Angus Hangs Up His Mutton Chops

Longtime newspaper publisher and humorist Angus Wordsworth Duncan officially announced his retirement this week and is stepping down from his duties at The Sacred Sandwich and The League of Tyndale. “This is no joke,” he said in an emotional statement to his beloved staff and colleagues. “I’m hanging up my mutton chops for good and riding Humphrey, my trusty mule, into the sunset.”

During the announcement, several employees could be seen snickering incessantly at Duncan’s deadpan delivery and impeccable comedic timing. “Good one, Angus!” someone shouted from the back of the newsroom. “You had us going there for a second, you ol’ coot!”

“It’s really hard to leave you all,” Duncan continued, ignoring the giggles and dabbing his moist eyes with a tissue. “It’s hard to leave because you obviously think I’m pranking you right now. But I’m dead serious, guys. Hey, come on…  this isn’t funny…  Seriously, stop it.  I’m really retiring…  Scout’s honor. Look, people… stop laughing. My fingers aren’t crossed or anything…  Come on, stop laughing already!”

At least two employees were later treated for “side stitches” and minor bruising from rolling in the aisle. Only proofreader Lily Smukler seemed visibly distraught, but this was apparently due to the retirement cake from Hy-Vee reading, “Happy Trails, Angus. Your The Best!” in blue frosting. Overall, the consensus among the amused attendees was that Duncan gave an eloquent farewell speech that rivaled Lou Gehrig’s final address at Yankee Stadium, but as one snarky staffer noted, “without the haunting reverb.”

Advertising executive and obituary editor Otis Clutterbuck summed it up best: “Angus is quite the kidder. This may rank up there with his classic ‘Green Bean Casserole’ bit.”

C. R. Carmichael, who served behind the scenes as an unofficial adviser to Duncan, will immediately fill the vacancy left by Mr. Duncan. Carmichael recently acquired sole ownership of The Sacred Sandwich and his plans are to take the publication away from an emphasis on Christian humor and satire and present more straightforward, biblically-based content.

Explained Carmichael, “The Sandwich and Angus presented an unique, groundbreaking levity during the heyday of the Christian blogosphere, but times are changing in a way that warrants a new approach. Angus always stated that the humor at The Sacred Sandwich was only an experiment to see if satire could be used to address some of the missteps of American Christianity during the rise of the seeker-sensitive church movement and the subsequent emergent church movement. He proved, I believe, that satire can be a viable tool for exposing error, but ultimately it could not adequately address the rising postmodernism that is currently plaguing the Church with its emphasis on romanticism over biblical doctrine and ‘feelings’ over hard truth. My sense right now is that so-called ‘Christian humor’ is only adding to the milieu of spiritual ambiguity, worldliness and lackadaisicalness among professed believers, and making light of the grave matters at hand.”

Following Duncan’s announcement and tearful departure, Carmichael addressed the confused staff and was finally able to convince them that Angus’s retirement was not an elaborate prank. “I just told them that Angus had been embezzling from the company for years and was on his way to prison for emptying out our pension fund. Well, that sobered them up real quick. Of course, then it took me quite a while to convince them I was only kidding. Sheesh, people, it was a joke.”

Some things, it seems, you just don’t joke about.

Ashes of a Blaze

When the race is ended, and the play is either won or lost, and ye are in the utmost circle and border of time, and shall put your foot within the march of eternity, all the good things of your short nightdream shall seem to you like ashes of a blaze of thorns or straw. — Samuel Rutherford

The Christian’s Chart

“In the case of every errant course there is always a first wrong step. If we can trace that wrong step, we may be able to avoid it and its results. Where, then, is the point of divergence from the “King’s highway of truth”? What is the first step astray? Is it doubting this doctrine, or questioning that sentiment, or being sceptical as to the other article of orthodox belief? We think not. These doubts and this scepticism are the outcome of something going before.

“If a mariner, having to traverse an unknown sea, does not put implicit confidence in his charts, and therefore does not consult them for guidance in steering the ship, he is, as anyone can see, every moment exposed to dangers of various kinds. Now, the Word of God—the Book written by holy men as they were moved by the Spirit of God—is the Christian’s chart; and though, in a ship’s company, some of the men may have little critical knowledge of navigation, the captain is supposed to be well instructed therein, and to be able, by consulting the charts, to steer the ship aright; so in reference to ministers of Christ’s gospel, and pastors of Christ’s church, which he hath purchased with his blood. The first step astray is a want of adequate faith in the divine inspiration of the sacred Scriptures. All the while a man bows to the authority of God’s Word, he will not entertain any sentiment contrary to its teaching. “To the law and to the testimony,” is his appeal concerning every doctrine. He esteems that holy Book, concerning all things, to be right, and therefore he hates every false way. But let a man question, or entertain low views of the inspiration and authority of the Bible, and he is without chart to guide him, and without anchor to hold him.” — Robert Shindler, 1887.

The Root

rosebud“If I were to plead that the rose bud were the author of the root, well! I might indeed be laughed at. But were I to urge that any goodness in man is the ground of God’s choice, I should be foolish indeed.” Spurgeon