Friday, June 08, 2018

Incipit

This is the ongoing, introductory cover page. Be aware that this blog is still active, so please explore the archive to read the profound or crazy stuff I have written. Occasionally, I add something new. If you have any questions, be sure to read the FAQ.

Flower Power, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, 2018 May 27

Epistles to Lonnie Frisbee


Below are links to my fantasticated letters to Lonnie Frisbee (1949-1993), in which I discuss various topics:
Letter #1
The Seraphic Mail Service and Identity Politics
Letter #2
The Big Split at Calvary Chapel
Letter #3
Greg Laurie the Southern Baptist
Letter #4
Revival and Unacceptable Surprises
Letter #5
The Five Mottoes of Peak Evangelicaldom
Letter #6
The Five Categories of Prophets
Letter #7
There's a Bathroom on The Right
For those who don't know, Lonnie was a young evangelist and revivalist who lived back in a bygone era. He was sometimes called the "hippie preacher."

And if you don't know what a hippie is, below is a picture of some hippies acting groovy. They once existed many years ago. Lonnie was one but he didn't stay there.


If You Go To Starbucks Often Enough…

  • Your clothes will begin to reek of coffee.
  • You will see young men with Apple laptop computers programming smart phone apps.
  • Ladies will sell each other Mary Kay cosmetics.
  • The homeless will be there.
  • Some of the homeless will bring their own laptop computers.
  • There will be occasional prayer meetings.
  • College students will study for their tests.
  • A genuine lunatic will sit down and talk with you. You won't understand anything he says.
  • You will eventually buy a Starbucks coffee cup.
  • The decor will change at least once.
  • A young man with a book by Dale Carnegie will sit next to you, smile, and compliment your Life is Good™ bill hat.
  • People will play Scrabble.
  • You will hear one of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos.
  • Someone will walk in who is wearing outrageous bell-bottom pants.
  • Someone will walk in who has on a leash a Great Dane.
  • There will a fussy baby crying.
  • You will see someone who looks just like Obi-wan Kenobi. Of course, he will be using an Apple computer.
  • Someone will come in, use the restroom, and leave without buying anything.
  • There will be someone who habitually gives advice to other customers about using their computers.
  • A famous celebrity will walk in.
  • Two moms will come in pushing enormous baby strollers.
  • Sure enough, you will see a dude who's wearing his pants so low his underware is showing.
  • Somebody will talk so loud on his cell phone that you can hear every word he is saying
  • You will see a tanned, short, skinny man wearing a muscle shirt who has a filter cigarette tucked on his right ear.
  • A lady will be doing needlepoint.
  • You will encounter someone dressed like a 19th Century mountain man
  • A young man, dressed in a spiffy suit and tie, wearing black horned-rimmed glasses and a very serious look on his face, will be diligently and intently doing something with his Apple computer.
  • Eventually the baristas will remember your name.
  • A old guy who looks like a department store Santa Claus (but without the red costume) will be there, talking yakkity-yak non-stop to someone, who can't get a word in edgewise.
  • You will be next to a table where a young man and lady are talking. He will look exactly like the character Wesley from the movie "The Princess Bride." I mean exactly.
  • After a time, you will achieve enlightenment. And then you will understand why 95% of everything on the Internet is complete rubbish.
  • You will see Hutterite ladies who are in town to do some shopping.
  • A mother will be discreetly breast feeding her child.
  • A young man will stand by the counter waiting for his drink. He will be wearing a lanyard and a very brightly colored tie-dyed tee shirt having a spiral pattern. On his feet, he will have on a pair of slippers that are shaped like the head of a moose, with little white horns and big eyes. I kid you not.
  • People will be playing chess.
  • And people will be getting tattoos, yes, right there in Starbucks. Can you believe it?
  • A young lady will be there wearing high, bright yellow wading boots while working on her laptop.
  • A young lady, with her hair dyed magenta and an enormous, swirly tattoo on her left arm, will be giving another lady a reading using tarot cards.
  • You will sip a grande cold brew, with added coconut milk, in the penumbra of a solar eclipse.
  • You will talk with a lady in her 70s from Alaska who said she was once seriously ill in a hospital, died, had an out-of-body experience (OBE), and came back to this life.
  • You will see a lady sitting at a table and drinking her Starbuck's beverage from a large beer stein.
  • People will bring take-out pizza and eat it there in Starbucks.
  • A young lady will come in whose jeans are so fashionably "ripped, distressed, and frayed" that there's very little skin left that's not showing. But doesn't this defeat the purpose of wearing pants to begin with?
  • One of the baristas will dye her hair a color that matches her green Starbucks apron.
  • Yes, there will be someone dressed in a worn-out tee-shirt who will start aggressively scratching his armpit, right out in front of everybody.
  • On the way home, you will see a wild turkey, walking besides the street.

