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

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Fast Food Pastors, part 2

The way things stand now, the seminaries seem to be turning out a pretty decent bunch of confessional men, but many congregations and their district presidents aren’t all that fired up about having them in their districts. This doesn't always make for a smooth transition for either pastors or congregations. Remember that new pastor we special-ordered from our favorite restaurant last month? Well, rumor has it….

He was fresh out of the kitchen, and somebody goofed. He wasn’t a thing like we’d ordered! “I’ll have a pastor, not too well done,” we said. Man, this guy was really rare, dripping with Blood, and wanting to share it with the whole congregation every Sunday! Can you say, “Ewww?!?” I mean, moderation in all things, right? And where was our “little theology?” Who ever thought those Sem grads studied ALL the books of the Bible. I was really looking forward to “extra edifying worship and evangelism.” I love my pastors loaded up with that. Guess we should have been more specific about how we wanted edifying and who we wanted evangelized. He tried whipping out something called a Book of Concord on us, but “One man’s Augsburg is another man’s adiaphora,” I always say. Well, the Worship Team and LWML figure if we throw him on the grill for about a year, he ought to be pretty palatable. If not, we may have to call in someone from the restaurant and they can really turn up the heat.

Maybe the problem is that we just have too many districts. You know the old saying, “Too many chefs spoil the broth.” So, let’s narrow it down to three, non-geographical districts. And, since the Synod is moving toward a business model anyway, members would be free to make an annual decision about which district they want to belong to, kind of like corporations let employees choose their health insurance plans. Once again, the Witness or Reporter would be the perfect vehicle to get the word out so congregations could understand all their options.
(Cue Twilight Zone music)
You are about to enter a parallel universe (again). Remember, all references to real LCMS entities are merely a coincidence. Well...... mostly.


As you are probably aware, it’s time for members (ordained, commissioned, congregations, etc.) to choose annual District Assurance Affiliation (DAA). Remember, once you make your choice, you cannot change until the following enrollment period. Please consider your choices carefully and submit them by 12/01/06 (early enrollment 11/01/06). Premiums will be billed accordingly.

Noflack DistrictHey, SILLY, can’t you tell the difference between a GOOSE and a duck?

This is the least expensive DAA and has the fewest hassles. Once your premium is remitted, you are pretty much free to do or say whatever you want. Noflack congregations will receive a paperback edition of the synodical constitution, bylaws, and Book of Concord, as well as a handy Swiffer duster to keep ‘em lookin’ good. The Noflack early enrollment bonus is a large piece of flint engraved with the Aglaze! logo and guaranteed to spark first time, every time. You’ll love the experience! Noflack is available to ELCA congregations, at a slightly higher premium, but only if they are working alongside an LCMS RSO.

Big Brotherhood DistrictWar is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength – Ministry of Truth

Boasting moderate premiums and the largest numbers, the BBDAA allows a great amount of freedom, but a few restrictions still apply. You will need to choose two of the four available BB Ministries (listed here in order of popularity): The Ministry of Love, Ministry of Plenty, Ministry of Peace, or Ministry of Truth. You are also required to leave sanctuary big screens on at all times. You will receive a leather-bound edition of the latest synodical constitution and bylaws, gold-embossed with the Aglaze! logo and your congregation’s name. The handy pull-out section, containing a flow-chart of ecclesiastical supervision and a list of district-approved legal assistants, will come in handy time and time again. Early rock-enrollers will receive the five CD set, Classic Boomer Worship, including hits like “I Feel Good” and “Johnnie Angel.”

His Cross/His Shield DistrictWe Preach Christ and Him Crucified

While HC/HS is the most expensive DAA, all premiums have been paid in full by a generous Benefactor. HC/HS may not be for everyone as, while it allows the greatest freedom to its members, it demands the greatest responsibility and knowledge of God’s Word and the Lutheran Confessions. Your congregation is sure to enjoy its early enrollment gift of a one year’s magazine subscription to Quia Scriptures/Quia Confessions. Unlike Noflack and Big Brotherhood, HC/HS has year-round open enrollment.

