Saturday, May 08, 2010
Let's continue looking at baddies that have virtual dopplegangers in the two comic universes, DC and Marvel. Today we will turn our attention to the DC version of the ultimate marksman - Deadshot. Despite repeated efforts to make this guy interesting, he remains pretty flat. He has no "powers" other than being preternaturally good with a gun, and he has no real motivation of than an assassin's paycheck, which is why, in the end, he is relegated to "member of a group" status. I personally think that Deadshot and his Marvel counterpart (see you in two weeks) raise an interesting question. H ow come "good with a gun" is not an heroic attribute? Good with arrows is (trick, non-lethal arrows anyway) why not guns?
Anyway, as you can see here, Deadshot is almost as old as Batman, thus grossly pre-dating his Marvel counterpart, although it must be said he has been through some serious costume changes over the years. The wrist gun was never a good idea - if it was, they'd exist in reality - and I kind of like the whole mummyface thing, but holster and six shooter of top hat and tails? What was Bob Kane thinking (or smoking?)
In fact, I think Deadshot has a better look than his Marvel double, but he has no real panache. In point of fact, his johnny-come-lately origins just smell too much like they are trying to copy Marvel's fairly interesting, if oddly attired Bullseye.
Personally, I think the guy needs a make-over, again. It's been done, but maybe it could be done better - turn him into a cyborg that actually is a gun. Pre-mature firing jokes would be endless.
Friday, May 07, 2010
Just One Question...
If it's so doggone funny, why are churches like it a dime a dozen and so well attended?
Living Versus Preaching
Lord: Steep me in Your Word and will, not just for the sake of my relationship with You, but also for the sake of those whose lives I touch each day.The devotional itself closes, as Mark quotes in his headline:
A good example has more value than good advice.The apostle Paul says:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (I Cor 13:1)And James:
You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.Words without action, faith without works, some people call those lies.
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:20-26)
We often talk about how we are still sinners - it's true, we cannot live the perfect sinless life. No, the works we are called to are different works indeed - they are works of confession, humility - works that seek perfection while acknowledging imperfection.
That's what really gets to me, we seek to model perfection - not the idea, we model the road to perfection.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
So NOW Everybody Wants To Talk About It
Mohler is discussing the nature of the environmental religion. He points to a couple of interesting characteristics - 1) That it has it's own set of sins, and 2) that it is apocalyptic in nature. He is basing his discussion on the article "Green Guilt" by Stephen T. Asma.
Boy, talk about you evangelistic opportunity! The rise of this "religion" takes place because of the void the church has left in the lives of so many Christians. We do not talk of hell or sin anymore, and so into the gap steps a deeply false religion.
People know they are sinners. It's only "churchy" people that don't want to hear about it. That's the real problem with modern Evangelicalism, we aren't converting anybody, we are not being truly evangelical - we're just shifting the deck chairs. Like Wal-Mart closing all the small local businesses - they don't bring new dollars to the market, they just take ALL the dollars that are being spent.
But therein, I think also lies a solution to the problem - maybe a new vision for the dying churches, pushed out by the trendy Evangelical mega-churches. They could step into the "truly evangelical" gap. They could talk to the people drawn to this false religion. They can tap into the innate sense of sin that we all have.
Some small businesses do survive when Wal-Mart moves into town. They find new markets, new customers, and in this case OLD products - certainly BETTER products.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Just before Christmas, a church in New Zealand launched a new billboard that received extensive coverage from news outlets and blogs around the world.My overwhelming thought to this entire sordid story was that medium matters. Some messages are best suited to some mediums and others simply cannot be communicated through some. I will never be able to teach anyone chemistry in a 30-second ad format. I might be able to teach bits of it that way, but never could I give the larger picture, and some of the fundamentals just cannot be communicated that way.
Most Protestants and, likely, most with no church affiliation thought the billboard was simply comparing Joseph’s ability in bed to God’s. Catholics were outraged because the billboard implied Mary wasn’t a virgin. Still others thought it was a good joke and it was about time “the church” got a sense of humor.
