Saturday, May 19, 2007
All The Links That The Sun Sucks Up
Free at last, free at last. As someone who used to weigh in excess of 400 pounds, I know the indignity of walking into a place and having a child shout at the top of its lungs, "Mommy, look at the fat man." I also think passing a law about it is just stupid.
Look at me, look at me! I'll be a jerk and call it art. Who does he get to pay for this stuff?
It was perhaps the hokiest TV cartoon ever - a barely better comic book, but it looks like a pretty exciting movie. Check that "exclusive."
Well, that will certainly be attractive.
Look Ma - a unicorn.
If you have ever tried to play one, you'll know why.
When they take away our cameras, only Moms will have them.
The first rocket ever to take a month to reach orbit.
Live long and dream on.
I triple-dog dare you to watch this and not smile:
Can't do it, can you?
Related Tags: litigiousness, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
The most striking aspect of the Phantom Stranger is that his name, his true nature, and his origins have never been revealed.
As with most Omnipotents he is more plot device than character, although he has sustained several multi-year title runs. But most people know The Phantom Stranger as the guy that shows up to tranport the Justice League to some place that no one knows how to get to or to tell them of some danger that no one can possibly sense, or worst of all to pull their butts our of some colelctive jam that the writer has boxed himself into. Many is the time the JLA has been in a situation so dire even their vaunted power could not overcome it, so up pops The Stranger, he waves his hand and all is right with the world. Despite that there is something about The Stranger that has kept the character active for many many years. Is it the mystery?
He is actually quite good in the proper setting. In the hero world he really does come off as a lame device for bad writers, but in the far less read, but much beloved amongst the comic geeks of the world, horror comics, he is something to behold. The cover here at the right, featuring another character of the ghostly realms, Deadman, shows what can be done in the correct genre. The Stranger and Deadman (especially Deadman) have truly stunning looks. But you have to love how The Stranger's overcoat doubles visually as a cape - that along with his hat shading his eyes (far as I know he does not wear a mask, but he might as well) gives him very much a hero appearance without wearing anything that you cannot buy at the local department store. Cool huh?
Related Tags: comics, comic books, comic art, Omnipotents, Phantom Stranger
Friday, May 18, 2007
Do Words Make It So?
But are tattoos merely a matter of taste? Is it possible that there is a redemptive, missional use for tattoos that I may have completely overlooked?This question reflects a trend that is undeniable - throw a "Christian" label on something and it therefore becomes "redemptive", "missional", or "sanctified." Labels do not make a thing so.
Is it possible that a tattoo could be used towards redemptive ends - of course it is, but that end will only be achieved by the person having and seeing the tattoo, the art itself is neutral. As a nail gun can be a tool of fantastic use or a weapon of incredible violence and cruelty, so it is with literally everything in our world.
God redeems us and uses us to redeem others. God's mission, as we execute it, is to people not things. We are sanctified, not objects, art, or buildings. Things gain their holiness by our designation, which we are able to grant because of the holiness God has granted to us.
Don't show me your tattoo, or your cathedral, and tell me it is "part of your ministry." That same tattoo, or cathedral, on or inhabited by different individuals can ridicule, or worse be used for evil.
SHOW ME YOU! If you are redeemed and redemptive, if you are called and on a mission, if you are sanctified, then you can tell me about what tool you use in that mission. Too often we let the tools substitute for the work we have to do on ourselves.
Related Tags: ministry, tools, tattoos, cathedrals, sanctification, mission
Sliding Into The Weekend Links
Down the slope to hell we slide. Ask Dr. Moreau.
Whatever you do, do not click here. I cannot believe somebody would post that with a smiley face embedded.
Do not mess with these people.
Joe Carter and the perfect Friday stuff.
What's the difference between a python and a creature?
I've been in a few pubs where I found plain english signs confusing.
And its name is Jonah.
What's your pet project? Besides, what version of the Enterprise are we talking about here?
You know, maybe we ought to ban smoking if the anti-smoking forces are going to get this tasteless. "If I cannot limit your freedom I shall tastelessly and grossly beat you to death with it."
For some strange reason I hope this continues to escalate. It could get really funny.
