Saturday, May 22, 2010
We've been looking at villains that have doppelgangers in the two big publisher's universes. Last week we looked at DC's "Deadshot" and this week we turn to Marvel's Bullseye.
I don't want to say this guy is twisted, but I've met straighter pretzels. Crazy, maniacal, sadistic, all these pleasant words and more apply to Bullseye. Frankly if we were using personalities instead of "powers" to establish the parallels here this guy would match up to the Joker much better that Deadshot. He's nuts and he loves to kill.
He is highly popular amongst fandom, and is probably Daredevil's greatest enemy. What am I saying Bullseye killed Electra for crying out loud - making him the man that ruined DD's life.
You know, as I look at the art I have selected to illustrate this piece this morning, the Joker analogy really works. This one at left is remarkably reminiscent of one of Batman's ultimate enemy's finer appearances.
Which makes me wonder - everybody think Moon Knight is a cheap Batman rip-off anyway. And while MK and Bullseye have locked horns - having them do the round-and-round might just recapture some of the magic for Moonie and pull him out of the death spiral he has been on for a while. His image is too cool to let it go.
But this is about Bullseye and comparisons to Deadshot. Look there is none. Deadshot has faded into the woodwork while Bullseye has become a bona fide star. Deadshot looks cooler, but it ends there, the Bullseye character is just so much more interesting. Which also makes me thinks Bullseye needs a new look, but that is just me.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Finally, I gave in and showed up at the Church on a Saturday during the hours my Pastor had scheduled to hear confession.I have a very similar story that I have told here before. Not long after Chaplain Mike reprinted an iMonk confession too much to quote in total, too good to ignore - please read it.
He was all business. He had me turn to page 310 in Lutheran Worship (also known as the Blue Hymnal) and we followed the service for individual confession. He didn’t seem shocked at my sins. I regurgitated all my sins and hatefulness and at the end of it all he placed his hands on my head and said “As a called and ordained servant of the Word, I forgive you all of your sins in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Go in peace, your sins are forgiven.” For the first time in a long while a flicker of hope appeared.
I would like to be able to say that all my sins immediately went away and that Confession worked like magic. But that is not what happened.
As the oil of forgiveness and hope soaked into my wounds, some of my sins fell away quickly, others faded away over weeks and months, and some still remain. The weekly rhythm of confession and absolution, the application of the Gospel to me, in my sin, slowly started to rebuild my faith and hope. To see and hear the Gospel incarnated every week in my Pastor literally gave me my life back. If I had not been able to hear God’s forgiveness for me week after week, month after month, I would have given up attending worship and taking the Lord’s Supper a long time ago. The discouragement and defeat would have been too much to bear.
Those days were a long time ago. Looking back, it almost seems like another life. Man, those were some hard days. Thank God for the gift of His Word and faithful pastors who can bring it.
All this wonderful stuff and yet, as the guest poster Pat Kyle says:
Individual confession and absolution has almost entirely disappeared in modern protestantism and is unheard of in Evangelicalism. But is the individual confession of sins really so shocking?In my house there are some cracks in the wall. Every few years I have to break out the joint tape and compound and fix them. They look good for a bit and then they start to open up again. That's becasue the real problem is not the crack, its the sagging foundation - can't fix it without actually tearing the house down - scary and expensive proposition, particularly when it is relatively easy to fix the appearance.
Seems like we approach sin that way anymore. We clean it up but we do not deal with the real issue because its "too expensive." Problem though. My house's foundation will, absent a major earthquake, eventually cease to sag any further. Not so my life - it will sag all the way to hell.
Can we really afford to just plaster over the cracks in our lives?
How many people do you know whose brains need to come out?
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The shift from the duty of children to parents to the duty of parents to children was not subtle. All of a sudden, the young became the instructors of the old, on everything from the morality of war and peace to the issues of sex and the meaning of life.I blame success. We adults achieve security relatively easily now - we do not need our children's labor to provide for the family - we live in abundance. And yet, inherently, we know we are unworthy of this level of abundance so we turn our attention to something by which we can earn it - for many that is their duty to the children. (For others it is in "the environment" and others "social justice" just to extend the idea a bit)
As West observes, "It is hard to overstate the significance of this change more than half a century ago. It is this fundamental rearrangement of life’s building blocks that put successive decades on an entirely new footing from all that had come before. To say the tide had turned is to imply a temporary, cyclical shift. What had occurred — replacing the child’s duty to his parent with the parent’s duty to his child — has so far turned out to be permanent."
The problem with this is twofold. Firstly, our duty is to God - and a child's duty to parent models that far better than the opposite. Which is probably why Christianity is a much harder sell to young people today.
