. I stopped by Father Hollywood’s video shop, picked up a copy of Luther’s movie reviews, and headed home. Maybe if I hurried, I could still catch the latest episode of Our Little House on the Prairie.

Oh, and I never did get to see my cousin.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Words are our friends

I don’t know if the synod could have picked a name for a not-a-program more vulnerable to verbal high jinks than “Ablaze!”. First of all, it makes the capitalization, grammar, and punctuation features on your word processor go berserk. Second, there are so many incendiary! words related to burning! or its effects, it’s just hard not to heat! things up by taking aim and firing! a few of them off now and then. Even the Ablaze! proponents do it. Take the Southern District and their last year’s “Ablazing Grace – Brushfires-Ablaze.” I wonder how the folks in Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas feel about that. And come on… “Ablazing Grace?!” Though it pains me, I’ll refrain from a ditty digression. And then there’s the Nebraska District’s suggestion of starting a “Prairie Fire.” Honestly, since their own state, not to mention their neighboring states, have been in a drought for nearly a decade, you just have to ask, “What were they thinking?”

If you can keep your blood pressure down, poking around Ablaze! links can be rather entertaining. One led me to something called an LCMS Campus “Confabulation.” No doubt, with its rather simple phonetic construction, verbiphages probably spell this word during second-grade elimination rounds. And, while my mother-in-law tells me they used it somewhere in Mary Poppins, I, nevertheless, had to dig out my dictionary. I find it gratifying that our Lutheran college-level students are being challenged to improve their vocabulary. After all, some of them will be going on to seminary, where they use real whoppers like “concupiscence.” Yes, my beloved consortium of Confessionals, Conflagrate! is causing concision and confrontational conversation in the Missouri Consociation, but that doesn’t have to mean our capitulation to contumatious pressure from the liberal contingencies!! Er, sorry. A dictionary in the hands of an amateur is a dangerous thing. Where I meant to go was, it’s a shame so many congregations are laying aside the meaty vocabulary of the hymnal in favor of the whipped-cream language of contemporary Christian music. Which would you rather hear from little Lucy on the way home from church: twenty-seven rounds of “Celebrate Jesus, Celebrate?” or “Dad, what’s a paraclete?” Oi! No wonder we’re doomed. My spellchecker just suggested I try the word “parakeet.”

Saturday, June 03, 2006

For my hubby

Child of the ‘50’s, oh who could resist
Eating that oreo - twist of the wrist,
Dart of the tongue, licking insides out first,
Crunching the outside, or milk pre-immersed?
Then came the Captain of Crunchable fame.
He added Crunchberries; made you proclaim,
“These are my fav’rite, both now and alway;
Crunchberry Beast, to you homage I pay!”

Child, now turned 50, you still can’t resist
Eating that oreo, twisting your wrist.
Though I buy healthier things you should munch,
Home from the groc’ry you come, pleased as punch.
You and the Captain once more make a team;
Daughters adore you for your little scheme.
Though I may fuss, it’s a half-hearted scold;
Men need their Crunch to defy growing old.

See, you big goombah? I’m a mouse, not a shrew! ;-)

Friday, June 02, 2006

I smell smoke

My June Lutheran Witness arrived yesterday, and I had a few minutes to give it a quick flip today. Another outstanding edition! Dr. Sanchez’s cover article was excellent and will be helpful as I talk with my Pentecostal neighbors, and Dr. Barth’s spoof tickled my whiskers. Suddenly the alarm from my Amazing Ablaze!-o-Meter rang out. I guess President Kieschnick just couldn’t help himself because, after a two-month absence, there was a smoke signal on page 29. Maybe it will turn out to be from a dying ember, and the LCMS will finally see Ablaze! the way Pat from Kansas City (“Letters” page) sees tattoos: a “fad” that some “considered beautiful at the moment.”

