Rude Dogma Presents: Letters to Santa with Comments from Leading Theologians

Once upon a time, in a land not far away, I and a companion in doctrinal crime composed a theological rag known as Rude Dogma. One professor hailed it as “Better than the book of Leviticus.” (Funny, I don’t think he taught long after that.)

While only a handful of issues actually made it to press, we did put out a “Christmas Spectacular” which contained the following letters to Santa (and responses).

Dear Santa,

My brother says you are not real, that you are just a story and that I am stupid to believe in you. I believe in you anyways. Am I wrong?

Confused, Lonnie, age 8

Dear Lonnie,

Follow your heart, young man. As long as you believe, I am real. Don’t worry about what your brother says.

Love, Santa

Rudolf Bultmann comments: “Man [sic, Ed.] acknowledges as reality only such phenomena or events as are comprehensible within the framework of the rational order of the universe. Such events are always ascribed to natural powers, or to good or bad on the part of men [sic again, geez, Ed.] or to human wisdom or stupidity.

Dear Santa,

I want a G.I. Joe Action set and a new bike and a Ninetendo. How can I reconcile these desires with a need to reach out to the poor? Can I somehow get my toys and simultaneously create a new cultural milieu, a world where there are no rich and no poor, only loving, caring humans living in peace?

Your friend,

Shellie. age 9

Dear Shellie,

I’ll do my best to make this the best Christmas ever.

Love, Santa

Leonardo Boff comments:  In a certain sense it is unrealistic to struggle for a classless society — a society without any conflict at all. Realistically, one can only struggle for a type of sociability in which love will be less difficult, and where power and participation will have better distribution.

Dear Santa Claus,

What’s the big idea with this “naughty” and “nice” stuff? I mean this is the twentieth century, fella. Wake up! We live in an age of cultural relativism. Who can really say who’s naughty and nice? How is one to judge? I can feel the existential angst welling up within me even as I ponder such a ludicrous pre-Kantian dialectic. Why, Santa Claus? Why?

Love Joey, age 10

Dear Joey,

Santa Claus is too busy loading toys for good girls and boys to respond to your letter. I’m sorry to hear about your “angst.” Perhaps you could ask your mother to pour some Epsom salt in a hot tub of water. It works for Santa.

Love, Mrs Claus

Soren Kirkegaard comments: The paradoxical character of the truth is its objective uncertainty; this uncertainty is an expression for the passionate inwardness, and this passion is the truth.

Editorial Comment: We were uncertain how this Kierkegaard quote related to Joey’s letter or Mrs. Claus’ response, but we felt passionately that it would look good on the page and upgrade our publication. Thus it is so.

Yes, Virgina! there is a Santa Clause

A Man and His Mother (prompted flash fiction)

She watched out the window as the man in rainbow suspenders argued with his mother.

“Mom, how many times do I have to tell you? She’s not my girlfriend.”

“Is she a girl?”

“She’s 37. I’d say she’s a woman.”

“Oh, a woman. I see. A loose woman, I suppose.”


“I know what women want. Women want only two things. And you ain’t got money.”

“It’s not like that.  You… Why, you’re a woman. Is that what you want?”

“I’m not a woman. I’m a mother.”

“I can’t believe I’m having this conversation.  Mother, I’m 53 years old. If I want to take a woman to Starbucks for coffee, I can darn well do so without answering to my mother.”

“That’s right. It’s a free world. Do what ever you want. It’s all the rage now. Coffee. Cappacino. Venereal Disease.”

“I’m leaving now, mother.”

“When will you be back?”

“I don’t know.”

“How will I know when to start dinner?”

“Fix something for yourself when you’re hungry. I can always eat leftovers.”

“Oh, it’s like that now, is it?”

“What, mother?”

“You’re going to put coffee with a strange woman over dinner with your mother?”

“Okay. Fine. I’ll be home by 6.”

“Six is awfully late to eat, isn’t it. What about your acid reflux?”

“5:30 then. Now, I have to go. Goodbye mother.”


“What, mother?”



“It’s just. I love you.”

“I love you too, ma.  Now go take a nap.”

Sonny smiled as he slid into his Ford Escort. He might never understand women. But he knew his mother pretty well.

Dating Advice for my 60-Something Year old Mother--What Are The Rules?

 from Melissa Chapman

The first line was provided in a writing prompt from Today’s Author.

The Language of Relationships: A Blog Hop Story


Bruce: “Here’s a nice bench.  Let’s sit here.”

Carl: “What a gorgeous November day this is.” 

Bruce: “It sure is. So peaceful.  So calm.”

Carl: “What’s for lunch today?”

Bruce: “I have pastrami on rye.”

Carl: “Ah!  With hot mustard?”

Bruce: “Mayo.”

Carl: “Mayo?  Who puts mayo on pastrami and rye?”

Bruce: “My wife does. She puts mayo on everything. It’s sort of a thing with her.”

Carl: “Why don’t you say something to her? Or make your own sandwiches?”

Bruce: “I don’t want to take that away from her.  She thinks she’s being helpful. God love her.”

Carl: “She’s a sweet lady. But you shouldn’t treat her so delicately. Let her grow up.”

Bruce: “Since when did you become a relationship expert?”

Carl: “My third wife was a marriage therapist. She taught me a lot.”

Bruce: “Hey, Dr. Phil, how about helping me move that log over for a stool?”

Carl: “Sure.”

Setting down their lunches, they roll a large log over beside the bench.

Carl: “So Alexandra, my third wife, the therapist, used to say, ‘A woman is a vowel. A man is a consonant.  A woman can stand alone, but together with a man can express more meaning.”

Bruce: “Wow.  That’s profound.  Whatever happened to Alexandra?”

