Thursday, December 15, 2011

January: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

"Tune my heart to sing Thy grace"

During the month of January we will be singing the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” which was written in 1758 by Robert Robinson.

One of the great things about this hymn is that it causes us to say true things about ourselves that we would rather not say. It calls us to tune our hearts to sing the grace of God. It calls us to remember the gospel from which pours streams of mercy, never ceasing. How easily it is for us to just check out and drift from the presence of God without intention. Our minds become full of ourselves or the things around us. We rarely slow down to evaluate our hearts. And when we do we find that our hearts deceive us into believing everything is fine and we just continue to float, unaffected by grace and truth. But then when we sing those words that our hearts wouldn’t sing on their own, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it! Prone to leave the God I love,” our hearts are struck to the core as we see our sinful nature exposed. And now our hearts long for and rejoice over those streams of never ceasing mercy, and we understand the author’s meaning when he prays that he might be bound to Christ with the shackles of grace.

Find more information about "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" at:


Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Robert Robinson
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount—O fix me on it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Text: Robert Robinson (1735-1790)
Tune: American Folk Tune attributed to John Wyeth

For 10 months in 2012 our church will be memorizing hymns together. For more information about this click here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Heart is Black and Wicked

October 31st is Reformation Day and usually the Sunday before many churches will celebrate Reformation Sunday. At our church we mainly celebrate this day through song. After all, it was because of the Reformation that we have such a rich history of congregational singing.

If we don't sing a song that was sung during the Reformation, such as "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" or "All People that on Earth Do Dwell", we will sing songs that reflect the spirit of the Reformation, such as "How Firm a Foundation".

Another song we will be singing this Sunday is a song I wrote a few years ago that I always thought appropriate for Reformation Sunday, but until now I have never really been happy with any melody I've put to it. Over the last week or so I've been able to work with this song again and am happy to be able to sing it with the church as we gather together this Sunday. I'm also happy to be able to share it with you as well! Hope you are blessed by it and have a great Reformation Sunday!

My Heart is Black and Wicked by Rich Tuttle

My Heart is Black and Wicked

My heart is black and wicked Lord, it never will obey
Your Holy wrath for me is stored, eternal - day by day
Against Infinite Perfectness we offer perfect sin
Our punishment, eternally, is death and death again

Upon the tree of sin and death, a curse for all to see
"Tis finished!" is His dying breath; His blood has ransomed me
Atonement made for those He chose; God's wrath is satisfied
His punishment becomes our peace and we are justified

By grace alone through faith alone, His gospel we believe
This faith which rests in Christ alone, He gives and we receive
And by the Word of God alone this gospel we proclaim
All glory be to God alone! O praise His Holy Name!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Help Bifrost Arts Give Beautiful Music to the Church

Bifrost Arts is making a new record and you can help!

Find out all the info and how you can help at their Kickstarter page.

In light of my previous post, this is a great opportunity to support a group of church musicians that understand sound theology and beautiful music.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wanted: Hymn Writers

The church is always in need of more hymns. Good hymns. Hymns that last the test of time. Hymns busting at the seams with biblical truth matched with mind blowing beauty. Hymns full of sound doxology. A robust collection of hymns that give voice to every occasion.

One thing the church does not need more of is bad hymns. Shallow hymns. Ugly hymns. Meaningless hymns. Unfortunately it is much easier to write wretchedly than it is to write wonderfully.

So what the church needs (and always needs) is an army of hymn writers. Hymn writers who value truth and beauty. Hymn writers that venture into the depths of the riches of the wisdom and the knowledge of God and come back with treasures and tales of their adventures in that marvelous, perilous realm. What a noble task it is for the church to equip their poet-warriors with the necessary tools and training for such a calling.

Unfortunately, the church in America has done a pretty pitiful job at raising up hymn writers. I mean, if the church struggles to raise up pastors, how on earth will they be able to raise up hymn writers? I'm not talking about training and equipping musicians, though I believe that is a worthy goal I also believe that the church has more musicians than she knows what to do with. Heaven knows we could certainly deal with one less rock star wannabe. Then again, Heaven knows we could certainly benefit from fresh new melodies packed with submissive beauty.

