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Pagan Moontide of Februus 24, Anno Domini 2020

This Week in Madness...

  • Without Flesh released this week
  • Curses and Cussing, Part 6
  • New Rules (that don't apply)
Tenebra Quinquagesima:
Doubt Fears

Alleluia! People will come from east and west, from north and south, and will recline at the table in the Kingdom of God. Alleluia!

Who may go up to the mountain of the Lord?  Who may stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, whose soul is not set on what is false.

His are the people of Jacob, his are they who seek his face.

From Psalm 24

Quinquagesima, the final day of pre-Lent darkness, finds the people of Israel exemplifying what all humanity is best at: not believing God's promises.

God's goal all along had been to bring his people into the promised land, delivering them out of Egypt, across the sea and through all manner of trials. Yet, the people chose to stumble at the finishing line. They won't allow themselves to be saved, but rather, they fight back.

The end result is a terrifying rejection by God, with an oath that this people would never enter the promised rest. When compared to Jesus' words about the narrow door and how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God, this oath should strike fear into the hearts of faithful Christians. Such fear produces good: in faith we take it and nail it to the cross of Jesus, knowing the distinction between the old covenant and the new, the one which condemns and the one which comes to justify.

Knowing we have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the great King himself in his flesh and blood, we can rightly assess the animal nature of our sinful condition, and fearlessly call it what it is. This is all in order that we continue to pray to be saved from it and know that this salvation is already accomplished in the sprinkled blood and acceptable worship of the one mediator, Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: Jesus, mediator of a new covenant, speaker of a better word than the blood of Abel, Lord and Master of the only Kingdom which cannot be shaken, open the narrow door to us, and let us not turn back from such promises and into blind folly, for you are the forgiving Judge, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Nine Points of Trial (by Madness)

Pastors who Serve too Long?

For half a century now, studies have been analyzing the similarities between the role of pastor and the role of CEO at large organizations. Most objections to this inquiry have been in the form of pious concerns, warning that this comparison fails to give the reverence due the pastoral office. While Christ's church is not a business, to disregard the wisdom granted by God to humanity in his providence, leaves pastors ill-prepared for the practical corporate duties of shepherding a congregation.

Rev Fisk's personal conviction is this: failing to study the management of human beings in organizations presents a woeful misunderstanding of the First Article that, in a sense, amounts to rejection of the Third Use of the Law. That may be controversial, but as a holder of the office, the Mad Christian suggests that asking the question “How long should a tenure be to achieve the most good?" is a worthwhile endeavor.

Makes about as much Sense as a 9 Point Touchdown

The Mad Monday Team is always entertained by stories from Rev Fisk's youth, so many years ago! This week, he remembered how attempts have been made in his lifetime to create alternate football leagues, in an effort to keep fans watching during the NFL off-season. He remembers gleefully waiting in anticipation for the big night of international football with NYC squaring off against London...

The dreams of League executives and the revenue generated have never lined up but that hasn’t stopped the XFL from trying. If you plan to watch at all, keep this in mind: the rules are completely different. Maybe "This is not your grandfather’s football league" will be a successful marketing strategy.

Without Flesh Meme of the Week


If you are looking for good content, I guess you'll have to open Without Flesh.

This is My World, and the Rest of You Just Need My Map

Nobody can deny that the invention of Google has been a tremendous benefit to the world, providing a whole host of services that have made our lives easier. There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t rely on Google maps to plot from A to B, no doubt after searching out the destination on Chrome or reading a Google review.

While the increasing ability of Google to track your every move is unnerving, it's hard not to get excited about the new personalized overlay that saves your hotspots and favorite locations. A Contribute button allows you to leave Yelp-style details and reviews of the places you visit, which is then visible to other users. The trick is that you can’t have the convenience without sacrificing privacy, so we'd like to know: who’s watching the watchers?

Trial by...Algorithm

Recently, a story in the New York Times reported on a new use for AI, passing judgments in various criminal parole cases. The rationale is that computer analytics can reach a dispassionate assessment of the facts more quickly and efficiently than a human judge, which in theory, prevents offenders from receiving unnecessary sentences.

But who’s watching the watchers? Rev Fisk has faith in the power of computer analytics to do just this task, but an algorithm is only as good as its writer and that writer will always have a bias, which is never objective.

Holly would, well, SPEND

There's something really heartwarming when you get to see all the people who spend the year lecturing you on how to live your life differently - how to be more green, how to be more progressive and woke - gathering together for their annual back patting ceremony. The members of the institution known as "Hollywood", spent $44 million congratulating themselves, while confirming that any efforts to reduce carbon footprints or fossil fuel use clearly don't apply to their extravagant lifestyles.

Keep in mind, $44 mil was only the cost of the event itself. That figure doesn't include the average price tag ($1.5 million) for each dress (it's a gown, darling) worn on for evening, nor the $100+ million spent by studios and artists in lobbying members of the Academy to secure their big win. The whole thing is a catastrophic mess of wasted money and aggrandized self-promotion.

Hollywood playing the part of American royalty would be fine if they would only act like it, but that would mean they'd need to shut their mouths and stop trying to rule us.

Sweetness You May Have Missed...
This Week Preached

Doubt Fears

Recent Release

Heretical Alligators

Podcast 0145

The Second Wisdom and the Devolution of the species


Giving up Kidneys for Lent

Driverless Romp Round Up

We know you’re probably tired of driverless news but we really want to convince anyone who's in denial that it is coming...'Cause it is!

Who needs rules meant for humans?

Tesla Continues to Defy Reality.

Quick Hits

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Next Week in the Exile:
The Lord Fights
Without Flesh

We don't need something new to keep the church alive.  Instead, we need something old--very, very old.  Like . . . the most important words Jesus ever said.

The solution is more simple than we may think.  Maybe the only problem is that we just don't want to believe it's true.

"Do this," he said.

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Missed last week?  Read from the beginning.

On Curses and Cussing, Part 6:  Storytelling can change the world

Our world needs good stories, today more than ever. With the evaporation of belief in objective truth prevalent in our culture, stories can expose us to ancient Truth in a way that arguments cannot. How would one ever learn to remedy the use of the tongue from cursing into blessing, if he never encountered a story in which a character did so themselves? How would someone ever repent in a world that despises God, if all the stories they know only have caricatures of such a hate? Do we think that refusing to portray humans as fallen dust will help us convince unbelievers to be saved from their being fallen dust?

These are ultimately questions too big for this newsletter. But before I start teaser-testing the real content of Dust, it was essential to first make an apology (i.e. defense) of the type of dialogue and language it will be using as tools considered essential to the craft of believable storytelling.

Christians, of all people, should be able to tell the most believable stories, as we are children of the only authentically true one.

In the end, if it raises your hackles to read about a character who speaks and thinks much the same way the average 40-year-old male speaks and thinks today, then Dust is probably not the work for you. On the other hand, if you don’t mind the curiosities of picking your way through a plausibly apocalyptic future-world, naturally devolved in all manner of ways including (among many others) a few dystopian potty-words born of my geek-deep commitment to all things immersion, then you may just find Dust is right up your alley.

Or,  rather, right where you fracking wanted it.


Images Used:

Illuminated Book