Aglaze! - it's not just doctrinal frosting,
it's a sweet vision of success

J.K. Howling now available at
Discordia Publishing House !
Jerry Plotter & the Source o’ His Groan
Jerry Plotter & the Secret Voting Chamber
Jerry Plotter & the Prisoners of Apraiseband
Jerry Plotter & the Goblet of Ire
Jerry Plotter & the Odor of Polemics
Jerry Plotter & the Half-Truth Fineprints

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Fast Food Pastors

“Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us….” Having just studied a Pastoral Skills Survey as part of a congregation’s call process, who would have ever thought that it would be as simple as ordering up a burger from your favorite restaurant! “I’ll have a pastor, not too well done, with a little theology and extra edifying worship & evangelism, plus a side order of social ministry. Oh, and biggie-size that, please.” Since so many congregations, encouraged by their districts, want to treat their pastors like hirelings (firelings?), let’s just modify the call process to include the option of simply placing a want ad in the Witness or Reporter. Confessional pastors, while waiting for an actual call, would be less likely to fall prey to Lutheran-in-name-only congregations engaged in false advertising. Church growth pastors could avoid the hassle of having to drag stodgy ol’ congregations into the 21st Century. It’s good for them… it’s good for us… what’s not to love? “Have it your way!!”

(Cue Twilight Zone music)
You are about to enter a parallel universe. Remember, all references to real LCMS entities are merely a coincidence. Well....... mostly.


WANTED: St. Ignitus, LCMS, has an immediate opening for Senior Pastor, Deacon, or DCWhatever. Applicants should hold a Master’s Degree (or have taken a few classes, either is fine really) in Congregational Pediatrics with an emphasis in itching ears and bellyaches. Duties would include planning and leading the 8:30 Sunday morning Blended Service and the 10:30 a.m. Contemporary Service, as well as the 6:30 Sunday evening Conga Line Service, the 4:45 Tuesday afternoon Jazzercize Service, the Friday night Sleep-Over-Lock-In Heavy Metal Youth Service, and the third Thursday (unless it’s raining) Outdoor Hoedown Hootenanny Service (A member of the Worship Team is responsible for calling the liturgical square dance). Familiarity with Discordia Publishing House’s “Bach! Humbug!!” Sunday school series would allow you to quickly integrate with our youth.

St. Ignitus has an active Lutherans Wandering Mindlessly League, whose mites support the worldwide Aglaze! program. Our ministries include Nutritional You – Eyeballs Aglaze!, feeding the congregation a steady diet of milk until they can’t see straight; Play Nice on the Playground – Craniums Aglaze!, assisting the congregation in burying their heads in the sand so they don’t have to think straight; and Purpose Driven Excavation – Eardrums Aglaze!, removing just enough of the afore-mentioned sand from the congregation’s ears so they can hear the praise band.

Salary and benefits are commensurate with our own experience and will be reviewed at our quarterly congregational bonfires. Should two consecutive reviews fall short of expectations, you will be given the chance to enroll in Loving Arms of District Doctrinal Ecclesiastical Remediation, but St. Ignitus does retain the right to fire you at any time for any reason. Send resume’ and references to:
St. Ignitus
Lutheran Congregations Mangling Scripture
666 Dante Road
Liberal, MO 12345

Aglaze! - sugarcoating the truth, one doctrine at a time

Monday, May 15, 2006

It’s a jungle out there, ladies

Eeyore, the donkey from Winnie the Pooh, is renowned for his pessimism. "Good mornin’, if it IS a good mornin’. Which I doubt." There are people who walk around looking for what's wrong in the world, and perhaps you think I am just one of them. Maybe I am, but ladies, its time to take a hard look at that fortress of feminine fortitude, the LWML.

What is the purpose of the LWML? Why was it originally established? I always thought it was to support missionaries in the field with our mites, offerings, and service, as they brought Word and Sacrament to the peoples of the world. I suspected something had slipped over the years, and, sure enough, there in the Summer, 2005, Quarterly was my answer: “The Right Person for the Right Time”. It was most interesting to read the goals of the LWML’s past presidents, especially how we went from a league whose “sole purpose and focus must be MISSIONS!” (late 40’s-early 50’s) to a focus on “Women in Mission” and throwing out tradition (late 90’s). Speaking of the Quarterly, the only thing that kept me coming to LWML at all was our pastor‘s skillful turning of its doctrinally weak, Law-driven devotional studies into uplifting Law and Gospel-filled encouragement. Ah, but he paid dearly for his audacity. And so as tribute to him, and all faithful pastors braving the jungles of the LWML, I offer the following.

Armed with His breastplate, sword, and shield,
You did dare go among the Amazon.
They hunted; they prowled for weakness, daring all naysayers
To squeak, and thus readied their pounce.

A tasty morsel they desired: their prey stripped of his black skin,
His stiff, white collar claimed as trophy,
Anxious to place it 'round their own throats,
Perhaps only figuratively, but in practice, fact.