But hymn writers need to be more than musicians. I would even say it is possible that one does not necessarily even need to be musically talented to be a good hymn writer. Though musicality is beneficial, I would argue that hymn writers need to be poetical rather than musical (though some would argue they are one in the same to some degree). But the point is that a hymn writer doesn't need to play piano or guitar or even sing well to write a good hymn.

Not only does one need to be poetical, but also vastly knowledgeable about God. This means that an understanding of sound theology and doctrine is crucial for the hymn writer. It is no surprise to me to see that almost every master hymn writer in the past was a pastor. Wesley, Watts, Newton, Doddridge, etc. Their main business was mining the depths of the gospel each week. To do so they had to be intimate with the Scriptures. As a result, not only were these men pastors worthy of emulation, they became the greatest hymn writers of the English language. Where are our pastor-hymn writers of today? There are exceptions to this however, in that there are many great hymn writers who were laymen. Anne Steele and William Cowper, for example. But only skim through their hymns and you will find that they are dripping with theology like honey from the comb.

The key is that a hymn writer needs to strive to become masterful in joining together truth with beauty. (A love for the people of God, I believe is quite necessary as well.) I like how Kevin Twit describes this melding of truth and beauty in hymns: "theology on fire". And it's in the church's best intrest to invest time, energy, and resources into developing and assisting her hymn writers.

Most of these thoughts were fueled by the following three articles. I happened to read them all within about a day of each other and I became greatly encouraged how each one seeks to support the hymn writer.

Here’s a portion of what he says:
"Let this be an encouragement to modern hymn writers—a cause for inspiration to those who are suffering from writer’s block. There are so many Biblical scenes to choose from that would make for beautiful songs: the transfiguration of Christ, the feeding of the five thousand, the woman at the well, the stoning of Stephen, water baptism, washing of the disciple’s feet, the betrayal of Judas. If just a few good modern hymn writers tackled some of these subjects, the anguish that untold thousands of music ministers suffer weekly could be greatly diminished.

It’s easy to write a chorus that says:
God, you are a Holy God
I need your grace to see me through
I need your mercy to make me new
Let me live each day for you.

I just made that up in two minutes and there’s nothing wrong with it. It might fit easily and competitively among the hundreds of worship songs that are available to choose from. But compare those lines to the third stanza from the above hymn:

Let holy charity mine outward vesture be,
And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part,
And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

It took some real thought to craft those lines. They’re timeless. They set a standard for all of us who write music for the church. I didn’t set out to write a didactic piece. I’m reminding myself, too. Be specific when you write songs about God. Avoid cliché. Avoid convenience. Avoid an obsession with the consumer. Avoid the temptation to make commercial success your central goal. Write with intelligence, employing all the craft, skill, and experience with which God has endowed you."
I absolutely love what he has to say. Though this kind of thing has been said before, it can never be said enough. Encouragement and advice like this needs to become as strong and steady as a pounding drum.

  • The second article that caught my eye is over at Cardiphonia. Bruce Benedict has been kind enough to share what he's been learning in his "Songwriting and Theology" class at Duke. I hope he takes good notes because I'm stealing them...
Songwriting and Theology
Songwriting and Theology Week 2 Paradoxes 

These posts are great in and of themselves and Bruce links to some great thought provoking articles, but what really grabbed my attention was something his teacher said:
"The Church has no theological expectations of her musicians."
This such a sad statement that at first I had a hard time agreeing with it. But after thinking about it and pondering the putrid wasteland of music that has been produced (and peddled, and packaged, and sold)  by the American Church, I have to agree for the most part. It is certainly true that this is an accurate reflection of the status quo.

I would also take that expression and turn it on it's head a bit and say that, "The Church has no poetical or musical expectations of her pastors and theologians."

  • Third, I came across this new blog by Sojourn Music songwriters Bobby and Kristen Gilles called My Song in the Night. It looks as if this entire blog will be highly beneficial the hymn writer.
The 'mission statement' of the blog says this:
"Helping you express words of worship and testimony through songs and stories."
The article I specifically want to direct your attention to is one in their Songwriting section called Modern Hymns. They do an excellent job at laying out a very basic outline of the ins and outs of hymn writing. Just reading through this made me want to stop and find a pen and paper.

