The Withertongue Emails: Part XVIII


My dear Filthpit;

Your concern that my last letter was borderline heretical is admirable. No, I do not imagine being in love is the Enemy’s desire for his hairless monkeys. How could one of them ever find someone else to be in love with anyway? Each of them is afraid of someone seeing him naked, unmasked, and vulnerable. Do you think your client would then let someone get close enough to share breath with him? Help him along though, to talk about love of country, or love of his abstinence, or love of liturgy, or education, or goodness as opposed to other peoples’ badness. He will never be in love. That is impossible. The best he can hope for is to be in love with the idea of love. Encourage him in this as it only leads him further away from the Enemy and closer to us.

In fact, if you can convince your young pastor to think of love in terms of good and bad this will be a great benefit for you. It worked for our Dark Lord in the Garden, it can work for you too. Your client is already uncomfortable in his own skin. Persuade him that this contempt for his body is a virtue. Talk-up the benefits of living in isolation from others. Likewise, do not be afraid to suggest that it is a “godly” work. Point out how carnal people are, how their every motivation appears to be directed toward satisfying bodily cravings. It should not take much persuading after that. Love is not only unrealistic, it interferes with his service to the Enemy. It will not help you lure him into feeding his bodily passions, but it will drive him to wrestle with his own urges. You may even be able to drive him to despair of his strength to live a sexually pure life.

If that tactic fails, steer him toward marriage. The Enemy invented it, yes, but it can still be made to serve our purposes. There are one or two young women in the congregation who can make life difficult for him. They are of that variety of Christian who confess one thing but do the opposite. They have been taught that the Enemy wants them to remain sexually pure until marriage. Still, they believe physical intimacy is how true love is expressed. This can be exploited.They are in love with the idea of love too. Specifically, they are infatuated with the young pastor. It will not take much of a push to convince him one of them is physically a good match. 

Something else to pay attention to is the fact that he believes himself to be intellectually superior to everyone in the congregation. This is also to our benefit. He imagines himself to be too smart to marry “the wrong woman.” He has read too much about love and intimacy to fall victim to his own bodily desires. Who knows, a romantic tragedy, or adultery, or even a murder can result from his union with one of these women. 

Keep me updated on your progress, Filthpit. The Enemy has as much to gain from your client’s marriage as us. He will try to use it to broaden your client’s understanding of how his Spirit works for good in the lives of his people. You want to use marriage to broaden your young pastor’s understanding of earthly wealth and poverty, sickness and health, love, obedience, and fidelity. That you keep him focused on his fleshly wants and desires, that is the thing, however you accomplish it. 

Your proud teacher, 

Donavon Riley is a Lutheran pastor, conference speaker, author, Online Content Director for Higher Things, a contributing writer at 1517 Legacy Project, Christ Hold Fast, and LOGIA. Pastor Riley co-hosts the podcast: 'The Higher Things Simul Cast'. He is pastor of Saint John Lutheran Church in Webster, MN. A graduate of Concordia Universities in St. Paul, Minnesota and Portland, Oregon, Pastor Riley received his seminary and post-graduate education at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He colloquized into the LC-MS from the ELCA in 2008. He is married to Annie, and is the father of four children: Owen, Alma, Hoshea, and Hallel.
Twitter @DonavonRiley