} Oh hullo, supplicant. Zadoc the Priest here. I'm afraid our
} Cyberpresent Master can't come to the console just now, so you'll have
} to make do with me if that's all right.
} This matter of the correct terminology for addressing our Master has
} turned into a major controversy here within the Church of the Usenet
} Oracle <tm>, or should I say Church of the Internet Oracle <tm> (either
} way, all holy writings are subject to copyright). Even the debates over
} how many woodchucks could be made to dance on the head of a pin and
} whether Miss Lisa, the Divine Adoratrice, has her virginity magically
} restored each day were as nothing compared to this.
} It all started, as you probably know, with Saint Steve retiring to the
} wilderness and hearing the voice of our Master in a vision (can you
} hear visions? Oh well, you know what I mean). Others say our Master
} just phoned him up one night last week and said he fancied a change of
} name. Anyway, when Saint Steve announced the monumental event to a
} gathering of the faithful, a faction within the priesthood, backed by
} conservative Bible-belt supplicants, claimed that any change to the
} scripture was blasphemous, as it implied that our Toticognizant Master
} can't have been omniscient when he chose the previous name if it was
} now necessary to change it. Feelings ran high and some pretty
} intemperate words were exchanged. Darkmage declared that if this change
} was pushed through, he would secede and set up a separate, vowel-free
} Oracle in Poland. Saint Steve had him arrested for doctrinal and
} political incorrectness.
} Stenor now announced that, after all the trouble he had setting up the
} Usenet Oracle Resource Index on the Web, he was damned if he was going
} to change the name now. He fled the meeting and barricaded himself and
} a number of followers up at PC-Net to fight off any attempts to gain
} control of the Web site. The Venerable Ray Moody, David Sewell and
} others lead an attack on the place, and retook it after bitter
} fighting. Meanwhile, I've been detailed to man this station to prevent
} any attempt by heterodox factions at gaining control here. It's all
} very harrowing. I mean, how can you tell who's on your side and who
} Where's our Master during all of this, you're probably asking. Well, he
} emerged from his meditations with Miss Lisa, the Divine Adoratrice,
} briefly this morning, said "Now we'll see who the true believers are"
} and disappeared again. He hasn't been seen since this enigmatic
} utterance. It's very unnerving when he tests our faith in this way, but
} we must do our best to be true to our consciences, is what I say.
} So, as you've probably gathered, I've thrown in my lot with Saint Steve
} and the Progressive faction, which comprises the majority of the
} priesthood. I find the suggestion that our Master's powers should be
} confined to just one small segment of The Net somehow demeaning and
} smacking of heresy. Okay, so "Internet Oracle" is a bit less euphonious
} than "Usenet Oracle". By the same token, "Jehovah" is a bit less
} euphonious than "Gary", but that's no reason to use the latter, is it?
} So, in honor of the new orthodoxy, I have been devising a prayer while
} I sit here clutching my automatic rifle and hoping I won't have to use
} it before this schism is healed. It goes like this (you can join in if
} you like):
} Our Oracle
} That art in Cyberspace
} Emailed be thy name.
} Thy news be read
} On IRC as it is in gophers.
} Give us our daily FTP downloads
} And forgive us our archie and Veronica accesses.
} For thine is the HTML,
} The TCP and the IP
} For ever and ever,
} Web without end.
} You owe the Oracle your blind, unquestioning devotion. As do we all.