  • Lastly, though I didn't just run across this, I do want to direct your attention to a post I put up a few years back called Towards a Better Hymnody. I link to a pamphlet that I think will continue to help us think soundly about our hymnody and our hymn writers. Also, as it was written more than 50 years ago, it lends to the idea that the church is always looking for better hymns and hymn writers.

I hope that these articles have motivated you like they have me. Let's keep the drum pounding. Let's keep spreading the word that the church is in great need of hymn writers.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Normally I don't often dedicate a post to links, but it's been over a month since my last post and it's time for me to play a bit of catch-up. So today's post is plumb full of links directing you, dear reader, to some things I've really been enjoying recently and wanted to share with you.

Doctrine and Doxology: Why we must fire boring teachers and preachers - Carl Trueman is always saying something awesome. He's always seeing and saying things from a different perspective that washes over a subject like a fresh breeze. This article from Reformation 21 is fantastic. The reason I call my blog Sound Doxology is exactly what he explains in this article; namely that doctrine and doxology are linked, and you can't have one without the other. But as great as this article is, I recommend everything Carl Trueman writes.

Seeds Family Worship - These guys do an incredible job at putting Scripture to music. A couple years ago I wrote about how most songs written for children in the church are either putrid or just stupid and we are in major need of children's songs that have good quality in both music and content. Well the Seeds guys are doing it extremely well.

John Stott Has Died - I was saddened to hear this news. God used John Stott to greatly increase my understanding of worship. Stott was really the first person I read who clearly conveyed that the more we know God the more we will worship God. I've had this quote of his on my blog since I started it a few years back:
"All true worship is a response to the self-revelation of God in Christ and Scripture, and arises from our reflection on who He is and what He has done….The worship of God is evoked, informed, and inspired by the vision of God….The true knowledge of God will always lead us to worship."

Worship Leaders – Prepare Like a Preacher - Good things are always happening at Cardiphonia. I found this article to be wonderful, and as always there are fantastic resources that go along with it.

Speaking of Cardiphonia, as I was linking to the site I ran across the latest post The Rise of Digital Hymnals. (See, I told you good things are always happening there...) I am a huge, mega fan of Digital Hymnals. I've been telling you about Indelible Grace and Red Mountain Music for a while now, but Bruce has collected and linked to a few more!

Reflections on the Psalms - I'm half-way through this book by CS Lewis and I already want to recommend it. Reading this book has caused me to fall more in love with the book of Psalms. After a chapter or two I can't help but close the book and start reading the Psalms.

The Wingfeather Saga - Andrew Peterson, in my opinion, is a master wordsmith. His lyrics in his songs pierce my heart in ways no other songwriter has done before. So it's no surprise that his books do the same thing. He's written three books so far, with a fourth on the way. I just finished the third book and the story rejuvenated my soul. This really doesn't have much to do with congregational worship, but after reading his last book, I was driven to worship in light of the beauty and truth of God.

Gospel Focused Leadership with Dr. Richard Blackaby - This one-day event will be taking place at Wornall Road Baptist Church (my church) on Saturday Aug 20 from 10AM to 3PM. Includes worship and prayer as well as leadership from Dr. Blackaby on "getting our hearts, minds and God's people onto God's Agenda." The cost is free and lunch is provided. If you live in (or are nearby) the Kansas City area this would be a great opportunity for you and/or your church leaders to rest and reorient around the gospel.

Around the Table - This is my new blog that both my wife and I contribute to. (It's also likely the reason why I haven't posted here lately...) Essentially it is a blog about food and fellowship and life around the dinner table. We share recipes and stories and hopefully it will inspire you or make you laugh.

Finally, I thought I'd link to what's become my most viewed post (by far): The Effeminate Worship Leader. I knew this would strike a nerve when I first posted it (both positive and negative) but I didn't really expect the amount of traffic it has generated, and what it continues to generate. I've thought about re-posting it and updating it a bit, but after re-reading it I don't know if I have much else to say about it in this format. I am always open to having a dialogue about these kinds of things though.