Related Tags: species diversity, joke, humor, sarcasm, wisecrack
Friday Humor - Blatant Rip-off Edition
One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the foyer of the church staring up at a large plaque. It was covered with names with small American flags mounted on either side of it.Related Tags: humor, Friday humor, joke, church
The seven year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said quietly, “Good morning Alex.” “Good morning Pastor,” he replied, still focused on the plaque.
“Pastor, what is this?” he asked the pastor.
The pastor said, “Well, son, it’s a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service.”
Soberly, they just stood together, staring at the large plaque.
Finally, little Alex’s voice, barely audible and trembling with fear, asked, “Which service, the 9:45 or the 11:15?”
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Everything Old Is New Again
I think such a list speaks to two important lacks in the church today, a lack of education and a lack of maturity. Consider first education. One would expect that given all such issues are iterations of issues the church has long debated and about which volumes have been written, the issues could be easily discussed, because people should be familiar with the history and the writings. Yet, how little do we hear the classic works of the faith discussed? How many people actually know of the great debates of the past, let alone the details and discussions. When these things come up we discover them like a child playing pee-a-boo thinking they see their parent for the first time.
Which brings me to maturity, of which education is but a part. Is not part of the definition of maturity that we handle things we have seen before better? Does it not begin to feel as if we are somehow stuck-in-place? We seem to commit the same sins, promote the same error, fight the same fights, over and over and over again. Is that anything like maturity?
This is particularly troubling in the church. Individuals can get so stuck, but the church is intended to be the beacon for such individuals to demonstrate that there is hope and maturity available to those that seek it and work for it. How do we call forward when we are behind?
What if rather than concentrating on these issues, we set them aside and focused forward? What if we did the work of learning the past, said "asked and answered" and then moved on? Furthermore, what if we defined forward not as church growth, but as church maturity?
What would be the "top ten" for the church then?
Related Tags: theology, church, maturity, education, forward
Related Tags: Biblical Illuminations
Oh, For Link's Sake
Seen some of these before - very funny.
Works better with fish - not that I'd know.
Booze and video games do not mix.
Sure it's cute now, but what happens when they put on a little weight?
Your tax-exempt donations at work. Did I ever tell you I OWN Greanpeace? Yep, long story, but it was at Chernobyl, involved too much vodka, and the lack of a bathroom.
Speaking of tex-exempt donations - nothing like a little unsubstantiated fear mongering to fatten the till.
A Modern Miracle.
There is only one response to this and here it is - well sorta.
Related Tags: weight, diet, joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
On Being Former
There are three brief points I want to make. The opening to "the Congregation" post contains this phrase:
...no longer content to be content consumers - but have become content creators ourselves.What wonderful words, because after all isn't that the idea? Is not the ideal of Christian leadership to build new Christian leaders?
I don't think I have ever considered it before but it may just be that one of the reasons genuine Christian disciplship does not take off in the church is because those in authority would feel their authority threatened by it. What must run through a preacher's mind when he discovers a parishioner that preaches better than he does? I think that depends on what the preacher thinks his job is. If it is to preach, then warning alarms will go off, but if it is to equip and spread the good news, then he will see an opportunity. I am not sure many preachers see the opportunity.
Ex-pastors, please do not give up ministry. Sadly, I know about this more than most. All of you formerly known as "The Pastor" please hold firm to the fact that having given up your professional Christian vocation, you have not given up your call. I know many of these people and too often they come to church and work diligently to remain "low profile." They wish not to "threaten" the pastor. That is just a shame. Having given up the profession, you are now free to exercise the gifts that lead you there to begin with. Do so with gusto. If the pastor feels threatened, that is his problem, not yours. You are not asking for his office or job, all you are doing is ministry, which is what the church is supposed to do.
All of this points out how easy it is to make the institution the idol. To those still known as the pastor and to your ruling boards, please place yourselves into acocuntability particularly to those formerly known. They can guide you in ways that will absolutely transform you and the church.
Related Tags: pastors, former, idolatry, ministry
Foggy SoCal A.M. Links
I had no idea we had already created human chimeras!
In Louisiana something like this is called a lagniappe
Because it can?