Just FYI, I ran a quick search engine on what Ablaze! is and is not. Ablaze! is a vision, movement, response, initiative, program, process, journey, concerted effort, ministry, call to action, focus, goal, opportunity, call, plan, and invitation. Ablaze! is not a western (a relief, I’m sure, to the Nielsen ratings), a campaign (giving, or otherwise), an answer (to the burning question of, “When is a program not a program?” I wish!!), a program (SEE??), or a quick fix (nor quickly fixed, apparently). And now that I'm all inspired, I’m going out and set my trash ablaze. That’s what we country folk usually do with it, and besides, I have too much to load up and take to the post office. Do you think Dr. Luther would approve?

p.s. I'm sorry Dr. Sanchez. I could NOT make my computer put the accent mark over the "a" in your name.

There's no business like show bizness

On Memorial Day, the satellite stations AMC and TCM were showing war movies. I spotted one that I’ve enjoyed for many years – Sink the Bismarck. I thought about this oldie but goodie while searching for bits of popcorn under the couch a few days later. Next thing I knew, my rodent brain had wandered down a slightly different path ~ Bismarck….Bismark…Bizmark….

Biz Marks! And, like the seemingly impossible task laid before the Allied Navy in WWII, the allied confessionals now must attempt once again to Sink the Biz Marks!

The entire LCMS fleet had been sailing around in circles on turbulent waters. Joined together by the barest thread, the Church Marks were still evident among them. But by 2006, many were listing heavily to port, having been hit repeatedly by what lurked beneath the waves.

“Load the torpedo tubes with our weapons of Mass destruction!” barked the captain of the submarine, Biz Marks.

“Aye, sir! Ready and waiting, sir”

“Fire one!”

“’Corporate Jargon’ away, sir. Reports of confusion aboard all targets.”

“Fire two!”

“’Boardroom Bullying’ running straight, sir. Reports of casualties coming in.”

“Fire three!”

“Um, sir? ‘By-law Interpretation’ is jammed in the legal tube.”

“WHAT? I told you, always fire the BI’s through the CTCR or CCM tubes!”

“Yes, sir! Sorry, sir! BI away, and headed straight for the target.”

Right. Now, prepare to surface and man the deck gun!

Ready the accountants! …… “COMMENCE ABLAZE!!!”

(Interesting “historical” note: During this great battle, the crew of the Biz Marks abandoned the most historically successful weapons known in the corporate world: Product Consistency and Product Recognition. How happy would the kiddies be if every McDonald’s had a different menu? How successful would the Coca Cola Bottling Company be if every bottling center came up with its own recipe? It would be pretty tough to buy a box of Kleenex brand facial tissue if the name, Kleenex, appeared nowhere on the box. No, when you pull into a Wendy’s in North Dakota, you know that the Single, Double, Triple, Chili, and Frosty will be just like the ones back home in Georgia. The seating and décor may be different; the faces and accents of the employees are certainly varied; but that’s not what you came to Wendy’s for, is it?)

Currently, “Ol’ MO’s” chances of sinking the Biz Marks do not look too good. Yet we’ll do our best to drop counter measures at the ’07 convention. If the Biz Marks dives lower or her crew turn deaf ears to these depth charges and continue their attack, we may indeed have to lower the life boats and abandon ship. But, whether we bob around independently, lash our rafts together, or, by His mercy, witness the Biz Marks sailing off in her own direction leaving “Ol’ MO” to once again be “synod”, we know that the battle belongs to the Lord of the Church, and He will pilot us to safe harbor.

Monday, May 29, 2006


I want to sing hymns out of a hymnal, though I do admit it’s a little harder with the advent of bifocals. That’s what we did at our first church out here on the prairie until the “worship folder” was ushered in. Then we started singing hims. Hymns are (or certainly should be) Christ-centered. Hims are, what else, man-centered.

So, if you haven’t reached the Outer Limit with these trips to the Twilight Zone, then settle back and get comfy. We’re goin’ in again!