Speaking of Starbucks, you will appreciate the humor in these 1st & Main cartoons.

The Ongoing American Cultural Civil War in a Nutshell:


Quotidian Flyover Clinger: "I won't bake your stinkin' cake!"
Woke Coastal Progressive: "Oh yes you will because shut up!"

Monday, May 21, 2018

Epistles to Lonnie Frisbee

Letter #7


Seraph Postal - Forever
Dear Lonnie,

I was doing weed abatement for the county. When I checked over the property, I missed a patch of wild Lupine. Well, my sheep ate some of it, which is poisonous. So I ended up with some sick sheep. It took time for things to recover, but I now have enough vellum to write to you again and still have Seraphic Mail stamps. Please continue to cheer for me as I go through these various trials and tribulations down here on Earth.

The retired fireman from Florida, whom I told you about in my previous letter, is still making the circuit and has gathered a sizeable following, or so it seems judging by what's on YouTube and the Internet. I would say that at the minimum he is a "prophet wannabee," who has gotten attention because of the "Jean Dixon Effect." He had predicted, way back in 2011, that DJT would become president, although when I read the actual prophecy, the fireman appeared to have missed when this would happen. He was off by one election cycle. Nonetheless, he did get this one prediction correct back when the very idea of DJT ever becoming president was inconceivable.

I have listened to him being interviewed, and the fireman is very sincere, and he can sound almost convincing. He describes himself as very "mission oriented," which I suppose firemen are trained to be. However, I haven't found out what church community he is a part of, and so I can't reference any testimony about his overall track record or his character. His launching pad to fame was a single book (The Trump Prophecies) somebody co-authored with him, which got the attention of some big-name people who run websites and streaming TV. They're even trying to turn it into a movie. Furthermore, the fireman has made other specific predictions, which I'll mention further down in this letter. Of course, just being "sincere" and getting one prediction right doesn't necessarily establish that somebody is an authentic prophet. So can you ask around, Lonnie, up there in Glory Land to see if anybody has heard about this fireman? I was hoping you could write me back and tell me what the real story is. The guy's name is Mark Taylor, in case you need to know.

As you remember, when you lived down here back in the 1960s, you saw for yourself what freaked-out crazy times we had here in America. Nowadays, many years later, I daresay that things have gotten much worse, even in my memory, compared to that bygone era. We're now living in an Age of Misinformation and Paranoia. That's how I would describe the times. There is hardly anybody you can trust and believe anymore. The news is all fake. Everything is bogus. Everybody is suspect. People increasingly talk about "cold civil war" — indeed, there is a cultural civil war that's raging. And today's church is in omnishambles too, in my opinion. In fact, the Devil really doesn't need to do anything much to destroy Evangelicaldom in America, other than just tweaking things to maintain the current trajectory; because, all things being equal, it will simply devour itself. "There's a bad moon on the rise" — that's how it is going in America, Lonnie. And I think this general, all-pervasive malaise we feel might be one of the reasons why some people are giving this fireman "prophet" so much attention.

