Nerding Day: Secrets of Creative Ministry 🌭

Have you ever wanted to have the creativity of a magician puppeteer? Wait, I’m not done– a Christian magician puppeteer? Of course you do. Everyone wants to be the next Dennis Regling, a man Google calls “searching instead for dinner riesling.” Well, now you can. Because Dennis Regling, formerly Dr. Dennis Regling, wrote a book on creativity, and how anyone can do it. It’s the first Christian Magic Puppet How-To book without any Christianity, Magic, or Puppet.

It’s almost normal for a mediocre person to decide to put their wisdom into a book and accidentally write a beginner’s guide to duh. Secrets of Creative Ministry: Teaching Truth With Engaging and Creative Lessons (2018) is a version of that, obviously, but Dennis spends a lot of the book’s copy hustling for birthday gigs, so it seems uniquely weird for this person to think, “I’ve got to show people how they can be me!”

Before he begins, Dennis wants the reader to know he’s going to include a lot of pictures of himself. Far more than the number of pictures he has of himself. This is a 47 page book, and I’m guessing because they’re not numbered, and several of them look like this– a random selection from Dennis’ camera roll. To be clear, standing alone in your kitchen and listening to puppets is not one of the secrets of creative ministry. But it does give us an idea of what we’re dealing with. On that subject…

When someone tells you they’re an author under the words ABOUT THE AUTHOR, you know you’re not reading a top-of-the-line self-published pamphlet on being zany. Dennis throws around a lot of big numbers in this bio, and I can’t prove he’s lying, but it’s suspicious that he’s preached at thousands of schools and detention centers, and only four of those changed souls have visited his YouTube page. I don’t know if I’d also call this “suspicious,” but he includes five family photos in this book. One of them is a photo of him and his wife with a different picture of his daughters cut and pasted onto it, one is exactly that same thing again, and the other three are this one photo, this one photo, and this one photo. Maybe it’s nothing? Let’s learn how to get creati– wait, sorry, looks like we need to learn more about Dennis first.

Like all child prison balloon performers, people are always coming up to Dennis, tears in their eyes, wonder in their eyes, to tell him they dream of being him. And why not? He’s “blessed to have a wild imagination,” which is why he’s already rewriting the ABOUT THE AUTHOR section on the third page of his book. He’s had three ideas so far in his book on creativity. Two of them are him, and one of them is him staring at store-bought puppets.

We have one more non-Dennis thing to go over before we get started, and it’s a serious one.

Dennis tells anyone who will listen that he does not make foam balls disappear using powers given to him by the Devil. He adds, ha, how hilarious is it when people think I’m using real demonic sorcery? Hey, Dennis. You know what people who aren’t using demon power say when they do stage magic? None of this. It’s fucking weird. But maybe “my skills were not granted by Devil” is something you legally have to declare before you do card tricks for children detained by the state. Let’s keep going.

Creativity is hard to explain or teach. For instance, I once gave a talk on video game design in Belgium and it was mostly about Bloodsport. So I sympathize with how Dennis doesn’t even try and instead tells the story of how he saw Pirates of the Caribbean and said, “I guess pirates? Wait, pirates are bad, wait, I don’t have anything else, let’s do pirates anyway. Anyway, my wife switched some of my puppets around.”

I was worried you’d start to sympathize with Dennis. This poor guy is in over his head. He’s a struggling youth group pastor who sold his soul to Satan for a $50 gift card to Ordinary Randy’s Magic Shoppe, and here he is trying to give me, his first reader, creativity. That’s why I included this page where his second example of “creating” is removing a single fucking letter from the USA Network’s slogan. Mother fuck, and I’m serious about this, this guy.

This fucking guy wrote a “formula for creativity” and started it with an unattributed, maybe wrong, quote from Albert Einstein. And the very first letter of his acronym, Stimuli, is to walk through your local Dollar Tree and buy things. As an example of his own overflowing creativity, one time he bought some animal masks and figures he’ll do something with them involving animals, where people wear them.

The first, the very first, example he used was nothing. This is the winning entry in an Opposite of Creativity Sadness Contest. This is so much less than an idea it will pull dreams from you if you look at it. I no longer want to pilot sled dogs. Is this book a prank? The fucking author started his instruction manual on imagination by saying he has a half-formed idea to one day use a cheap, manufactured party favor as intended.

I seriously can’t fucking believe the first idea is to go to the store and buy whatever party supplies they have. What’s his second idea?

Dennis Regling’s second idea is “Ideas” and it’s to go to the store and buy whatever party supplies they have. There’s no goddamn fucking way his next ide– oh my god.

