Saturday, October 02, 2010
I have been writing this series on bad guys for a while now and why this one has not come up yet, is to me shame. In the good old days "Klaw" was the omni present Marvel baddie, and deservedly so. He is, after all, made of "solidified sound." Yeah, I know, it defies every known law of physics - I knew that when I first encountered him as a kid, but it was one of those ideas that I spent way too much time trying to figure out how to make it happen. Nobel prize here I come.
Klaw has fallen into disfavor as a villain. I have no idea why. Oh sure, the idea of solidified sound is preposterous, but then so is the rest of comics. And he had such a classic Kirby look about him. And of course, who knew that when you were turned into sound, you lost your nose, but still, this guy just looks bad.
Klaw has never really challenged the bigs - he got relegated primarily to the Black Panther as a foil and working with teams. I just don't get it. That look needs to be reinvented and he needs to come our strong and solo against Wolverine - or the whole doggone Avengers. Heck, if he is smart enough to solidify sound he should be the mastermind behind a Marvel Universal challenge as he tries to rob power from, oh I don't know - Galactus. This guy is just too good to waste
Friday, October 01, 2010
Why I Have A Hard Time Trusting Pentecostalism...
The recent statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury about the struggles within the Anglican Communion seems to equate Pentecost with a single understanding of gospel realities. Those who received the gift of the Spirit on that day all heard good news. The crowd reported, “in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power” (Acts 2:11).Hence heresies, fractiousness and just plain old sin have abounded throughout church history. Joseph Smith thought the Holy Spirit led him to some golden tablets. Jim Jones thought the Holy Spirit told him lead a mass suicide - and likely homicide in some instances. David Koresh, much the same story as Jones. In light of those stories, ordaining gays seems like pretty paltry stuff, and yet....
The Spirit does seem to be saying to many within The Episcopal Church that gay and lesbian persons are God’s good creation, that an aspect of good creation is the possibility of lifelong, faithful partnership, and that such persons may indeed be good and healthy exemplars of gifted leadership within the Church, as baptized leaders and ordained ones.
There is no question in my mind that the Holy Spirit reveals himself directly and miraculously to some people. But there is also no question in my mind that the character of God does not change. God is not capricious nor flighty. He is Almighty, unchanging, slow to act, and steadfast.
Unlimited understandings of the Pentecost experience, like that claimed by the writer of this letter, lead, as it does in this case, to claiming Holy Spirit authority for just about any personal whim.
I cannot put it any more plainly than - such is wrong. When the Holy Spirit does act it will be en masse and it will be verifiable by reason and scripture. Declarations of this type are anathema - they are dangerous and they are to be denounced.
You want homosexuals ordained, please argue for it - exegete it - make your case with perseverance and vigor, but don't you dare claim direct revelation unless the Red Sea is clearly parted at your back.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
It's Not Fair
If God were fair, I personally would be in an eternity of trouble.Very reasonable statement that - there is nothing "fair" about God's grace. I, like Mark, am deeply grateful for that fact.
But when we say that we so often forget that God, while not "fair" is deeply just. We forget that our sins are not forgotten or ignored, but that someone else paid the extraordinarily heavy price demanded by them. In some ways the answer to the question, "Why did God not simply forgive our sins by proclamation?" answers itself - becasue His justice demanded sacrifice.
That's why the concept of "fairness" is still around, it's a childish and somewhat petulant means of expressing injustice. And justice is one of God' inherent characteristics. And yet, we talk so much of God's grace that the idea of justice is highly perverted in our society.
Let me give you one example. There is nothing whatsoever just in taking money from those that have earned it to give it to those that have not - when such is done so with force, either like Robin Hood at the tip of an arrow, or like Barak Obama with the force of government, justice is deeply perverted. Not to mention that such an action is decidedly ungraceful - at least to the person that has earned their money.
And yet, if the person of means is touched by God's grace, and gives of their wealth in gratitude for that grace and because that grace has created generosity in their hardened heart - then ALL have experienced grace AND justice has been served.
Christ had to be crucified so that both God's grace and His justice could be served. As we seek to spread the grace of the crucifixion and resurrection to the world, we must do so in a manner that is both graceful and just. This is true with so many things we confront as social and personal issues.
Grace and justice can both be served. And the result is always fair.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Was It Conceived Shallowly...
Justin Taylor quotes an excerpt from a book that contends the Internet is shallow intellectually.
You write that the Internet encourages a mental ethic of speed and, in effect, distraction. Tell us a little about how you arrived at this idea.Forgive me, but I refused to be victimized by a computer network. I mean for crying out loud - I have choices I can make here.
