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Thursday, March 31, 2016

B-467 (A Storm Was Coming)

He knew that storm was coming, like some evil joke. He died in agony with a breathing demon – Lucifer, Mastema, Beelzebub, Belial, the Prince of Darkness, the Lord of fLies, the Prince of alchemy, necromancy, and astrology. Suddenly, out of the night sky, the Evil One, and universal silence before the storm. 

Dusk Fire

Weeds silhouetted against the crepuscular sky.

Dusk Fire by Jeff Carter on

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Biblical Limericks: He Does What He Wants

Maybe he is baking fresh croissants,
perhaps making a list of cool fonts,
or drinking espresso,
but devout psalmists know
God’s in heaven; he does what he wants.

Psalm 115: 3

Women of America, Your Country Needs You

Are you healthy, fertile, and in your reproductive years? If so, it is urgent that you begin, even now, to conceive strong, vigorous children who will be old enough to serve in our nation’s future wars.

Your governmental leaders are already making plans for a war (location TBD) to be launched in 2036. Your prospective children will be a vital part of this war effort. Without them we will be overrun by enemy forces (TBA) intent upon destroying our way of life.

Do your part. Start conceiving the next generation of American soldiers now.

*Check with your doctor to see if you are healthy enough for reproductive sex. 

A Blessing of Peace

Peace be with you,
and peace again
and a third time, peace.

You who are hiding in fear
behind locked doors
and wounded hearts

You who are frightened
by the violence of the past
and anxious of a darkened future

You who have loved and lost,
and fear to love
or trust or hope again.

Peace be with you,
and peace again
and a third time, peace.

(John 20: 19 – 26)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Not For the Lazy

I’ve been seeing a lot of variations of this meme on the FB and Twitter machines recently.  I can only think that they’re being shared 1) by those who are ignorant or 2) by those who are purposefully misrepresenting the facts. Those in the second category should be criticized for their dishonesty; as much as you may dislike or disagree with an ideological position, you should be honest. Your cause is not helped by lies. Those in the first category should be criticized only if they’re unwilling to accept correction.

Socialism is not about idleness and is not for the lazy. “Workers of the world, unite!” has been the rallying cries of socialist and communist groups ever since Marx and Engles penned the Communist Manifesto in 1848. Socialism is about protecting those who work, rewarding them for their labor.

If you’re spreading the lie that Socialism is for the lazy and the idle, either from ignorance or in malice- Stop. Tell the truth. Socialism is for the workers.

And, as I’ve said before, Socialism Is Love.

Fever Dream Loop II

Fever Dream Loop

(image - "Simultaneous Contrasts: Sun and Moon" 1912-1913 - Delaunay (detail) / noise - fragments from "Lost" ABC)

B-472 (Catastrophe on Earth)

The Invisible Machete came to see me when I was being attacked by the daughters of the Tartars and the Mongols. I was in Los Angeles then. I saw hawks in the sky and visions in the night. The Machete told me that I was going to die, alone in Rome. But I wasn't ready. And he was wrong.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

B-464 (A Mad Scientist)

- a mad scientist and his pathetic creation, a sympathetic ape-man- as a noted surgeon he has reached the borderland of the Egyptian plagues, the plague of boils, the mark of the beast. [He has reached] Insanity through his experiments to prove an unbearable stench by implementing in him[self] live monkey glands. He can turn a man back into a –spider- spinning its web for the unwary –fly. He has already wrecked the minds and bodies of several victims, their decaying bodies discharging potential disease.

Background Images for Everyone - 2016 - Week 13

Here it is again, as I do every week (most every week), your weekly, free background image. Actually, this week it's images - plural. And they're yours. Really. Download them and use them however and wherever you like. I only ask 1) that you share them freely and 2) that you tell others you found them here. That's it. They're yours.

 photo Week 13_zpsufpcc17b.jpg

 photo week 13b_zps65bptpap.jpg

Pics, Or It Didn't Happen

My son drew this during church this morning. It seems like a fair paraphrase of Luke 24: 11.

"Guys! Jesus is gone! He's alive."
"Pics, or it didn't happen."

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Biblical Limericks : Starting Revolutions

Jesus said, "Let's start revolutions,"
then, angered by Temple pollutions,
took a whip in his hand,
drove out the merchants and
upset financial institutions.

John 2:14 - 17

Friday, March 25, 2016


Enormous liberties were taken, that part was true. In the confusion and in the midst of all the lies, the people were motionless, dumb with horror. The Red Death was not the enemy after all. We assumed a heroic stature that was not our own. The viscera told us the truth, it was our brains that lied.

Strange Hands

Reflector Bulbs

Reflector Bulb Abstract by Jeff Carter on

Reflector Bulb Abstract by Jeff Carter on

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Three Revolutionaries

"Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left."
Matthew 27:38-NLT

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Objecting to Objectionable Elements

I don’t recall how it came to be in my little library, but I have a copy of the little pamphlet Objectionable Elements: The Biblical Approach published by Bob Jones University Press. It is a brief guide for Christian educators and administrators[i] to handling “objectionable elements” in the classrooms of Christian schools. It’s an amusing little booklet, but not very helpful.

The booklet begins with an explanation that censorship isn’t just an issue for “religious conservatives” but that “[s]ecularist educators” do it as well (Horton 1), that is, all educators are purposefully selective in what they choose to use in their classes. They will select material that furthers their educational goals and not use material that is counter to their purposes. “Censorship, therefore, whether in Christian or secular schools, is inescapable” (1).

But already we’ve gone slightly off target. This isn’t censorship. This is not the suppression or deletion of material considered offensive, immoral, harmful or objectionable. This kind of careful and deliberate selection of material is not the banning or burning of “bad books.” This is selection, not censorship. (Asheim)

But we’ll let that bit of semantics slide.

The author then lists a number of common categories of “censorable,” objectionable elements: 1) Profanity, 2) Scatological realism, 3) Erotic realism, 4) Sexual perversion, 5) Lurid violence, 6) Occultism, and 7) Erroneous religious or philosophical assumptions. (3) The conscientious Christian educator[ii] will have to deal in some way with this kind of material in the classroom.

According to the pamphlet there are four ways to handle this material: the Permissive, the Exclusive, the Pragmatic and the Biblical.

