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Friday, December 19, 2008 

My District’s Ablaze! Christmas Card

Well, I got my district Christmas “card” yesterday in the mail. It was a nicely done 8.5 X 11 glossy sheet that was decorated to look like a Christmas tree quilt with all the organization’s employee’s photos stacked inside the tree. Next to the tree was the message:

We celebrate Jesus who sets our lives ablaze with his grace, mercy, and peace.

Along the bottom of the flyer were these words;

May your Christmas remembrances overflow with love for Jesus, who came as a child, to be our Savior. The Staff

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yeah, that’s what I thought too. I don’t think that any communication comes out of a district or synod office without incorporating the word ablaze into the message. Nope, it’s just not possible.

That being said, and to be fair, what I just received was a hell of a lot better than the card from two years ago. That card rewrote a verse of Scripture to include the word ablaze so that Luke’s account of the angels appearing to the shepherds read:
The heavens are ablaze as a great company of the heavenly host appear praising God and saying. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to all”

After reading that abomination I actually sent the district a short email asking nicely what translation they were using. I didn’t really expect a reply and the good folks at the district offices didn’t disappoint me whatsoever.

It’s times like this that I remember the words not of one of the patristic church fathers, or of a reformation era theologian but of a contemporary Anglican layman who said:
Some men aren't looking for anything logical. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Sir Alfred Pennyworth

Yep, smart cookie that Pennyworth. He knows his Ablaze! suit types well.


I recognized the Pennyworth quote when I read it, but I've never read anything from him. Turns out that Hollywood is now quoting Christian laymen. That is to say that in the latest Batman movie, Alfred (Michael Caine) explains the illogical terrorism of the Joker in Pennyworth's exact words. Interesting. Not that this really has anything to do with your district Christmas card or the ablaze campaign. Just an observation.

Hi Ashley,
Alfred, played by Michael Caine is Pennyworth. You just caught me being snarky. That being said, I would have to say that any evangelism program that focuses on what WE do to spread the Gospel instead of what God does through the instituted means is indeed a form of terrorism indeed. It’s sad that so many wish to separate the mission from the message (as if that is even possible and still preach Christ purely…).
How cold is it now in Moravskoslezsky Kraj?
While I'm thinking about it, how'd you find me?

Just a thought... aren't sinners in Hell already "ablaze?" I mean, yeah, I suppose one could technically say that Jesus sets Hell "ablaze" but, well, we'd be getting into double predestination and Calvinism there.

Liz, we know there are different punishments in hell so we really don’t know what happens once you’re outside of God’s grace for an eternity. Fire, cold, it’s all good right?

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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