Concordia University in Portland, Oregon: time for a name change

Word comes that Concordia University in Portland, Oregon has established a Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (archived page). The center puts forth its mission as follows:

The vision of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) is to create and foster a safe and inclusive campus climate that supports the academic and personal development of all students so they can reach their ultimate goal of graduation.  Specifically, the GSRC seeks to serve those who identify as gender or sexual minorities, those who believe they have experienced Title IX violations such as sexual assault, and the University community as a whole through educational programs and activities which support the vision and mission. The mission of the GSRC, rooted in Christ’s call to love, is to be an affirming, empowering, and supportive space for Concordia students.

“And now I give you a new commandment: love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” -John 13:34

If you thought that Christ’s call to love one another had a reference point NOT involving the approbation of phallic penetration of one another’s rectal vaults, Concordia Portland is here to set you straight.

The page goes on to lay out the GSRC’s strategy for fulfilling their mission:

In order to fulfill the GSRC mission and vision, the center specializes in providing direct student support through activities, resources, and a space for LGBTQ+ students.  The center also coordinates prevention education for students, staff and faculty aimed at creating an inclusive community and eliminating gender and sex-based oppression, in compliance with Title IX-related law and guidance. As we prepare leaders for the transformation of society, Concordia strives to proactively address issues that impact our students, while also supporting them when issues do arise, so students can achieve all their highest dreams.

(emphasis mine)

Of course, in creating a space for LGBTQ+ students, Concordia Portland has eliminated any space for students who believe what the Prophets and Apostles taught about the matter, who will now be discouraged from speaking such “hate”.

Jezebel had her safe space for the prophets of Baal too. But, as always, such “inclusivity” is over as soon as it is adopted. Like matter and antimatter, good and evil can not occupy the same space, and “good” ceases to be so as soon as it assents to the possibility that reality might be otherwise.

Concordia Portland is siding with Balaam on the transformation of society. Rather than preparing students to bring the people of the world to the promised land of the Kingdom of God, they want to support them in achieving “all their highest dreams.” A journey which, this writer has no doubt, will surely take them above the heights of the clouds.

Thankfully, they won’t have to make that demanding trek on their own. Nay, the Pillar of Rainbow goes before them, to guide their way.

That’s right, the Safe Space Training Program (archive) is open for business. Gotta start with the basics, so LGBTQ 101 is your first stop on this reeducation campaign.

Thank you for choosing to voluntarily register for this training opportunity! Through this training, we aim to provide you with the basic concepts to help you create safe spaces and best support LGBTQ persons, no matter your role on CU’s campus. This is the prerequisite training for further workshops in the realm of Gender and Sexuality that the GSRC will be offering, such as Ally Corp Training, Trans-specific issues, Intersectionality issues, etc. 

— From the sign-up page

Note the choice of words in the first sentence. That I am thanked for “voluntarily” registering via the web page implies a separate class of people for whom this reeducation is NOT voluntary. Else the word is extraneous.

That’s the way it always goes with the Balaamite transformers. It’s always voluntary, until it’s not. When they break out the whips, you may know that the scorpions are close behind.

But let’s cut to the chase.

Concordia University, Portland, has become the epitome of misnomers. Concord is the furthest thing from describing Portland’s relationship with the LCMS corporately on this point.

Their stench has been waxing for some time, but now it is altogether too much to bear.

Which is why they need to drop the “Concordia” label and replace it with something more befitting of their odor and descriptive of their radical acceptance of all things homosexual.

I’ll even move that we be magnanimous and let them keep the “C”. Less of a strain on the re-branding budget, and all.

Colostomy University: where angels fear to tread.

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What You See Is What You Get

The whole point of the Rorschach test is that what you see reveals more about you than it does about objective reality. The set of images is the closest thing to truly random noise you could ask for, short of tea leaves. You read yourself into it more than reading anything meaningful out of it.

The following Rorschach test has been administered to the LCMS, and the results are in.

The good news is, it’s not mass hysteria. Most people aren’t biting.

The bad news is, the overly watchful among us now feel like they have all the proof they need that, yes, someone REALLY IS out to get them.

Who? Well, just like ol’ Rorschach wanted it, the answer isn’t supplied by the test, but by the tested. 

The Machine™ (the ultimate wish fulfillment device for the chronically persecuted) is like Paul: all things to all people. 

For the scared conservative, it is an apparatus of the New World Order meant to infiltrate the LCMS to subvert it from the inside, and probably answers directly to the Rothschild family when not laughing maniacally. While stroking a cat.

For the raging liberal, it is rat bastard liturgical fetishists who are barely being restrained from purging the progressive wing of the synod with a cleansing fire. Ah, fire, an appropriate weapon for the literal Synagogue of Satan to wield.

And of course those from the Seminex era are getting oiled up, eager for the long awaited grudge match. They knew those ne’er-do-wells on the opposite side would come for them eventually. Good thing they’ve spent the last few decades increasing their power level.

But into the midst of this stirring interpretation of what must SURELY be “The Blind Men and the Elephant” strides a pirate. He is a trained haruspex, you see, and he has information that will lead to the arrest of Hillary Clinton.

Or someone. Maybe. He’s not naming names. Yet.

You and Corey Feldman, good pirate.

But, hey, let’s laud the man’s bravery. These Machinists are dangerous men. Publicly telegraphing what he knows like this is a dangerous move, under the circumstances. Let me guess, the details are in an e-mail to be forwarded to all major news outlets in the event that he is found with a peg leg through his back?

The pirate does drop a few teasers for the impending apocalypse of The Machine. Considering that he knows more than the rest of you plebs about it, I would encourage all of you to take these droppings with the uttermost seriousness.

I, however, will not take them with an iota of seriousness. I never could stifle a snicker at seeing a man lose his grip (on his sword, obviously). Maybe if the good pirate spent more time practicing with his cutlass he’d have a better grasp of Occam’s razor.

If five people enter his Captain’s Quarters one after the other, each claiming that the cabin smells of putrid tuna, is it most likely that they conspired together in the hallway to embarrass their host? Or could it be that his bag lunch sat, forgotten under the desk, a few days too many?