Television production, so easy even a...NO REALLY!
Welcome to spot the oxymoron: "programming robots with aspects of free will"
OK, this wins the originality prize.
I've had it, you'll never taste the difference, trust me.
Common sense overrides policy sometimes. Having a job is one thing, that's about discrimination - advertising is another altogether, that's promotion.
Miracle?, or is it true that when you drink too much your bones get soft. It is Milwaukee after all.
Related Tags: joke, humor, wisecrack, sarcasm
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
- Eliminating All Hymns
- Goofy Youth Minister Style Preaching
- No Church Membership
- The MegaChurch Agenda vs The Healthy Church Agenda
- Too Much Music
From my perspective, I would wrap this all up into a package and call it the "Young Lifification of Church".
I have said many times that when I attend a fully contemporary Evangelical church, I feel like I am going to Young Life club, which leads to lack of depth, etc., etc, etc.
The most telling thing Michael wrote though was in the BHT blurb:
Evangelicalism is a music-music-more-music movement. A strong post-evangelical impulse is to moderate and regulate music into an overall expression of the worship of a congregation. What is going on now is bullying, out of control, commercial…it’s the opposite of the “work of the people” that is liturgia.There are two incredibly important phraes in there:
moderate and regulate music into an overall expression of the worshipToo often we use the word "worship" synonomously with corporate singing. Worship is a life enveloping expression and when it becomes synonomous with merely singing we set a low bar indeed. Worship involves making Jesus KING of our lives, not merely the object of our poetic and muscial expression.
it’s the opposite of the “work of the people”
But that last phrase about "the work of the people" is extraordinary. Church is the body of Chirst on earth, we serve it, not the other way around. The "priesthood of the people" says we have direct access to God, we need no intermediaries. Yet the sin in us, makes us want one. Why? Simple, then we don't have to do the hard work of being as God would have us be. But shouldn't the true church be calling us to exactly that, instead of enabling it?
Related Tags: music, chruch, service, iMonk, transformation, Young Life
Things Are Finally Settling Down Links
Where was the church? Think about it.
This would be funny if...he underlying politics were not so horrifying.
Apparenlty, due to failing support, Greenpeace now includes fish amongst its due-paying membership? I wonder how they pay their dues?
This means war!
The ultimate office accessory.
Life is like this sometimes. I know you know the feeling.
If you read this:
"Too stupid to live" is supposed to be a euphemism.
Obviously, he has been on the same diet I have for the last few years.
Matt's procrastinating - quite well I might add. Personal fav.
Ain't science fun?
Related Tags: eugenics, neighborhood ministry, sarcasm, wisecrack, joke, humor, weird
Monday, May 14, 2007
It is that importance that makes financial transparency mandatory.
Just a cautionary note. The absence of financial transparency usually flows from one of two sources, or a combination thereof. The first is trying to hide something. This should be obvious. Run, do not hide, at the slighest indication of such, the church is in trouble.
The second is that no one cares and people begin to resent the extraordinary effort such transparency requires and they quit doing the work because it sits there and languishes. As much as there is a duty for a church to maintain transparency, there is a duty for the congregation to USE IT.
Related Tags: money, church finances, transparency, accountability
Sunday, May 13, 2007
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!
Sermons and Lessons
Andrew C. Zenos, Professor of Biblical theology, Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Chicago,1894-1932; born, Constantinople, August 13, 1855; graduated from Robert College, Constantinople, 1872; Princeton, 1880; pastor of Presbyterian church, Brandt, Pa., 1881-83; professor of Greek, Lake Forest University, 1883-88; professor of New Testament exegesis, Hartford Theological Seminary, 1888-91; professor of Church history, McCormick Theological Seminary, 1891-94; author of “Elements of Higher Criticism,” “Compendium of Church History,” “The Teaching of Jesus Concerning Christian Conduct.”
We look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. - 2 Pet. 3:13.
