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Issue 038
Pagan Moontide of Vulcan 21, Anno Domini 2020
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. Psalm 146

Artwork: "Rosaria Church"  Artist: M Delcambre

Politics, Pandemics, and Empty Pulpits

Does a person need to “go to church” in order to be a Christian?

The devil is always in the details. (Better the one you know than the one you don’t, I guess.) But, frankly, I could care less what gibberish gets spouted these days by the grinning inheritors of heterodoxy’s last dance with felicitous inconsistency.

Better the God you know, than the devil and all his henchmen combined.

Jesus coined the word “church.” He word-pirated the secular Greek ecclesia, “assembly,” and resurrected it as his New Testament replacement for the old-wineskin diasporadic-Jewish (but Greek language) "synagogue."

Both words mean relatively the same thing. That “thing” could be a nuanced discussion for a quibbler. But we can say with verisimilitude that it does not mean “staying home rather than gathering.”

Let it stand as an Ebenezer, here and now in 2020. There is a world unseen, and it is locked in a raging struggle, the front of which always appears as politics and pandemics.

It’s not rocket science. 

Any assembly in Jesus name that teaches that "you do not need to assemble in Jesus' name," will not long be an assembly in Jesus' name.

Would you like your church to keep assembling in Jesus’ name? Then make sure you join us in using these free resources from St. Paul - Rockford’s Exposing the Strongholds of the BROKEN Mind 2020-2021 series of feasts and minor observances. Here’s what we have so far:

Key Talk Them into It Principles

  1. Christianity must speak, “He is risen."
  2. Christians speaking, “He is risen,” speaks non-Christians into Christianity. 
  3. Christianity knows the world is not listening. 


  1. There is only one lie: rely on yourself.
  2. Your “perfect” is the enemy of God’s "good."

And, for fun, this week you can see my Smart Note on Smart Note-ing:

Until next time,

Be strong, and let your heart know courage.
Rev. Fisk

Quick Hits for the Eyebuds

🙃 Rather accurate satire of every political ad ever

🐈 The website that speaks fluent “cat"

😾 Because: cats don’t budge for nobody. And that can be hilarious.

👽 The trailer for second season of The Mandalorian isn’t giving anything away

⛺ Just remember where you set it up: A camo inflatable tent

🌋 How to escape an erupting volcano

Curiouser and curiouser
Clickbait Paradise
Playing with the big boys

Big Retail is doing whatever it can to recover losses due to the pandemic and that means Black Friday is coming early! The shopping season is likely to start in a couple of weeks so that the demand can be met and there is more time to fulfill online orders. 

Big Retail and Big Pharma merged this week in an announcement from Nestle that the coffee and snacks company is buying shares in a biotech firm. Nestle’s interest in Aimmune isn’t immediately obvious, but becomes a little clearer when you know they make a product that helps reduce allergic reactions to peanuts.

Totally nuts... compilation of Jiemba Sands' parkour madness. Also containing nuts, the French dance troupe, Geometrie Variable can do it all: from poppin’ to doing crazy things with their arms and funny dances with their kids.

Ready for MONDAY!
Whistle blowin'

Lots of people, even the President, think Joe Rogan would make a great debate moderator. Speaking of the mighty Joe, Rev. Fisk recommended his conversation with whistleblower, Edward Snowden

On the subject of whistleblowers, BuzzFeed has published excerpts from an essay penned by a former Facebook employee, Sophie Zhang. Zhang claimed that in the three years she worked for the social media company, she “found multiple blatant attempts by foreign national governments to abuse [the] platform on vast scales to mislead their own citizenry, and caused international news on multiple occasions.” She decided to go public with her evidence as she accuses Facebook of ignoring this information or taking too long to act. 

Meanwhile, in a troubling report, Vice claims that hate speech on social media is in danger of pushing Ethiopia into another genocide. There is little doubt that the power of the platform is being used for evil by many bad actors. But in this case, many different ethnic groups of all political persuasions are utilizing Facebook’s reach for their own goals. While Western powers debate how best to solve the problems social media creates (breaking it up, more regulation, more moderation), the issue of whose speech is allowed and whose isn’t remains. 

Wired is keeping tabs on Google, demonstrating that their autocomplete feature in the search bar favors some politics over others. They also ran a story on tips for breaking out of online echo chambers. They suggest baffling the algorithm that keeps sending you the same stuff by liking everything and subscribing to news from different outlets. That’s hard, but at least you’ll know now where others are coming from.

CodeinWP posted a helpful blog, with steps you can take to prevent apps harvesting your information and get your privacy back. Includes steps for social media, Android and iOS phones.