Where the future of church leadership, like, begins today!

May 29, 2006

Dear YFL Sponsor,

As was announced last week, the Synodical Convention’s host congregation’s YFL will be performing a special song to be sung on the convention floor to kick-off the proceedings. But we feel that youth all around the country will want to warm up to its glowing, so we are sending each and every congregation’s YFL a copy of it.

Mr. Ditfield “Ditty” Digress,
Senior Wroughten Worship Writer,
National Young Factious Lutherans

I Simply Sing!
By “Ditty” Digress, on the occasion
of the 2007 National Convention of the
Lutheran Congregations Mangling Scripture
(with a tip of the ol’ Stetson to Toby Keith)

We talk about our church, an' what we're gonna do
To fill the walls 'til burstin' and load up every pew.
We'll introduce a new style, or maybe two or three.
We'll get ourselves a praise band and can the liturgy!

Chorus: Even just thinking about it makes me smile,
So more than once in a while-----------
I simply sing about me; simply sing about I;
Simply sing about what I do, oh my me my --
How I sing, how I praise, how I feel, how I'm celebratiiiiiiing!
I get bored when I hafta sing didactically…. So, innovatively,

And when the folks complain that this isn't what they know,
We'll tell 'em, "that's okay, just sit back and watch the show!"
We'll turn the volume louder, so they don't hafta think.
Weak doctrine doesn't matter just so long as we're in synch! Chorus

And neither does it matter that the songs ain't very long;
They all match our attention span; the doctrine ain't too strong.
I've said all that's important, so there really ain't much more.
Let's sing the chorus 12 more times, then all head out the door! Chorus 12 times

Friday, May 26, 2006

Are ya ready, kids?

Over at Consensus, someone asked about the Purple Palace. This scenario has been stirring around in the back of my head for a while now, but perhaps only fans of rectangular britches will appreciate it…

Are ya ready, kids?
Aye, aye, Kantor!
I can’t hear you!

Whooooooo works in a palace as purple can be?
(come on, you know it fits here… just sing it!)
Bylaw-ish, and lib’ral, and popish is he
(You know you know)
If doctrinal nonsense is just what you wish,
(I know you know)
Then follow his lead, and you’ll flop like a fish!
(You know you know, I know you know,
you knoooooow, I know!)

Now enter with me into the wonderful, watery world of “You Know” and his friends…..

“Hey, Skidword, what’s that on your arm?”

“I have no idea, “You Know.” It started out small, and now it’s really big.”

“It looks like a little building. With a steeple. Oooo, maybe it’s a Church Growth! Hahahahahaha, hahahahahahaha, hahahahahaaha!”

“Oh, you are just too funny, “You Know.””

“I’m sorry Skidword. Does it hurt?”

“Yeah, I’d better go see the doctor.”


“Hi, Skidword. What did the doctor say?”

“He said it is a Church Growth, that you’re a known carrier, and it’s really hard to get rid of.”

“I can do it, Skidword!”

“No, “You Know.””

“Aw, come on; let me try.”

“NO, “You Know.””

“Aw, come on ya big chicken! Let me buuuuurn it off!”

“NO, NO, get away from me you porous propagator of platitudes!”

“Sing it with me, Skidword! Come on baby, light my fire….” Hahahahahahahaha, hahahahahahaha, hahahahahahaha”

“NO, ouch, get away, that hurts, NO, “You Know”!”


“AUUUGGHHH! You made it even bigger!”

“Yep. It’s the wave of the future, Skidword. Oooo, here comes St. Patrick. He’s next. Hey, St. Patrick!”

“Run, St. Patrick, run! “You Know’s” gone mad with power!”

“Duuuuuhhh, oh right! He’s already set me ablaze once this year! AUUUGGHHH!

