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Anno Domini 2020
The pagan moontide of Janus 20

Epiphania Lux Mundi:

The Light of the

World Unveiled

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The Light shines upon your bodily need.

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Illegal Hot Pink

So sue me.

Unexpected Food Nourishes

Alleluia! The Bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Alleluia!

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.

They cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.

Some wandered in desert wastes, hungry and thirsty. He filled the hungry with good things.

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, He brought them out. He burst their bonds apart.

Let us thank the Lord for his wondrous works to the children of men!

(From Psalm 107)

The Sundays after Epiphany can be a bit confusing. Officially, they are part of "ordinary" time. These are the Sundays of the church year that will be colored green. This is not the third Sunday of Epiphany, but the third Sunday after Epiphany. While they're always associated with the growth and life of Christianity, they technically do not belong to any season at all. Much like leading up to the last Sunday of the church year, being "ordinary time" does not stop the season from carrying a certain flavor. The Old Testament lectionary takes careful note of this, and then subtly rethinks it, lifting “after” Epiphany into a celebratory, extraordinary Season of Light in the midst of darkness.

The revelation of the Light of the World in the midst of mankind's darkness comes to the nations by demonstrations of power. First, the proclamation of Jesus in his baptism at the Jordan River, and then, commonly, the story of the wedding at Cana where our Lord manifests himself as a public worker of miracles. Return and Exile focuses instead on the day our Lord multiplied not wine, but bread and fish, in order to continue our Exodus walk to Sinai with the marvelous moment of “manna” in the wilderness.

In all cases, the miracles of our Lord will continue building to the high point that is the day of his Transfiguration. From there, the slow descent down the mountain, into the Tenebrae, or “shadows,” brings us to another quirk. But we’ll leave that for a coming week.

Let us pray: Jesus, as you mercifully fed your people bread from heaven during their sojourn in the wilderness, so also satisfy our hunger now, not that the passions of our bellies would rule over us, but that the famine of your words might never come near the houses of us nor our children, for you have baptized us into the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Escape from Japan, Illegal Hot Pink, and Decapitated Vader Kitsch

Escape from Japan

I read a book a couple of years ago about attempting to escape the USA. The author didn’t want to just travel on his American passport. He wanted to quietly slip out of the country, procure false credentials and live abroad as a truly free expatriate with a lost identity. 

He found that not only was it much tougher than the movies make it seem, but also that, as an American citizen, emigrating to a foreign country is significantly harder than it looks.

Most countries don’t want us. They love it when we visit but they won't let us stay. As voices around the globe weigh in on our own immigration policies, it is interesting how high the walls and borders of our allies around us remain.

All things considered, it is hard not to be enticed by the story of a Japanese businessman smuggled out of his own country in Yakuza-style undercover madness. Making use of multiple foreign passports, the man in question, the former CEO of Nissan, showed up in Lebanon, complete with prepared statements to exonerate his family and associates from blame.

It's a story worthy of a video game or high-stakes action movie, and reminded me of the following interview that Joe Rogan did with the most wanted American citizen outside of America, Edward Snowden. (You may remember Snowden, the intelligence operative who blew the whistle on the radical, illegal surveillance practices of the US against its own population, who was summarily pursued by the Obama administration across the world until he took up refuge in the safe arms of “mother” Russia.) The Trump administration has been no kinder to him, and it’s worth hearing about, especially because the conversation provides a crash course in modern surveillance and technology as well as the complete loss of privacy in the online world.

If nothing else, it is an important reminder: you can either be free, or you can be safe. But rarely, if ever, can you be both at the same time.


I continue my year-long experiment applying the 80/20 rule to my morning workouts: 80% of your gain comes from 20% of the work.


My goal has been to spend no more than 5 -7 minutes per day of focused strength training to net an hour’s worth of results. When I started, I was unable to do a single pull-up. Since then, I’ve managed to max out at 14 - nothing compared to Pastor Will Weedon's 30+!

That said, I've also found a strange reticence chipping away at my desire to press on, which likely had something to do with Thanksgiving and Christmas (although I didn’t eat any cookies at all!) But this video has gotten me back on course by upping my focus on technique. These tips have both made my pull-ups feel better and dropped my daily average from 10-12 to 4-5 just by virtue of how much more quickly they bring my core to failure. I didn’t know I could make my stomach this sore without sit ups!

It's Dangerous to Go Alone

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Sweetness you may have missed...

This Week Preached


Recent Release

We're All in the Mud

Podcast 0140

Behind the Veil


Fisk the Freestlyin' Rapper

Iron Man Isn't as Far Away as You Think

I must admit that I have a strong affinity for the stylistic choices of Tony Stark, embodied in the portrayal by Robert Downey Jr. But if I was asked to tell you who I really wanted to be in the Marvel Universe, my answer would be Captain America. "Cap" is the expression of all that is good and right and true about our country, and I love the growth of his character as a man of virtue throughout the phase one and phase two timelines.

