Saturday, July 03, 2010
Such certainly seemed to be the case back in the '60's when I encountered "The Trickster." Even at the tender age I was then - "Cheap Joker rip-off" ran through my mind almost instantly. Of course, the Joker was considerably less diabolical and malevolent than he is now in that day and age. The Comics Code Authority at work.
Like most comic characters, The Trickster has died and is now "resurrected" (someone else has adopted the identity)and the character has improved greatly over the years, but in my mind he has a hard time slipping the vague reference to another character mindset.
Interesting, in the short lived Flash live-action TV show, the Trickster was portrayed by Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame. The same Hamill that then went on to voice the Joker in Batman cartoons. There is no coincidence there. The cackle he developed during TV show easily morphed into the Joker's diabolical laughter. YEs, the connection is more than skin deep.
Now, if we can just do something about the excuse for a costume.
Friday, July 02, 2010
One assignment was to send back any slang words we were hearing in the city. I reported a few that I was familiar with around Boston, but my list felt incomplete. It needed one more word. So, being the unbelievable liar I was at the time, I looked at the bright green aloe plant on my desk at home and got creative. I wrote a word down and because they wanted to see it used in a sentence, I did that too. Here is what I wrote:Acuff does not probe the idea that "cool" is fictional to any depth, preferring instead to look at surface stuff like movies and drinking, but there is a deep, deep idea here that needs exploring.
Aloe = Cool and sexy and fresh.
Example sentence = “That girl has mad aloe.”
Yeah that’s right, I actually told the number one trend forecasting company in the world that people in Boston were saying sentences like, “That girl has mad aloe.”
Did they catch on? Not exactly. A week later, they sent out an email to all 10,000 influencers that worked for them. They called out one slang word they had received of the thousands that poured in from around the world. They highlighted one word that they were particularly excited about. Can you guess what word they loved the most?
The reason they did, is that “cool” is completely fictional. We might think it’s measurable or logical, but it’s not. The things that are cool are completely made up. They are inconsequential gossamer. But we still think about them a lot. We still wonder if the people in our lives are cool by our definition of the word. And if you’re a Christian you often develop little litmus tests to determine if someone else is a “Cool Christian.”
"Cool" - "Trendy" - "Fashionable" - "Popular" - "the Latest" - whatever similar term you want to insert is transient. That is to say there is no depth, no permanence - as Acuff says - it is fiction. It may be fun, it may be interesting, but in the end it does not matter all that much.
So, if that is what we concentrate on it, aren't we "Majoring in the minors" just a bit? And yet, that seem to be where so many churches pour their energy. The latest program, the latest worship song, the latest staffing trend.
Church is the place in the world where I go to seek permanence - roots, to concentrate, ultimately on what matters. So often in life to accomplish tings we have to go along with the trendy - but why church? It is supposed to be about ETERNITY. So much of church will seem so trivial with an eternal perspective.
Can I get an "AMEN"?
Thursday, July 01, 2010
The person living repentantly is taking baby steps toward Christ and even though we may sometimes fall or fail, as long as we keep walking toward our Savior, the cheers coming from God’s throne are so loud that if we were privileged to hear them, we’d have to cover our ears!I love the phrase "living repentantly." To often we think of repentance as a single act - "I'm sorry" and we're done. But genuine repentance implies genuine effort not to do it again. repentance is not an apology for a misunderstanding - it is a repudiation of one's own actions.
If I knew the date of my death, I hope that I would be walking repentantly, moving toward Jesus.
Repentance starts at confessional prayer, but it does not end there - it must be lived.
Sometime in my youth I discovered the secret of "I'm sorry." I think of small children, learning tat an apology "erases" a bad act - hitting their younger sibling - saying "I'm sorry" - and repeating the process until an adult steps in. Some have probably actually seen this. I am sure all can imagine the tongue lashing the older sibling will receive, "'I'm sorry' is meaningless if you keep doing it."
So, do you live repentantly, or just confess a lot?
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I read John's book recently and I find it hard to summarize without this becoming a lengthy post, so let me mention some of the highlights of this book: John tells his story of moving from a sectarian evangelical, tied as he was into his own personal salvation and his own personal reading of the Bible. He also talks of his profound encounter with God when he recited The Apostles' Creed and came to terms with the profound meaning of "catholic": that the Church of God is universal and that God would want us to cooperate and work together in God's kingdom mission.Here McKnight strikes at one of my recent biggest pet peeves - that we think theology is religion - that we are saved by our theology - that theology defines a follower of Christ.
John has some pragmatic suggestions, like cooperating at the local level by different pastors and churches, and he wants us to see that unity we have will be more along the line of the missional work of God in this world instead of our explicit theologies.
There is a big difference between "theology matters" and "theology is all."
The point about letting theology stand in the way of mission and cooperation is an important one, but what I really am uncomfortable with is that we use theology as a block to actual change. What that means in practice is that the church, that we, are no different, in reality than anyone else. If we believe, if our theology is correct, then we are OK, even if we look and act exactly like those that don't believe or think like we do. What utter nonsense!
Do you think God bothered to incarnate, die, and be resurrected for the sake of what we think? What an awful, self-centered idea.
There is much more to us than our brains. I think we should start with humility. Then maybe we will get out of the way enough for the rest of it to take hold. - maybe.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Common Sense on Christians and The Environment
The King James translators opened the door to confusion when they chose the English word steward to render two entirely different Greek words. An epitropos is a person to whose care of guardianship something has been turned over, the custodian of what actually belongs to someone else. An oikonomos is literally the manager of a household or estate. While this might be the managers own household, so that an oikonomos is not necessarily an epitropos, in New Testament times it usually meant the household of someone wealthy enough to turn managerial responsibilities over to an agent. These two meanings have been blended into the concept of stewardship that prevails among church people. We are to be good managers of the resources with which God has entrusted us as His agents.when we want to control things like CO2 emissions, simply conceiving of it involves taking a God-like perspective. It is sheer hubris to think we can control something on a global level.
The problem is that we live in a complex, decentralized, highly specialized society that no one controls or can control. What we call our “economy” is not at all analogous to a household or anything else that could possibly be “managed." Each of us can Influence the economy, though almost always in ways too trivial even to be noticed outside a very small circle. Government officials can typically exert a somewhat larger influence, and a few government officials, such as the President or the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board in the United States, can exercise a substantial influence. But even these powerful offic1als cannot manage the economy. Stalin himself at the height of his power was not able to manage the economy of the Soviet Union. A modern industrial society, characterized as it is by extensive and minute division of labor, is a social system far too complex to be managed by any oikonomos not endowed with godlike powers. [emphasis added]
When you think about that is one of the essential problems with "big government" whether its concerns environmentalism or anything else We are attempting to play God. Government is limited in part to leave room to God to be God.
We are not so smart.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Avoiding Christian Substance With Style
I don't know where this idea developed that we have to do something in order to sanctify that activity. God does not sanctify activities or things - He sanctifies us. And then when we do them, we bring sanctity to them.
But then, I think that also explains the problems - it is much easier to brand a mint or steal a song than it is to let the Holy Spirit work in our hearts and actually change us. Just like the Pharisees turned legal compliance to a high art all the while being rotten to the core, so we have turned "Chrisyianifying" into "high" art.
But also like the Pharisees, we let that stuff stand in the way of actually doing what it is that God wants to do in our lives. We use it as a way of avoiding what it is God has really called us to.
Forget the tastelessness, the tackiness, the general silliness of all this, and think about that for a minute. The problem is just not the "Huh?" factor as that it diverts people from the reality of what Jesus Christ can do for us.
So my question is "Evil" or just "stupid?"