So that's it for now! Hopefully some of these links have interested you as much as they have interested me.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Fall

Over the past couple of weeks I've been working on a project writing songs to assist in family worship. The songs are meant to aid in teaching theology to children without watering down truth or compromising the gospel through legalistic moralism. I hope to discuss this project in a bit more detail in the future but that being said, I want to share with you one of the songs I've written for the project.

This song is intended to teach about the Fall. The themes are sin, original sin, our response to sin, and God's response to sin through judgment and salvation all wrapped in the story we find in Genesis 2 and 3. Enjoy!

The Fall by Rich Tuttle

The Fall

When God made the world He had a plan, made a man and a woman, named Adam and Eve
He gave them a job, “Glorify, multiply, but don’t eat from that middle tree
The Tree of Knowledge of Wrong and Right, if you eat it you will surely die.”

The serpent walked right up to Eve and said, “Do you really believe
that God meant what He said that you would die?”
Then Eve saw that the fruit looked good. The serpent said, “You really should
just eat the fruit and open up your eyes!”
And she listened to the snake, she took the fruit and then she ate,
and turned to Adam and said, “Take a bite.”
Then they felt the shame
and God called their name

He said, “What have you done?
You disobeyed and now you’ve laid the foundation for a painful life,
full of anguish and toil and strife.

“Now every child that’s born to you will pass this curse and bear it too;
a wicked nature, born to sin and die.”
Now every nation, tribe, and tongue will be afraid and be on the run
‘cause God is watching with His holy eye.
And He made for them some skins, to show what happens when you sin.
Blood must be shed from an innocent life.
But not all hope was lost, ‘cause God had planned the cross.

To the serpent God had news for him; Good news for us but his news was grim
A promise made and this is what God said,
“Though the woman took your crooked deal, her seed will come and you’ll bruise his heel,
but that’s ‘cause with it He will bust your head!”
And on His promise He made good, Jesus came to our neighborhood and for our sin
His perfect blood was shed!
And He removed our shame
then God called our name.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How We Will Worship in the Wake of Tragedy

Dear Church Family,

As we consider the tragic events that have taken place this last week with tornados eastern Kansas, recently in Sedalia and most noticeably of all in Joplin, Missouri, no doubt many of you are asking “Why?”. For that answer I would direct you to this link from our church’s website: Why?

The question I’d like to deal with isn’t asking “Why?” it is asking “How?” Specifically, how are we to respond in worship in light of calamity, tragedy, death and destruction? This Sunday as we gather together for worship what will our corporate response to God in light of these tragedies look like?

I want to share with you a portion of our service for this upcoming Sunday in hope that we might begin, even now, to prepare our hearts so that when we come together our understanding of what we are doing in worship will be better grasped, and through that understanding we might be even more united so that we might make the praises of God truly glorious! (Psalm 66:2)

After our time of Fellowship we will hear Job 1:13-22 read aloud:

Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and there came a messenger to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you." While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you." While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, "The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you." While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, "Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
A horrible tragedy (tragedy upon tragedy!) befell Job. In an instant, all that he had was gone. His most prized possessions—his very children—were killed in a tornado. What was Job’s response? “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job didn’t sin in anger, nor did he charge God with wrong. He worshiped God. He recognized who God is and who Job is. God is sovereign, Job is not.

So we, like Job, will sing of God’s sovereignty and goodness in both good times and bad. We will do so together singing Matt and Beth Redman’s song “Blessed Be Your Name”. May our hearts burst with true humility as we cry out to God:

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

The next song we will sing is “All Things New” by Horatius Bonar and Red Mountain Music. This song gives us hope that God will not linger forever, and not only that, He will one day renew all things. So while it is right that we exalt God by confessing “You give and take away” we must also look for the day when He will make all things new. One day there will be no more suffering, no more towns devastated by tornadoes. Through the words of this song we corporately confess our hope and trust in the promises of God.

