Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Friday, September 8, 2017


{You need to read the column for yesterday, R, 9-7-17, before reading today’s instalment.}

“The Lutheran Shop of Horrors” [LSH] was not the only script I wrote for Prairie Home Companion [PHC]. There were others also, like “Walleye Dundee,” which was a take-off on “Crocodile Dundee,” about an ice fisherman in the “upback” of MN instead of a crocodile hunter in the “outback” of Australia. I was especially proud, though, of LSH.

Since PHC was set in MN, a heavily Lutheran area, Garrison Keillor featured Lutherans a great deal in the PHC skits, Pastor Ingqvist ant all, although GK was not himself a Lutheran, until much later in life. [1] His favorite trait of Lutherans was guilt, “the gift that keeps on giving.”

As I recall, the man-eating plant in “The Little Shop of Horrors,” was there mistakenly. It ate folks just because it was hungry, and kept getting bigger with each meal, and thus hungrier, and thus wanted and needed more folks to eat. Exactly like guilt, which will just eat a person up… without forgiveness. For the sake of a PHC skit, it was easy for me to turn that general man-eating plant in the little shop of horrors into the guilt plant in the Lutheran shop of horrors.

There was only one subject Jesus talked about more than guilt. That was money. Actually, he didn’t talk about guilt; he talked about forgiveness, for that’s where the action is.

We feel guilt because we have wronged someone—God, another person, the whole community, the world, our own true selves. We are estranged. We can’t bridge that gulf of estrangement by ourselves. It takes forgiveness.

One of the neatest promises in scripture is Romans 12:19, “Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord. That doesn’t mean God is going to “get” your enemies for you, the way Maude, in the eponymous TV sitcom, used to say, “God will get you for that.” It means that we don’t have to do vengeance or to suffer it. We are not responsible for bridging all the gaps. God will take care of that. We don’t have to feel guilty… if we accept forgiveness.

“Ask and you shall receive…” Forgiveness is available. We don’t have to be an entrée in the Lutheran Shop of Horrors.


I tweet as yooper1721.

1] He grew up in the small Plymouth Brethren denomination, which he referred to in PHC skits as “The Sanctified Brethren.”

As I noted yesterday, my PHC writing stint was quite short. Only a month or so after Margaret Moos asked me for more scripts, GK announced that he was ending the show and marrying the former exchange student and moving to Denmark. That didn’t last, but it ended my radio writing career.

Katie Kennedy is the rising star in YA lit. [She is also our daughter.] She is published by Bloomsbury, which also publishes lesser authors, like JK Rowling. Her latest book is, What Goes Up. It’s published in hardback, paperback, audio, and electronic, from B&N, Amazon, etc.

Speaking of writing, my most recent book, VETS, about four homeless and handicapped Iraqistan veterans, is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BOKO, Powell’s, etc. It’s published by Black Opal Books.

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