Tabletalk Subscription
You have {{ remainingArticles }} free {{ counterWords }} remaining.You've accessed all your free articles.
Unlock the Archives for Free

Request your free, three-month trial to Tabletalk magazine. You’ll receive the print issue monthly and gain immediate digital access to decades of archives. This trial is risk-free. No credit card required.

Try Tabletalk Now

Already receive Tabletalk magazine every month?

Verify your email address to gain unlimited access.

{{ error }}Need help?

Our Lovely Blackheart,

As you well know, the enemy has a rather unfair advantage in that He can — and delights — to make things out of nothing. Our powers are limited to perversion. This has not kept our father below from doing astonishing things. He has learned to take the worst thing, the enemy’s glory in His creation, and turn it into pride, and then take pride and turn it into an infernal combustion engine. On the day of our great victory in Eden, he offered the woman the opportunity to be like God, knowing good and evil. Since that time we have distracted our foes by making them think that the problem is in the evil rather than in the knowing. The temptation wasn’t principally to experience evil, but rather the pride of knowing a secret.

Our Gossip Division has played off of this. While the enemy devoted verse after verse to speaking against the “sins“ of the tongue in general, and gossip in particular, we have counter-assaulted by presenting His pleas as an attempt to protect the guilty. “Yes,“ we whisper to the pious imps, “you must be careful not to gossip, lest you harm his reputation or sully her honor.“ This keeps them completely off guard against the real danger, their own pride. Gossip flowers first in the rich soil of their pride in knowing, second in the warm sunshine of having knowledge that others crave, and third in the slanting rain of being in the inner circle, which together form the very trinity of pride. That they baptize their folly by feigning to be concerned for their brothers, or frame their gossip as passing along prayer concerns, only gives our father fits of the giggles.

Remember, then, the basics. First, more important than the person about whom they gossip, more important than the information itself, is that there is secret knowledge to be had. Second, do not lose sight that this knowledge is made up of whole cloth. That is, humans have an insatiable desire to reach conclusions. Insufficient evidence never seems to slow them down. Third, don’t forget that the hungry ear is as valuable to us as the eager tongue. To this end, we’re especially grateful for the internet. Remember last year’s mantra for the entire gossip team — Google is our friend.

Keep at it. We have been hearing some disturbing things lately about your work ethic. Very disturbing indeed.

Your Master,


Civil Religion

Keep Reading Letters from the Abyss

From the February 2011 Issue
Feb 2011 Issue