And if criticism is being leveled at certain organizations, is a Lutheran Church Missouri Stasi operation the correct explanation? Or is something fishy and rotten the reason that the Danes are all wearing clothes pins?

One thing that the LCMS does need to institutionalize, to keep those with a tendency toward vast leaps of logic from ascending to a seat of too high prominence:

We need to start holding these tests every year!

Higher 1517 Things

Meet Kurt.

Hi

You might know Kurt as the guy who is on the boards of both 1517(PERIOD) and Higher Things. You might know him as the guy who manages your portfolio over at WCM Investment Management. You might know him as the dad of the keyboardist for this interesting band.

No, no, sadly not that band. But, hey, speaking of various kinds of boards, here is Kurt enjoying some board…

…with a man who enjoys some… um… “bed.” A variety of bed. Bed & Board by Bird & Winrich. They could start one of those motor-inns together. Kurt can bankroll it, and Chad can be the motel “poet”—the kind you call with a 1-800 number. Are you weary (of your husband)? Chad’s got some good words for you. By the way, what room are you in?

Does anyone else find it funny that Kurt’s surname is “Winrich”? Like, “win rich”? Anybody? Come on, it’s worth a titter!

Kurt serves as the Treasurer of 1517(PERIOD). Few know this, but the placement of the period in the official name of the group is actually very significant:

This one time after some quick back-of-the napkin figgerin’ (he’s never far from a napkin), Kurt announced to some other board members, “…and that is why I can guarantee—GUARANTEE—a 1,517% return on principal. PERIOD. We will be able to fund horrible youth gatherings for the next…very long time!”

Everyone applauded. Except George Borghardt, who gave a series of vigorous Bronx cheers interspersed by Krusty the Clown laughs until the boardroom grew uncomfortably quiet.

Wait. There will be a gathering of youths nearby? Where? Please be as specific as possible.

And that’s just it. Bad theology would never even get its pants on and get out the door if it weren’t for usury. It has literally been this way forever. Just like Paul and Stevie sing

Usury and heresy
Live together in perfect harmony
Side by side in Capistrano
Oh Lord, why don’t we? (oh)

Maybe that could be sung to an LSB psalm tone. What am I saying, “maybe”?—OF COURSE it can! We’re going to WIN! We’re going to be RICH!

What’s coming is beautiful.

What’s coming is digital and free and still all about…selfies.

What’s coming is what has already but not yet always already been the case:

Higher 1517 Things. Hold fast to it, flip the bird to the naysayers (and the law), and…think, fellows! They’re smarter than you! The only virtue in this wasteland is forsaking virtue and turning to…Higher 1517 Things. Kurt will literally buy you a new car after you get ragingly drunk at the Jagged Word reception and crash Rod-Rod Rosenbladt’s rental into a storefront.

Higher 1517 Things. It’s the donor class in the LCMS working FOR YOU and indeed OUTSIDE OF YOU. Sit back. Relax. You’re about to get served. You don’t have to do anything. Kurt will pick up the check. And Chad will pick up your wife.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

1517 is Evangelical Intelligentsia

As the new year rolls in, it’s important to look back and reflect on the events that have brought us to the present, and those that may well shape the future.

It’s also important to give recognition to individuals and organizations which have played key roles in said events. To answer the age-old question (first posed by Aristotle, if I remember my history lessons): “who da real MVP?”

With this in mind, I would like to use my non-official capacity to officially induct 1517 into the ranks of the Evangelical Intelligentsia (EI) for their tireless work in exemplifying the ideals the EI is all about.

“Which are…?” You may be asking. Probably in tandem with, “What in the name of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band is the Evangelical Intelligentsia?”

For those answers we will turn to J. D. Hall. Please note that I have next to no clue who Hall is, nor what he does. Heck, I have no idea how I even found his article on the EI, that I will reference liberally below, in the first place. I do, however, know that he loves Chris Rosebrough, and any friend of the discerning Pirate’s is a friend of mine, so I trust him implicitly.

Anyway, Hall speaks of the EI as:

“[A]n aspiring bourgeoisie class of evangelicals who seek to change the attitudes, virtues, ideas, set the priorities and direct evangelicals – not from the church house, but from ivory towers.”

J.D. Hall from “Who Are the Evangelical Intelligentsia?” Check out the article in full, which gives examples from the Neo-Reformed world with a side helping of snark.

Hall identifies 7 factors that characterize the EI, and these serve as the basis for 1517’s induction into the club. Let’s take them in turn.

1)The Evangelical Intelligentsia (EI) is primarily comprised of those not employed by the local church.

Hall notes the following:

“…most of the EI are academics employed in Christian colleges or seminaries…, journalists working for Christian publications, speakers on the Christian lecture circuit …, directors of para-church ministries…, directors of denominational entities… and those directing the Christian publishing world and merchandising of books.”

1517 checks the box, with the para-church ministry’s stable full of Concordia Irvine Professors and alumni (Scott Keith, Caleb Keith, Jeffrey Mallinson, Adam Fransisco, etc.), speakers-for-hire, publishing house, and more.

Hall adds:

“The EI is convinced that the answers to evangelicalism’s problems will not be found in the local church, but by academia and among the Intelligentsia, who then must give (or sell) those solutions to the local church.”

The EI has what you need, and they know that you know that they are the best place to get it. I mean, your pastor might have a seminary education, but does he know how to use it? But employing all of those super-smart people to produce all those fine resources to compensate for the incompetence of the clergy when it comes to delivering the Gospel to your ears isn’t cheap, you know.

(“…expand our audience…” must refer to those pesky Facebook ads that keep popping up, directing me to this donation page, I guess?)

But hey, any little bit helps, right? Just whatever you have in your pocket at the moment will be fine.

How did the auto populator know the answer to “how much I want to give + 250”?
It’s a Christmas miracle!

2) The Evangelical Intelligentsia thinks it is smarter than you.

I hear that “Smarter Than You” was the original name for Scott Keith’s podcast, until everyone realized how pretentious that sounded. Thus the much toned down title, “The Thinking Fellows.”

Unfortunately, no one could talk the group out of the brandy and pipe vanity shots. How does one know that you are an intellectual man if you don’t evoke a certain Oxford like sensibility? And, lest you be tempted to think that they are simply posers, the images were captured mid puff so you know they’re not just using props.

