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Issue 014

Pagan Moontide of Aphrodite 6, Anno Domini 2020

Palm Sunday: Beware Holy Tuesday, My Son!

"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." Psalm 118

I don't want to admit it, but I'm afraid of this Tuesday. 

I never thought much about Holy Tuesday before I became a pastor. I'm still not confident about my own memories on the matter. And since I am no mystic, it's doubly troubling to admit that for the past fifteen years or so, (as long as I've been watching), Holy Tuesday has been ... 

shall we say ... 


Or, to be blunt: bad things happen on Holy Tuesday. 

Don't take my word for it. Do your own research. 

Tuesday in Holy Week has been on an interminable run of bum luck.

Last year Notre Dame burned down. 

There is no reason for this. Whatever Julius Caesar (via Shakespeare) may or may not have taught you about fearing the ides of March, this year we're in the calends of April; due to the complete weirdness of Easter's moving date, Holy Tuesday is never even the same day from year to year. How could it be cursed?

It can't be. For many good, biblical reasons.

But I am still worried, and here is why:

I have a pagan heart. 

It likes to think it can be in control. For that reason, it is always trying to play God by seeing the future from the past, and then trying to manipulate the future via the present. 

We all do this. 

It would be so much more invigorating to stand in bold confidence, certain that whatever else may come, whatever the devil does (a few days or a few weeks ago) to eliminate our faith in the Holy Week by distracting us from its celebration, the heartbeat of the Church shall only march on. 

And I do. But I don't at the same time. 

So, since I find myself so incompletely able to stand, I do the other thing instead. I take the path less traveled on the other side of worry. I believe that my fears are the catalysts God sends me to teach me how to pray. 

If in the past, Holy Tuesday has been synonymous with suffering, it is only all the more reason to pray on Holy Monday in thanksgiving. 

For no matter how dark it may seem today, the real shadow already gave its best when it blotted out the Friday sun many, many moons ago.

And it didn't work...

...just as he said.

Beware the Jabberwock, indeed! And remember March, the ides of March...

But only as yet more examples of the birth pains of a dying creation proclaiming that the King sufficiently conquered it all already and reminding you that it will be all the more impossible to dissuade him from saving you, after all the especially hard work he did to get you to this point to begin with.

Be comforted! Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion which cannot be moved.

Don't wallow in the muck.

Rev. Fisk

The "FDA-Approved Shelter-in-Place" Edition of 

Clickbait Paradise

Remember the old days, say, a few weeks B.C. (Before Coronavirus) when we used to get out of our pajamas and commute -  those were the days! - to work and we stressed about the domination of screen time in our lives? Donning gloves and a mask probably meant you were attending a masquerade ball but now it's more likely you're just going to the grocery store.

But are masks a useful defense against the pandemic? It seems maybe a little bit, or so they say currently. (Think WWBD: What Would Bane Do?) 

Indeed the world has been turned upside-down, with the sales of puzzles booming (saving the world solely by bingeing Netflix is a big ask). The solitary car on the road might be an autonomous one, shuffling medicine and test samples around for the Mayo Clinic, with traffic jams instead forming on sidewalks, as families go outside together. (Source: Rev Fisk.) 

Reusable shopping bags are OUT, plastic is back and accurate weather forecasting is in jeopardy as telemetry gathered from passenger aircraft is kinda' thin on the ground..

Also, in one of the best COVID stories yet... If you go down to the 'hood today, you're sure of a big surprise.

As the world turns

A quick Google search will reveal that different nations are responding to the crisis with varying degrees of severity. This probably proves that no one has the skinny on coronavirus and that everyone is doing what they see fit. The government of Tunisia deployed robots to enforce its lockdown, while the Brazilian president has dismissed the need for any action. Go figure.

Not breaking from his usual, Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has made sure he is safe and comfortable while throwing his officials under the bus. That may have worked in the past, but Russian citizens might be getting tired of this one trick pony. China keeps messing with everyone's head, just to keep things interesting.

Civil liberties are being tested, as Australian police are able to throw hefty fines at people for leaving home without a good reason. Maybe with a hall pass?

Much [virtual] ink has been spilt in framing the debate around balancing surveillance and privacy but it’s been heightened in this time of pandemic. Plenty of companies stand to profit from data harvesting, particularly when panicked people are more willing to part with their privacy to feel safer.

While many are making the case that anonymised phone data is especially useful in tracking the spread of COVID-19, more Draconian measures are being implemented in a number of countries. A state in India has required its citizens to send in hourly selfies to enforce quarantines, which leads us ask: will the autocratic-style power grab while populations are vulnerable be rescinded when the "war effort" is over? You'll forgive us if we're skeptical.

Speaking of privacy concerns...

The pandemic has been proved fortuitous for many tech companies, facilitating the meteoric rise of video conferencing apps, especially Zoom. The app recently added backgrounds, an easier solution to impressing your boss and work colleagues than actually having to pick up your living room. However, the app has come under fire in the last few days for its leaky privacy policies. Update: Zoom "read the room."