In fact, the last presidential election provided us only two dismal choices: Do we vote for HRC, the harridan who will give us an even more Stalinesque version of the previous administration? Or do we vote for DJT, the brash but successful real estate mogul who has a rather disorderly past as far as sexual morality goes? This was not a great selection to choose from. However, there was one big difference between them: HRC openly despises us Bible clingers and calls us "deplorables"; therefore, it was not likely that under her regime we would have been left alone and allowed some measure of "peaceful coexistence." On the other hand, for all his faults, at least DJT doesn't hate our guts. I can tell you, Lonnie, that all the pundits were cocksure certain that the harridan had the election in the bag. Our situation seemed precarious. So what could we do? Yet, miraculously, it was the mogul who won and became president, to everybody's complete, slack-jawed astonishment. But you can understand why the evangelicals had to "hold their noses" and vote for DJT.

Well, along comes the fireman, and what was his core message? His message was that God has "chosen this man" and "anointed him as President for such a time as this." Then he goes on to say:
This man I have chosen, will be a faithful world leader, and together with my army, will defeat all of America's enemies in the spiritual and in the natural. You will see it manifest before your eyes. I will use this man to shut gates, doors, and portals that this past president has opened. He will open gates, doors, and portals this past president has shut.
As you can tell, Lonnie, this hearkens back and is somewhat similar to what Isaiah said about Cyrus (Isa 45:1). If you think about it, you can understand why the fireman has gotten attention from a lot of people. Because if what he says was true, it would seem to validate for many people the choice we had to make, and that DJT is serving a larger divine purpose, which we don't see in its entirety yet. One thing is certain: there's never been a dull moment since DJT was elected president.

Also, when you read his prophecies, you will find that one of the fireman's peculiarities is his habitual use of rhyming words — it starts to sound a little like "Dr. Seuss." Another peculiarity is his vehement insistence that all churches everywhere immediately give up their 501(c)3 tax classification, which he calls a "demonic contract" or a "covenant with Baal". After all these years, I guess the 501(c)3 is now suddenly a big issue. But I don't know of anyone else out there who is also calling for this. Finally, the fireman denounces anyone preaching "doom & gloom," which I suppose means anything that predicts the soon destruction of America, our only escape being martyrdom or the Rapture. As I said in my previous letter, I had the fireman classified under category #3.

There is one very big problem, however — the fireman has made a slew of other predictions that have not come to pass, at least not yet or not completely. I will briefly list for you a few of his more salient predictions:
  • DJT would serve two terms and not be impeached. [I recollect the fireman emphatically saying this in interviews.]
  • "Even mainstream news media will be captivated by this man … and they will even begin to agree with him".
  • "America will prosper like never before in her history as a nation."
  • America and Israel will be energy independent, and "a gallon of gas will be one dollar and below". OPEC will no longer be needed, "for your wells will go dry and your finances too".
  • "The Supreme Court will lose three, and my president shall pick new ones directly from MY TREE."
  • "America will be loved once again, even by some that used to be her enemies".
  • "The Clintons, the Clintons, your time has come to an end … you will not escape prosecution".
  • "For this man who holds the title called the President of the United States will begin to lose his grip from it and be stripped of it, for I the Lord God will rip it from him." [In interviews, the fireman explains that BHO will be later prosecuted for treason and therefore will be stripped of his title, although he has now already finished his second term.]
  • Corruption in all levels of government will be exposed. The problem will be so deep and widespread that it will require "military style tribunals" to handle it all.
  • "5 Supreme Court Justices will be appointed by my new president, my anointed."
  • "My court will overturn Roe vs. Wade".
  • "The ties that were severed between America and Russia will begin to mend".
  • "A lightning strike and a great wind shall topple the so called great monument, and they will not be able to mend". [The fireman has said that he is referring to the Washington Monument, which he calls a "phallic symbol to Baal."]
  • News outlets will go bankrupt and be rebuilt using "my righteous people".
  • "Two will be taken and three will be shaken! For I will remove two from the evil crew of 32 and the other three will be shaken to the core. The 32 years they have altogether served and empowered that entity called Baal, and the covenant they had holding up his house with the Illuminati and the New World Order, shall come crumbling down. For when the first one is taken, it will be a sign that the New World Order shall die. When the second one is taken, it will be a sign that anyone calling himself Mine but comes against my Israel, sympathizing with her enemies, will not be tolerated. The three that will be shaken will be a sign that no one is above the Most High God, not even those that hold the highest office in the land. These among many others that have tried to exalt themselves above Me and My Law will be exposed and imprisoned by me for the entire world to see." [The fireman has made it very clear in interviews that he is referring to the five living former presidents: two will die and the other three will face prison terms.]
  • "Russian and China will be put in their place … You will no longer be considered a threat or a superpower."
  • "Many are saying that this is the last Pope, but it's not for the reasons they think. This will be the last Pope, for what I the Lord God am about to do. I will expose this Pope and all those under under his command for all the corruption he and the Vatican have been involved in for centuries."
  • "There is a dig, an archeological find that is coming in an underground vault, which will be so cataclysmic that it will ROCK the Christian World. The answer lies between Jerusalem and Vatican City." [The fireman suggested in an interview that what might be discovered are "lost books of the Bible," whereupon the interviewer quickly steered away from this topic since it was skirting uncomfortably close to heterodoxy.]
Please tell me what you think, Lonnie. I hope that you have enough Seraphic postage stamps to write me back with your opinion. I think that the fireman might get one or two things right, if only by chance. However, newbie prophets can also mix in plenty of junk because they haven't yet learned to properly distinguish the difference between a genuine revelation from Above and their own wishful thinking. In other words, they get too eager and run ahead of themselves. Scio fuisse prophetas deficere, as the old saying goes. Lonnie, I was wondering. This is my big question: How long must we wait before concluding that the fireman's predictions are bogus and never going to happen? At this point in time, none of what I listed above has occurred, at least not in any spectacular or obvious way as far as I can tell. For example, the price of gasoline has never dropped below a dollar per gallon, the Washington Monument hasn't toppled over lately, there hasn't been any "military style tribunals," BHO is still running free, and the mainstream news media hates DJT more than ever.