His third idea is the first and second ideas again. This guy has a garage full of plastic whistles and vampire teeth and thinks his half-ass thought of doing something with them some day makes him an authority on imagination. Fuck. I might just be mad because he took my dream of dog-sledding from me. After all, it’s not like he’s not putting a paper bag on his head to pretend to be a Native American to thank the white people for civilizatio– oh my god again.

To sum up, the key to creativity is going to Big Lots, finding hot deals on partially damaged goods, and making a mental note to do something with them. Or to put it another way, the exact same thing a 7th time next to a picture of the author dressed as Indiana Jones.

“Maybe Raiderss of the Lost Ark, only Jessus,” says creative author Dennis Regling on creativity. Speaking of creativity, let’s do another acronym about it.

I should have seen this coming, but the first key to being creative is giving up on your dream of dog-sledding. This is a fucking tragedy in an already tragic book, but Dennis sees it as a win, and his only example of Curious. This couldn’t be more of a failure if it came with an apology that said, “Unfortunately, mt husband Dennis died before he could finish describing curiossity. He starved to death in a bathroom after never checking if the door wass unlocked.”

“Gah, fuck!” shouted this intruder telling second graders the REAL inventor of science is God. This piece of shit. I might still be broken-hearted knowing I’ll never glide across the tundra on a vehicle made of best friend, but this is stupid. You don’t credit the Christian god for coming up with the thing He gave you the death penalty for inventing. Criticizing religion can get controversial, so let me explain it with a non-polarizing subject. This is like Henry Wade taking credit for developing the abortion.

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn the rest of this acronym is dumb shit next to pictures of a dumbshit. Dennis Regling is worse at explaining his thoughts than a man alone in his kitchen, double fisting puppets, which is how he introduced himself. Even ignoring the typos, repetition, contradiction, pointless anecdotes, and general dumbness, he is a terribly ineffective communicator. So let’s move on to his last acronym, C.R.E.A.T.I.V.E., which teaches the eight tools of… oh, god fucking damn it, Dennis.

If you’ve ever been to a Dollar General, you know most of what Dennis has to teach you. But he also has sure-fire advice for certain situations, which sometimes work, but could get you in trouble, yet might come in handy on the other hand; however, don’t count on them generally always, usually. This is his book! On creativity. Three acronyms about shopping for clearance Percy Jackson & the Olympians The Lightning Thief merchandise and several wishy washy ideas about sometimes doing things one way, yet other times not. The point is, use whatever talents you have. Or to put it another way, one time a man killed himself in Buffalo. Hold on, that can’t be right.

No, it was right. As an example of great teaching, Dennis remembers the time his physics class calculated the speed of a dead man, a childlike equation involving one variable and two seconds of math. If your physics teacher stops class to measure a suicide victim’s speed, he definitely pushed him, and getting children to calculate his velocity is the final stage of his forbidden pleasure.

So there it is. You’re creative. And now, like all normal books, Secrets of Creative Ministry: Teaching Truth With Engaging And Creative Lessons ends with five blank pages and five ads for the author’s vacation Bible school taking place in undisclosed locations. The first one is called Big Rigs & Bibles!

Leave your children with us, and our puppets, silly characters, etc.. Call our toll free number for information on where to make the dropoff if you want to see them again.

Dennis, Karen, and their children (photographed separately) also teach about God’s truth nuggets with a gold mining theme, again somewhere unstated, probably the woods, maybe their apartment. In another ad they seem to be offering their services to any organization in any location, maybe once, maybe for a week.

I went to learn more, and their website is still up. It looks like this…

… but it seems like you can book them today to come to your anywhere. Church, backyard, sure. Dollar Tree parking lot, fucking yes please. They also don’t have any rates? As they put it multiple times, “What is the cost? We put no price on the Gospel. We are happy to help any church of any size. You have no budget for an evangelist? Then you need to call us today. We leave our financial needs in the hands of the Lord.

I don’t think you have to be a parent to know that when a vacation bible school says, “We come to you, we stay as long as we want, and we’re free,” those are red flags. I’m not joking around. Dennis Regling honestly seems to be inviting himself and his family to your home. This next little flier leaves the Date, Time, and Location blank because YOU need to tell THEM.

Cut this page out of the book, reader! Fill it out and leave it where the moonlight can touch it and we will know. NEED A RIDE? Call 9̴͍̽0̵͕̒■̷̺͒4̴͖̾6̶̮͠▨̸̦̇3̴̯̓6̸̹̆⛝̴͓̍ ,we are Dennis and Karen, parents of Eleanor and Joelle (photographed separately)… we are the Regling Family, and WE ARE COMING.