But this story begs the question: is all publicity good publicity? By that metric, the billboard was a raging success. The ad rose above the clutter and noise of the traditional Christian stories written or broadcast around Christmas. It provoked controversy, outrage, vandalism and thorough media coverage for the church.
So thinking about that I ask myself, "What is the best medium to communicate Christianity?"
The answer, I think, is straightforward - flesh. I know many would say preaching, but I disagree. We are not saved by the Sermon on the Mount, we are saved by Christ's death and resurrection - by the actions of His flesh.
In the end there is no "communication strategy" for the gospel, there is only a life strategy. Verbal communication, in any medium, fills in the blanks, rounds out the picture, contextualizes the action, but it is not the essential message. And yet, it seems to be where we pour our energy - I think because it lets us avoid actually making changes to our own flesh.
I cannot help but wonder what would happen if a congregation started to worry lessa bout its communication strategy and more about how to build genuine disciple out of who was there. I thinkt he results might be revolutionary.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it.How many ways do we make ourselves bigger in our own lives. We all do it, and we all have very deceptive ways of doing it. My pet peeve is unjust insults.
They are all around us. People insult us out of their own insecurity - it really isn't an insult at all, it's just various unusual psychological processes at work. Let em give you an example. Most people that blog and read blogs are pretty smart people, certainly smarter than average. And I bet all of us know someone that avoids us because our smarts make them insecure. We may work very hard to be engaging and non-condemning, but they are so weak egoed that simply saying something that shows knowledge they do not have makes them uncomfortable. Such people will often ignore you, some will even strike out at you as if your intelligence was somehow an assault on their person.
Heck, listen to talk radio, you'll hear it all the time. The people that call in and start hurling insults at the host - usually it is because the host has made a point they cannot refute. On radio, that's not a big deal - but in families or churches it can be huge. It's happened to me on more than one occasion and it just rankles me because the typical response is to stop the conversation altogether, and I never get the opportunity to "set the record straight" with regards to the insult hurled my way. Worse, it appears to me that to allow the conversation to end with the insult is to allow the insult credibility.
But note the magic words in that last sentence - "I" -- "appears to me."
Christ was the victim of the ultimate unjust insult - one that resulted in His death.
We are supposed to follow in His footsteps.
Kitty Kartoons - Mother's Day Edition
Monday, May 03, 2010
Making Someone Invisible
In the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Jesus reveals to us a man who was so consumed with himself, his possessions and his own comfort that during the course of his life he never really noticed this poor beggar named Lazarus who sat at his gate day after day. While preparing to preach this text a few months ago, I couldn’t help but see much of myself in the character of the Rich Man. Often my own schedule, needs, hobbies and comfort blind me from the obvious needs of those around me. It caused me to ask the question: who are the needy that are right in my midst, and yet are “invisible” to me? It’s sort of a scary question to ask. There are some obvious ones that immediately came to mind, such as the homeless in my community, the elderly widow two houses down, and even the young single girl across the street who desperately needs Jesus. But it wasn’t until a couple of nights ago that I realized there is a whole group of people that are often invisible to me, even though they are all around me. They are people with special needs and disabilities.I must begin by giving Tim a hearty "AMEN" on his observations regarding "special needs" people.
But as I reflected on his thoughts, I wondered what it was about us that makes us turn people invisible. What makes us so uncomfortable with the less fortunate?
I think the answer is simple - they remind us that we, in reality are also less fortunate. The only difference between us and them is that they cannot hide or deny their infirmities - they cannot pretend to be "normal." When we make people invisible we are hiding from our own brokenness.
And what is amazing is that that means such people have a very genuine ministry among us. But we can't let that happen, so when we do bother to notice them at all, we make sure it is some sort of segregated ministry so we can patronize them and continue to hide from our own brokenness.
SO I agree with Tim absolutely, we need to look around us for the people we have turned invisible. And when we find them, we need to embrace them - not treat them as odd. For they are not odd, they are simply broken people, just like us.