The Permissive approach is characterized by the author as that of “intellectuals” and is weak and subjective. It “arrogantly elevates human wisdom above divine” (5) in allowing objectionable elements. The author gets a wee bit catty in calling out the magazine Christianity Today and Intervarsity Press as examples of this approach. (4)

On the other end of the spectrum is the Exclusive approach, which would exclude any and all objectionable elements. “This is the view held by conscientious pastors, Christian educators, and laymen concerned for the moral preservation of their children…” (5). But, while the sympathies and spiritual affinities of Bob Jones University might be with these good folks (5) this approach goes too far. If followed, it would eliminate Shakespeare, Melville, Twain, Frost...even John Bunyan and the Bible itself.  To the author’s credit, he does admit that examples of each of these “objectionable elements” can be found “in certain ways and to certain degrees in the Bible” (6) [iii] and we routinely and without a second thought give copies of the Bible to children and encourage them to read the scriptures-scriptures filled with lurid violence, scatological references, and explicit sexuality.

Trying to find some middle ground between the extremes of the Permissive and the Exclusive is the Pragmatic approach, in which “[e]ach person must decide for himself[iv] how much evil is too much to be tolerable in a literary work or in material used in teaching.” This might seem like a pretty good way to go – but the author describes this as “theologically the weakest” of all the approaches in that it “implies that it is impossible to order our lives according to the will of a holy God” (10).  I’m not sure why it implies such a thing. I’m not convinced that it does, but we’ll come back to that.
Fortunately, and to our great relief, the author tells us that there is another approach, a Biblical approach that will help us to deal with objectionable elements without being too permissive or too exclusive or having to use our own best judgement.

The Biblical approach, according to the author, will determine what to use and what to exclude based on three criteria:

1) The criterion of gratuitousness – does the representation of evil serve a purpose in the work or is it evil for evil’s sake?  2) The criterion of explicitness – is the representation of evil present in “an acceptable degree”? And 3) The criterion of moral tone – is the evil presented sufficiently condemned? (12 - 13)

These criteria are presented as objective evaluative standards which can be used by any God-fearing-bible-believing Christian. “The basis of a truly Biblical position concerning censorable elements is the following distinction. If a work of literature or other element of curriculum treats evil in the same way that it is treated in the Scriptures, we regard it as not only acceptable but also desirable reading, listening, or viewing for someone of sufficient maturity as to benefit from comparable portions of the Scriptures” (12). “For instance, whereas a conscientious Christian teacher might assign a Willa Cather novel[v] to a Christian high-school class, he[vi] would not assign John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath” (18).

But this is subterfuge. For all its appearance as an objective and standardized and Biblical approach, it really is no different from the Pragmatic approach described earlier. It comes down to interpretation and evaluation. And I certainly would assign The Grapes of Wrath, both for its excellence as work of literature and for its powerful expression of Christian values.

It comes down to interpretation and evaluation. Unless one wants to go all the way to the Exclusive approach where all objectionable elements are refused, (in which case we’re tossing out the Bible), then we all have to be Pragmatists in our approach. (The Permissive approach as described by the author is really just this as well. He just doesn’t like it.) We all of us have to ask, how much are we comfortable with? Does it align with our understanding of Scripture? If not can it still illuminate Christian truth? Am I competent enough to teach this material? And, is my audience mature enough to handle the material?

If we’re going to object to all objectionable material, if we’re going to avoid material in books or films that might be in any way controversial, we might as well just shut down, because we’ve already shut down our brains.

Asheim, Lester. "Not Censorship but Selection." Editorial. Wilson Library Bulletin Sept. 1953: 63-67. American Library Association, Nov. 2005. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.

Horton, Ronald A. Objectionable Elements: The Biblical Approach. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University Press, 1990. Print.

[i] I should say, “male” Christian educators and administrators: the pronouns are exclusively masculine. “The Christian teacher, led by the same Spirit that inspired God’s Holy Word, will scrutinize prayerfully his methods and materials to ensure that they likewise are free of that which hinders and diverts from his purpose: the conforming of his students to the image of God in Christ. He will censor for the sake of his students and, in the case of materials he uses, ascertain whether the necessary censorship has been done by the authors or may otherwise be done by himself” (Horton 2 -3).Emphasis added.
[ii] Ehem.. the conscientious MALE Christian educator…
[iii] If they didn’t my whole series of Biblical Limericks wouldn’t be possible.
[iv] Ehem…himself
[v] Would Bob Jones University really be comfortable assigning the work Willa Cather, a woman who went about dressed as a man and called herself “William” and who may have been a lesbian?  
[vi] Ehem…he

Last Supper (Photographic Collage)

"For which is the greater, one who sits at a table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at the table? But I am among you as one who serves." Luke 22: 27

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A SEVEN Point Plan from the Untamable He-Goat

Before we can discuss the coming war in the boroughs of New York, before any discussion of muscular demonic activity or the di-oxidation of spiritual space, it is appropriate to lay out a bit of BACKGROUND:

FIRST-Satan, the master deceiver, is made plural-“them” and “they,” creating vibrations in combustible asphalt. Your wife makes a sound and the city is in flames. Listen to the noise of emotional outbursts and ruptured diaphragms. Your lungs blow up and we will warm ourselves by the fires of burning civilization. Take security from health with flying fireballs.

SECOND-Look at our inner cities; our cities are burning. I watched Baltimore burn. And it will be worse this summer. We can’t build in Brooklyn-there are millions of reasons why. “Their” system is expanding and we have no money because “their” merchants are witches, mediums and false messengers-sorcerers [pharmakeia] who compound the deception of nations. We know that the outer world exists; we’re very cognizant of that, but we are disintegrating. Our lungs are filled with demonic activity, especially in the inner cities.

THIRD-Take a tax deduction to encourage the transfer of books; shove tax supported colleges up your nose. Create economic free-fire zones for unclean spirits because spirits are low. They want our money, but they don’t want us. Underneath of it all are tiny blood vessels surrounding the truth and a broken rib cage. We have been given a busted body, one flesh, one voice against the evil powers, one instrument to feel our pain. Anthropos will be punished, but the lungs will be remade over and over again.