On second thought, given that he has so many unfulfilled predictions, perhaps the fireman should be classified as an "indeterminate Loony Toon" (category #4), at least temporarily until the situation changes. My gut feeling for now is that there is something loopy going on here, and his "prophecies" possibly reflect whatever flaky teachings happen to be endemic to the church he is attending. What makes me suspect this is his odd fixation about the 501(c)3 tax status and the Washington Monument, along with some of his "conspiracy theory" terminology. Furthermore, the fireman sounds as if he were speaking from the position of an "Old Testament prophet" (e.g., Samuel) who is sent to direct the entire people of Israel. Lonnie, as you well remember, you did some prophesying to people on various occasions when you were still here on Earth, but you never went around trying to dictate how churches throughout the entire country should operate. I think the fireman might be mixed-up partly due to misunderstanding how prophecy is supposed to function nowadays, under the "New Testament." However, if you have any helpful suggestions, I would much appreciate hearing them.

In other news, there has been no new news regarding the final, third book of your autobiography. Apparently, your ghostwriter friend, Roger Sacks, has delayed things yet again. Oh, I had hoped the final book would have been published by now. I must say that I am deeply disappointed and very frustrated. It's been over 25 years, and your autobiography still hasn't been completely published. What is holding things up? The problem is I don't know whom I can complain to. Can you complain to anybody up there in Heaven, Lonnie? Please put in a word about this because I very much want to read the final book.

By the way, congratulate me on my retirement. The only thing I got going now is my small sheep business and writing these funny epistles to you. I am still getting adjusted to being retired. It's not easy, and I am trying to keep my mind busy and to exercise. I will let you know if anything new comes up.

Keep rejoicing.

Sincerely yours,
Troubles So Hard.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Epistles to Lonnie Frisbee

Letter #6


Seraph Postal - Forever
Dear Lonnie,

By now you are probably tired of hearing about my sheep business and all its travails. I will refrain myself, leave off talking about that, and just say that I have processed enough lambskin vellum to write you another letter using the Seraphic Mail Service. It is important that I get straight to the point.