We will then hear Luke 13:1-5 read aloud:

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
 (For a deeper look into this passage I highly recommend this sermon from John Piper)

May we be fully aware of the depth of our sin and the infinite shortness of our shortcomings. May we recognize that our crimes have been committed against an Infinite, Holy, and Righteous God. May we recognize the infinite punishment that ought to be justly applied to us. May we, even now, turn from our sins and look to the cross of Christ and cry “Be merciful to me!” And together we will turn to the cross and say those very words, praying as we sing Randall Goodgame's song “Be Merciful to Me”.

But we don’t cry out without hope. God truly is merciful and shows us Christ dying in our place, which causes us to rejoice even in the midst of our pain and suffering. And we will be reminded of this as we hear God’s Word in Philippians 4:4-7:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Only through Christ do we have this peace; a peace that allows us to rejoice in God even when our hearts are breaking, a peace that allows us to rejoice even in the midst of suffering. And so we will confess that no matter what comes—when God gives or when He takes away—through Christ we can and will sing “It is Well with My Soul”.

I pray that this foretaste of our gathered worship for this upcoming Sunday has whetted your appetite. I pray that you come expectantly, longing to hear from God, longing to rejoice alongside fellow believers, longing to magnify Christ in all things. I love you and I look forward to making much of God together with you this Sunday.

Your brother,
Rich Tuttle

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Twistgum Letters: A Steady Diet of Shadows and Puddles

The following is the third in a series of letters written by Arch-demon Twistgum to his nephew Baleswarm. How these letters were obtained is unknown, however it is obvious that they were not intended to be read by human eyes. From the letters we can deduce that Baleswarm has been assigned to tempt, hinder and ruin a Worship Leader, a subject matter in which his Uncle Twistgum has many years of demonic experience.

Dear Baleswarm,

Music. That wretched weapon. Were you dealing with any other human Subject I would be quick to advise you to avoid it altogether. It’s too slippery. Even when it is in the hands of those outside the Enemy’s camp it somehow (in some blasted confoundable way!) is able to point back to the Enemy. Some call it beauty. I call it putrid. Too many demons have sought to wield it, allured by its power, thinking they might harness it for our cause, thinking they’ve succeeded by their efforts only to be thwarted by our cunning Enemy. But you, my dear Baleswarm, because of the office of your Subject, cannot help to avoid it. But thankfully for you, Music (in and of itself) will not need to be fully dealt with, as your subject deals almost exclusively in Song. There are few things more to be feared than Song in the Enemy’s hands and used expressly for his purposes. Therefore there are few things more effective to deceive the Enemy’s people than our use of Song. I’ve explained to you before that the best way to achieve our cause is to allow the Enemy’s people to think they are doing their Master’s will. And to that end, Song is ripe for the picking. Heed my advice and worry not about melodies or harmonies or singing ‘in tune’. For now, focus all of your attention on the words that are sung.

It is to your advantage, Baleswarm, to seek to remove as much of the Enemy’s truth from the lyrics as possible. To achieve this you must play an old, reliable card: Give the people what they want. You know as well as I do that humans, by their very nature, abhor the Enemy’s ‘truth’ almost as much as we do. It frightens them. It makes them uncomfortable. It is strange and foreign to them. And most of all it changes them. So it is imperative that you see to it that your Subject gives them what they want—Safety, Comfort, Familiarity.

See to it that he tends to choose songs that give only a partial picture of who the Enemy truly is and what the Enemy has really done. Bathe them with platitudes and generalities. Give them nothing of depth. Let them think the puddle is the ocean. Let them think the shadow is the substance. And all the while see to it that your Subject sees the results of his ‘success’! This will give him a wholly firm, yet false, confidence and assurance that his Master is pleased. If you are able to bring this about it will likely result in one of the following ways:

In the first scenario, your Subject will continue the splendid cycle of giving the people what they want, resulting in more ‘success’, and like a pied piper he will ever lead them further from the Enemy’s truth. Their theological course has been set. And now if any of the Enemy’s servants try to ‘right the ship’ we will find that our job to devour and destroy will become a mere spectator sport.