3) The Evangelical Intelligentsia does not answer to you – and they know it.

Jeffrey Mallinson dropped this admission at the 2018 HWSS conference.

“There is no church body that owns [1517], but we serve all.”

“But wait!” I hear you say. “This was in the context of explaining Luther’s notion that ‘A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant to all, subject to all.'”

What Luther notes of an individual cannot necessarily be applied to an institution. But assume that it could. What an individual who says “There is no church body that owns me” is really saying is, “I do not belong to a church body.”

Or, to put it another way, “I am not bound to any particular confession of faith, much less doctrinally accountable to anyone when I obviously depart from it.

Or, to put it ANOTHER way, 

This was in the same talk, by the way. But please, lecture me about the “context.”

The point is, 1517 does not submit to the accountability structure of the local church. Their mission is so, so much bigger than that.

4) The Evangelical Intelligentsia insinuates you are stupid if you disagree with their argumentation.

I’m not even going to document this one. Pick a point on which 1517 has been challenged, examine their response, and see if you can spot this subtext.

It’s no “Where’s Waldo,” I promise you.

5) The Evangelical Intelligentsia cross-pollenate their institutions, conferences, and industries.

Hall writes,

“The EI is a very, very small group. They speak at the same conferences together over and over and over again… They tweet out quotations from each other’s books (1) as though they’ve actually read them, which is doubtful and (2) the favor is returned when the other’s book comes out.”

And what do Christ Hold Fast, Mockingbird, and Higher Things have in common? 1517 speakers at their events, and vice versa. And that’s just what you actually see, to say nothing of what goes on behind the scenes.

At least 1517 and Christ Hold Fast finally made things Facebook Official.

6) The Evangelical Intelligentsia put up an air of fierce orthodoxy, but behind the scenes, galavant with the celebrities from other spectrums of the religious world.

In some of his most vivid commentary, Hall writes,

“This trend is like what you see on CNN of the golf course at Martha’s Vineyard. There are world leaders from completely opposite sides of the political spectrum chumming it up over 9 holes and a cold one. It’s like seeing billionaires who are savage capitalist competitors going on vacation together on the same super-yacht. It’s like seeing the WWE hero and WWE heel smoking cigars and walking out of the stadium doors together. It’s disheartening. Why are they acting that way with people who seem so ideologically opposed? They’re all peers in the same industry. The industry is religion. They’re the big wigs – even if they have opposing sides – and they’re in the same club.”

7) The Evangelical Intelligentsia is never clear – about anything – unless it’s about how sinful criticism is.

Remember that time when 1517 was a bit oblique with where transvestitism falls on the ethical continuum?

Remember that time where they very directly repudiated the critics of that mush mouthing?

But let’s be fair. 1517 has also been extremely clear about their desire to preach the Gospel. And, since they have ALSO been extremely clear about their theological lineage, we know what gospel they preach.

And with that, friends, ceremonies for the induction of 1517 into the Evangelical Intelligentsia are complete! Thank you all for coming.

Now do me a favor and go read Hall’s piece to see if there is anything I missed. Make sure you don’t trip on the truths in those last three paragraphs… they’re a doozy.

Ethically-sourced “Gospel” Prawn

Remember when Matt Popovitz tried to bribe his way into some shared Instagram limelight with Nadia “Vagina Sculptress” Bolz-Weber? Man, that was funny! Not to pour lemon juice on his papercut (which I know is still throbbing, if Sheryl Crowe is to be trusted), but here are some d00ds who were more successful:

The good news is that with all of these chads visiting the temple prostitute in the Instagram high place, Ashteroth is sure to make it rain soon. But no thanks to Popovitz. He was shut DOWN!!

Besides, isn’t he dead? Word on the street is that he was killed by Rat-Tail Bane shortly after inadvertantly imparting +6 of his life force to him. Whoa, whoa, that is TOO MUCH! Alas, he realized this too late.

Doug Wilson Comes Out as Gay

“Why stop at shoes and a coat? Take it all off, mah young Christian brother!”

“Let them not flatter themselves if they think they have Scripture authority for their assertions, since the devil himself quoted Scripture, and the essence of the Scriptures is not the letter, but the meaning. Otherwise, if we follow the letter, we too can concoct a new dogma and assert that such persons as wear shoes and have two coats must not be received into the Church.” – St. Jerome

I have a Reformed co-worker who is kind of a friend. He is quite sincere in his desire to be orthodox, but he’s very hampered in this endeavor by the fact that he is…well, I guess I already said it: Reformed. Recently we were bantzing on each other about the extra Calvinisticum at the office water-cooler (well, Keurig), and he told me that I “had to” read this article by Doug Wilson “who I normally don’t like” (he made sure to signal).

Well, I read it. And I have to admit, the Altoid-esque objections to traditional Western vestments which Doug trots out do start to get the reader thinking that a certain someone might be a closeted pederast, but that person is not the surplice-wearing strawman which he thrashes so (how shall I put this?) erotically.

Relatedly, I’ll bet you that at least a hundred gay bears in and around Moscow, Idaho, know this face:

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, amirite? Well Smokey Bear here looks a sight gayer than any Lutheran pastor I’ve ever seen wearing a surplice. In fact, he looks gayer than your average Episcopal priest who is actually gay looks when wearing the same. Amazing!

I say this as a Dalrock-reading, patriarchy-celebrating, siding-with-Texas-against-Lawrence-and-with-God-against-Onan kind of goy. To be perfectly honest, I hate with perfect hatred almost all of Wilson’s secular and neo-evangelical critics. But I’m a Lutheran, so there’s a good chance that the enemy of my enemy is my enemy. That is the case here.

The truest thing Doug writes in the article in question is this:

Now obviously, the Lord Jesus is not physically present with us [at Christ Church, Moscow]…

Yea, Doug—verily, He is not. This fact should make you very afraid. This kind of pozz is even worse than the surplice kind. It may not kill you in this life (then again), but it just might send you to hell for eternity.

