Beseeching the Almighty to please hurry

Dear editor:

For letter writers beseeching the Almighty to please hurry up and make Mike Nunn pray the sinner’s prayer or walk the Roman Road, or whatever the latest trick is for getting past St. Peter and the Pearly Gates, take a break from your earnest lamentations and look around. Notice all those empty pews? Brothers and sisters, the salvation of Mr. Nunn is hardly Christendom’s biggest problem. Your more immediate concern should be that your fellow saints are fleeing the evangelical church in record numbers. And once the over-65 demographic has been recycled back into the dust from whence they came, the exodus will only accelerate. Bigly.

What to do? Putting more baristas in church lobbies won’t staunch the stampede for the exits. Rank hypocrisy is the real culprit, especially among the loudest leaders of America’s evangelicals – the incessantly-quoted Junior Jeffress and William Franklin Graham III and Junior Jerry Falwell for starters.  These are just a few of our gilded rat-catchers – bible-thumping pied pipers are legion in this neck of the woods. From pulpits and cable channels across the land,  name-it-and-claim-it prosperity prophets shamelessly peddle the ludicrous idea that Donald Trump is a holy man, divinely appointed to be our national exemplar of Christian piety. He cares deeply. He will make America great again.

Is it any wonder that churches are emptying?  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a theologian to understand that Trump’s daily barrage of bombastic tweets do not reflect the sweet spirit of that ancient Galilean. Remember the little ditty we used to sing in Sunday school? “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red, and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” Clearly that Jesus is a snowflake!  In the new gospel according to winning is everything, that Jesus is a weak loser. Loser!

As for the fate of Mr. Nunn’s soul, let’s leave that in the metaphorical hands of God, if there is one. Whether she does or does not want to save our friend Mike, all the fervent prayers of all the self-righteous Christians in all of Garland County aren’t going to change her mind. Or his mind, or their mind, or whatever God really turns out to be (or not to be, that is the question!). So why not get up off your knees and do the really important work instead, like seek justice with mercy, feed the hungry and clothe the naked, shelter the homeless and welcome the strangers among us? Trump would rather build a wall, but Trump is not Jesus. Not even close.

Jacques d’Nalgar
Hot Springs, Arkansas

PS – see for more information about the dwindling numbers of white evangelicals in “Christian America.”

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  1. The day after I submitted this, I received an email from the Lifestyle/Business/Obituaries/Religion editor:

    I was putting your letter into our system and am not clear on one sentence. Is this correct? – “In the new gospel according to winning is everything, that Jesus is a weak loser.”

    I responded on March 23:

    Yes, it is a play on “The gospel according to Matthew/Mark/Luke/John” – “winning is everything” is meant to be sarcasm aimed at materialistic/power-hungry/selfish priorities.

    I called the paper on Monday, April 2nd, and was assured my submission was “in the queue” (sounds like “the check is in the mail”, n’est pas?)… I remain doubtful this will ever be printed…

  2. Well, I’m guessing that phone call last Monday finally flushed it on out of the “queue” – it was published today, Sunday, April 8 2018 CE in the Hot Springs Sentinel Record. More or less intact even, although I continue to be perplexed by the peculiarities of editorial privilege as it pertains to seemingly arbitrary punctuation and capitalization changes (how’s that for a compound alliteration to sate my acute alliteration addiction?)… For example, this line:

    These are just a few of our gilded rat-catchers – bible-thumping pied pipers are legion in this neck of the woods.

    …was changed to this:

    These are just a few of our gilded rat-catchers – Bible-thumping Pied Pipers are legion in this neck of the woods.

    Why? Why change a deliberately-worded (and deliberately lower-case) sentence to unnecessarily emphasize that section. I wish, if they just had to capitalize something, they had chosen the word “Legion” instead, a VERY deliberate and intentionally obtuse (but apropos given the context) reference to Mark 5:9 and Luke 8:30…

    So, between having to explain my “gospel according to” sentence back on March 23 (which likely delayed it being printed that first Sunday following), and the next Sunday being offend-no-Christians Easter, perhaps there was one other reason for the long delay in my letter’s publication. Wrath hath no fury like a scorned small-town newspaper. I sent this angry email on March 25, to the same Lifestyle/Business/Obituaries/Religion editor mentioned in the prior comment:

    The real reason I’m writing today (and this is NOT a letter to the editor) is to complain about the publication of today’s attack on Mike Nunn by a Larry Bauer in HSV. It was little more than personal slander based on wild assumptions that have no basis in fact. You could make similar assumptions about Mr. Bauer and his comfortable circumstances among the mostly lily-white, mostly retired, often conceited and petulant Village people. I know Mike Nunn and consider him a friend. [Jacques: two short sentences redacted here – the overall gist of the rant is fully intact…] If he could, he would probably wish to live as far as possible from Hot Springs and its abundance of self-righteous regressive cretins.

    I hope you’ll pass this along to whoever makes decisions about which letters to publish. There were three eminently stupid letters today, but Bauer’s was tantamount to a personal attack. Letters like these, and the proliferation of exclusively right wing political cartoons, and op-ed writers (especially one from Arkansas who must get paid by the word) who cannot help but lavishly praise Trump and castigate progressives as born-again Marxists are making a mockery of the Sentinel Records’ supposed core values.

    I’m quite serious. Please share this criticism/complaint with the management of your newspaper. It’s not too late to be better than becoming yet another right-wing rag that is little more than a print version of Fox News and hate radio.

    [Jacques d’Nalgar]>/blockquote>

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