(Original Post, July 18, 2010)
Update: (3/26/10) To be released this summer; An Updated "Indispensable" "New Edition" of Walther's Law and Gospel. http://www.cph.org/p-8987-law-and-gospel-how-to-read-and-apply-the-bible.aspx
(St. Louis) Word of a Concordia Publishing House plot to publish a definitive "Lutheran Library" leaked out late yesterday (July 17) on the Rev. Paul McCain blog, Cyberbrethren. The previously hidden conspiracy (codename "T.E.L.L." - T-he E-ssential L-utheran L-ibrary) continues the publisher's pension for acrostic alphabet soup. The plot is to publish a set of volumes that not only look similar, but are so indispensable to parish pastors as to separate them from unnecessary income. McCain admits "There's the method to the method, the reason to the rhyme, etc." (HT: http://weedon.blogspot.com/2009/07/just-thinking-about-it.html see comments).
So far the scheme has been wildly successful. Currently six volumes have been released piling up the acronyms and creating a confused order to the confusion. McCain '...we want to encourage people to think “Bible” when they think “Hymnal” and think “Hymnal” when they think “Bible”.' One pastor who refused to be identified noted that his wife dreaded the arrival of the new Concordia catalog. "What book has that devil McCain convinced you you can't live without now!" she quipped.
The book list includes:
TLSB - The Lutheran Study Bible
CTLC - Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions
LSB - Lutheran Service Book
LSC - Luther’s Small Catechism
TDP - Treasury of Daily Prayer
LBP - Lutheran Book of Prayer
The subversion is far from complete. Rev. McCain admitted that two additional volumes were a part of the plot, one previously published and a second forthcoming.
RPL - Reading the Psalms with Luther
SP - Starck’s Prayerbook
The final genius of the plot has been magnified by the House offering several of the books at half price. Reports have surfaced of pastor forgoing daily necessities such as their fifth cup of morning coffee in favor of the "Mini-Me" edition of the CTLC (on sale in May for seven dollars). There are sporadic reports of book hoarding. One parisioner said, "Our pastor has ten copies of the Mini Book of Concord in his office." The real danger of the plot is yet to come, however. McCain set the goal high with the threat, "These are volumes that I deem absolutely essential for every Lutheran"
Reporting Pastor Jonathan C. Watt
(update: The author is still trying to decipher the letters "TCLLTLRS").