Yes, the Amazon were hungry and served dessert and chatter
To cover their more deadly appetite.
In your Office Call, they realized not Christ's presence
And the feast of Word you wished to bestow.

To risk your life at the hands of these basement-jungle queens
Was His charge to you; so with a shepherd's love,
You squeaked not, but clearly spoke, that their ears mayhap have heard
God’s Truth, to give them pause before they dined.

Though most protested and did roll a matriarchal stone
Before their aural caves,
Some softer hearts were spared from savage, hunting ways,
Led on to peaceful, greenest pastures, there on Christ to graze.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The synod never disappoints

Over at Putting Out the Fire, Frank and I have been wondering why Ablaze has disappeared from the Lutheran Witness. After all, what will we have to talk about if our favorite, fiery topic goes up in smoke? Not to worry. The synod never disappoints, and I think I discovered the answer to our burning question! So, in honor of Frank and his ditties (I’ve written a few myself over the years, and didn’t know anyone else had this amusing little hobby), I offer here a ditty of my own (inspired by Peter Seeger).

Where has all the Ablaze hype gone,
Short time passing?
Where has all the Ablaze hype gone,
Not so long ago?
Where has all the Ablaze hype gone?
Gone to SPIFE now, everyone.
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Where have all the laymen gone,
Short time passing?
Where have all the laymen gone,
Not so long ago?
Where have all the laymen gone?
Gone to SPIFE Modules, everyone.
You’d think we’d learn by now…..
When, oh when, oh WHEN will we learn?

Actually, I have no idea if SPIFE is mentioned in the May Lutheran Witness because I haven’t received mine yet. My insider scoop comes from a different source:

I had docked my shuttlecraft at the space station for a little well-deserved R&R. As it was Sunday morning, I decided to visit the station’s chapel services. Upon entering, I was seized by an usher and slammed into a highly polished, fully illuminated, stainless steel pew. “I am Luthronus of Borg. You will be assimilated into the church collective. Resistance is futile.” I began to scream.

Sitting bolt upright in bed in a cold sweat, I realized, thankfully, it was all just a dream. But what, besides overindulgent late night snacking and TV habits, could have next-generated such a noxious, nocturnal nuisance in my numb, nodding noggin? Well, it might have been that left-over bratwurst & kraut in the fridge, but the more likely culprit, I think, was April’s The VOICE of Missouri (the MO District’s monthly newspaper), also curiously devoid of Ablaze references, which I’d read earlier that evening.

Page 6 – “SPIFE conducted assimilation modules.” I’m sorry, but can’t you just see those snaky prongs shooting out of a Borg drone into your neck? Yikes! The VOICE actually had quite a few articles mentioning SPIFE news, and it was pretty easy to see what Life with SPIFE will be like.

Before SPIFE: congregations were encouraged to give a warm welcome to visitors and newcomers. After SPIFE: Aaauughhhh! The dream, it haunts me!

Before SPIFE: congregations observed the cycle of the church year. After SPIFE: congregations are kept running in cycles, attending “modules.”

Before SPIFE: congregations planned VBS, potlucks, servant events, etc. After SPIFE: congregations strategize.

Before SPIFE: congregations kept attendance records. After SPIFE: congregations examine and study demographics.

Before SPIFE: congregations liturgically sang their grateful praises for all He Can and does. After SPIFE: congregations proudly boast about what We Can do. (The most telling part of the article was the quote from Ephesians 4:16. “The body grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work.” The way it really reads in the NIV is “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” And if you want a bit of irony, grab your Bible and read verse 14.)

Church Life before SPIFE wasn’t perfect, but it was church. Not a collective hive. Not a corporation. Now, somebody please give me a dose of Pepto, fluff my pillow, and sing me a lullaby…..Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word…zzzzzzzzz.


Welcome to my blog. I'm just a little LCMS churchmouse in one of the great plains states. Now, my first church was set ablaze by the pastor and elders when they intro'd contemporary worship. With my singed tail still smoking, I scurried across the prairie to church number two. Talk about jumping from the fire into the frying pan (hey, I'm a mouse, not a metaphor expert)! They had the liturgy, they had the hymns, they had the LYF, the LCEF, the LWML, and the LLL. But the truth of the matter is that congregation just plain went to "L" when they and the elders roasted our perfectly good, Confessional pastor on a spit.

So, please forgive me if my posts seem a little harsh. Even mice can get surly, you know.