Friday, September 18, 2009

Notferatu

Danse Vampyr

Zombie Apocalypse Averted

I've gotta tell ya...this is the first time evolutionary biology has actually given me some sort of comfort.

h/t Surviving the World

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Screwtape's Strategy for Pastors


My Dear Wormwood:

Concerning your correspondence about your new assignment, you are correct: preachers must never do anything they can get caught at.

The old list of seven has proven deadly to many and those sins certainly further our cause. But taken to their logical conclusions, they put our targets out of business. I won't recite our victories; you know their names. Their demise is often well publicized, but then we must begin the long and tedious process of wooing another.

There is a more excellent way to disable the servants of our Enemy. Why it is not one of the "deadlies" I'm not sure. But it is very effective. It hobbles our prey without disqualifying them. It's the only way I know they avoid being accused of the first seven. Indeed, it is an answer to them.

I commend to you the pastor's deadliest sin: keeping up appearances.

When feeling proud, have him look humble. When lusting, look chaste. When envious, have your subject publicly congratulate the popular contemporary-worship pastor across town who is making his own congregation look like altar-call troglodytes. He needn't like his competitors, just compliment them.
(Hypocrisy is hard, Wormwood. Watch C-SPAN until you get it down. Politicians are naturals at this art.)

Gluttony is hard to mask, but it can be done. At big, must-do dinners, your pastor should say loudly, "I'll have my dressing on the side!" When the salad comes, urge him to dump it over the top when no one is looking.

If the menu is fried chicken, he should say, "The fat is in the skin, I always tear it off." Then whisper to him how Mother Teresa would eat this. He will nibble the skinned part while looking as if this chore is interrupting his quiet time. (Here's a delicious tip I picked up from an assignment in Kentucky: take the skin home in a napkin, microwave it for 40 seconds—on the defrost setting so as not to toughen it—and presto! he can eat the crunchy part and keep his testimony.)

When it comes to cars, Toyotas look sincere. If the pastor must have something larger, it should be a maroon Dodge Caravan, at least two years old, to be used when taking shut-ins to cash their Social Security checks. One preacher of mine bought a new, red Taurus and lost his witness. Red is not a humble color.

The congregation should never doubt that your project is a true minister. He should carry a Left Behind Sky Chart with his Spiritual Formation Bible. He may read Anne Rice, but keep Janette Oke novels on the desk. The key is to imply, imply, imply.

Also, I have made good use of sanctimonious phrases. Say a deacon asks, "Did you see the last episode of The Sopranos?" The proper reply is "No, that's the only time I can work in my Experiencing God notebook." This does two things: it makes the deacon feel like a Unitarian and it elevates the pastor to president of Essenes International.

And these have proven useful in preserving approval ratings: "Mrs. Jones, I went by the hospital to see your husband, but he was asleep" and "I tried to get you on the phone this week, were you out of town?"

And he must never say, "I'm going out to play eighteen holes!" Instead intone, "I'm off to visit the Greenes!"

After all, Wormwood, keeping up appearances is what it's all about. In twenty years or so, he can drive a red car and winter in Biloxi; in the meantime, he'll have done our side little harm.

Your devoted uncle,

Screwtape

Copyright © 2001 by the author or Christianity Today International/Leadership Journal.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Huguenot Heartburn

I saw this on uber-Roman site Autom the other day.


I'm wondering if it would be okay to display in your home, so long as you put a banner or something under it saying: "Prompte et sincere."

Mayflower and the remainers


Today marks the 389th anniversary of the Mayflower's departure from Southampton, England. These men and women were so convinced of the necessity of freedom to pursue purity in the worship of Almighty God that they were willing to forsake other bonds of kinship, property, and status in order to live up to their convictions.

May the orthodox still wandering in TEC summon similar courage to, in Luther's immortal words, "let goods and kindred go" in order to do what is right.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Litany in Honor of the Holy Cross

There's no better way to start off this day than with the greatest processional / recessional of all time, Lift High the Cross!
Lift High the Cross


Found at bee mp3 search engine

Readings for the Feast of the Holy Cross are found here.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us.

The word of the Cross is folly to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Reflection: Jesus has many who love His Kingdom in Heaven, but few who bear His Cross. He has many who desire comfort, but few who desire suffering. He finds many to share His feast, but few His fasting. All desire to rejoice with Him, but few are willing to suffer for His sake.

God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Reflection: Why do you fear to take up the Cross, which is the road to the Kingdom? In the Cross is salvation and life, protection against our enemies, infusion of Heavenly sweetness; in the Cross is strength of mind,joy of spirit, excellence of virtue, perfection of holiness. There is no salvation of soul, nor hope of eternal life, save in the Cross.

God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Reflection: Take up the Cross, therefore, and follow Jesus, and go forward into eternal life. Christ has gone before you, bearing His Cross;He died for you on the Cross, that you also may bear your cross,and desire to die on the Cross with Him. For if you die with Him,you will also live with Him. And if you share His sufferings, you will also share His glory.

God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Reflection: See how in the Cross all things consist, and in dying on it all things depend. There is no other way to life and to true inner peace, than the way of the Cross.Go where you will, seek what you will; you will find no higher way above nor safer way below than the road of the Holy Cross.

God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Reflection: The Cross always stands ready, and everywhere awaits you. You cannot escape it, wherever you flee; for wherever you go,you bear yourself, and always find yourself. Look up or down, without you or within, and everywhere you will find the Cross. And everywhere you must have patience, if you wish to attain inner peace, and win an eternal crown.

God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord!.
Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
Let us pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us to follow Thee not only to the Breaking of Bread but also to the drinking of the Cup of Thy Passion. Help us to love Thee for Thine own sake and not for the sake of comfort for ourselves. Make us worthy to suffer for Thy name, Jesus, our Crucified and Risen Lord and Savior, now and forever. Amen.


If you haven't taught your children to remember their salvation using the sign of the cross (a duty Martin Luther put especially on fathers), why not today? For further reflection, I recommend ECatBedside's reflection piece.

Obama's Inconvenient Half-Truths

The health care industry's $13 billion in 2008 profits pale in comparison to the $65 billion in annual fraud in Medicare alone.

Lots more over at the AP and IBD.