Before all else, I sincerely apologize if my previous letter offended you. Believe me, Lonnie, I only meant to tell you truthfully how I assessed the current situation. As you remember, you had a difficult time in the ministry back when you were still here. It's not that Chuck Smith and John Wimber wanted to treat you badly. They just didn't always know how to handle an out-of-the-ordinary person. They had their particular mindsets on how things should operate, and you never quite fit into the system as they envisioned it. And so they might have made mistakes that ended up causing you emotional pain and injury. I think that your autobiography shows this, and that you endeavored to learn the important lesson of forgiveness. That's how I read it. You and I have also made enough mistakes of our own. All that I was saying is that if you were still here you would have even more severe problem working within the church system today. It wouldn't accommodate you very well. I hope that you understand.

Now, getting to one of those questions that you asked me in the letter you sent me earlier, I gave it some thought and have decided that my answer is pretty simple: No, I do not want to be a "prophet." And please, Lonnie, I beg you, don't suggest to anyone in Heaven that I should be one. I really don't want the job, for numerous reasons, which have to do with the current situation in the "charismatic movement" nowadays. Let me explain why.

First of all, after spending some time attempting to survey the overall situation, I can say that the church already has an overflowing abundance of "prophets", or at least people who are calling themselves that. Most of these prophets have ministry websites, and you also can find them on YouTube. I am trying to compile a list of everybody I find, and already my list is getting quite large, and there doesn't seem to be any end of it. Therefore, Lonnie, what good would it do for me to join the crowd? I think it would be just adding to the confusion.

While researching this subject, it's been difficult for me to avoid developing the kind of attitude that disdains prophecy altogether. Lonnie, as you well know, near the end of his first letter to the Thessalonians, saint Paul the apostle said — oh, by the way, say "hello" to Paul for me if you get the chance — well, he clearly said we are not to quench the Spirit or despise prophecy, but we are to test everything and hold fast what is good. However, it's a very confusing situation just from the sheer abundance of stuff. There is so much "prophecy" nowadays getting published on the web, like a flood, and I am still learning how to "test" things, so I can distinguish the good stuff, sort it out, and separate it from the mediocre and bogus stuff. It's not easy to do, but I am trying very hard to maintain the correct attitude about it.

To give you an idea of some of the crazier things going on, I remember one video I saw. I won't mention the guy's name, but in the video he was making a big deal out of an old painter easel you once owned years ago and that somehow was passed down to some elderly lady, whose house you were boarding in at one time. Anyhow, this fellow made it sound as if your easel were a holy relic and that somehow he could confer your "mantle" on people. I am not kidding, Lonnie. Unfortunately, since you don't have Internet access there in Heaven, I can't show this video to you. But if you saw it, you would either laugh or cry. On second thought, not having Internet access in Heaven might be a good thing.

Although I am still studying the issue, I think that at this point I can break down the current "prophetic" scene into the following categories:
  1. Glittering Generalists
  2. Gloomy Doomists
  3. Big-Revival-Soon Optimists
  4. Indeterminate Loony Toons
  5. Miscellaneous
Remember, Lonnie, that this is just a preliminary assessment. I might change my mind later and re-adjust these categories. But for now let me elucidate what I am saying.

It appears that most of the prophets who have the highest visibility and biggest ministries fall under category #1. I call them glittering generalists because much of their prophesying is usually worded in very broad and positive terminology. The often use terms such as entering into "seasons" and giving "birth" to something and obtaining a "destiny" and opening "doors" to somewhere. One of them talked about "accelerated acceleration." Another mentioned "exfoliating anointing." Huh? What is often lacking, however, is anything hard and specific that can be nailed down. It's all very general. To whom does their prophesying actually apply? Everybody? It is very difficult to test these. They are okay, I suppose, as far as being very generic exhortation (or preaching), which can be addressed to nearly everybody. We all need encouragement, but why dress up preaching as being "prophetic"?