The second result we may see is that in light of this great ‘success’ your Subject will begin to feel the ‘weight’ of responsibility to keep both his Master and his congregation pleased. If it comes to this and if you have indeed heeded my council thus far by pressing Guilt upon him and remain vigilant in disrupting communication then we will find a most glorious result from this new ‘weight’. Your Subject will soon begin to think, whether consciously or ignorantly, that he is now the Mediator who stands between his Master and his congregation and that worship is now dependent on him. But of this I have much more to say and must address it in another letter. For now I am eager to hear more about your devilry. So I end this letter that I may speed our correspondence.

I close by reinforcing my prescription for both your Subject and the congregation through your Subject—A steady diet of shadows and puddles.

Your Most Worthy and Esteemed Uncle,


Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday Hymn

Here's a song I recorded this morning with nothing but my guitar, free recording software, and an Xbox microphone. Hope it brings joy to you on this Good Friday as we look upon the cross of Christ.

When On The Cross words by John Newton, music by Rich Tuttle

When on the cross, my Lord I see,
Bleeding to death for wretched me,
Satan and sin no more can move,
For I am all transformed to love.

His thorns and nails, pierced through my heart,
In every groan I bear a part;
I view his wounds with streaming eyes,
But see! he bows his head and dies!

Come, sinners, view the Lamb of God,
Wounded and dead, and bathed in blood;
Behold his side and venture near,
The well of endless life is here.

Here I forget my cares and pains;
I drink, yet still my thirst remains;
Only the fountain head above,
Can satisfy the thirst of love.

Oh, that I thus could always feel!
Lord, more and more thy love reveal!
Then my glad tongue shall loud proclaim
The grace and glory of thy name.

Thy name dispels my guilt and fear,
Revives my heart, and charms my ear;
Affords a balm for every wound,
And Satan trembles at the sound.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Twistgum Letters: Ignorant Subversion of the Enemy’s Will

The following is the second of a series of letters written by Arch-demon Twistgum to his nephew Baleswarm. How these letters were obtained is unknown, however it is obvious that they were not intended to be read by human eyes. From the letters we can deduce that Baleswarm has been assigned to tempt, hinder and ruin a Worship Leader, a subject matter in which his Uncle Twistgum has many years of demonic experience.

Dear Baleswarm,

Regarding your man’s soul—this cannot be helped. He is held firm and fast in the clutches of the Enemy, never to be released. The goal therefore, is not to tempt him to ‘switch sides’ but rather push and prod him in such a way that he unwittingly undermines his Master. Get your Subject to mistake his will for his Master’s will. Once he supposes his own efforts and reasons are ‘righteous’ then we have him, for no topic or issue will be too inconsequential. Every molehill will be a mountain. If you can muddle his mind about whether it is ‘right’ or not to sing ‘this or that’ or if it is appropriate to play a certain instrument or any other matter of insignificance then your Subject will be well on his way to achieving our objective.

The best way to accomplish such marvelous devilry is to cut off all of his communication with his Commander. As you have no doubt learned at Minion Academy, Our Father Below is adamant about this. Aim your sights at the clearest channels; Prayer and the Book (that blasted indestructible Book). This will greatly increase your ability to influence your Subject to make decisions according to his own “wisdom”.

Regarding Prayer, it is the way in which our shrewd Foe has ‘opened the lines’ allowing his servants complete and free access into his very presence. Disrupt that communication. Dish out problems that he feels he can handle on his own, in his own power. For a time this will give him a tower of confidence but we know that this tower will soon fall and if the lines of communication have been successfully disrupted then your Subject has no where else to turn for help other than himself, which is for our ends quite satisfactory. It is good news indeed to hear that your Subject often falters in this area. Exploit it. Throw Guilt against him and fasten it with nails. Use everything at your disposal to cause him to forget prayer or more importantly to Whom he is praying. But I warn you, Baleswarm, be on your guard, for the reality may be that he turns to the Book. And this is simply unacceptable.