FOURTH-Stability and Security at home are comprehended no more. I’ve never really seen law enforcement. Tremendous amounts of damage was done that first evening; hot lava came flowing down the mountainside, pre-prophets were stoned to death, and mothers were seared with burning liquid. No Christians should be plunged into this river of fire. So much damage in just one evening– in the first two evenings, but the first evening in particular. And so I’m a very strong believer in law enforcement, but our vocal cords are heard no more, neither our father nor mother’s chants. The top of our windpipe, as God warned, is broken and our tongue is cleaved by foul sorceries.

FIFTH-I’ve had stories written about me–by the newspapers of repute and prestige– but they are false, and written in rage. They are tight cords of vibration, a chorus of song that can wound and kill (rather than sooth) the savage beast. I’ve seen a miraculous increase in satanic activity, I’ve felt the social impetus of liberation. I’ve heard strange voice speaking and singing, making high notes and have taken pharmaceuticals-drugs-designed to bring us from our planetary wanderings. We are destroyed by fury and fire, and we do not know how to escape.

SIXTH-There is a false alarm and a yellow telephone at the end of the age, and this comes as a tremendous shock to me. We are approaching an evil pyramid but there will be no victory- libel laws don’t exist in this fuzzy city complex. A nice woman kills me. But that’s okay. Speak. Speak to me in a low voice, like a man, then breathe.

SEVENTH-I received in the mail today a brochure, a counterfoiled course in witchcraft. It was a very bad system, it was New Jersey. I saw in it a Great Judge, the first one, and I was going to win, but then came another judge, a second one, and then a third one-the third one was a bad judge. That’s what happened. “They” kept switching judges. Malice is required. Would you weaken that like a villain? Like a serpent? Like blood let out upon the earth? 

Mother Mary Comes to Me

When I find myself in times of trouble...

Mother Mary Comes to Me by Jeff Carter on

Monday, March 21, 2016

Biblical Limericks: All Means All (Or Maybe It Doesn’t)

Why are we certain that “all” means “all”
when we discuss death from Adam’s fall,
but we cannot allow
that “all” could mean somehow
Christ’s salvation is universal?

1 Corinthians 15:22 

Sunday, March 20, 2016


A friend of mine took it upon herself to make a nice poster from a line from my sermon this morning. I think it's very nice, but was it inevitable?

Not “Palm Sunday” but a Certain Inevitability

We call it Palm Sunday and in Christian churches around the world the faithful are celebrating Jesus’ ‘triumphal entry’ into the city of Jerusalem by waving palm branches and shouting “hosanna!” Palm branches were considered a symbol of victory and triumph. When Simon Maccabeus defeated the Jewish people’s Gentile enemies and recaptured the city of Jerusalem, “the Jews entered the city amid a chorus of praise and the waving of palm branches, with lutes, cymbals, and zithers, with hymns and songs, to celebrate Israel’s final riddance of a formidable enemy.” (1 Maccabees 13:51 Revised English Bible) In the Revelation given to John on the Island of Patmos he saw: “a vast throng, which no one could count, from all races and tribes, nations and languages, standing before the throne and the Lamb. They were robed in white and had palm branches in their hands, and they shouted aloud: ‘Victory to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7: 9 -10 Revised English Bible)

But in Luke’s telling of this story, there are no palm branches.

The word Hosanna is “a liturgical word used in Judaism and Christianity that means ‘save, we pray’” (Cameron). It was usually shouted by the Jewish people as part of the autumnal Sukkot celebration – the Feast of Tabernacles. Once a day the worshippers would walk around the altar and shout, “Save us now, we beseech thee, O Lord, send prosperity!”(Psalm 118:25) On the seventh day of the festival, this shout was repeated seven times-known as the Hoshana Rabbah-the Great Hosanna. This Hosanna ritual “combines the idea of praising realized victories over nations and sympathetic prayers for salvation” (Avery-Peck qtd. in Cameron).[i]

It also makes a nice connection to Jesus himself as his name in Hebrew is Yeshua meaning “Yahweh is Salvation,” because “he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21 New Jerusalem Bible) Hosanna! Save us! Jesus! Our salvation!

But, again, In Luke’s telling of this story, there are no shouts of “Hosanna!” [ii] Suddenly our “Palm Sunday” begins to feel a little empty-no waving palms, no “Hosannas!”

Compared to the other gospel accounts of Jesus’ entry into the city of Jerusalem, Luke’s version seems relatively restrained, almost (but not quite) subdued. Luke may have quieted the noise and hubbub of Jesus’ entrance somewhat, but he has not entirely softened or quieted the story, not by any means.

In fact, we find the pilgrim crowds following Jesus that morning joyfully praising God at the top of their voices, praising him for all the miracles and works of power that they’d seen and experienced in Jesus of Nazareth. They are shouting in full voice:

“Blessed is who is coming as King in the name of the Lord,
peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens!”

Luke may have eliminated the waving palms and the shouts of Hosanna but there’s still a lot of excitement here. But not everyone in the crowd was quite so thrilled. There were some Pharisees in the crowd who seemed to be a little irritated by Jesus and his crowd of followers. They urged Jesus to restrain, reprove, and rebuke them.

Luke doesn’t describe their motivation for us.  It could be that they were fearful of a Roman backlash. The crowds were hailing Jesus as a King, something that the Roman occupiers could have interpreted as the beginnings of political uprising. Perhaps the Pharisees feared a violent Roman response to the excited crowd.

It could also be that the Pharisees were concerned for Jesus’ health and safety. I know that we’re somewhat conditioned to thinking of the Pharisees as the bad guys; that’s the way their usually depicted in the gospels, as the enemies and opponents of Jesus. But earlier in Luke’s gospel (13:31) we read of the Pharisees warning Jesus of Herod’s threats against his life. It could be that the Pharisees were warning Jesu for his own safety.

And, of course, it could be that the Pharisees here are expressing their own personal disagreement, disgust, and disbelief. As I said, Luke doesn’t describe their motives for us. So take your pick. It could be any of these or maybe something else altogether.  Whatever their motivations might have been, Jesus ignores their demand that he silence his followers. He tells them that if his followers are silenced, then the very stones would begin to sing and shout the praises of God.