Carl: “She ran off with a mime.”

Bruce: “Oh, sorry for that.”

Carl: “Yeah, it was tough for awhile.  Until I met Samantha. Sam is the long ‘e’ to go with my ‘m’.  She fits me perfectly.”

Bruce: “Boy, you could write greeting cards.  You know that?”

Carl: “Thanks. So how’s the pastrami?”

Bruce: “I’ve had better.”

Carl: “Even with mayo?”

Bruce: “No. The mayo pretty much ruins it. You want the rest?”

Carl: “No thank you. I’ll stick with my ham and swiss.”

Bruce: ”Unlike your wives.”

Carl: (laughs)  Hey, I resemble that remark.  No, I don’t see how you do it.  How long have you and Joanna been married?

Bruce: 23 years this October.

Carl: Boy.  23 years. What’s your secret?

Bruce: Avoidance, mostly.  Things are better left unsaid.

Carl:  Like the mayo?

Bruce: (laughs) Exactly.

An alarm sounds.

Carl: Well, time to head back to the spaceship.

Bruce: Yeah, we don’t want them to send out a search party.

Carl: No. Hey, whatever happened to that Lewis fellow that was always late coming in for lunch.

Bruce: They vaporized him.

Carl: Oh.

Bruce: Hey, that reminds me of your ex-wife with the mime –  a long “o” with a silent “h.”

Carl:  Ah.  That, too.

(This story is part of the Blog Hop found at Writings and Ruminations. Photo courtesy Leanne Sype)

I’m an Author Now! Just Look at Facebook.

book cover 1

There are only a handful of truly special events in a man’s life…

The day he meets the woman who becomes his wife.

The day he holds his precious child in his two trembling hands.

And the day he sets up a Facebook Author page and begs people to “like” him.

Yes, dear readers, I have reached the pinnacle of success and you (and only you) can help me maintain this mountaintop experience.  Click on Tony Roberts and “like” me.

I can’t promise you health or wealth and we’ve already given away the ginsu knives and the chia pet.  I can only assure you that in God’s economy, we are blessed when we are a blessing.

Gratefully yours,

Tony Roberts, Author (it says so on Facebook)

Building Community by Featuring Followers IV

Time for a Stat-ervention? Checking you blog stats can become addicting. I challenge you to walk away for the month of Oct and see if you can refocus on the joy of blogging.

The statisticians here at “A Way With Words” have advised me some time to put out only one post a day, saying –

Your optimum visits-per-post ratio can best be achieved with a single, targeted daily post. 

I say,

Get a social life.

Tonight I’m in the mood to “share the love” and feature more of my followers, hoping to further build community and simply sow seeds of gratitude for having faithful readers.

To read more, visit my new blog address by clicking on the title below —

“Building Community by Featuring Followers IV”

Building Community by Featuring Followers III

 It’s Sunday afternoon.  Morning worship is over.  The Colts have the game well in hand. Over two hours before evening worship.  It’s time to fire up the virtual grill and welcome a few more followers over, carrying casserole dishes of flash fiction, bags of poetry, and coolers of life reflections.  A good time will be had by all.  To join in the fun, simply visit any of the sites or featured posts and tell them Tony, who has “A Way With Words” sent you.

To read more, visit my new blog address by clicking on the title below —

“Building Community by Featuring Followers III”

Bon Apetit!

the planet blue potluck!

Building Blogging Community by Featuring Followers II

I had so much fun and have received such a good early response to my previous post featuring seven of my blog followers, that I thought I’d feature seven more.  If the first post was a pot-luck, this is like going back for seconds.

To read more, visit my new blog address by clicking on the link below —

“Building Blogging Community by Featuring Followers II”


On Blessing a Blessed Rejection

The marvelous Ms. Donna Ballon of Midlife Collage has done it again.  She has entered my story “A Blessed Rejection” in her quarterly $100 contest.  You can help me double my life-time earnings as a writer by clicking on the title link, reading the story, “liking” it (if you do), and leaving a compelling comment on why you like it (if you are so led).  If you are inspired to further champion my cause, read the other stories posted this week at Midlife Collage, comment on at least 3 of them, then make a closing argument on why you believe mine is best.  I would count it a great blessing for any support you offer.

If I am able to continue doubling my earnings with each story I publish, I will be a millionaire after just 13 more stories!

Help wanted

 from Pantone 377c

Spewing on the Head Cheerleader

I feel sick to my stomach. My chest is in a vise grip. My mind is in a fog. All I can think about is a basketball game in December of 1981 against Center Grove. I was on fire — hitting jump shot after jump shot, bringing our team back from a double digit deficit. Suddenly, I felt a sensation rising in my stomach, up to chest, into my throat.  I made it to the sidelines and then proceeded to vomit volumes of water on the legs of poor Barb W_____, our head cheerleader.

To read more, clicking on the title below —

“Spewing on the Head Cheerleader”

The cheerleaders in our life are the great cloud of witnesses in heaven who remind us to run this race down here by faith and keep going.

Why I Bought a Kobo E-Reader

Hop on over to my new blog address and discover why I bought a Kobo e-reader —

…  to help break-up that big-bosomed behemoth Amazon before we all become suckling pigs grappling for one massive teat until we starve, get smothered or squashed.  Buying a Kobo, you are at least partially supp0rting Independent bookstores (other hard-working lovable losers.) You can further support local bookstores when you buy e-books through their websites.


Read more by clicking on the title below —

“I Bought a Kobo Because Hirohito Lost the War”

Japan's Emperor Hirohito at Disneyland; 1975

Japan’s Emperor Hirohito at Disneyland; 1975

from Don Payne in Celebs: Worked With ~ Met ~ Seen