The next two categories are more vatic, in that they deal with future events, usually involving the United States. But they appear to be somewhat inconsistent with each other. The gloom-and-doom prophets (category #2) basically predict that America, because of its great wickedness, will be destroyed, any day now, by a series of very terrible cataclysms, such as nuclear war, economic collapse, etc. There might be few persecuted survivors in the ruins, the ones who taking heed and thereby forewarned had done the necessary "prepping" ahead of time and stockpiled toilet paper, guns, ammo, and freeze-dried food. David Wilkerson's "vision" from years back and later John Paul Jackson's "perfect storm" might be very good examples of this category of prophecy — Lonnie, next time you run into him, tell David that he used to know my famous evangelist cousin. Anyhow, I think many of the older prophets, like Wilkerson, fall under this category. For example, I remember another one who said he received a detailed vision of Russian submarines, just off the coast, launching their nuclear-armed missiles that would destroy America. This kind of prophecy is still around, though maybe not as much today as earlier, and if anything has varied in this category, it might be the additional focus on objurgating apostasy and ecumenism in the church. In any case, no matter what, America is toast, as far as these prophets are concerned. At best, we will all die as martyrs or be raptured.

On the other hand, the big-revival-soon optimists (category #3) are more sweetness and light, and they often tends to merge into category #1. Nowadays, those in this category seem to be more predominate as opposed to the doom-and-gloom prophets of category #2. Generally speaking, the optimists prophesy that, despite its many problems, God isn't done with America. There might be some housecleaning and judgement on corruption in the government and in the church, but the final result will lead to a very great revival in the near future, which in turn will lead to a "great awakening" in American society overall and an unprecedented spread of the Gospel across the world. One prophet, a retired fireman who falls in category #3, and whom I am currently tracking, has had some accuracy in the past, and he has predicted very some very specific items about soon upcoming events. So at least his case would be very easy to track and test.

Lonnie, do you see the problem I have here with categories #2 and #3? They seem to be contradictory. How can we have a big revival going on in America when we're all hunkered down in fallout shelters and everything is highly radioactive? We're either on the verge of a great end-time revival or else a great end-time apostasy, but it's hard to see how we can have both. Do you understand what I what I am getting at?

Moving on to category #4, these are prophets who seem to delight in deliberately being odd, or they are otherwise very problematic. There are a few of these. But I am at a loss to understand how to test this category. Should one pay them any attention? As you know, Lonnie, some of the Old Testament prophets were required to do some very weird things (ask poor Ezekiel what he went through). For example, there is one prophetess currently running around the circuit who seems to get a personal tour of Heaven practically everyday and is eager to tell everybody about it with an enormous amount of details. She says she was required to dye her hair magenta. Tell me, Lonnie, how do I go about testing this sort of prophesying? Maybe if you wrote me back and included the official "Encyclopedic Tour Guide of Heaven," or at least the "Heaven for Dummies" paperback, I could use it to verify if this prophetess is telling the truth or if this is simply a mild case of mental illness.

I don't mean to say that everyone in category #4 isn't at all prophetically gifted. They might be. It's just they have mixed in so much other crazy stuff into what they are saying that it's very hard to "sift the wheat from the chaff." Or it would be like trying to sieve through a mountain of worthless slag to find the occasional flake of gold. As I have said, Lonnie, I am still sorting things out. I don't have all the answers.

My final category #5 covers everybody else, for lack of any better way of sorting things. If I can say anything at all, Lonnie, I think these prophets tend to be more specific, but they usually address individuals. So there is more of a "word of knowledge" component involved in this category, and therefore only the individual being addressed would be in a position to determine if the prophet had been spot-on and had been personally encouraging and beneficial. I confess, Lonnie, that I have received a few of these prophecies myself over the years, but they had been rather confusing for me, and I can't say that they were ever confirmed. Over time, they tend to fade from memory. I need to remember to write things down.

Saint Paul once said that we know in part and prophesy in part. This is true. The same is also true regarding these categories that I have mentioned above. I must say, Lonnie, that my understanding is only partial at this point, and I might change my mind as I get more insight into this matter. Any help you can suggest would be much appreciated. Anyhow, because I am a little short on lambskin vellum — some of my ewes unfortunately miscarried because of an illness, and I am nursing some sick sheep — I need to cut short this letter to you. I will try to write you later.