There is a certain inevitability here. “Attention must be paid,” (Miller Act 1, Part 8). Praises must be sung. “Somethings simply must be said; the disciples are expressing what is ultimately and finally true. God will provide a witness though every mouth be stopped; opposition to Christian witness cannot succeed, and the truth will come out. It cannot be silenced” (Craddock).

The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. said that “the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice,” (King) and, I would add, towards praise. The two are linked. With justice will come praise for the just and holy God. Blessed the one who comes in the name of the King, bringing peace in heaven and on earth for those who he favors. (Luke 2:14)

In Luke’s retelling of the “triumphal entry” there may be neither waving palms nor shouts of Hosanna- save us now- but we have an intimation of the inevitable and glorious end: Praise and peace and justice in the Kingdom of God.

Palm Sunday (with or without the palms) is a ray of bright sun before the dark, tenebrous gloom of Good Friday and the silence of Holy Saturday. There is an awkwardness to our praise today because we know we still must go through the passion-that is, pain- the suffering, and blood, and death.

Ride on, ride on in majesty
in lowly pomp ride on to die
. (Milman)

But this is not the end. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends, not toward suffering and death but towards justice and praise. And the universe is bent towards these wonderful ends because of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

O Christ the triumphs now begin
o’er captive death and conquered sin.

So today, instead of the traditional palm waving and “Hosanna” shouting, we will shout with the crowds:

“Blessed is he who is coming
as King in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest heaven
Glory to God in the highest heaven
and on earth, peace for those he favors.”

We move inevitably towards justice and peace and praise because of Jesus’ triumph over sin and death.

Cameron, Daniel J. “Hosanna” The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015. Print.

Craddock, Fred. Interpretation: Luke. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1990. Print.

Crossan, John Dominick. Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. San Francisco, CA: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
Gilmore, S. MacLean. “Luke: Introduction” The Interpreter’s Bible.  Volume VIII. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. 1952. Print

King jr., Martin Luther. "Keep Moving from this Mountain” – sermon at Temple Israel of Hollywood. 1965. 

Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman. 1949.

Milman, Henry H. “Ride On, Ride On, in Majesty” The Salvation Army Songbook, The Salvation Army, London.

[i] Because of the odd combination of details from the autumnal Sukkot celebration with Jesus’ springtime entrance into the city of Jerusalem just before Passover, some scholars have suggested that his triumphal entry occurred during Sukkot and that that story has been combined with the events of Holy Week. 

John Dominic Crossan doesn’t believe the triumphal entry (or, as he calls it, the “antitriumphal” entry) “ever actually happend, except as later symbolic retrojection. (Crossan 128-9)

[ii] In fact, Luke has eliminated almost all Semitic “barbarisms” from his gentile oriented gospel. (Gilmour 3-4) 

Background Images for Everyone - 2016 - Week 12

Here it is again: your weekly, free background image. Use it in your projects at home, work, school, church, wherever. I only ask that you share it freely and that you tell others you found it here.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Biblical Limericks: No Palm Sunday

Though we celebrate with shouts and psalms
still I have a few lingering qualms,
for what does Saint Luke say
of that first Palm Sunday?
He says naught of the waving of palms.

Luke 19: 28 - 40

Biblical Limericks: Carry up My Bones from Here

Prince Joseph from his deathbed intones:
Make for me in Egypt no headstones,
you should do this instead,
when I am cold and dead,
go to the Promised Land with my bones.

Genesis 50: 24 - 25

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Biblical Limericks: Bandits’ Den

Jesus went into the Temple then,
drove out the merchants trading within.
He cited scripture there,
“My house should be for prayer
but you’ve made it a foul bandits’ den.”

Luke 19: 45 - 46

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Dangerous Aid of The Salvation Army

I have said on several occasions, to the consternation of some of my fellow denominationalists, that if I am a socialist (and I am) I learned my socialism not from reading Karl Marx, but from reading the Hebrew prophets, and the Gospels and from the founder and first General of The Salvation Army, William Booth. Often this provokes sneers of derision and snorts of disbelief, "the Salvation Army is NOT a socialist organization" I am told.

And perhaps it isn't any more but early on in its history The Salvation Army was certainly moving in that direction. I found the following quotation from the co-author of the Communist Manifesto in my reading today:

All My Yesterdays

We Ain’t Got Time for Wibble Wobbles

Imagine the people, the crowds
almost frightened,
already angry, inflammatory
personal injury money
Twenty Five Dollars and a bit of luck

I was there, at the rally. I remember the smell of sweat and sausage, of grubby potato chip fingers and spilled beer. I heard the chanting, the slogans, the jeers, was clocked in the back of the head by someone convinced that I wasn’t cheering loud enough. “Get on the step, boy” he growled at me as he stood over me, “or get the hell out. We ain’t got time for wibble wobbles like you!”

this growing anger
a problem
a question of telephone wars
rapidly changing trouble
bloody murder in
a different world

How did it come to this? No one can remember; no one is willing to remember. No one is willing to admit remembering. Click LIKE and forward, tag a friend. The signal is uninterrupted. Clear and dangerous.

Now moving high-speed
dark fog
lights buzz
smoke and screams

It is time. He is here, uglier than life, now, on the stage. To my left, in my peripheral vision, a pregnant woman is being knocked to the ground, trampled and beaten. But must not notice it. I must face the stage, I must keep focused on the distraction in front of me.

Slow down, slow down
can we stop the prophet’s death

“I toll ya. We ain’t got time for wibble wobbles,” he says before punching me in the kidney. I vomit down my shirt and promise that I will keep silence. I can learn my place, eventually. Who am I, anyway?

lifeless and gray
he talks just like he talks
I hear words from a
low fog

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Check Your Privilege (Philippians 3:4 – 14)

Recently an article on the internet entitled, “Does It Matter How the Preacher Dresses?” (McKeever) was shared with me and some of my fellow Salvation Army officers; we were asked to consider the author’s point that pastors should “turn up the dial a notch” and not be sloppy in their dress. For McKeever this seems to mean wearing a suit and tie – which is the accoutrement de rigueur for ministers, though he did allow that that doesn’t necessarily “he should wear the uniform of the previous generation—a coat and tie—but merely to dress one step in front of most of the men in the church.” (McKeever).[i] Ministers, according to McKeever, should dress up to “inspire confidence” in their congregations.