These words are a reminder rather than a piece of information. The belief in the destruction and reconstruction of the material universe was a general one among the early Christians. In the book of Revelation, this belief even seems to control the whole thought. A new heaven and a new earth stand before the seer as the goal of the whole movement of things. “For the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more.” “And he that sitteth on the throne said, Behold I make all things new.” But the idea was not peculiarly Christian; it was a commonplace of prophetic preaching. As far back as the Exile period, the prophet heard Jehovah say, “Behold I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered nor come to mind.” And in the two centuries, more or less, preceding the Christian era, the thought had been cherished and encouraged. There was much in the social and political world of the time to suggest corruption and decay and inevitable collapse. The world seemed to have reached its old age. Signs of decrepitude were visible. Wars and commotions were causing the destruction of cities hoary with antiquity, and an air of uncertainty prevailed. Old oracles were called to mind of “wonders in the heaven and on the earth: blood, and fire and pillar of smoke,” the sun turned into darkness and the moon into blood.” Isaiah had said, “All the host of heaven shall be dissolved and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, and all the host shall fade away.” A class of prophetic writers, using the literary form of apocalypse, drew vivid pictures of the transformation which would bring about a new and fresh universe out of the ruins of the old.
At first glance the fact that the expectation of such a universal renovation of the world was not original with apostles and evangelists may appear to detract from its truth or value. But in view of the great amount borrowed by the earliest Christian teachers from their Jewish, and even from their heathen predecessors, we cannot think that it loses its value, when traced to a stage antecedent to the apostolic. Nevertheless there is a difference between the earlier expectation of “ new heavens and a new earth “ and the apostolic. For whereas to the former the predominant element is the outward and spectacular feature, to the latter the inner and moral reality rules. To the apocalyptists the method of transformation by a sudden, dazzling, overwhelming cataclysmic overthrow and magic creative reconstruc¬tion was in the foreground. To the Christian the main and essential fact was the regenera¬tion of the moral content of the universe; and although bold and picturesque ways of thinking of it were not discarded, these were means, not ends; they were vehicles to carry the thought of the moral restoration of the universe through Jesus Christ.
First of all, there was need for such renovation. And to feel this need was the first sign of a healthy moral nature. It was impossible to be satisfied with the world as it was. Does this mean that Peter and John regarded God’s work a failure? Could they have been ignorant of the account in Genesis with its record that” God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was good? “We can hardly think so. These men were too thorough Israelites to ignore God’s part in the creation. It was rather because they knew too well what God had meant the world to be that they found in it a source of displeasure. God had created the heavens and the earth to be the home of a race which should know Him and honor Him. But instead of this, as the faithful saw it, the world was polluted by sin. Even the people of God’s own choice had failed to redeem it from the power of evil. For generations the faithful had struggled and they had been worsted in the fight. Evil was not a mere influence diffused through society without a definite location. It was not hiding in the dark places and doing its work under cover. It was impersonated in the rulers of the world. Men like Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, were openly defying God and disobeying His laws. Men like Herod and Caiaphas were controlling the destinies of the chosen people. And in their use of the forces of nature, they had seized upon all things and made them subject to their wicked wills. “The creation was subjected to vanity not of its own will.” And it was groaning and travailing with pain in the hope of being delivered from the load of corruption.
Let us note that the spirit of discontent with the world for yielding to sin is a sign of health. All the prophets began by opening their eyes to the evil about them. There is a gospel abroad to the effect that men ought to be happy no matter what the circumstances about them. It is not a new gospel. Jeremiah and Ezekiel heard it and denounced it. Such a gospel promises no good. He who preaches it lacks the very first qualification for a true prophetic mission. It was because Moses saw evil in Egypt that he was used by God to lead the children of Israel from the land of bondage into that of promise. It was because the prophets saw the evil of the people that they were sent with their burning messages to turn them to righteousness. It was because John the Baptist saw hypocrisy and wickedness that he was empowered to proclaim the coming Messiah. It was because Luther and Wes¬ley saw spiritual deadness in the Church that they were given the vision of a new life in the body of Christ and helped to quicken it. Every great onward movement in the direc¬tion of bringing in” new heavens and a new earth “has sprung out of a feeling of discontent with the evil of the world. The eye which is blind to the evil is likely to be blind to the good also.