Douglas “Frank Fitts”* Wilson is not a model Mensch, a patriarch, a “man of God,” a classical educator, or the leader of a “reformation.” He is a small-time cult-leader, a big-time pervert, and a demagogue. It is also “worth pointing out” (gay phrase, never use it) that his writing sucks. Oh, yeah, and he plagiarized from Wikipedia in order to (ahem) make his Omnibus look bigger.

Showing off is always diabolical. But showing off your piety is diabolical and gay.

…says the guy who attempts to gives away his piss-poor books for free at the end of his blogposts, so desperate is he for people to pay attention to his drivel. Yes, Doug, please do tell us more about how showing off your piety is diabolical and gay! Maybe if you are diabolical and gay to begin with, hmmm?

Yet we all know that sometimes heretics are still “good at Bible”—indeed, compendious surface-level Bible knowledge is almost a class-defining feature of the breed. Well, Doug is not one of those. He is terrible at Bible. Maybe he caught a European brain-snake from Milo Yiannopoulos’s boyfriend.

This isn’t a scholarly source, but that’s good, because it means that even Doug might be able to grok it: “The Priestly Garments | Bible History Online.” A scholarly source really isn’t necessary—we have the B-I-B-L-E. Specifically—which should be especially relevant to theonomist “stone teh gays”** Doug—we have the O-L-D T-E-S-T-A-M-E-N-T.  And the Old Testament makes very clear that the priestly garments were (a) intentionally beautiful, so as to contribute to the beautiful holiness of the Tabernacle and Temple, (b) richly symbolic, having a mystical (not to say inscrutable) significance, (c) quite a bit different from everyone else’s clothes, even though “everybody wore a robe.” So when Doug says that

it is worth pointing out that we ought not to be attracted to worship, however “historic,” that embodies every last one of those things. Tall decorated hats. Elegantly styled flowing robes. Embroidered stoles. Ash on your forehead to let everyone know you are fasting in Lent. Doing it all because the father said it was okay.

…I have to think that he might actually be…you know…retarded. I and my fellow non-gay and non-retarded Christian brothers will freely cop to “being attracted to” those aspects of worship which have perennially characterized the worship of the Church of both Testaments. We would never put it that way, though.

Here Doug tries his hand at a nuanced distinguo, but fails miserably:

Jesus doesn’t castigate people for wearing robes (Luke 20:46). Jesus wore a robe. Everybody wore a robe. Find me somebody who wasn’t wearing a robe. But still He tagged it. So there were two other things going on there—desire and showiness.

“Beware of the scribes, which desire (thelo) to walk in long robes (stole), and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts” (Luke 20:46).

So when it comes to things ecclesiastical, we have to be aware of a standing temptation, ever present to a certain kind of churchman, which is the temptation to look fabulous.

Apparently Doug finds pastors in surplices arousing. He even says toward the end of the piece that they look “sweet and virginal.” Whoa there, Doug! Let me say this: don’t get your hopes up if you visit an LCMS church, as there is a good chance that the pastor will neither look dignified (or, as you put it, “fabulous”) nor share your repressed desires. Chances hollow out exponentially if you’re here in the heart of Appalachia. Better not even sniff around, Smokey.

Regarding displays of piety, Jesus actually says two things: (1) “when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:3-4, NASB); and (2) “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). These words are not contradictory. The meaning or spirit is given in Matthew 6:1: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them.” Whether men notice is not the point. If someone notices me singing a hymn, I shouldn’t just stop singing because they noticed. However, if I go around a shopping mall warbling a hymn at the top of my lungs like Doug Wilson in the Moscow Idaho Glee Club performance of Rocky Horror Picture Show, for the specific purpose of being noticed, then…well…that would be very gay.

Martin Luther quotes a medieval maxim in his explanation of Baptism in the Large Catechism: Abusus non tollit, sed confirmat substantiam. “Abuse does not destroy, but confirms the substance.” The fact that some homo might consider historic church vestments to be mere accoutrement for his cosplay does not negate the proper use of the same. Churchmen are also tempted to be orthodox and for their orthodoxy to be regarded as a personal attribute. A churchman who is tempted to look good should not give up grooming, decorum, and traditional vestments and start cultivating the Doug Wilson bear look. Rather, he should repent of his vanity and continue doing those things whose value and worth stand regardless of their potential for abuse. This is not even a theological point so much as it is a logical one, which Doug might have had some hope of understanding had he not learned logic from his plagiarized homeschool Wikipedia curriculum.


  • American Beauty is a degenerate film, and I am not recommending it, but if you’ve already seen it, you know that this comparison is spot-on. Come on, high five.

** Wouldn’t be a bad idea. In Doug’s case, however, I think this is just overblown “Frank Fitts” signaling. Methinks he doth protest too much.

W(h)ither the Great Lutheran Hymns? – Trinity 3: “Lord to Thee I Am a Rayciss”

First: we’re going to have a new featured image for these posts, this’n right here…

Second, let’s look at some Bible verses:

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. (Psalm 51:7-8)

What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us? My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. (Song of Songs 5:9-11)

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

[T]he punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her. Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire: their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick. (Lamentations 4:6-8)

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. (Daniel 7:9-10)

Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. (Daniel 11:34-35)

And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. (Daniel 12:9-10)

And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. (Matthew 17:1-3)

And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. (Mark 9:2-4)

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. (Matthew 28:2-4)

[I]n the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. (Revelation 1:13-15)

I could include more, but I think that’s an adequate sampling.

Third, here’s the chief hymn for this week, “Lord to Thee I Make Confession,” the TLH and LSB versions side by side:

I guess it might be a highly triggering experience for persons of color (like myself) to take a line from the Word of God upon their lips and sing “Wash me, make me white as snow.” Thankfully the LSB has smoothed things out for us. Thank you, LCMS synod-o-crats, for saving us from the Bible! That was a close one!

Tell me, did you feel awkward reading all of those verse from Scripture listed above? You did? Perhaps you even felt ashamed? If so, you need to stop watching T.V., sunshine. I am here today to tell you that, according to the Bible, it is OK to be white.

