Jan 15, 2008

A note to Father.

Heavenly Father,
even your name is holy.

Bring your Kingdom now,
and realize your will on Earth just as in Heaven.

You provide for our needs,
day by day.

You forgive us,
as we forgive.

You do not put us on trial,
but you free us from our accuser.

Jan 11, 2008

What he said.

Postum-Notes 2

A follow-up to the posting below about how Kraft Foods might save the Postum Brand of instant hot coffee-replacement beverage.

I suggested they employ a strategy of repackaging Postum with new content (real coffee), and then slowly bring old Postum back in. I ignored the obvious methodology, the one that passes the Occam's Razor test, and has been seen time and time again on you grocer's shelves.

Kraft wouldn't swift/change the product, even temporarily. The brand managers BELIEVE in Postum. It's their livelihood. No, rather than change the bland product for something stimulating and exciting, they'd change the packaging to be stimulating and exciting, while keeping the boring product that one would consume only out of habit or tradition.

Let's not lose sight of the fact that Postum itself is a fraud, a substitute for the real thing (morning coffee) without any of the benefits. No anti-oxidants, no caffeine, no flavor.

So too the mainline churches, who long ago replaced the real Body of Christ with a clubby fellowship of "people like us" who all hold in common a lowered expectation of the Christian life. Their great fears are enthusiasm and emotionalism, because they are against "club rules". They will promote pietism as a means of avoiding piety, and even spirituality to avoid the impact of the Spirit of God.

As these clubs continue to shrink, as their market-share declines, many have turned to a more stimulating package without reverting to authentic Spirit-based Christianity. Why?

Because following Christ Jesus is not what they offer, but a branded identity instead... denominationalism. It's loyalty to a comfortable "brand", and not to the unsettling Lord.

Jan 7, 2008


I read that Kraft is discontinuing C.W. Post's caffeine-free instant coffee substitute, Postum. Many Mormons are in a quandary, as they seem to be the last consumers of this toasted cereal beverage, drinking it in accordance with their cult's ban on caffeine (Postum is 100% caffeine free, unlike decaf coffees).

But in the middle of the night, an idea arrived via night-mail (which is how I get most of my ideas).

Suppose you were Kraft Foods, and you saw the declining market share for Postum and recognized that changes were needed. So, you came out with NEW IMPROVED Postum (NIP), which was really 100% Columbian coffee. Except for Mormons, the folks who tried the samples of NIP loved it. They felt refreshed, stimulated, and excited by their new Postum experience, whereas their same old Postum experience (SOP) was of a tasteless, ineffective, uninspiring beverage that they were told was "good for them", although they could discern no changes in the lives of the SOP drinkers.

The consumers clamored for more of this NIP, but Kraft saw that switching to NIP was going to require more changes in the production and distribution channels than the entrenched hierarchy was willing to accept. So their plan was to entice new consumers with NIP, and then once they were used to the branding, switch them slowly back to SOP.

They were puzzled when those who came to the New Improved Postum abandoned the brand when Kraft began blending in SOP with NIP. Eventually, all the NIP drinkers went down the aisle to the new Starbucks brand... even many of the decaf drinkers (but not the Mormons).

"What in the hell is this all about?" you might ask.

This is how most mainstream churches deal with attempts at renewal within their bodies. Bait and switch. When the renewal fails (after the switch begins), they blame it on the fickle consumers, who have since moved on to a more refreshing, stimulating, and exciting non-denominational coffee shop down the road.

Jan 2, 2008

Go out and buy this recording.

T Bone Burnett

C. S. Lewis once said, "We don’t need more Christian writers. We need more great writers who are Christian.” It's true for singer/songwriters, too. Case in point.

Why I can't bow to the supply-side altar.

"The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away."
-- Ronald Reagan

This is a good example of the single-minded Mammon worship that "Market-Based-Economy-As-A-Philosophy-Of-Life" breeds.

The idea that EVERY human value has a solely monetary value flies in the face of the Judeo-Christian values we supposedly hold as a Nation (I say "supposedly" for a reason). But then again, it does explain why the current Administration prefers entrusting National Security and Foreign Policy activities to corporate entities like Blackwater and Halliburton instead of the U.S. Army, the State Department, and the Corps of Engineers.
For one thing, Mammon-based decision making is much simpler than Ethics-based policy decisions (and certainly simpler than Scripturally-based policy decisions). It is simply a matter of profit.

The concept of "Public Service" is totally lost on these people. Public service and self-sacrifice is something for "chumps" to do.

I left the world of private enterprise (Advertising) for a job as a public servant (Municipal Planning) partly as a result of my Christian conversion. One of the signs that I had to change (and I have to stress that this is a personal, not universal, decision) was when I had a client whose corporate name was M.I.P. I couldn't see any connection between his business (medical services consulting) and his corporate name. I asked, and he replied, "M.I.P. stands for Make It Pay."

Mammon worship, the arbitrator of all values.

"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?"

-- Matthew 16:26

Jan 1, 2008

Taking the Mass out of Christmas.

For the first time in over 25 years, I didn't attend church this Christmas... neither on Christmas Eve nor on Christmas Day. We stayed away from "church". Did we let the predominant American culture "win" this year?

Actually, it was resistance against the predominant American culture that kept us away, that kept us from "Christening" the events of the Winter Holidays by going to church. We honored the birth of the Christ (which didn't happen during the winter months), but not in the way that is "supposed" to be the "Christian way".