From your descriptions it seems unlikely that your Subject will give up the Book without a fight. You said yourself that he ‘submits to it’. Well, if you are to achieve this goal of your Subject’s ignorant subversion of the Enemy’s will then in this area you must be highly deceitful. However, deceit is a tricky business. In situations such as this we cannot simply cast our nets in full view, this is too obvious. No, we must seek to entangle him strand by strand and knot by knot, so that his hands are bound before he can loose his feet. In the Book the Enemy has clearly put forward His agenda. His will is clear for all to see. It seems highly unlikely that you will be able to get your Subject to doubt it, not yet at least, so begin to lay your strands by getting him riled up over the fringes. It really matters not which topic he enthralls himself with, just as long as it has nothing to do with the central menacing message about the Enemy’s Son. The more enamored he becomes with one small part of the Book the more likely he will invert the entirety of it. The danger is that nearly every part points, one way or another, to that horrible event of the Enemy’s Invasion and the Mission He accomplished, so make sure whatever pet project your Subject piddles with always points away from the confounding cross.

There is much more about this that I would like to share with you my dear nephew, but that would require getting into specifics. Take these general recommendations and apply them to your situation, and as this correspondence continues I shall assist you in tailoring the finer details that pertain to you and your Subject. As for now, time grows short (it ever grows shorter!) and I am needed for council in another matter. It appears that your brother Grimstone’s Man (a deacon) has his church in such upheaval that the ‘sheep’ will soon be scattered. Such delight!

Your Most Esteemed Uncle,


Monday, January 17, 2011

The Twistgum Letters: Baleswarm’s New Assignment

The following is the first of a series of letters written by Arch-demon Twistgum to his nephew Baleswarm. How these letters were obtained is unknown, however it is obvious that they were not intended to be read by human eyes. From the letters we can deduce that Baleswarm has been assigned to tempt, hinder and ruin a Worship Leader, a subject matter in which his Uncle Twistgum has many years of demonic experience.

Dear Baleswarm,

It is only natural that you have sought my advice; my experience in this matter far exceeds the training you received at Minion Academy. Although I don’t see why you have delayed in requesting such knowledge from your dear Uncle Twistgum, I suppose it is now neither here nor there.

The duty of oppressing a minister of the Enemy can be extremely taxing so I am pleased to hear that you are making inroads with your newest assignment. But I fear this early success has given you a false impression of the battle to come. The consistency of weekly gatherings (upon that most wretched of days) in which your subject leads the Enemy’s camp with the most abysmal, and yet most potent form of worship—Song—will no doubt severely hinder your efforts, causing you much frustration and agitation. And this is merely a byproduct. I dare say you have your work cut out for you if your subject approaches his duty with any sort of seriousness and devotion. Know this Baleswarm, though the task is great the rewards are even greater, for your subject is but the first in a long line of dominoes, cause him to fall and many will follow.

Your efforts in sowing the seed of Pride on account of his office are valiant but I fear it is rather a premature step. For the Enemy is a crafty tyrant who will allow your subject to fall exposing his Pride and will soon remedy the situation. So heed my advice and start with the man in a more subtle manner. Instead of Pride start with Guilt. Because the Enemy has qualified this man for such a position, rather than achieving it on his own, the groundwork is already laid for us. All you must do is continually point out his unworthiness of such a ‘high’ office (‘Worship Leader’ is such an arrogant title, is it not?). Amplify his sinful past. Leave abundant snares of temptation. Make sure those closest to him remind him of his faults. Once this foundation is laid it is vital for your subject to strive for worthiness in anything but what the Enemy has determined. Distract him with ‘good’ things. Rigid Attendance, Musical Excellence, Recognition, &c. It is important that you be ready with a new distraction, however small, for your subject will be restless in his search for worthiness. If all goes according to plan your subject will be driven to Pride, not because of his office (as you are attempting), but because of his efforts to validate himself as one worthy of such an office. His unceasing, unsatisfying search for worthiness will remain fruitless and, left to this course, will turn into despair. Suddenly his office becomes a thing to be despised. Misery and Depression will turn into Anger and Resentment. Oh, such joy!

At this point any number of wonderful things might happen. He may resign (good, though now he has less persuasion on other souls), or he may leave his current post for another (better, for we can now assist in building his new ministry on bitterness and disdain), or he may spread his infected influence on others under his care and fragment his congregation the same way a sledge hammer might fragment a window (best of all, for obvious reasons).

I look forward to hearing about your progress in this magnanimous endeavor and I implore you to give careful consideration regarding my instruction on this matter in our future correspondence.

Your Esteemed Uncle,