(Meanwhile, down at the Crusty Crab…)

“Mr. Crabz, we’re with the congregational health department. We have reason to believe that your employee, one Mr. “You Know I Know,” has been purposefully trying to infect every one with Church Growths. We’d like to use your restaurant as a confessional operation and nab this guy before everyone in the community is infected.”

“Sure thing, mateys! He’s given me half a dozen of the blighters already. Ye can hide in the kitchen, but I’m a-warnin’ ye – he keeps it mighty hot in there.”

“We’ve got it covered, Mr. Crabz. Here he comes now.”

“Burn, baby, burn; disco inferno! Hi, Mr. Crabz! Want me to take care of those growths yet?”

“For the last time, NO. Now get to work, “You Know”.”

“Aye, aye Mr. Crabz. I’m cookin’ up a really good special today: Happy Clappy Crabby Patty Surprise! Hahahahahahaha, hahahahahahaha, hahahahahahaha”

“Good. Great. You just hurry on into the kitchen, “You Know”. Go on now. Get in there. Off you go. Time’s a-wastin’. Shoo-shoo.”

“Wait just a minute, Mr. Crabz. You seem awfully anxious to get me into that kitchen. It’s a trap! It’s a trap! Run away! Run away!”

(later at the purple palace)

“That’s right Jerry! ( I love that name. Oh, Jerry, my beloved snail, you don’t think it was silly to name you after …, no, never mind. Oops, where was I? Oh, yeah.) They’ll never get me out of here. Never, never, never! I’ve got the palace. I’ve got the purpose. I’ve got powerrrrr!!!!! Bwahahahahahaha, hahahahahahaha, hahahahahahaha!”

(Tune in next summer, mateys, to see the exciting conclusion!)

Pot Luck Pandemonium

Lutherans are known for their pot lucks, but right now there’s a mighty big food fight going on in the church basement. Church Growthers keep lobbing cream pietism and schwaffles swimming in syrup into the faces of the Confessionals, who keep aiming their rare, Bloody burgers at the hearts and ears of the LINO’s.

Though some feel outnumbered and have packed up their lunches and left, for most Confessionals, hope springs eternal. The lines of disagreement are becoming clearer, as folks are beginning to agree that the disagreement over agreeing to disagree is really disagreement to agree in the first place. That was clear, right? Most think the “conventional” methods of peace deserve at least one more shot, though a shot of what, I'm not sure. I guess time will tell. Meanwhile, as the synodical convention draws nearer, train your eye to read between the lines. It’s easier than you think, and you might learn a thing or two!

*****do-do-DO-do, do-do-DO-do*****
You are about to enter…. Aw, you know the drill.

Convention News

Get Out the Vote!
Get the Conservatives Out of the Vote!

Progress is being made for readying
Progressive headway is being made for
the Synod for her 2007 Convention! A big
dominating the 2007 Convention!
“Thank-You!” goes to the National YFL for
sponsoring the “Name that Convention”
contest. The committee has chosen a win-
The committee had already pre-selected
ning theme: Conflict Aglaze! – Conquering
the winning theme:
Contemporary Contention. The host con-
gregation’s YLF will be singing a song
written especially to kick-off the Convention.
tick-off the Conservatives.

Now the time has come for congre-
Now the time has come for Aglaze! ap-
gations to begin submitting their overtures to
proved congregations to begin wooing the Conven-
the Convention Floor Committees for ap-
tion Floor Committees.
proval. If your congregation’s overture is
selected to appear in the Convention Work-
book, your representative will receive a
commemorative pen for marking his or her
commemorative “You Betcha!” rubber stamp
ballots. Submission deadline is March 1,
(March… May... whatever)
2007. The Floor Committees will
complete their selections by May 15, and
each congregation will receive by mail their
each Aglaze! approved congregation will receive
Convention Information Packet soon after-
by priority mail
wards. So don’t delay – send yours today!

Aglaze! - One miscelany, One melange,
One big mess

and coming soon....

Aglaze! Lite - Sacharinental living for
Lutherans with an even lighter appetite