Cry out Amen and Amen.

Sincerely yours,
Partly Confused Here on Earth.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Epistles to Lonnie Frisbee

Letter #5


Seraph Postal - Forever
Dear Lonnie,

Well, my sheep herding has expanded further since I last wrote you. My wife has now opened a small cafe, which specializes in lamb gyros, souvlaki, Byzantine desserts, and specialty coffee roasting. I supply the lamb; she roasts it on a spit and carves it up for sandwiches and gyros and other tasty dishes. She named her cafe after my Australian shepherd dog. It's called "Bimbo's Coffee Pot" on the big sign in the front and is located in a strip mall next to a Verizon store. There are lots of customers already and business is booming. The interior of the cafe is done up in themes from the old Max Fleischer cartoon characters. Naturally there are pictures on the walls showing Bimbo, who is Betty Boop's most committed admirer. Another character is Koko, the lovable, non-scary clown. There is Popeye the sailor, who loves seafaring, spinach, and roughhousing. Of course, there are many pictures of the famous, multi-talented Betty Boop. I realize that the decor seems incompatible with a cafe serving gyros and mochas, but she loves the old cartoons, and customers have told us they like the decor. So in that department, things are running smoothly, and I have enough lambskin vellum to write you this letter.

First of all, there's very good news, Lonnie, about the third book of your autobiography. Apparently, the visit those angels paid to your ghostwriter, Roger Sachs, has worked very well in encouraging him to move things forward to completion. I managed to contact someone at Freedom Crusade who apparently has information about the situation. She emailed me back and said:
…I can assure you that we have a team currently working on Book Three diligently. There is a process of interviewing and editing required that depends not only on our schedule. We want to do justice to this time period of Lonnie's life. And I'm sure people like you who are interested in Lonnie will appreciate the work we're doing now.…
She also gave me the time frame when they expect the third installment would be published. I am excited because it will be fairly soon now. It makes the wait a little easier.

I must confess that I evaded directly answering one of your questions you had asked earlier. There was inhibition on my part because I wasn't sure how you would react if I gave a complete and frank response. But it occurred to me, since you are living up there in the Beatific Choir, that you can handle the truth with serene equanimity because now you have a much clearer perspective on things. So I apologize for beating around the bush in my earlier letter.

Although he left out a few details, your friend Greg Laurie to his credit does own up to the fact that it was you, many years ago, that preached the Gospel to him, as he said here:
…Then a young man named Lonnie Frisbee stood up with a Bible in his hand. He was a youth pastor with Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, where the Jesus Movement was in full swing. With his shoulder-length hair and beard, he almost looked the way I had seen Jesus depicted in paintings and in the movies. He opened the Bible and began to speak. Although I listened to what he said that day, I don’t remember any of his comments except for one statement: Jesus said, "You are either for Me or against Me." What side are you on?

That really struck me. Never before had I heard that faith in Christ was an either/or deal.…
However, as I hinted in a prior letter, I very much doubt that Greg would invite you today to preach the Gospel at Harvest. But I don't think you would be invited anywhere, for that matter, if you were still here. This is very sad to say, but nonetheless I think it is the case.

But your preaching days are over, Lonnie, and now is your time to rest. You were granted rest probably sooner than is most common. I trust that what I am saying is not shocking for you now, but please forgive me if I sound a little harsh. To explain my reasons for what I am saying — that is, your no longer being welcome here to minister — I need to set down for you, as best I can, an explanation of how things actually operate in churches nowadays.

After many years of observation and experience, I have come up with five basic principles, which I call "The Five Mottoes of Peak Evangelicaldom," for lack of a better name. If you remember these basic mottoes and how to unpack them, you can understand why things happen in church the way they do here in America, at least on a visible level. These mottoes are as follows:
  1. Excellence of Intellect
  2. Ingenuity of Governance
  3. Preeminence of Reputation
  4. Astute Money Management
  5. Irrefutability of Success
Lonnie, what I am trying to tell you, ahead of time, is that today you would be considered less than acceptable, going by the standard of these five basic principles. I will try to explain why. Please try not to laugh at me too much if I stumble in this endeavor.