Actually, it’s more than OK. In some sense—namely, the sense which the Bible frequently employs, which is reflected in the TLH translation of v. 4 of this week’s hymn—whiteness represents purity from sin, righteousness, God’s glory, etc. That all seems to be quite a bit more than just “OK”, doesn’t it? In this sense, we should all want to be white, right?

Yeah, well, that has nothing to do with being white as a race.

Who said it did? Incidentally, though, it’s also OK to be racially white.

Yeah, well, “make me white as snow” is confusing and could offend black female midgets, and in today’s LCMS we need to be more sensitive and intersectional. People need to know that we, like, stand against oppression in all of its forms.

Huh. Is that right? Well, the LSB is certainly very sensitive to those who feel “offended” and “excluded” by male pronouns and references to men. So this move makes sense. We already borrow crappy hymns from LWF; maybe eventually we’ll borrow their liturgy, too. “For us men and for our salvation”? “And was made man? No way! How about “for us and for our salvation…was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary and became truly human”? (I guess “and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary” excludes the role of the eternal feminine—represented by Mary—in god-creation. Knowing these loons, I’ll bet they think the original is tantamount to rape. And, wow—optional Filioque, too? “Well actually…”— yes, spare us, we know that you are gay heretic hipsters who know all the factoids.)

If the ELCA is reading this, I have a suggestion for how you all can continue to improve the liturgy: fix the Preface! When will the disenfranchised underclass of angels rise up against the privileged archangels and SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER?!!?

All joking aside, it’s a little unsettling to see the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod falling over itself in attempts to signal leftwards on current-year concerns about race, class, and gender. Just sayin’. Speaking of “just sayin” things, here’s something else that I will “just say”: I actually don’t “stand against oppression in all of its forms,” because I don’t believe that what is included under that heading (“oppression”) by liberals is any such thing. When I read things like this…

…I cheer. I literally cheer.

Man, I cheer, but all of this is getting me down. What a struggle the Church is engaged in! So many forces arrayed against Christ and his Christians, and against the God-ordained magistrates enforcing the law for the good of the the Patria! Let us pray:

Lord, keep us in Thy Word and work,
Restrain the murderous Pope and Turk,
Who fain would tear from off Thy throne
Christ Jesus, Thy beloved Son.

Lord Jesus Christ, Thy power make known,
For Thou art Lord of lords alone;
Shield Thy poor Christendom, that we
May evermore sing praise to Thee.

Thou Comforter of priceless worth,
Give one mind to Thy flock on earth,
Stand by us in our final strife,
And lead us out of death to life.

Destroy their counsels, Lord our God,
And smite them with an iron rod,
And let them fall into the snare
Which for Thy Christians they prepare.

So that at last they may perceive
That, Lord our God, Thou still dost live,
And dost deliver mightily
All those who put their trust in Thee.

Amen. Yes, yes—it shall be so.

…you didn’t sing ELHB #274 on Reformation Day, did you? Even TLH falls down on this one—a hat-tip to carlvehse.

Pastor Krusemark said to “save some stones for TLH.” Well, here I will lob one: the leaven of liberalism (by which I mean to include your vile LOLbertarianism, just so I’m not misunderstood) had already begun to trickle through the cracks around the door here and there by the time TLH was published in 1941. By the time LSB was published in 2006, though, we had decided it was much better just to fling the door wide open. After all, if you can’t beat em’, join em’! That was the approach of our Lutheran fathers when it came to the enemies of Church and State, right?

Probably not. Their sons fought and died in wars that actually mattered, and they had more than just an heir and a spare because they didn’t contracept their children out of existence in order to afford the SWPL-set lifestyle. They also didn’t deface Bibles with crayons, put dogs in their seminary chapels, or write smarmy, virtue-signalling thinkpieces in which they giddily rhapsodized about the prospect of Europeans dying out in US and the LCMS—yeah, let’s get some immigrants to get the job done.

I’d better stop. Back to the gist of this post:

If you think “wash me, make me white as snow” is an offensive line, you are an idiot. Just…objectively, you are an idiot who is incapable of understanding the language of the Bible, and you have no appreciation for beauty, poetry, nuance, literary representation, or wisdom. Chances are good that you are also “uncomfortable” with sound doctrine. Basically, you could be on a hymnal committee. Get help.

Here’s the TLH version of the hymn that this post was supposedly about. Sing it with gusto.

W(h)ither the Great Lutheran Hymns? – Triduum’s Worst Hits

I don’t have a lot of time, so I’ll get right down to business here.

First, there’s Luther’s communion hymn that the “worship staff at the LCMS” (my latest favorite moniker from the LCMS website) selected for Maundy Thursday, “O Lord, We Praise Thee.”

Like everything else from Johann Walter’s 1524 Wittenberg hymnal (that’s the original TLH, paisanos), it’s a great hymn. Marvelous hymn. People were always calling Martin Luther about this hymn, saying “Marty? You know that Maundy Thursday hymn you wrote? It’s great.” Martin had the best hymns.

So I’m singing my heart out—and I’ll admit, I like the dotted-eighth/sixteenth note thing that LSB has going on—and feeling pretty good, because it’s this great hymn, and it’s all familiar, just exactly what I grew up with. I’m skipping along with abandon (not literally, this is a metaphor) and then BAM! My leg goes into a gopher-hole up to the shin and CRACK! There goes my ankle. Grade 3 anterior talofibular hymn-sprain.