There has been an outbreak of COVidiocy in the form of "Zoombombing." Trolls, exploiting Zoom's lax encryption have bombarded meetings with expletives and nudity. Churches holding services using the app have not been immune. Clearly the Devil does make work for idle hands, so buyer beware and keep your invitation links private.

In the wise words of Seinfeld:

"I will never understand people. They're the worst!"

Not letting a good pandemic go to waste, thieves have stolen a Van Gogh painting from a closed Dutch gallery. France has seen a rise in domestic violence since its population has been staying inside, and is now placing victims in hotel rooms for their safety. While the 'hoarder' is a convenient target for venting frustration, it might be that empty shelves in the grocery stores are simply the cumulative effect of all of us buying one or two things extra.

More big aid from bigwigs

Many CEO's are reducing their salaries and injecting their personal wealth into the lives of their workers. It may be a token effort, but acknowledging that times are tough is a message employees want to hear.

Manufacturing giants continue to enter the fray, rushing to produce ventilators, with Ford basing production at its Michigan plant. While every little bit helps, Rev. Fisk found that this article raises a good question: Could the retention of local manufacturing have mitigated the current shortage:

"There are many factors in this—a lack of preparedness, the sheer number of cases, the privatized US healthcare system—but one factor was likely the most hurtful: Offshoring. For decades, the US has had medical supplies like masks made overseas. The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 95 percent of surgical masks and 70 percent of tighter-fitting respirators, such as N95 masks, are made overseas—mostly in China. For years the US has received cheaper supplies this way, but when the outbreak started in the very country that makes most of our medical supplies, things got dire quickly."

On the employment front, this crowdsourced list of employers hiring might be helpful to someone you know. The Hustle compiled this handy list explaining important Corona-related terms. We know many businesses are struggling with the massive downturn in revenue, but will Coronavirus wipe out local news? Maybe some were bound to fail, but leaving all the news up to the huge coastal outlets could create a brave new world.

D-Wave is lending its quantum computers to anyone who is working on Coronavirus solutions but it's all superposition and entanglement to us...

Speaking of superior intelligence, there was lot of Artificial Intelligence news this week, so...

Welcome, robot overlords!

A.I. Mini Bytes:

Inspired by Rev. Fisk’s subliminal messaging, we indulge in some Matrix-esque pondering...

There is no spoon

Some measured insights came this week from The Atlantic, all adding up to a bleak picture, at least for a while. Mad Christians might smile to themselves when they read pagans waxing lyrical about the surreal nature of the moment we’re in. Those without hope feel exposed and disarmed, faced with disruption and so far from their weapon - the certainty of routine.

Some experts are labelling this surreal feeling grief yet the pandemic is a potential red pill moment, if you were to ask the right questions. "What if I told you we’re all control freaks? What if I told you your life is not your own?"

For those wallowing in the muck, continuing to sew together the ones and zeros of their Matrix style reality, maintaining the illusion that this world is all there is, still seems a better option than confessing we are all poor, miserable sinners.

We who have hope know there is great freedom and comfort in petitioning the Architect of the universe, who upholds everything by his Word, that his will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen!

"Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion which cannot be moved, but abides forever." (Ps 125:1)

A Good Word: Rec's from Team MM

This watch, if we could afford it, is the timepiece we all need. The designer Mr Jones, was aiming at a modern take on a momento mori. 

It may be the perfect way to put our current situation in perspective but additionally a reminder of your short time on this earth might help with productivity, post-pandemic! 

Promo of Friends

For anyone sheltering in place with their peeps, it probably feels like the days are blending together. If you can find a quiet space, we recommend a series from the vault of Faith Lutheran, Capistrano Beach. 

P.S. Jeremy Rhode’s awesome deep dive into the book of Ecclesiastes is a great reminder that God’s mercy is shown through Creation’s cycles of time. Though tedious, the daily grind is for our sanity and helps bring about a true reckoning of life’s vanity.

Rev. Fisk's recommendation for those whose services are postponed or cancelled. Speak to your elders. They love to help!

Please don't forget to support your church financially as you're able - your pastor is worth his wages.

Only Illuminati Need Apply
Your Reaction Highlights

Here's a podcast rec from a MadPx  reader:

If you’ve got the time, I think the latest episode of The Portal is right up your alley.

This one is super Fiskian. It’s a three hour and thirty minute podcast! It’s two secularists discussing the secular version of theodicy. I’m two hours in and still following. I don’t expect it to be everyone’s cup of tea but for some others, it will be fascinating.


Also, this sweet find from another subscriber. It's a graphic representation of tons of stuff - global Coronavirus cases, media hype and even a Panic Index. Thx MO!

Quick Hits for the Eyebuds

Sweetness You May Have Missed...
This Sunday

feat. Holy Week Practices


Got time on your hands?
You might not be Lutheran...

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We are all waiting for the next Dust release.

Images Used:

David and Goliath by Amiri Bennett

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, by when the sign of Jonah once and for all has been given, who is not afraid to be crowned king even with thorns, guard the treasures of this knowledge in the weak vessels of our fallen hearts, that your life might always manifest itself in our lives, for you live and reign in the Father’s presence, by your Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.