“It’s time for the preachers to look and act like the adults in the room.” McKeever says. “Quit following the kids and start showing them proper respect for the Lord’s house, the Lord’s service and the worship of the Lord.” Ministers have to look respectable and show “proper respect for the Lord’s house.”

But I’m not terribly impressed by his argument that dressing up (in a suit coat and tie, or The Salvation Army Uniform, even) inspires confidence so it must be a good thing. “It’s why the presidential candidates are wearing suits and white shirts and ties. … Inspiring confidence,” he says, but we know how much respect and confidence politicians inspire in us these days, right?  Besides: crooks, con artists, and used car salesmen dress up in a suit and tie for exactly the same reason. Hitler wore a suit and a tie, too. So what? Good people dress up and look nice. Terrible people dress up and look nice. The suit and the tie is not a mark of respectability; the suit and tie is not the badge of membership in the community of God. Looking good does not mean being good.

There’s nothing wrong with wearing nice clothes to church. There’s nothing wrong with dressing up. But I’m concerned about the attitude that says we should dress to impress, that the outward, exterior appearance is what really matters.

The Apostle Paul could have made much of his exteriors. He had all the right markers to show that he was a trustworthy and respectable, what is more, that he was a righteous man of the people of God’s favor. He had been circumcised on the eighth day, born of the people of Israel, in the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews. If he’d had Poppins’ tape measure, I’m sure he’d measure “practically perfect in every way.” (Mary Poppins)

Yet Paul rejected all these measurements. He rejected all these badges of honor and marks of respectability. He wrote them off as a loss.

Now, like the suit and tie and The Salvation Army uniform, none of those qualifications were bad in themselves. They were all noble and valued standards in his culture and religion. To be circumcised marked one as a descendant of Abraham and part of the covenant community. To be of a pure lineage with a line that traced back to the tribe of the first king of Israel, this was good thing. It was not wrong for Paul to have been a Pharisee. (I know the Pharisees get a lot of negative attention, particularly in light of the description of their opposition to Jesus in the gospels of the New Testament, but the Pharisees were devoutly committed to following and obeying God. This is a noble pursuit.) Paul could say, without vainglorious exaggeration, that, by the standards of his people and culture, he was perfect, without fault.

But he came to realize that all of that was worthless. It was all, as an earlier prophet said, “unclean things” and “filthy menstrual rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Paul’s choice of words is equally as shocking. He says that he regards all those marks of privilege as “filth” (Philippians 3: 8) – the Greek word skubalon- that is dung, feces. All that he could have listed as noble and special and privileged about himself he described as shit.

He could have gloried in all his good works, all his righteousness. “Good men and bad men alike are capable of weakness. The difference is simply that a bad man will be proud all his life of one good deed – while an honest man is hardly aware of his good acts, but remembers a single sin for years on end”  (Grossman 840). But Paul saw the righteousness of God and saw his own failure to be perfect as God is perfect (Matthew 5:48) and wrote off all his own credit as loss.

None of it mattered. Not his privileged birth, not his proper upbringing, not his education, not his achievements. For Paul, the only thing that counted as worthy was knowing Jesus and sharing in his righteousness. And these were this was something he couldn’t do in and of himself. He couldn’t achieve this knowledge or righteousness by doing more and doing better. It was not an uprightness gained from following the Law, or by having all the proper exterior marks. What he was seeking was justification.

Theologian N.T. Wright has written that: “Justification…is not a matter of how someone enters the community of the true people of God, but of how you tell who belongs to that community” (emphasis his - Wright 119). “Faith is the badge of covenant membership, not something one ‘performs’ as a kind of initiation test” (125).

Being born of the right tribe did not make Paul justified before God. Being circumcised did not make Paul justified. Being a Pharisee, being zealous for the Law did not secure his membership into the community of the true people of God. Instead he set all those things aside. Like Christ who:

being in the form of God,
did not count equality with God
something to be grasped.
But he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
becoming as human beings are;
and being in every way like a human being,
he was humbler yet,
even to accepting death, death on a cross.

And for this God raised him high,
and gave him the name
which is above all other names;
so that all beings
in the heavens, on the earth, and in the underworld,
should bend the knee at the name of Jesus
and that every tongue should acknowledge
Jesus Christ as Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2: 6 – 11 New Jerusalem Bible)

Paul could have grasped at all his privilege markers, he could have exploited all his badges of honor – but, for Paul, all of these things paled before the person of Jesus Christ. And so he cast them off to know only Jesus and the power of his resurrection.  Paul wanted to know Jesus Christ so that he could live in the life of Jesus, and live again in his death and resurrection.

And this by a daily growing faith. Pressing on towards the prize, not grasping at those marks of privilege and honor to exploit them for personal gain. But checking his privilege and straining on to what was ahead: God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

Grossman, Vasily. Life and Fate. Trans. Robert Chandler. New York, NY: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1985. Print.

Mary Poppins. dir. Robert Stevenson. Walt Disney Productions, 1964. Film. 

McKeever, Joe. "Does It Matter How the Preacher Dresses?" ChurchLeaders. Web. 

Wright, N.T. What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997. Print.

“My brethren, do all that is in your power not to fall, for the strong athlete should not fall, but, if you do fall, get up again at once, and continue the contest. Even if you fall a thousand times, because of the withdrawal of God’s grace, rise up again at each time, and keep on doing so until the day of your death. For it is written: ‘If a righteous man falls seven times,’ that is, repeatedly throughout his life, ‘seven times shall he rise again’ [Proverbs 24:16].”

+ St. John of Karpathos, from the collection of letters to monks in India

[i] Apparently all ministers and pastors are male for McKeever. He uses the masculine pronoun exclusively, and mentions coats and ties frequently, but never blouses, skirts, dresses, or pantsuits… 

Background Images for Everyone - 2016 - Week 11

Here it is again, this week's free weekly background image for you to download and use as your very own. Use it at home, at work, at school, at church, wherever. I only ask that you share it freely and that you tell others that you found it here.

(for those who like to know such things - I took this photograph with a homemade filter made from a plastic soda bottle that was cut in half.)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hymnical Limericks: And Can It Be?

