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Our Dear Asag,

Remember: our abysmal sublimity does not so much want to tear down "godly" ways as to build up his own. From the apex of temptation in the garden to the present, his conspiratorial plot has always been to offer some sane, attractive, and wholesome counterfeit to the true kingdom of our foe.

That’s why subtle counterfeits are the perfect tools for your task to hamper shepherds from shepherding, to deter pastors from actually pastoring. Amorality is obvious and shortsighted; scandal lasts but for a season; but fiddling the days and hours away on sweet nothings can become the habit of a lifetime -- thus wreaking far greater havoc on the church with less work on your part.

Strive for ministerial service without the pastoral; we want a plethora of well-served pulpits combined with a disconnection between ministers and people. Pastoral care and discipleship are time-consuming and, by all appearances, inefficient -- so use that to your advantage. Given all the other duties pastors are expected to fulfill, making them feel harried and overwhelmed is hardly difficult.

Encourage them to dawdle over their mail -- or, better yet, their e-mail, blog posts, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, web links, and iPhone apps. These are all fine things in and of themselves, of course, which makes their wastrel effects so easily justifiable: "tools for ministry"; "making work more effective"; "good, prompt communication." See how simple the spoils?

We must be clear about this: the consummation of evil is not best attained by getting our subjects to indulge in puerile peccadilloes -- oh, that is such a ham-fisted notion. Rather, it is as simple as distracting them from their providentially ordained callings. All of the obvious pastoral sins are quite useful, of course: false humility, man-pleasing, discontent, prevarication, envy, and so on. But all you have to do is set a few good-intentioned distractions in front of them; your assigned pastors will take it from there and those other sins will breed quite naturally on their own. Virtual ministry: what a wonderful notion. Just provide an escape from people that masquerades as ministry, dear Asag; they’ll reboot on their own!

Your Master,