Look at what the antinomians did to this hymn:

TLH 313 LSB 617
1. O Lord, we praise Thee, bless Thee, and adore Thee,
In thanksgiving bow before Thee.
Thou with Thy body and Thy blood didst nourish
Our weak souls that they may flourish:
O Lord, have mercy!
May Thy body, Lord, born of Mary,
That our sins and sorrows did carry,
And Thy blood for us plead
In all trial, fear, and need:
O Lord, have mercy!
1. O Lord, we praise Thee, bless Thee, and adore Thee,
In thanksgiving bow before Thee.
Thou with Thy body and Thy blood didst nourish
Our weak souls that they may flourish:
O Lord, have mercy!
May Thy body, Lord, born of Mary,
That our sins and sorrows did carry,
And Thy blood for us plead
In all trial, fear, and need:
O Lord, have mercy!
2. Thy holy body into death was given,
Life to win for us in heaven.
No greater love than this to Thee could bind us;
May this feast thereof remind us!
O Lord, have mercy!
Lord, Thy kindness did so constrain Thee
That Thy blood should bless and sustain me.
All our debt Thou hast paid;
Peace with God once more is made:
O Lord, have mercy.
2. Thy holy body into death was given,
Life to win for us in heaven.
No greater love than this to Thee could bind us;
May this feast thereof remind us!
O Lord, have mercy!
Lord, Thy kindness did so constrain Thee
That Thy blood should bless and sustain me.
All our debt Thou hast paid;
Peace with God once more is made:
O Lord, have mercy.
3. May God bestow on us His grace and favor
To please Him with our behavior
And live as brethren here in love and union
Nor repent this blest Communion!
O Lord, have mercy!
Let not Thy good Spirit forsake us;
Grant that heavenly-minded He make us;
Give Thy Church, Lord, to see
Days of peace and unity:
O Lord, have mercy!
3. May God bestow on us His grace and favor
That we follow Christ our Savior
And live together here in love and union
Nor despise this blest Communion!
O Lord, have mercy!
Let not Thy good Spirit forsake us;
Grant that heavenly-minded He make us;
Give Thy Church, Lord, to see
Days of peace and unity:
O Lord, have mercy!

They can’t. keep. their. grubby. hands. off. things.

This is impiety, pure and simple. Stupid, ignorant, arrogant, good-for-nothing impiety. How dare they.

Really? There’s something wrong with asking God to bestow His grace and favor upon us so that we might please Him with our behavior? This had to go??

No, no antinomianism here! It’s all fine, we’re all fine. The spirit of Martin Luther is alive and—

I win.

I’m going to tie this one off because I need to save some spleen for what’s coming.

There I was, limping, sad, and bewildered. Like the Elephant’s Child, I was a little warm, but not at all astonished. Perhaps respite and Nepenthe awaited me later on in the service. After all, on Maundy Thursday we commemorate the institution of the Lord’s Supper. “Maundy” comes from the Latin word “mandatum,” which, when translated, means “Gospel imperative.” So I had hope that my wounded soul would be soon be staunched by one of our great Lutheran communion hymns during the distribution.

Well…

TLH 313 LSB 618, LSB 619
1. I come, O Savior, to Thy Table,
For weak and weary is my soul;
Thou, Bread of Life, alone art able
To satisfy and make me whole:

REFRAIN:
Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood
Be for my soul the highest good!
1. I come, O Savior, to Thy Table,
For weak and weary is my soul;
Thou, Bread of Life, alone art able
To satisfy and make me whole:

REFRAIN:
Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood
Be for my soul the highest good!
2. Oh, grant that I in manner worthy
May now approach Thy heavenly Board
And, as I lowly bow before Thee,
Look only unto Thee, O Lord!
3. Unworthy though I am, O Savior,
Because I have a sinful heart,
Yet Thou Thy lamb wilt banish never
For Thou my faithful Shepherd art!
3. Unworthy though I am, O Savior,
Because I have a sinful heart,
Yet Thou Thy lamb wilt banish never
For Thou my faithful Shepherd art!
4. Oh, let me loathe all sin forever
As death and poison to my soul
That I through wilful sinning never
May see Thy Judgment take its toll!
5. Thy heart is filled with fervent yearning
That sinners may salvation see
Who, Lord, to Thee in faith are turning;
So I, a sinner, come to Thee.
2. Thy heart is filled with fervent yearning
That sinners may salvation see
Who, Lord, to Thee in faith are turning;
So I, a sinner, come to Thee.
6. Weary am I and heavy laden,
With sin my soul is sore opprest;
Receive me graciously, and gladden
My heart, for I am now Thy guest.
4. Weary am I and heavy laden,
With sin my soul is sore opprest;
Receive me graciously, and gladden
My heart, for I am now Thy guest.
7. Thou here wilt find a heart most lowly
That humbly falls before Thy feet,
That duly weeps o’er sin, yet solely
Thy merit pleads, as it is meet.
8. By faith I call Thy holy Table
The testament of Thy deep love;
For, lo, thereby I now am able
To see how love Thy heart doth move.
9. What higher gift can we inherit?
It is faith’s bond and solid base;
It is the strength of heart and spirit,
The covenant of hope and grace.
5. What higher gift can we inherit?
It is faith’s bond and solid base;
It is the strength of heart and spirit,
The covenant of hope and grace.
10. This feast is manna, wealth abounding
Unto the poor, to weak ones power,
To angels joy, to hell confounding,
And life for us in death’s dark hour.
11. Thy body, given for me, O Savior,
Thy blood which Thou for me didst shed,
These are my life and strength forever,
By them my hungry soul is fed.
1. Thy body, given for me, O Savior,
Thy blood which Thou for me didst shed,
These are my life and strength forever,
By them my hungry soul is fed.
12. With Thee, Lord, I am now united;
I live in Thee and Thou in me.
No sorrow fills my soul, delighted
It finds its only joy in Thee.
2. With Thee, Lord, I am now united;
I live in Thee and Thou in me.
No sorrow fills my soul, delighted
It finds its only joy in Thee.
13. Who can condemn me now? For surely
The Lord is nigh, who justifies.
No hell I fear, and thus securely,
With Jesus I to heaven rise.
3. Who can condemn me now? For surely
The Lord is nigh, who justifies.
No hell I fear, and thus securely,
With Jesus I to heaven rise.
14. Though death may threaten with disaster,
It cannot rob me of my cheer;
For He who is of death the Master
With aid and comfort e’er is near.
4. Though death may threaten with disaster,
It cannot rob me of my cheer;
For He who is of death the master
With aid and comfort e’er is near.
15. My heart has now become Thy dwelling,
O blessed Holy Trinity.
With angels I, Thy praises telling,
Shall live in joy eternally.
5. My heart has now become Thy dwelling,
O blessed Holy Trinity.
With angels I, Thy praises telling,
Shall live in joy eternally.

There is no balm in Gilead. Nevermore.