I've been writing these "Biblical Limericks" for quite some time now. Every once in a while I like to do something just a little bit different, so here is a ...hymnical limerick:

And can it be true that I should gain,
me, the very one who caused his pain,
who him to death pursued,
nailed him to the cruel rood?
Amazing love! I’ll sing it again!

(based on Charles Wesley’s hymn “And Can It Be”)

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Day at School with Radiohead

My son, contrary to the rules of teenagers everywhere, likes to tell me about his day at school. He enjoys being able to discuss what he’s learned in his classes,in part to see what I know about those things, and also to see if he can tell me something I don’t know. It’s fun. But it can be difficult to stay ahead of him. The other day, the two of us were greatly amused to find numerous connections between his classwork and the music of Radiohead.

In his Geometry class they have been working on formulating proofs, and the steps to prove or disprove mathematical statements like: “2 + 2 = 5”

In his English class they are reading William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, which connects to Radiohead’s “Exit Music for a Film.”

In his Global Studies class they were discussing the Athenian democracy so you’ll need a bit of “Electioneering.”

And in his Science class they learned about the physics of car crashes and how an “Airbag” could save your life.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Biblical Limericks: Rabbits

There are some malicious reviewers
who would put the Bible on skewers-
now don’t get out of joint
but they may have a point
for rabbits aren’t really cud chewers.

Leviticus 11: 3 - 6

Blood and Fire

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

They Tell Me I Am Dead - A Letter from Dr. Tarrec

I wish to remind you of some things, although you should know them:

They tell me I am dead, twice dead, and uprooted. They call me a dreamer; they say I am a scofflaw arguing with angel officers, and for this I am condemned, by them, to gloomy chains and darkness forever. But I don’t remember dying-physically or spiritually. I eat. I breathe. I laugh. I shit and piss. I sing. I pray. I live. Today I am sick with a fever of 101.8 and a relentless, hurricane cough, but I am alive, only half dead. I am stumbling, but I live and will live.

There have been some intruders, this is true, snarling, barking dogs at the door. But the blue-fire sternodogs don’t recognize me; I am not with them. What is their message? Accuse me of witchcraft if you like but, unlike the famed Padre Pio, I cannot bilocate. There is no spectral evidence against me, only slander, only slur.

There’s no physical evidence, either. No fruit. No feast. They bring rumor and call it gospel; they hear insinuation and think it true. There are very powerful forces at work here. They revile what they refuse to understand. They are disgruntled complainers. They are fearless – but only in looking out for themselves. They are fearless except for mercy. Mercy causes them to shudder.

Again, they accuse me of insidious attack; they call me a charlatan saboteur. They say I practice unnatural vice on the natural plane. I don’t lower my eyes. I am not guilty. Not of sedition. Not of assault. Not of desertion. What other charges? What day of the week is it? A new one every day.

Of course, I realize that I cannot prove any of this. Those who accuse me don’t believe in proof. (Unless they are bullet proofs) They don’t need it. The believer has the witness in him or herself, but the accuser does not care. Bombast is enough. They can convict anyone for godless deeds committed or uncommitted. They are wind through leafless trees in autumn. They are 4 a.m. phone calls. Nevertheless, not even the wild waves of Sodom or the wandering stars of Gomorrah can harm me. I do not waver.

The Lord who once saved a people from Egypt will save me too-though I don’t know how. I do not wish to see them destroyed for all the harsh words they have uttered against me. Not usually.  He will snatch me from the fire they have lit for me.

P. L. Tarrec

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

How Long Is this Vision To Be?

In the fourth year of the Blessed Bending, a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after all the others I’d had before. I gazed at the vision and this is what I observed: a loud mouthed he-goat from the west encroaching over the surface of the whole world, but never touching the ground of reality, butting heads with all he encountered. No animal could stand up to him; nothing could escape his ego. He did as he pleased and became strong. On its head it wore a wild mane, as untamable as himself. He charged at the other goats arrayed against him and, one by one, trampled them underfoot and broke their horns. And there was no one to rescue them.

I heard a holy one speaking and another holy one say to the speaker: “How long is this vision to be, of perpetual bullying and of obnoxious bombast? How long? O God, how long? 

Biblical Limericks: Phinehas

Phinehas, on account of his zeal,
is numbered third in glory-for real!
First Moses, then Aaron,
but Phin is forgotten
and who can recall his spear of steel?

Sirach 45: 23 / Numbers 25: 6 - 13

The Other Side of Beyond

The Other Side of Beyond by Jeff Carter on

Monday, March 7, 2016

Biblical Limericks: Mutilation

Paul’s letter is a celebration
but into this joy breaks damnation;
he raises the alarm
of those who would do harm:
Beware the Dogs of Mutilation!

Philippians 3: 2

Biblical Limericks: Socialist Paul

“Give your surplus to their poverty
so that there might be equality”?!
What the hell are these marks,
the Gospel of Karl Marx?
Socialist Paul’s an atrocity!

2 Corinthians 8:14

Dragonfly Daughter

O dragonfly daughter, I love you,
my blue glaze Egyptian wonder;
I cannot hold the flittering splendor
and you do not yet know
the sparkle of your flight.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Background Images for Everyone - 2016 - Week 10

Here it is - just for you - a free background image to use where and however you like. I only ask that you share it freely and that you tell others you found it here.

 photo week 10_zpswm8mjoyv.jpg

The Parable of the Unreliable Narrators - Sermon

In my sermon last week, I said that we should be surprised by parables, that they really are intended to surprise, to catch the audience off guard with an eternal truth wrapped within a pleasantly told tale. But can be difficult to retain that surprise when the parables have become familiar.

Movies with a twist, surprise ending are enjoyable once, and Mystery and Detective novels lose their thrill after the first reading. The story in Luke 15: 11 - 32 of the prodigal son (a title that I really don’t like[i]) is very familiar to us; it is probably the most familiar, most well-known of Jesus’ stories. And because of that over-familiarity it is challenging to retain a sense of wonder as we read it. Familiarity in this case breeds, if not contempt, then at least indifference. We’ve heard the story, read the parable multiplied multiple times and, since we already know the ending, we may have a tendency to breeze through it without critical thought. It is difficult for us to retain the thrill of the twist, the surprise ending, the aha!. But, perhaps it’s time to be surprised by the parable again. We want a sort of ‘second naiveté’ when we come to the parable of the Lost Son[ii] .