Support the Mad Monday Team
Nothing new under the sun

While trawling through content for this week’s edition, we came across two articles from Humanities professor, Alan Jacobs (Baylor University), one from 2018 and one from last week. In both essays, Jacobs exhorts his readers to expand their “temporal bandwidth”: that is, to consider your "life experience as extending into the past and the future,” rather than reacting to the "provocations of Now.” He contends that a good way to do this is by reading old books. He argues, as many of you will affirm, that engaging in an open-minded manner with historical authors is a way to cultivate a “tranquil mind.”

The more recent article from Jacobs focuses particularly on the writing of Frederick Douglass, who spoke graciously of the Founders despite suffering as a slave. Douglass commended those men for their high ideals, though he was perfectly aware of their failure to live up to them. Jacobs writes that Douglass is a model of "negotiating with the past in a way that gives charity and honesty equal weight."

Reading history can help us realize that our times are not as unique as we think, giving us inspiration to regroup and keep going. We see figures like Douglass, who was able to separate  men from their actions. This seems relevant in our statue-toppling era, where an anachronistic view of history often precludes the idea that some problematic people were “great in their time.” 

Professor Jacobs may need to reassess his view of Trump. Not because he is an exemplary president, nor an exemplary man. Yet a synthesis of these ideas - viewing our lives as part of history and admitting that flawed people can still do good - should help us view political actors more dispassionately. Trump's nomination for the Peace Prize has set many folk's hair on fire but Gene Veith has carried out the thought experiment for us: by God’s grace, flawed, sinful, and contrary people can still achieve good in this world. 

In the most awesome example of "temporal bandwidth," Christ’s victory at the Cross reaches through all human history. It is because we have an “eternal perspective” that we can hold the past, present and future in tension - learning from the past, planning for the future while enjoying the present. Mad Christians can expect less from fallen humanity without losing our hope. And that results in a tranquil mind, even peace that passes understanding.

The notorious RBG

No doubt news of the death of Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg has reached you, mad Christian. The many implications of this “September surprise” will be played out, probably ad naseum in the coming days and weeks. Al Mohler was quick off the mark with a special edition podcast, outlining the achievements of Justice Ginsburg but also highlighting her contribution to the horrific destruction of life in the womb and the dismantling of families. 

Dr Mohler points out that conservatives often think of themselves as working from principles while they imagine liberals being motivated by agendas. He suggests that RBG and many like her, truly believe what they are doing is right. This is another call to ask God for wise rulings from our judiciary but also to continue to speak the truth, turning people’s hope from the ruins of the world to the eternal city, and from their own works to the finished work of Christ.

Wasting away again in Corona-ville

With the pandemic bringing uncertainty to students across the USA, an article at Mockingbird explains that the Biblical theme of living in exile is a good metaphor for our current time. The writer, Sam Bush, points out that: “The idea of surrendering to the new normal is not unlike a version of exile. In exile, you may settle into a new routine, but you don’t feel totally comfortable. You can’t relax. You may adjust to a way of life but your heart is still homesick.” 

While depression and anxiety have (understandably) skyrocketed since March, Bush suggests that realizing our Christian lives are always that of strangers in a strange land, as did the cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 11, can help us focus on where our hope truly lies: “People who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.”

Yes, we pray for a return to the steadiness of what life was before, but Bush encourages us to embrace the advice God gave to the Babylonian exiles in Jeremiah to "seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” We can trust our Savior to be with us, even as we sojourn in this strange pandemic land.

Only Illuminati Need Apply
Your Reaction Highlights

Debi comes in with a Podcast rec:
This is the Cultish podcast from August 11 where they discuss how times where there’s a lot of change and upheaval (like 2020) have been breeding grounds for the formation of new cults and that the best way to avoid being drawn into these cults is to stay grounded in God’s Word.

...and some tech from Yamabe:

I have a family history of diabetes so I've been interested in continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) since it was rumored to be coming to the Apple Watch. I hadn't heard of a consumer (non-patient) solution until this podcast. This company, LEVELS, is coming out with a consumer grade CGM device. What I'm most interested is in the fact that you can get data on how your glucose levels react to specific foods and activities. You get data on how you actually respond to various foods and activities. There is always the concern of data gathering since they can track and give you recommendations, but for any bio-hackers out there, you might want to check them out.

Promo of Friends

Confessional Lutheran Worldview Conference- Chicago: The Christian Church Amid Seismic Shifts.
This weekend, Saturday September 26, in-person or online.

Find out more or register at

Sweetness You May Have Missed
This Week Preached

Talk Them Into It

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Podcast Release

Harder Softer and Math is Sexist


Truth or Reason?

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Let us pray:  Lord God, heavenly Father, since we cannot stand before You relying on anything we have done, help us trust in Your abiding grace and live according to Your Word; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.