Gottesdienst
Indifference is not characteristic of the liturgy
Gottesblog Revision2.jpg

Gottesblog

A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

My Dear Wormwood...

Bad meme.jpg

My Dear Wormwood,

I just ran across this post of a meme (above) by a Missouri Synod pastor - and our Father Below is most pleased!

The LCMS is a tough “nut to crack” - as the filthy humans are wont to turn the phrase - but we are seeing some delightful improvements in the midst of this holdout. Of course, the Lowerarchy is most impressed by the delightfully fetid Congregations Matter for obvious reasons. We have had mixed success with such laudable covens as Daystar, Ordain Women Now in the LCMS, Renewal in Missouri (requiestcat in chaos), You-Know-Who First (requiescat in chaos), and a few others working to chip away the stone.

One of the strategic difficulties of the LCMS is their stubborn reliance upon the objectivity of Word and Sacrament (even saying this makes me want to retch) over and against the vagaries of subjective emotion. When trying to subvert a Christian, emotion is your friend. We are advocates of “passion” - not the kind of the Enemy’s disgusting suffering upon the cross to redeem these filthy hybrids, but by “passion” we mean just what this pastor is proposing: “worship” as an “emotional experience.” It centers oneself and one’s “experience” as the object of the worship instead of “You-Know-Who.” And the real beauty of this is that this poor wretch actually has no clue that he is working for us. Why? Because he himself has been seduced by the dopamine-dripping saccharine of tingly emotion.

I tell you, Wormwood, it’s beautiful! For within this Lutheran tradition, and especially within the LCMS, great danger lurks. For one can learn the kind of theology that exposes us for the whole world to see. It’s all right there in their damned books and disgusting seminaries: the Theology of the Cross and the repudiation of Enthusiasm. Our strategic plan, dear nephew, is to refocus the pastors and people away from the cross and lead them to glory.

And how wonderful these deluded souls taste when they realize that they have exchanged their birthright of the so-called Gospel for the pottage of the metrics of secular success! For when the Battle for the Bible was lost in this synod, we set about a different strategy: the Church Growth Movement. And we have grown Missouri largely into Misery (caviar for the demons) through the desire to make worship “fun” and make the Christian life not about shouldering a cross but rather about the acquisition of selfish emotional highs that beat back against the Theology of the Cross and Word and Sacrament.

Another wonderful thing about this textbook example (make note, Wormwood, in the case that you are headed to Graduate School and a possible D.Mon. degree) is that it has the classic strategy of a semblance of truth. For when Christians live the Theology of the Cross, when they worship their Deity in truth using His means appointed - when the physicality of the Enemy meets the physicality of the human - they really do live a satisfying and felicitous life, producing fruits in accordance with a strong faith: a life of “love” (oh, how horrific!). But the beauty is that this pastor is “looking for love in all the wrong places” as the redneck song goes. He seeks an emotional high rather than a lofty and sublime communion.

That “communion”, nephew, is what we want to avoid. Make the humans think about “relationships” (which are emotion-centric and ginned up enthusiasm) rather than “communion” and “community” - which are grounded in the objective reality of the Enemy’s justification, love, and service that transcends feelings. Notice that this pastor avoids mentioning the name of You-Know-Who and the forgiveness of sins and other loathsome gifts doled out undeservedly upon these clothing-wearing apes, these animated chunks of meat (O Evil Satan, how I hate them!). The highest expression of the disgusting notion of communion is in what the humans call Holy Communion. Fortunately for us, many of their most successful churches minimize the practice of the Eucharist (what a distasteful word!), disregarding their own Article 24 and practicing Non-Communion Sundays, often couched as concern for the unbelievers (which they adorably call “the unchurched”) who might attend and be offended by authentic Christianity. We have successfully created a lust for change focused on what unbelievers want rather than what believers need. This is one of the Lowerarchy’s greatest marketing successes.

And how delightful that this pastor means well, but is clueless. They’re the most useful of all.

And the maggot on the top of the dunghill, dear nephew, is the misspelled word: “disdane.” How delightful and sublime! The people of the eternal Logos can’t even spell a bi-syllabic word. There was a time when these pastors were known for their scholarship, their mastery of ancient languages, and their articulation of their own vernacular. We have made inroads, dear nephew! No longer are all LCMS pastors required to even read Greek. Many of them come across as boxes of rocks. And now, many of them cannot match subjects to verbs, and are as well-spoken as a modern pop singer (some of our best evangelists in their own right).

Atheists (who are all potential believers, never forget that!) are turned off by stupidity, already seeing Christians as dull, naive, and stupid. And the advantage of the Internet is that these exhibitions of slack-jawed, low-watt, intellectual fizzles are on display for the world to see.

As a case study of what we dare not permit the Christians to become, Wormwood, I must urge you to take up a study (as distasteful as it is) of the life of Kurt Marquart - who in spite of an early life of suffering at the hands of our most beloved tyrants, clung to You-Know-Who. That human was (and remains, no thanks to the failures of those assigned to trip him up) intelligent, articulate, fluent in multiple languages, and yet remained humble and full of disgusting faith, hope, and charity (love). Not even the suffering of debilitating disease could separate him from the love of You-Know-Who. As much as I loathe such saints, I must admit a begrudging admiration for him, Satan help me.

We must continue to ensure that the life of reflection, study, and intellectualism is discouraged, that fun and emotion are made central to the Christian faith and life (especially in worship), and that Lutherans are made to look like knuckle-dragging spiritual hedonists and grinning sycophants of Joel Osteen: worshipers of numbers who lust after butts in the pews, that they downplay reverence in their blasted Divine Service, minimize sacraments, de-emphasize absolution, and instead, direct their energies to ephemeral gimmickry. We must sever them from their past, and make them look like the world: the dominion of our Father Below.

And if they can look like grammar school rejects in the process, we become sixpence the richer.

Your affectionate uncle,

Screwtape


Screwtape sig.jpg