Five verses of sublime Christian comfort and wonderful catechesis—gone! Why? So we can make room for some high quality material from the Lutheran World Federation. No, I’m not engaging in absurd hyperbole. Look:

Suggested accompaniment: beaten hollow stump of baobab tree. Mandrill bone flute, if you’ve got one. Great news: there is a “setting” available in the hymn-accompaniment edition.

“Oh my goodness! This is so racist! ‘Hollow stump of baobab tree’?!?! I can’t believe he went there!”

Is it, though? Do you really think that this doggerel is worth the ink it took to print and the paper it took to print it on? You really think it’s worth the five verses of “I Come, O Savior, To Thy Table” that were memory-holed so that it could be included, all so that white liberal boomers in the LCMS could feel virtuous for making obeisance to the totems of cultural relativism erected by the Marxist liberation “theologians” of the LWF and their fellow apostates?

This hymn says nothing. It is worthless.

Meanwhile, in Africa…

…African Lutherans are singing hymns by Paul Gerhardt. Because Paul Gerhardt is a god among Lutheran hymn-writers, and all Lutherans everywhere, in every age, should be learning and singing his hymns. Thanks be to God that these Africans are being taught the truth!

No, it is not because Gerhardt was German, or white, or because he lived in the seventeenth century. Why it is does not matter as far as I am concerned, at least for the small point I am making. It only matters that it is. It is a fact. If and when African Lutherans begin composing hymns of singular and universal excellence, we should all sing them. For that matter, if and when twenty-first century Lutherans of any ethnicity, any color skin, and any global zip-code begin composing hymns of singular and universal excellence, we should all sing them. Until then, stop the pandering. Stop the tokenism. Stop pretending that everything is “equal.” You don’t strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

“Oh my goodness that sounds like Nietzsche. I’m pretty sure that’s Nietzsche. I saw a meme once about Nietzsche, I’m sure I’m right. Besides, Jesus became weak for us by becoming man human! So this guy doesn’t know anything. He sounds alt-right. I’m going to tell Russell Moore.”

Five verses have been excised from “I Come, O Savior, To Thy Table” by the stewards of your heritage so that we can sing some LWF woogity-boogity nothing song about how we’re eating, and isn’t it just so all-fired spectacular that we’re eating. Sorry, but I’m not sorry.

***UPDATE: a friend pointed out that LSB actually splits “I Come O Savior To Thy Table” into two separate hymns, which I initially did not notice, as I was looking at a bulletin insert. Pardon my sloppy mistake. So LSB “only” got rid of five verses of this hymn, rather than ten, as I had originally alleged. However, this almost makes it worse when you look at which verses failed to make the selective cut. It seems once again that the “worship staff at the LCMS” see language about hating sin or pondering the inevitable approach of death as leaven to be swept out.

Then there was Good Friday. “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Lutheran Good Friday hymn. There are a few other solid contenders, but I think we’d all agree that a Good Friday service bereft of “O Sacred Head” would be incomplete.

Here’s what the LSB did to this great hymn:

TLH 172 LSB 450
1. O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory,
What bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, tho’ despised and gory,
I joy to call Thee mine.
1. O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory,
What bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, tho’ despised and gory,
I joy to call Thee mine.
2. Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee,
Thou noble countenance,
Tho’ mighty worlds shall fear Thee
And flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish,
With sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish
That once was bright as morn!
2. How pale Thou art with anguish
With sore abuse and scorn!
How doth thy face now languish
That once was bright as morn!
3. Now from Thy cheeks has vanished
Their color once so fair;
From Thy red lips is banished
The splendor that was there.
Grim death, with cruel rigor,
Hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou hast lost Thy vigor,
Thy strength, in this sad strife.
Grim death, with cruel rigor,
Hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou hast lost Thy vigor,
Thy strength, in this sad strife.
4. My burden in Thy Passion,
Lord, Thou hast borne for me,
For it was my transgression
Which bro’t this woe on Thee.
I cast me down before Thee;
Wrath were my rightful lot.
Have mercy, I implore Thee;
Redeemer, spurn me not!
3. What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered,
Was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor,
Vouchsafe to me Thy grace.
5. My Shepherd, now receive me;
My guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me,
O Source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me
With words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me
To heavenly joys above.
4. My Shepherd, now receive me;
My guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me,
O Source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me
With words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me
To heavenly joys above.
6. Here I will stand beside Thee,
From Thee I will not part;
O Savior, do not chide me!
When breaks Thy loving heart,
When soul and body languish,
in death’s cold, cruel grasp,
Then, in Thy deepest anguish,
Thee in mine arms I’ll clasp.
7. The joy can ne’er be spoken,
Above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken
I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of life, desiring
Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring,
I’d breathe my soul to Thee.
8. What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
Oh, make me Thine forever!
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
Outlive my love for Thee.
5. What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
Oh, make me Thine forever!
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
Outlive my love for Thee.
9. My Savior, be Thou near me
When death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me,
Forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish,
Oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish
By virtue of Thine own!
6. My Savior, be Thou near me
When death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me,
Forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish,
O leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish
By virtue of Thine own!
10. Be Thou my Consolation,
My shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion
When my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee,
Upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee.
Who dieth thus dies well.
7. Be Thou my Consolation,
My shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion
When my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee,
Upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee.
Who dieth thus dies well.

The good news is that by removing three verses from this hymn, space was saved for this gem of orthodox Lutheran spirituality:

THAT’S IT. HE’S RACIST. FIRST THE AFRICAN COMMENT, NOW THIS.

Look, I am an equal-opportunity shade-thrower. Most of the jabs I have thrown on this blog have been at white people, so hitch up your righteous indignation hoop-skirt and go clutch your pearls somewhere else. No one is making you read this (as far as I know).

This hymn is terrible. It is stupid. It literally says nothing—the whole thing is a question, to which the answer is, “No, I was not. I was not there when they crucified Jesus, when they nailed him to the tree, laid him in the tomb, or when God raised him from the dead. That’s great that it causes you to tremble (3x), though.”