But while every prophet must begin with sensitiveness towards what ought not to be in the world; while he must realize the sting of sin, while he must appreciate its terrible power and destructive effect, he must not lapse into pessimism. No pessimist can become a true prophet. Far beyond the mere need of renovation, the prophet must see the possibility of it. The heavens and the earth as they are must pass away, because better heavens and a better earth are ready to take their place. If we shall fight sin and evil in the world as we ought, we must be dominated by the love of the better things awaiting us, which by their beauty and loveliness make the evil to appear all the more hateful. The prophet, like Hamlet, must hold before his own eye, and those of others, two pictures, ever calling “Look on this picture, and on this! “ Thus only can he turn men from the old and decrepit, from the corrupt and decay¬ing, to the fresh and powerful, to the beauti¬ful and vital.
But the expectation of new heavens and a new earth is more than the offspring of discontent with present evil. It is rooted in an experience of change which one feels must culminate fit a total transformation. The new heavens and the new earth are being even now created. There are scoffers as in Peter’s day who say, “From the day that the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” But they are exceedingly superficial observers and shallow thinkers. All things do not continue as they were. To be sure no change comes over nature such as seems to be pictured in the imaginative conception of these men of old. Looked at outwardly, the same heavens and the same earth are now about us which were about them. The same stars shine overhead; the same mountains bound the horizon at the same centers of observation; the same great rivers run their eternal courses into the same oceans. But we would be making a grievous mistake if we believed that the heavens and the earth today are after all the same as those of the days of Peter and John; for does not sameness depend on the inner view and the impression made on the seeing eye and the hearing ear rather than on identity of out¬ward form or even substance? The youth leaves his home in the village, and after a score of years of wandering in the world, and perhaps of life in the great city, returns to the village. He looks on the same streets, the same houses, the same park, the same church; but are they the same for him? How they have shrunk and lost their glory! He may love them still, yea, and more than ever, but they no longer possess the same magnitude and significance in the world.
Something like this change has come over the world, and is ever coming. Were Peter and John to have seen as in a vision the world as it actually is today instead of dreaming their apocalyptic dreams, they could not have said more truly than they do, “ I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heavens and the first earth are passed away.” The cities in which they lived, how different! The sounds that now would greet their ears, how unintelligible! The forms of life that would strike their eyes, how amazing! And even the stars in the firmament, though apparently the same, and the landscape about so familiar, what a different story of power and glory they would tell.
The earth and the heavens are for us what we know them to be, and as revealed by tele¬scope, microscope and spectroscope and mod¬ern science with its wonderful and intricate apparatus for observation, they are certainly other than they were in the days of the apostles. Instead of a vault in the shape of a huge inverted bowl resting on a flat surface, made irregular by mountains and lakes, the modern eye sees an infinite stretch of space, within which revolve countless myriads of burning spheres. Instead of a simple universe, consisting of four elements, earth, water, air and fire, the modern eye sees a vast multitude and variety of atoms and of still more primal electrons and ions. Surely to the eye of the present day student “old things have passed away, behold all things are new.”
But more striking if possible is the change in the world of mankind. The same primal passions, the same inward hungerings and thirsts, the same quest for knowledge and power and happiness still burn and move in a restless turmoil, but the, expressions of them, how different The alignment of classes and masses, of races and tribes, of masters and slaves, of rich and poor, how utterly trans¬formed!
But it may be said, Is this a legitimate interpretation of the apostolic thought? If we limit regard to mere external and imaginative garb of it, it may not be; but if we penetrate into the real motive and intent of it, it surely is. For the longing that led to such an ideal was much more than a hunger for change of material form. It looked forward to a more harmonious universe, to one that would display God‘s glory more fully and, serve as a suitable residence for God‘s immortal children. The world as it was, was too completely identified with the sin of man to serve any longer the purposes of its creation. Every portion of it, every element in it, was too full of evil associations, too heavily burdened with thoughts of lust and greed, selfishness and malice. It needed a complete purification; a, perfect dissolution of its old associations, and when this was achieved it would in a true sense be destroyed and reconstructed.
