1910_fruitgum_co_1_2_3I’m getting more and more convinced that we’re doing our peers a disservice by not talking about Satan. Satan is alive and well; and, as the New Testament says, he is prowling around like a lion seeking someone to devour.

This cast touches on assisted suicide — doffing my hat to the new upcoming issue of The Mockingbird, which concerns mental health. “Please… Don’t Do It” (The Band). Under any circumstances. If you don’t believe me, read Kipling’s short story “Uncovenanted Mercies” (1932).

But I’m not just gunning for assisted suicide. I’m warning you about The Burning Man. People who cultivate it — The Burning Man, I mean — haven’t seen enough movies! They haven’t seen The Wicker Man — both versions, 1973 and 2006. The same with people who think labyrinths are aids to religion. Not so! [Again, you all, see more movies. See The Maze (1953), for example. Or The Shining (1980 version, especially). Or just read the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. Labyrinths are not an aid to piety. They are arcane and fascinating journeys to total devourment and “Freeze Frame” (J. Geils).]

I’m also undone by the absence of reference to God in large numbers of marriages as currently conducted. An Episcopal minister acquaintance of mine recently attended — not conducted (the officiant was a friend of the couple’s, ordained for a day) — a wedding of a person near and dear to him; and was undone, utterly undone, by the intentional exclusion of God from the ceremony. And my acquaintance is no conservative — the opposite, actually. But not a word concerning God.) What future is there in that, except for the couple to be ‘left to their own devices’ (Pet Shop Boys) when life happens. “Haitian Divorce” (Steely Dan). Satan is chuffed when young couples say no to God.

Gosh, I hope you “like” this one. At least hear the closing track, which is something wondrous, from The Band. Hugs!