As I read and re-read the parable this week, one of the things that caught me by surprise was the unreliability of sons as they described their circumstances. Neither the younger nor the elder son seems able to speak the truth, to himself or to others around him. They omit certain details and highlight others in order present themselves in the best light possible. They do not tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Their stories are shaded and shady.

And everyone does this; sometimes we do it purposefully and with deliberate calculation, sometimes unconsciously. When politicians do it, we call it “spin-doctoring.” Corporations hire Public Relations teams to do it. Governments create propaganda. Individuals do it by shading the truth. We do it, all the time; we reveal only parts of the truth, those parts that we think are acceptable, the parts that we think other people want to hear, those parts that will make us look good. Even when we’ve sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, we emphasize our success and our strength while hiding and disguising our failures and weakness. (Firestone)

Pamela Meyer, author of the book Liespotting, has said, “We wish we were better husbands, better wives, smarter, more powerful, taller, richer-the list goes on. Lying is an attempt to bridge that gap, to connect our wishes and our fantasies about who we wish we were, how we wish we could be, with what we're really like. And boy are we willing to fill in those gaps in our lives with lies.”

 In Jesus’ story, the younger son, after blowing through his inheritance, finds himself working on a pig farm in a far off country. And there he says to himself, “…here I am dying of hunger…” (Luke 15: 17) But I think he’s lying to himself. Yes, there was a famine in that country and, yes, times were hard, but he was working, presumably being paid. If the famine had not yet proceeded to the point where all of the pigs had been slaughtered for food, there must have been other food still to eat. And considering what must have been his pampered life of comfort and ease–under an extravagantly generous, softy of a father-I doubt that this callow uncalloused boy had any previous experience with hunger or labor. His tender hands and pale skin must have blistered from work and sun. His stomach must have cramped from hunger. But I read his complaint with a measure of distrust–not outright disbelief. I’m sure he was hungry, and tired, and sore, and dismal. But I doubt his claim of starvation.[iii] He is exaggerating his peril, somewhat.

When he finally comes to his senses and realizes  that he has made a foolish mistake he begins to formulate a plan, prepares and rehearses a speech that he hopes will minimize his failures and at the same time, engender a compassionate response from his father: “Father,” he says, rehearsing, “Father, ehem, uh… Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired men.” (Luke 15: 18 -19 NJB)

It doesn’t seem honest. It is calculated for effect. It’s as if he is afraid to confront the truth about himself and so puts the burden of this very practiced apology on his father. What he wants is for his father to accept him, so he prepares this nonpology[iv] to get that acceptance. One author has written that, “[w]ith great privilege comes an equally great ability to be irresponsible and yet succeed, be cared about, get out of jail free.” Saying “I’m sorry,” in this case is really only saying “Please like me.” (Prickett)

The younger son in this parable is not entirely honest-not with himself, and not with his father.

But the elder son is not any better. He first claims that he has “slaved” for his father for many years and “never once disobeyed any orders.” (Luke 15: 29) The elder son wants to portray himself as the wounded martyr, the aggrieved innocent, so he accentuates the positive and eliminates the negative. (Arlen and Mercer) But I suspect that his slavery is only a whining exaggeration and that his claim of perfect obedience is not perfectly true.

He then goes on to say that despite all of his perfect obedience and loyalty, his father has “never offered [him] so much as a kid for [him] to celebrate with [his] friends.” (Luke 15: 29) And this, too, I disbelieve. The father in this story is the true prodigal–giving money and resources extravagantly, wastefully even.  I cannot believe that this lavishly giving man, would have never given his son anything. But the elder son isn’t a reliable narrator; he shades the truth and, like his younger brother, puts the burden on the father.

And the extraordinary thing about this story, the really surprising thing in this familiar parable, is that the father doesn’t care. He accepts the self-serving stories from both of his sons, and responds with an outlandish generosity, with a prodigal grace. The younger son isn’t quite able to own up to his own immaturity and failure, but the father accepts him, welcomes him home anyway. The elder son is angry and unforgiving and unable to admit that he is just as greedy for their father’s estate as his younger, irresponsible brother. But the father loves him anyway, and gives him everything. 

Both of the sons are unreliable narrators. They have not told the truth (not the whole, unvarnished truth, anyway) to themselves or to their father. Even so, the father remains absolutely reliable in his outlandish, extravagant, prodigious love. He loves them, welcomes them, embraces them even as they are attempting to manipulate him. He knows what they’re trying to do, but he ignores it. He cuts off the younger son’s rehearsed nonpology apology, to have him dressed in a fine robe and have the family ring thrust upon his finger. He interrupts the elder son’s complaint, “you’ve never given me anything” to tell him that “everything I have is yours.” The father is steadfast in his merciful love to these unworthy boys.

And if this is to be read as a parable of God’s love for us unworthy people, we should be surprised and taken aback by the steadfast reliability of his merciful love. Even when we try to manipulate God, bargaining, pleading, demanding… he loves us. Even when we try to pretend to ourselves and to God that we’re not really so bad, not as bad at least as the other guy… he loves us. Lavishly. Wastefully, even. Prodigally.

Like the psalmist in Psalm 32, we have a tendency to keep silent about our sin and shortcoming; we don't tell the whole and complete truth. And while we are lying to ourselves, and to others, and to God about ourselves, our bones are wasting away, groaning day and night. (Psalm 32: 5) But when we finally come to our senses and tell the truth, when we confess, God, for his part, takes away our sin and forgives our guilt. This is is extraordinary, prodigal, wasteful grace-that he loves us, even as we are telling lies.

For his mercies shall endure
ever faithful, ever sure.
-John Milton 

Arlen, Harold and Johnny Mercer. “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” 1944.

Firestone, Lisa. "Shades of Truth: The Many Ways We Lie." The Huffington Post, 23 Sept. 2013. Web. 5 Mar. 2016.

Meyer, Pamela. "How To Spot a Liar." TEDtalk. July 2011. TED. Web. 5 Mar. 2016.