In this way, I really want to root for actor Chris Evans, who is channeling the fame of "America’s A$$" into a start-up that hopes to break through the noise of the media political divide with promises of “no bias.”

Frankly, while the article from Wired magazine implies Evans' project is a potential good, it is much easier for me to get excited about the idea of an actual Iron Man suit not being as far away as you think. Eksobionics is a tech company building external human augmentations geared toward increasing human capacity and preventing chronic injury.

Question of the week:

Which super hero do you want be?

Reply to send in your response!

The Trepidatious Land of Digital Royalties

Copyright and trademark law is a disaster. American law, built to serve the print moguls of an unplugged era continues to prove itself fully incompetent for an online age. The ability to copy, trade, and distribute digital information freely, efficiently, and quickly blew up everything, and it's the greedy who are slowing down the future potential fixes.

This change is one that can't be turned back, yet corporations face financial threat unless they innovate, or legislate, their way to a mini-monopoly. Take, for example, the recent court battle in which T-Mobile is suing a small-time insurance start-up over their use of pink.

The article traces the odd road we took to get here and is a good primer on the legal possibility that someday only 1,867 companies can ever legally use colors to advertise. 

For the Shameless Dark Jedi

Here is a bit of absolutely useless junk that I once would have called “cool.” Sadly, the "The Last Jedi” killed off any childish hopes I’d had for some honest “extended universe” return to force-wielding greatness. Whatever was buried deep within my 1980’s-raised reptilian cortex died with Luke.

The release of “The Rise of Skywalker,” oddly, has left me feeling guilty, as if I somehow owe the Disney-owned, soul-less franchise another chance - like a bad relationship! But this serendipitous 20-min episode from James Altucher set me free again. Not only did he help me leave Luke in the grave, but he also took the time to call out Marvel’s Black Panther (now owned by Disney) for the race-bating virtue-trash that it ultimately was.

Without Flesh: Snippet of the Week

In American Christianity, the "change or die" refrain has become a creed: Unless the Church finds a way to adapt to a changing culture, Christianity is fully and rightly doomed. But our times are nothing new. And Jesus gave us a specific plan.

Use the code REVFISK at check-out to recieve 20% off your purchase off Echo:  Unbroken Truth Worth Repeating, Again from CPH.

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The Unexpected Source
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It’s a Real Fungible Problem!

It was never really my intention to talk about Dust here in the newsletter. It was my intention to use the weekly deadline as a trigger to keep myself working on it, at least a little bit. I tried the same thing with the audio podcasting of Earth several years ago. But the unique difficulty with cutting and pasting snippets of Dust into this newsletter is the fact that it contains what some might consider “vulgar" language.

“Cursing" means different things to different people. But any student of language history knows that various words take on "better" or "worse" meanings over time, and eventually may develop into uses that have nothing to do with their original meaning. One example of this is the English word “suck.” When I was young, I was told I shouldn't use that word because of its sexual connotations. According to its “slang” etymology, however, it would seem it originated with English street urchins who used expressions like "You've sucked on a lemon," or "You should suck on tart," as an insult to describe circumstances and people that were sour or unfortunate.

In any case, the intermingling of languages under the conquest of the Normans over the Saxons on the little islands of Britain has continued on our shores, and has been amplified in its mutative abilities by the internet’s flattening of the world. As a result, while some utterances remain and/or become taboo, others which once were considered “bad” words have become so common that we don’t bat an eye at them. I have a whole theory about this which might bore you to death, so I’ll spare you and just jump to the end:

Outside of taking the Name of the true God in vanity, there is no such thing as “swearing." There is vulgarity and rudeness, but a Christian’s understanding of the latter will depend entirely on the context of the culture in which you dwell. The most disgusting words in the English language, spoken to a meditating monk on the high mountains of Timbuktu, if he doesn’t know English, will not be “bad” words to him. They would be meaningless noises. 

This is to say that the sounds have no power, and I consider it a true jeopardy to the Faith and a form of superstition when Christians attribute to such sounds more power than they deserve. This includes calling them “bad” when they are merely un-etiquetted. (This is doubly so when our assumptions about etiquette ignore the fact that etiquette also, like language, is largely a matter of context, and that it is, in fact, terribly rude to expect others to submit to your etiquette when you are in their context….si fueris Rōmae.

Dust is written with this conviction in mind, and I will dig deeper into it over the next two weeks. Why have some words, that were once considered vulgar, now become commonplace? More importantly, why do many Christians consider restraint from using these words a high point and pinnacle of spiritual maturity? Does this mean we have free license to cuss like sailors?

… More next time.

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Illuminated Book