Being a Typewriter Repairmen in an Apple World

This is from the TV show Blue Bloods, season 4, episode 5, “Lost and Found.” A “whiskey priest” is speaking.  He has been a chaplain to the NYPD since at least 9/11 when he “worked the pile” with firemen and police. One of the priest’s cop buddies from that day recently killed himself. This has led to the priest getting a series of DUI tickets for which the department out of professional courtesy has let him skate. This time he has been in an accident while no one was hurt his behavior can’t be ignored. The police commissioner who “worked the pile” with him also knew the cop who committed suicide. He asks the priest why this one sent him over the edge.  This is the priest’s reply.

The Thursday noon-to-1:00 confessions used to have 50 cops go through here.
And now? Spiritual problems became chemical imbalances. Crises of faith became a form of PTSD. There’s a pill and a professional for every crisis now, and a chaplain may as well be a guy with a typewriter repair shop in the same block as an Apple store.

Real church leaders would be talking about this real world situation. They would recognize it, and steel their pastors to “preach the word in season and out of season.”  Instead, I find them, the seminaries, and LCMS, INC trying to make, spiritually form, and equip pastors to be Apple repairmen.

Word and Sacrament ministry is not enough. I know this because the powers that be have been telling me so for over 30 years. Via Lutheran Witless and the official Synod-run media The Reporter they have been showing me so during this same time. And they have memorialized, resolved, encouraged, and reorganized as if there was no such thing as spiritual problems or crises of faith. No, it’s chemical imbalances that are real – though science itself can’t prove this – and PTSD is beyond the reach of Word and Sacrament in a way that the Shell Shock of World War I or the Battle Fatigue of World War II was not. Add a “syndrome” to any spiritual problem and it becomes a psychological one to be turned over to a therapist, like they’ve done so well with them.

To all the guys with typewriters or at least keyboards, okay even Apple devices, who still believe that the Word of God they preach, teach, and distribute in Water, Wine, and Bread are the only means of “repairing” the fallen mortality of man, this column is for you. Keep on banging away. Keep putting those Words out there. No matter how much you’re being told these hurting people are beyond the reach of your Words, they aren’t. Your Words are those of the Word made Flesh. You’re a forgiver of sins in a world of sinners, and business is booming.

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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