Prickett, Sarah Nichole. “Saying Sorry Is a Pretty-Girl Trick.” The Hairpin, 20 Aug. 2013. Web. 5 Mar. 2016.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Someday I'll Wish Upon a Star...

The other night, after we had returned home from my teenage children’s high school production of The Wizard of Oz, I played for my parents my favorite version of the song “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” It is not, as you might have guessed if you know me or if you’re a regular reader of the blog, the Judy Garland version.

I don’t dislike Judy Garland’s version. But it doesn’t mean very much to me. Instead, I prefer the song as sung by the German experimental musician Blixa Bargeld. My mother was not impressed. “Who told him he could sing?” she asked.

Oh well, I didn’t really expect her to be all that impressed. But I got to thinking about it: why does this particular version of the song (from Bargeld’s 1995 release Commissioned Music – music for a number of theatre plays) mean more to me than the standard as sung by Judy Garland?

The answer is easy enough: I’m not a dewy ingénue; I’m a 41 year old man who has become somewhat cynical (I’m not as cynical as I could be, but I’m trying), someone who fears that he is becoming embittered and nihilistic. I’ve been around and around, beaten and shaken down. But I still hope (or try to hope) to find that land that I heard of, once in a lullaby. I still hope that it exists. I still dare to dream (or dare to try to dream...)

So if my favorite version of the ballad has more dissonance than saccharine, you’ll understand why.

My Little Dragonfly

Friday, March 4, 2016

My (not so) Little Munchkins

My kids, now in high school, enjoy participating in the theater. Tonight was opening night for their school production of The Wizard of Oz. Our daughter played a Dragonfly, a Winkie, and an Ozian. Our son played a Crow, a Snowman, a Winkie, and an Ozian.

And on the topic of the Wizard of Oz, here is my favorite version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Blixa Bargeld:

And, as you might or might not know, the 1939 film staring Judy Garland was not the first film made of The Wizard of Oz. The first was a 13 minute silent film made in 1910:

Biblical Limericks: Filthy Rags

Craig loves his bible, but his faith lags;
a part of him recoils and he gags
when Isaiah tells us
that all our righteousness
is like discarded menstrual rags.

Isaiah 64:6 

A Limerick for the Republican Debate

The republican debates are sick;
they shout and jab and poke and they prick
with sneering insults
not acting like adults
but talking ‘bout the size of their … hands.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A 2016 Apocalyptic Nightmare #Drumpf

Then I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the Throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”  Then I saw the Drumpf. The Drumpf went and took the scroll from the right hand of the One seated on the Throne, and when he had taken it he said:

You know, listen, I’m the only one here who can take this,
the only one worthy to take this scroll,
no one else can open it. I’m the guy that’s going to open it.
Because I know how to get things done.
No one can touch me. They come at me
they all come at me
but if somebody hits me, I’m going to hit them back harder.
And I can buy this whole place. I’m rich.
I don’t mean to brag, but I’m rich. I’ve got money
and I could just buy this place outright.
And that’s why I’m going to win, I’m going to open this scroll
‘cause I’m rich and I’m a winner.
You know, I’ve made so much money over the years
I’ve got influence like you wouldn’t believe, I can make the deals
I went to a great school and I learned words, great words
I’m very, very, very intelligent.
And that’s why I’m doing so well in the polls, that’s why they love me.
I’ve never had any trouble in bed. I’m a winner.

And I wept and wept because no one seemed able to stop him.

Thursday’s Medical Memorandum

IF infections germ categories can be eliminated (perhaps by flooding them with an excess of carbon dioxide) – or, short of that, be confined to certain designated areas under military control, then the promised new white cells (anti-immigration cells) can be returned through the once great body. Our future depends upon these white cells, cells from a reptile age, white cells laid in an egg. Our doctors can use a machine to fertilize the egg and close any gaps in fossilized ventricles.

In regard to the remarks being made by our opponents, we only confirm that the fiscal heart is fine and continues pumping vital blood money-we have a complete record (that will not be disclosed) going back two generations. The seriousness of the crises is grossly exaggerated. Further refutation should not be necessary. Take down photojournalists with choke holds.

Liberals refuse to acknowledge the statistics compiled by our limited liability corporations. WE have no doubt that this illustrates the danger facing us, the discontinuities of American liberalism; we have been made vulnerable to pernicious sobbing and moral decline, during the past thirty thousand years. Such things happen every day in America.

No more discussion. We need lasting change, systemic mutation. These are the hopeful principles of our paleontology, the origins of our higher parts, hatched from mystery and taken back into smoke tarred lungs. We must deal with the abrupt fossilization of plasma that cannot be pumped through the valves, but this is only a minor threat. The real danger is from Red Cells. Red Cells are a hostile, communist threat to our bright, blood order. America’s youth is too full of oxygen. They will burn, those hopeful monsters of destructive forces on the earth.

We have more than enough supporters to waste carbon dioxide with blowhards. Do whatever it takes. Suck out the air. Burn the emotional fronts. Do not worry, at this time, about healing the wounds of the nation. Force more carbon dioxide. Breathe deep. Shift popular culture away from bone marrow. The heartbeats have almost given up. Blue state hearts are red socialists, better dead. The heart sends blood into the arteries, sends blood to the lungs. There will be blood, but it will not be RED socialist or BLUE state blood.

We who are oppressed by fresh oxygen transformations, oppressed and persecuted, will respond by inserting needles into the heart; we will live by combining with clotted substances. A good man’s heart is stony. The clot dries in the ventricle below; the heart is fossilized, cold.

Our medical analysts predict the bright future of urban streets patrolled by police squads with assault rifles and grenades, examining ID-10-T identity documents at all travel checkpoints. This will be the new chapter, the new hope. The richness of our democratic society rests in checkpoints and extreme measures, military correction. Take hope. Embrace a renewed commitment to happiness in America. It will be self-inflicted, self-medicated.

There should be no more talk from theologians of Kenosis. Instead we must MakeAmericaGreatAgain. The biggest arteries must be cut first. Philosophy is a thorny issue, a transitional form. NO one can argue with it; nor should they try. Eliminate it; surgically remove it. Irradiate it. 

Feel your wrist and return home. Grasp the right ventricle as you collapse. 
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