Monday, October 7, 2013

How to Tell if the Worshipers Around You Actually Believe That God is Less "Far Out" ...

... than Something Far, Far Off.

Or Maybe Just Off.

A Practical, Scripturally-Based Handbook of Diagnostic Symptoms and Signs

1.)   They sway and shout loud ... really loud ... important, for the conscious or unconscious ego's attempt to gain a locked-up-in-heaven-or-vacationing deity's avid attention (1 Kings 18:28; AV translation).

According to their theories and "anxiety bench" surmises, such expression could serve as a usefully objective demonstration of faith's genuineness, as measured in dB's.   In a pinch, though, determination of the perspiring supplicant's galvanic skin response (GSR) may adequately suffice. 

2.)   Their priests are exceedingly into instruments of bodily self alteration,  so as to capture their deity's attention to themselves.

Like the employment  of a death-dealing knife plunged into the skin (1 Kings 18:28), for instance.  In a pinch, though, a hypoxia-dealing hangin' noose around the neck (perhaps secured with a natty Windsor half-knot) will often do nicely.

Others within this spectrum of clerics ... surely ... may prefer lipstick (especially Shirley); but only if the device is PETA approved.

3.)   They eschew the notion of a sacrifice to a deity, positioned on wood (1 Kings 18:26; but cf. 1 Kings 18:33)  In America, an important and domineering variation are those groups which eschew even any reminder of a corpus placed on wood, within their "sanctuaries."

4.)   God is obviously not seen hanging from their rafters or found at the drums (much less any Altar) , so they eat and drink the stuff they've selected and deemed essential for an ego-soothing worship experience ; fill up their bellies; and thence rise up to "play" (Ex 33:6; AV translation).  "Praise the Lord and pass the latte, willya buddy.  Don't forget I called firsts dibs on lane 3 at the seeker-friendly bowling alley, in the fellowship hall.  And where's your cute wife?"

5.)  They are deserving of targeted ridicule, by those familiar with the Word (1 Kings 18:27).    

Prayer Lesson Ideas from Hell

The folks over at Google have devised a fiendishly ingenious  side-bar feature which allows you to be ogled (or more forthrightly if less metrically and derivatively said, stalked) by ads which they imperiously deem to be of interest to you, their loyal and appreciative patron.  Today, while checking out the S.S.P.'s communication board ... where (some outsiders may fantasize) furtive plans are feverishly made to fix synodical elections; sack a palace (one Purple, not Lateran); age a really good beer in fine oak casks; and restore the tonsure as Lutheran haute couture ...  my peripheral vision was itself rudely invaded by this notice:

Lords Prayer Lesson
14 Fun Ways to Teach Kids the Lord's Prayer: Crafts & Games

If you're out there watching  in NSA-Land,  kindly Mr. Goo, I must admit to having some very strong trepidations about this one.   No, not about the missing apostrophe, or even about TeachSundaySchool's ability to spell "Lourdes."  Not at all.  Rather, I have had the time-worn impression, even from my mother's bended knees, in fact, that the most sublime and divine of all prayers could be readily mastered by a wee one, quite without the assistance of cotton candy, roller coasters, and clowns.   Then again, as a wimpy kid alumnus, I was creeped out by clowns ... especially those conducting Mass with grease-paint, seltzer bottles and balloons ... so maybe my opinion is a trifle biased.

But why the surrendering insistence from some quarters that kids can't possibly learn, or absorb, tough realities without being entertained?  It's not the kids' supposed lack of neurons; nay rather, this is an adult problem, by "grown-ups" who eagerly project their own repressed sense of unease, irreverence, and disbelief onto those unassuming helpless to whom (says our Lord Almighty) the kingdom of God truly and properly belongs.

What exactly is fun and games about repentance and forgiveness, for wrongs encountered daily on our pilgrimage ... whether we are carried on our mother's back, tool about in a Malibu or Mustang, or are wheeled to the bathroom in a wheelchair?   What exactly is fun and games about temptation, and the battle to overcome it?  What is fun and games about evil, and our desperate need to be delivered from it by a crossed Someone?   If there is anything valid to this didactic approach in getting a vital point across, why didn't God employ a bulbous rubber nose, over-sized shoes and frizzy orange hair to expound on this message (Gen 2:16,17) : "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it.  For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

"Umm ... because God knew that one day would do it for Him?"  Hey, wow, awesome ... you get a gold star from teacher for that one, Bobby!  And  if you continue to shine, we'll work on Crucifixion Memories Lesson Ideas14 Fun Ways to Teach Kids the Lord's Seven Last Words on the Cross: Crafts & Games!

Piffle.  These "teachers" are insulting the kids.  From a Kleinian dynamic perspective, the little ones pulling themselves along the floor, if on all fours, instinctively know about powerlessness, frustration and the sense of being dazzled and overwhelmed by those adultish giants moving around them like trees (cf. Mk 8). Why make a joke of such, to deal with the seriousness of this situation?   The crawlers and the toddlers of this world, watched over by the Lord's angels, are far braver little souls than those rascals who make games out of the Lord's prayers (and especially, His Prayer).  And who are probably not above devising cool crafts and games to hilariously inform our brave little souls about butter knives, electrical outlets, 120 V alternating current, and cardiac arrests.

Turning the Lord's Prayer into an amusement park for kids is a certain way to instrumentally condition the eventual  "grown-ups" to demand and expect a side-show at worship, instead of a Divine Service in which God offers Himself, in Word and Meal, for the remission of sins.   You don't have to understand pigeons or B.F. Skinner to know this, although I think that pigeons ... on the whole ...  make more sense.

Dear Lutheran brothers and sisters:  We worship in the House of the Lord Who is Present, not the Coliseum of Caesar who is dust.  Let the games NOT begin.