Nevertheless the question of importance still remains, whether these new heavens and this new earth are better; whether the apos¬tles would recognize in them the world of which they dreamed and for which they yearned. Men of Oriental civilizations coming into the midst of Western life may be made to give us the answer. Are they impressed with the superiority of the Western? Not always. Indeed the stronger the contrast with what they have been accustomed to the less their inclination to look upon the change with favor. Were Peter and John to pronounce upon our new world, it is certain they would not allow the facts of a more complex life, of larger knowledge and control of ‘nature, keener pleasures and finer sensibilities, to influence their judgments. They would look beneath the surface into the strife of human passions, the degradation and misery caused by sin, the arrogance, the lust and greed, consuming, devouring and destroying all within their reach, and to the extent to which these ruled in the world, they would still long for and predict” new heavens and a new earth.”
The earth which loomed into the vision of these ancient seers was one in which “dwelleth righteousness.” The only world that will satisfy the child of God is that in which his Father’s will is known and done. And what is righteousness? First of all it is a quality that pervades social relations, resulting in each person‘s giving to every other all that is right. Righteousness in the world means that men and women do not take advantage of one another, are honest in all transactions, pure and holy in character and in conduct. But all this is negative, and righteousness is something more than abstinence from evil.
The world has passed through two stages of moral life. In the first, the nearest to the brute, each one had regard to himself first of all, and tried to build himself at the expense of all others. How can I get the most and give the least? was his main question and concern. Alas, that so many still live in this stage. In the second stage, each regards every other and strives to be true and just to the interests of all. The question then is, How can I both give and take exact equivalents? How can I avoid being cheated, yet not cheat any other? How can I so adjust my relations as neither to get more than I give nor give more than I get? But there is a third stage to be reached. It is that in which the life and law of Jesus Christ will be the aim and achievement of all. According to this law each will strive to do for others as much as he can. The question will then be, How can I give the most in exchange for the least, for did not Jesus say, “ It is more blessed to give than to receive? “ Men will not cease to strive to build themselves up either in riches or in wisdom or power, but it will be in order that they may spend themselves for the advantage of their brethren. Does this seem impracticable? John Wesley kept from his income just enough to meet the daily expenses of his household, and gave the remainder for the advancement of the kingdom of God.
But the righteousness which will fill and pervade the new heavens and the new earth is even more than a perfect conformity to standards and conceptions of right living for the sake of mere right living. It includes the recognition of God‘s holy character and holy will. It is the righteousness which the prophets preached to Israel of old, the righteousness~ which Jesus Christ lived and exemplified. The writer of the text was an ardent Christian, and the golden age he anticipates is the golden age of the Christian mind and consciousness, the age of the reign of God through Jesus Christ. To the Christian, righteousness cannot be a mere abstraction alluring him by its own fascination, nor even a supreme law to be mechanically recognized and blindly obeyed. It can only be a living force drawn from an eternal personality and controlling all personal relations.
Hence to the Christian of the apostolic age the second coming of Christ in person to establish a reign of righteousness and peace upon earth was more than glowing hope; it was a burning passion. And to the Christian of all ages the unconquerable faith that in some form or other the personal relation to Christ will lead in the molding of the character of His followers and result in the overwhelming predominance of the Christ-man, the man for whom the righteousness, of God is at the same time an ideal, a goal and a law, must be ever indispensable.
But if so, the new heavens and the new earth for which the Christian looks cannot be expected in a merely passive way. We must do more than wait and prepare ourselves for them. We must in a large measure work out the transformation for which we are longing. It is at this point that the Christian’s look forward into the golden age differs from the dreamer’s Utopia. It is more than a creature of the imagination to be delighted in for its iridescent beauty. It is a land of promise, drawing through its charms; but it is also a building in process of erection, to which each day one may add what will bring it nearer completion.
Do we wish for the new heavens and the new earth? Are we looking and longing for them? If so, we may not be indifferent to the share we must have in their making. For while it is true that like the first heavens and the first earth they are to be the creation and gift of God to His own, it is also true that God is creating them even now through His own. God is not merely “the Power not ourselves making for righteousness “; He is also the Power in ourselves making for righteousness. And righteousness is not only to dwell in the renovated universe, but to be the force that shall reconstruct it.
Related Tags: sermon, lesson, Andrew C. Zenos