This is a page with the location and time intentionally left blank, this stack of photographs, and the words ‘THE REGLING FAMILY IS COMING”. What the fuck could this be other than a warning? Oh, remember when Dennis described creativity by spelling the USA Network slogan wrong? This next flier incorporates that idea:

He ends his book with that! An invitation to nothing, nowhere, featuring just barely not the slogan from The Starter Wife starring Debra Messing (October, 2008 – December, 2008), call no one for fewer details. That can’t be it, right? That can’t be the article. You must be thinking this is the part where I follow up with a cute story about Dennis Regling going to jail. Almost! Your instincts are good, but they’re just a little bit off.

Seven years before he condensed all his knowledge of creativity into negative two ideas, Dennis Regling, who was Dr. Dennis Regling at the time, wrote a book on surviving high school using what he learned in prison. And to be clear, when he says “learned in prison,” he means “learned while visiting detention centers to perform Jesus magic for children.”

Dennis, “being involved in prison ministry,” does not count as “surviving prison.” On a fundamental level. Of all the valor ever, there may be none more stolen than the badass claiming he survived prison after not dying as a guest balloon performer. Dr. Bitch, if someone in prison wants to stab you, you can stop your puppet show and leave. It’s not the same thing! As anything!

Before we get to Dr. Dennis’ secret prison yard techniques for intimidating your Algebra class, let’s get one thing out of the way: absolutely nothing in this book should be taken as medical or legal advice. If this author tells you how to extract a tooth with the corner of a bed frame or cut an informant deal with prosecutors, do not listen to him. By the way, here’s the author, who had already lost his doctorate by page 7:

To be fair, Dennis does look like a man who has told a few parole boards he feels rehabilitated. But let’s hear more about his real prison credentials.

Okay, Dennis is a doctor again, and he testifies to criminals of all ages, maybe sometimes without balloons. Let’s learn how this Christian puppeteer with glaring insecurities and an obnoxious personality can help us avoid bullying, as soon as you agree absolutely nothing in this book should be taken as medical or legal advice.

I know enough about Christians and stupid to spot the problem here. This is a book about theoretical nonsense accusing everyone else of promoting theoretical nonsense. Throw your studies out, educators, kids need common sense solutions to the problems taking place in a magician’s below average imagination. Chapter One is just a restating of the introduction, so let’s skip ahead to Chapter Two, which is just a restating of Chapter One.

We’re already running into a problem with Dr. Dennis’ thesis. The results of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program have been studied for decades, and it’s been found to be way better than nothing, but since it seems like it wouldn’t work in prison, Dr. Dennis disagrees with 75% of it. Never help anyone. Let the ostracized die weak and alone. Tell no one. That’s how this puppeteer suggests you get through high school, and maybe he’s right? I wouldn’t know; on my first day as a freshman I was awarded the Presidential Karate Award by my school’s varsity bikini team. I didn’t even know what bullying was until Pauly Shore explained it on the set of Cool Dude University 2.

Maybe I’m pointing out the obvious, but telling the kind of 14-year-old who listens to magicians to act like he’s a badass inmate is an adorably terrible solution to bullying. The other children go home at night to play Minecraft and tell people who love them very much what they’d like on their pizza. High school is, at least in that way, sort of different from prison. I can’t stress enough how this is not a book about incorporating subtle social techniques used by prisoners to increase your standing in high school. This is one extremely dumb man stretching an even dumber metaphor in incompatible directions.

“You know how in prison everyone is just trying to do their time, alone and unseen? High school is exactly like that. F-for instance, sports? Uh, studying? I’m lost, guys. I buy discount puppets and run a vacation Bible school in exchange for room and board, I have no goddamn idea what I’m talking about. Call me at ______, I am available for parties, or anything. Anything. At again, no cost.”

This parallel sort of makes sense. It’s hard to keep a lid on a secret, which I think qualifies as wisdom. Now, all Dr. Dennis has to do is come up with a fun way to explain that thought to kids. Maybe child molestation, sexual assault, revenge porn, and suicide? Please contact him to learn more about his affordable vacation Bible school rates.

This is a fun one. When Dr. Dennis explains why high schoolers should never snitch, he uses the example of a woman he knows who reported child abuse to the cops. According to Dr. Dennis, this was a mistake because her pastor wanted to ignore it. I’m worried you think I took this out of context. No, let me be clear: the one example Dr. Dennis uses to convince children not to talk to cops is suggesting this woman, who is not in high school or prison, should have done more to help child abuse. He thought that! And then typed it! It’s an uncited anecdote from a Christian idiot, so the woman probably isn’t real, which means out of limitless hypothetical goals, this balloon-folding maniac picked aiding and abetting sex crimes!