Which brings me to my second point - we are born narcissists. "Feed me" - "Bath me" - "Care for me" is how we are born. That cycle needs to be broken or we forever remain narcissists. Not sure that is what God has in mind for us.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
"Called" As Excuse
A friend of the family adopted a baby a few years ago. He and his wife are Caucasian and the baby is African American, so occasionally they get asked interesting questions. I believe his favorite one to answer is, “What country did you adopt from?” He loves responding to this one because his answer is, “The country of Mississippi.”I wish this excuse were just limited to "some crazy, difficult mission for God." I have heard it used as an excuse for not pitching in to clean up after a church luncheon. I have also heard it used in the positive to justify the most outrageous behavior. For hideous example, Jim Jones certainly believed he was "called" to bed many of his parishioner women and engender mass suicide amongst his followers. Frankly, "called" is not a word I care for much.
There are a tremendous amount of orphans in the US and this is simply his slightly amusing away of drawing attention to the kids across the street that need to be adopted too. I was talking about adoption a few weeks ago with a different friend at dinner. I mentioned that someone I knew had adopted a special needs child from Europe. They purposely decided to adopt an older special needs child and give them a new home and a new family.
As soon as I started that story, my friend blurted out something Christians the world over say when faced with tremendous love like this, “You’re called to that.” Then he breathed a tremendous sigh of relief and went back to eating.
He was comforted by that sentence in part because of what it really means. When you hear about another Christian going off on some crazy, difficult mission for God, you get a small ping of guilt. We’re a very guilty people some times and in this particular case that guilt stems from thinking that you should also be adopting special needs kids. What are you doing right now in your life that is holy or big or adventurous? Nothing? Better throw out that get out of jail free card, “You’re called to that.”
I don't think God calls us to specific tasks - rather I think He calls us to be certain kind of people regardless of the task. We often confuse "equipping" and "calling." Not everyone has the intellectual equipment to be a simultaneous language translator. It should be noted; however, that just everyone is equipped to wash dishes after that luncheon. And that matters because we are definitely called to be humble, which means we may have to wash dishes from time to time, even if we think it beneath us.
"God's will for my life" is far less about what I do and far more about who I am. I also think that many people do "some crazy, difficult mission for God" for the wrong reason - rather than as humble service, they do it to attract attention to themselves. I think this is especially true for those that work so hard to sing and dance in front of the congregation - I know it was true for me when I sought so hard to be in professional ministry.
Being a Christian means a lot of things - and one of them is a deep examination of who we are, no matter what we do.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Fair enough to a point. If we must measure, then this is where we ought to look, but I wonder if spiritual growth can be measured? And sometimes I wonder the value of trying to measure.
If you measure only inputs of your spiritual growth…such as…
- How many times you read your Bible
- How many minutes a day you pray
- How many people you invite to church
You’ll often feel like a failure in your spiritual life.
If you measure the outputs of your spiritual growth…such as…
- Are you becoming more patient?
- Are you learning to love people that are hard to love?
- Do you desire to be more like Christ today than you once desired?
You can discern if you are really growing spiritually.
You see, measurement implies control. But is not true, deep spiritual growth precisely giving up control?
I certainly think there are seasons in our walk with God where trying not to measure is far more important than the right measure. Think about it - we may be measuring patience when God is working on charity. It is also important to note that God, in the end, is beyond our comprehension and measurement. Seeking to measure what He is doing in our lives limits Him, it defines a boundary. How dare we place limits on the limitless?
Monday, May 17, 2010
How To Be A Good Christian
The official Church wastes time and energy, and moreover, commits sacrilege, in demanding that secular workers should neglect their proper vocation in order to do Christian work—by which she means ecclesiastical work. The only Christian work is good work well done. Let the Church see to it that the workers are Christian people and do their work well, as to God: then all the work will be Christian work, whether it is Church embroidery or sewage-farming.When I was younger, but just out of professional ministry, I viewed my job as something I did to enable my volunteer work. It has only been with the perspective of years that I have come to see my secular profession as a calling. What has the perspective of years provided? - lives touched.
My business has grown quite successful in the last 5-7 years. There are a lot of years of sufficient success prior to that, but abundance has been a recent development. There are many things that have happened to bring this about, but one of them has been a couple of small ethnic communities that have come to appreciate my work. They know I work hard, I work well, and I work inexpensively - all things they appreciate. They are all decent people, but they also are not Christians. As such, their approach to work is not to help their customers so much as to supply as little service as possible for as much money.
In the course of events I have come to enjoy a much broader, and more loyal, customer base than they, much of it on their recommendation - and they have started to ask why. Lives are changing, Christ's body is growing, and all I did was work hard and well.