I was born in 1979, which means that I have missed out on the entire thirty-three year earthly ministry of Jesus, as have most Christians. However, I was crucified with Christ when I was baptized, and in the Lord’s Supper I receive the very body and blood of Christ which he sacrificed on the cross. I will be united with him in a resurrection like His, and I am reminded of this by the prophetic word which is preached to me, which St. Peter says is even more sure than my own experience of “being there” could be. This prophetic word is preached to me by my dear pastor, yes, but it is also preached to me in the beautiful and comforting words of orthodox Lutheran hymns, which to me are lamps of God’s Word shining in a dark place, against which this wad of Quakerish garbage cannot hold a candle or even a match.

Anyway, you can calm down. I’m only kidding…

No space at all was saved by omitting those verses from “O Sacred Head,” rearranging things, snipping and clipping:

They could easily have fit all ten verses.

Then again, we also could just as easily use TLH.

Have a blessed and happy Easter, friends. I don’t know when inspiration will hit me again, but when it does, you’re sure to hear about it.

W(h)ither the Great Lutheran Hymns? – “Jesus, Priceless Treasure”

So, the chief hymn for Laetare is “Jesus, Priceless Treasure” by Johann Franck. It’s a wonderful hymn. You can read the text here. I don’t need to do a side by side comparison of this one because…you know what? The LSB left this one pretty much entirely alone.

Am I happy about this? Only somewhat.

I’m happy that I’ll get to sing a great, unredacted Lutheran hymn in church tomorrow, sure. But I’m a bit annoyed that this experience is an exception. It makes you wonder…why didn’t they leave them all alone?

What, am I supposed to say “Thank you, LCMS/LSB, for letting me have a taste of my heritage”? Or “On behalf of myself and other backwards types, thank you for indulging our nostalgia”? “Thanks! It was really fun to have this old-fashioned experience and remember what church used to be like for people in the olden days”? What is this? The script for some Lutheran historic church re-enactors? How quaint.

“I tell you what, Paul— we should include a few of the florid old duffer-hymns so that people can use them at their 8:00 Heritage Service™; if it makes the old people get mopey, they can come back at 10:45 and get pepped at SpiritZest™, where the real worshiping happens.”

“I hear you, Zane. But shouldn’t we make at least some changes?”

“No, no. Some of them have to be untouched. Like…I dunno…ten hymns can be left well enough alone.”

“But won’t some of the weird traditional types look at those ten hymns and say, ‘Hey, wait a minute—why couldn’t all of them have been left well enough alone?'”?

“No, Paul. That will never happen.”

[Fin]

You’re wrong, Zane. It’s happening right here, right now.

This is exactly what it feels like. It’s like the beautiful golden candlesticks that used to adorn a church’s altar which are now kept in a display case in the “fellowship hall,” bathed in hot fluorescent light. Wouldn’t it be neat to…take them out and use it for a service sometime? Oh, that would be so neat and special. Like having a seder meal!

Wait, what? Use them all the time? Don’t be silly! We’re not peasants, you know! Besides, the edge of the projector screen comes down right at that level, so they’d be in the way.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy singing “Jesus, Priceless Treasure” tomorrow. It’s a beautiful hymn. Certainly not the greatest of all hymns, but a solid hymn all the same. Winkworth’s translation is good. It’s Scriptural, it’s full of Christian comfort, it’s poetic, and it’s beautiful. There are no lines about “faithless murmurs” or “acclamation.” Yes, in fact it just might make you think of “how church used to be” in the LCMS. The secret which these glib company men don’t want you to believe is that church can be that way again. Church is that way still, and in many places. “You can’t go back.” < – That’s a dumb rejoinder. Ignore it. Sing the great hymns. Opt for the excellent and beautiful. You don’t need to go back, because you can bring the past forward and make it present again, then tradition it on into the future, so that your children can benefit from our great heritage of beautiful church music and hymnody which, until recently in the Lutheran Church, has always served as the handmaiden of our greatest heritage: God’s Word.

W(h)ither the Great Lutheran Hymns? – “Speak, O Lord, Thy Servant Heareth”

Even if the first time I encounter a Lutheran hymn is in its LSB version, I can somehow still tell that something is off. This isn’t too surprising, as most of us have this experience time to time when we read poetry. Translation is a poetic art, after all. And while the canons of poetry and verse are not mathematical, you can still sense when they’re being violated, much as you can get the sense that something is “off” in a house where nothing is quite square, level, or plumb.

I’ll call it “hymndar.” Like gaydar, hymndar is more intuition than anything else, and it can be wrong. Mine usually isn’t, though. The first alert is a sense of incredulity. Just as a well-calibrated gaydar will make you think, “Why on earth would a self-respecting man wear that?”—but in an instant, before you can even put the thought into words—hymndar makes you think, “There’s no way that the 17th century original says this,” or something along those lines. I would say that in both cases you are reacting to something gay, but I don’t want to be offensive.

Well.

Where to begin? Whether to begin? Why bother?

Sorry, George T. Rygh, your translation was sadly lacking. The LCMS has “updated” it for you. Just like this guy is updating a Chromebook:

Hymn-smoke. Don’t breathe this!

I’ve gotta say, this might be my favorite LSB edit so far:

Sort of the LSB writ small, innit? A needless verbal change, blunting the Law, and modernized language. Beautiful in its simplicity, and by beautiful I mean “Sad!” Put some clip-art on that sucker and sell it to some cat ladies. We got us a winner.

“Why are you so sarcastic and mean?” writes one person who read one of these hymn posts. That’s a good question. I don’t think I’ve been mean in these posts. I will admit that I’ve been sarcastic, though. I’ll peel back the mask and tell you why:

Because sometimes mordant sarcasm helps us cope with awful realities. Sometimes we laugh in order to keep from weeping.

When you get right down to it, I don’t think the destruction of our hymnal is actually a laughing matter. I think it’s deeply sad. I find it very frustrating that so many of our great Lutheran hymns have been bowdlerized, mutilated, and memory-holed by the very men who are supposed to be preserving our heritage. Maybe you don’t care about that. You’re free to not care. Am I not free to care?

I’m not alone, by the way. There are dozens of us. DOZENS, I tell you.

In closing, all I’ll say is that the LSB-Bingo (pronounced “ell-ess bəh-BING-go”) scorecard that I will eventually make is definitely going to have “glad anthems” and “banner” on it.