I don’t know what this means, but in the middle of his chapter on how no one in your high school is your friend, he writes a long section on marriage, the fading of love, and divorce. It’s a strange thing to leave in. It’s like I always tell aspiring writers, be careful with your metaphors because one day you wake up and the person you love is in love with someone else, forty minutes of silence. Knives are everywhere, statistics say. I’ll take his face, it’ll be hard for her to love him without a face, I tell them.

Dr. Dennis gets a little heavy with the jargon in Chapter Nine: Respect Everyone, so he translates “punk” for his teen readers. It’s “an inmate that has been forced to serve another inmate in homosexual relations,” kids. He forgets to apply this to your high school experience, but at least he’s stopped complaining about his divorce.

I’ve never seen anyone this confused, and I once ad-libbed “Shut the fuck up, Pauly Shore,” on the set of Cool Dude University 2.

You can’t simply tell a kid to “Avoid Trouble Situations.” They need a real-world example. So Dr. Dennis shares the story of a man who bravely chose to be racist to make friends with white supremacists. Hold on, that can’t be… no, yeah. That’s the story he went with. Fuck. There is no way this happened, which means Dr. Dennis once again created a hypothetical situation where he could have taught any lesson, and this time he chose “racism is correct.”

Chapter Twelve is about running from fights, but not like a coward. It’s around here he starts to make up stories from his childhood like the time his mom made him fist fight a kid as she watched, or how he was a 130 pound weakling, but also a varsity wrestler who everyone knew as a lethal street fighter. I doubt anyone could write a sensible version of this book, but Dr. Dennis is having a fucking emotional and mental breakdown. Watch how all things become both true and not true in Chapter Thirteen:

“One thing, and yet the opposite. Do it, but sometimes never. I set out to write a manual for sad children pretending to be tough, and realized I might be a sad man pretending to be tough. No. No, it’s the bullies who are weak. Except for my bullies, no, don’t knock my– my books! W-what’s today’s date, no not the day, the year! Please let my family stay in your living room, but we have to call it vacation Bible school for tax purposes.”

Finally, after waffling on every subject, Chapter Fourteen includes some clear rules of engagement. If someone stabs you, you are allowed to fight. Frank told him it was okay.

You know the Internet? Facebook? Etcetera? Well, as a normal person giving normal advice, Dr. Dennis says telling other high schoolers about yourself lets them use your dark secrets against you. This is probably the most haunting chapter of the book, because we saw Dr. Dennis go out of his way to promote sex crimes and racism. If he’s suggesting someone who discovers his secrets could blackmail him into any crime, what the fuck could they be?

This book is the chittering remains of a shattered mind. We’re not going to get an explanation. Let’s just skip to the end.

Of course. A clumsy acronym and a flier for Dennis Regling to come to where you live. Which… I guess means we did get an explanation? This $19.95 book, this deranged 66 pages of large-fonted rants against school bullying policies, was all a stealth ad for Dr. Dennis Regling’s own, homemade discount anti-bullying program. It’s all a basic grift. God damn it, I may never trust the husband of a mountain dulcimer player again.

This article was brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: Brian Seiler, who also brought puppets to prison, but for very different reasons.

6 replies on “Nerding Day: Secrets of Creative Ministry 🌭”

I’m very distracted by the fact that someone can legally use the word “CREATIVE” for two entirely different acronyms in one book.

“formerly Dr. Dennis Regling”

Knew we were in for a banger as soon as I got to this line

I thought at first his “Kid’s Crusade” mention was a clumsy misstep by a fool ignorant of pseudo-history, but after his enthusiastic promotion of racism and child abuse I’m beginning to think that Dennis Regling genuinely means “Give me your children. I will sell them into slavery.”

That line jumped out at me as jaw-dropping, too. I was surprised Seanbaby didn’t pounce on it! Obviously, he was overwhelmed with too many targets.

Hmm. his linkedin claims a doctorate in theology from “Cambridge Theological Seminary”. I wonder why he stopped claiming that…? Let’s google this august institution… wow! A free degree based on life experiences for just $31! Plus $39 to evaluate the application. And $30 to make a permanent file and maintain, feed, and water your records! And just $59 to register your degree with Florida, Virginia and Ohio. And a mere $21 for shipping and handling.

I would have gone for the Doctorate in Christology myself.

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