You must admit, Lonnie, that you were never very "intellectual." You never went to college, but you did drop out of a prestigious art school. You never went through seminary. Sometimes, provided they have built up outstanding reputations, ministers can get "honorary degrees" conferred on them. For example, your old friend Greg Laurie holds two honorary doctorates, one from Biola University and another from Azusa Pacific University. But you never reached that far; your life was too short. You have only one book to your credit, which is still in progress and awaiting the third installment, and even then you had to employ a ghostwriter to do the actual nitty-gritty work of putting things together. People with successful and solid ministries often write dozens of books that are widely marketed. And finally, while your preaching was at best simple and straight forward, it never had any theological or exegetical sophistication, which many churches rate as very important to have. Therefore, Lonnie, you must admit that going by motto #1 above, you were pretty much a flop.

You know perfectly well that during your life here you had problems complying with pastoral governance. You did surprising and unpredictable things, and that's putting it mildly. Sometimes you broke the rules. I think that you would completely agree with me about this, and so I don't need to elaborate too much on this aspect. But pastors generally don't like rule-breakers and people making waves. So going by motto #2 above, you would be considered too erratic, someone who doesn't fit into a smooth-running organization.

Nowadays, Lonnie, having a celebrated reputation is mandatory. You can't go anywhere in a ministry without reputation. But you know what controversy can do to a reputation, and you know that yours is pretty much shot to pieces now. Perhaps once your book is finally completed, it might serve to repair or rehabilitate your reputation in some small degree. But given how the Internet operates nowadays, I doubt that your autobiography will help very much. As I said in my first letter, once the identity label gets applied, there's no way to pry it off. Therefore, going by motto #3, you stumbled very badly.

As for motto #4, churches nowadays greatly value prudent financial dealing. (Ask about Hillsong, for a good example.) But in your case, Lonnie, it's a wash more or less. You never had any big financial successes and never showed any special talent in this area. At one point, you were living on food stamps and dumpster diving. And when you were doing your mission work in Africa, back in 1978, apparently pastor Chuck Smith didn't like how you were spending your mission funds, and so he had to play his "Moses Model" card and clamp down and cut back the cash flow. Therefore, when it comes to motto #4, you would have nothing to recommend yourself. You had no business acumen.

Finally, motto #5 is possibly the most important. Everything about the church nowadays is "entrepreneurial," which is the best general term that I can find to describe how things really function. Big successful ministries have slick websites and high-quality marketing and wide-area networking and trendy, well-run conferences. Most churches operate like big businesses — which at a certain stage or scale is unavoidably how things have to operate, in my estimation — and at this level the most important parameter is success. How big? How much? How many? What is The Bottom Line? What are the statistics? And who can argue with success? I don't know, Lonnie. You tell me. In any case, you fell short on all five levels.

I think that I have said enough so that you will understand why you don't fit the system very well. On the other hand, the Lord didn't care about any of this. He decided to use the least likely person. But as I said before, your preaching days are finished now, and the system doesn't matter anymore for you. You have passed it by.

Finally, Lonnie, it looks like (Lord willing) that I shall have lived long enough to read your completed autobiography. I am looking forward to seeing what's in the final, third installment, which will be coming soon. There are many questions that I have which I hope the third book will answer. One of the things I am curious about is that sermon you preached at pastor Tom Stipe's church in Denver. It was an odd sermon. How did Tom react to it? I hope that your third book will clarify all this.

I have to take off now and end this letter. On my agenda today is picking up from our vendor a 100 pound bag of Kona coffee beans to deliver to Bimbo's Coffee Pot for our specialty roasting. The stuff is unbelievably expensive, but the customers love it. My flock of sheep is thriving. Bimbo the Wonder Dog also says "hello." A picture of his namesake is enclosed. I will try to answer some of your other questions in a future letter.

Shout glory.

Sincerely yours,
Weary and Worn Here on Earth