It was originally spurred by my own personal experience. Like a lot of people, I had been using the Net heavily for more than a decade. In fact, every time the Web gained some new capability, I used it more. What I started noticing around 2007 was that I seemed to be losing my ability to concentrate. Not just when I was sitting at a computer. Even when the computer was off and I tried to read a book, to sustain a single train of thought, I found it difficult.
Has the Internet resulted in shallow intellectual activity? - yes, but is it the cause? - Oh hell no. We are the cause. We fall pray to this stuff of our own accord - we have no one to blame here by ourselves.
And you know, the more I think about it, the more I think that all the arguments that culture is changing us for the worse, is essentially an anti-Christian message.
Does Christ not promise victory? Are we not to be winners in all things? If Christianity can overcome the Roman Empire then certainly it can over come television and the Internet. When we allow ourselves tobe victimized by this stuff, we fail to claim the power that Christ has given us - we fail to rely on His strength.
Am I tempted? - Yes. Do I succumb to temptation? - By the grace of God not always.
If there is anything to blame here it is the lack of intellectual depth in Evangelicalism itself. When our faith sinks to the lowest common denominator, what is left to pull us out of the mire?
I grow weary of battling straw men in the culture wars. There is evil in our culture (abortion) and then there is stuff that is morally neutral, if less than wholesome. Let;s use our culture impact against evil, and our religious impact against the other stuff.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
There Is Ugly, and Then There Is This
One of the most respected British newspapers has just revealed that approximately 80 abortions are performed in the UK each year, terminating pregnancies that came about by IVF treatments.Mohler makes three points out of this story:
That’s right — on average, 80 British women each year abort their babies after having conceived them through the ordeal of IVF treatments.
What does this new scandal say about the human condition? In the first place, it tells us that we are turning ourselves into unabashed idolaters of the self.I could not agree more, but I do want to point out that even without the intervention of medical science we have seen these problems in conception and child rearing. In my own life, I have seen children reduced to property in divorce custody hearings. In my own life I have seen women allow themselves to become pregnant to coerce a man into marrying them, only to abandon the child when, unsurprisingly the marriage falls apart. How many couples do you know that "play house" (living together without benefit of marriage), including producing offspring, only to wish they could discard the offspring when the fantasy was no longer fun?
Second, this scandal reminds us that the real issue here is the killing of innocent human life, and not the waste of expensive fertility treatments.
Third, we must remember in light of this scandal that human dignity does not rest in any sense upon the circumstances of conception, but on the fact that every human being ever conceived is made in God’s image and is a life that is sacred and to be honored, protected, welcomed, and cherished.
As Mohler points out indirectly in his comments about the expenditures, the technology here is not the issue - the decision making is. But I wonder, is regulation and legislation the answer here. Consider the Schiavo case, Terri was treated int e courts as chattel property, much as the unborn are here.
Government of the size we have today is inherently bureaucratic and therefore inherently dehumanizing. It simply lacks the ability to make decisions based on human considerations like we have in these circumstances. I suppose it could be argued that such is the case becasue we, individually have abandoned our humanity so our institutions no longer reflect it - but I think that is circular. We influence our institutions and they influence us.
It will never get better until we find a way to make better people outside the bounds of legalism, whether it be religious or governmental. That was the ministry of Christ. We need to embrace it - not to "build the church," or "grow our ministry" but for the simple sake of human individuals.
The first step is to be transformed ourselves. Have we truly embraced Christ to make enough of a difference?
Monday, September 27, 2010
To Wince or Not to Wince?
I must confess that my first reaction to this truth is to wince. I think about the church in all of its flaws, I think of how often we do not demonstrate the love and truth of God, I think of our internal squabbles and public disgraces, and I wonder why in the world God would make himself known through the church.I really struggle with that on a number of levels. I understand what Mark is driving at here and on one level he is right - there are things we cannot change and all we can do is make sure we do not contribute to the mess. But on the other hand, way too many people have "advised" me to look to myself as a way to avoid the criticism I have offered of a situation - as a way to not deal with a real problem.
But then, after I get over wincing, I also remember times when God’s presence has been powerfully present in the church. I recall occasions when the people of God have wrapped their arms of love around those who are hurting. I envision the army of saints who go to places of need in the world, helping to rebuild Haiti, for example, after the devastating earthquake there.
And then my thoughts become more personal. I wonder what I am doing as a member of Christ’s church to demonstrate the grace of God. How am I helping the church to be the temple of God in tangible, life-changing, world-changing ways? Will my contribution to the life and mission of the church help people to find God here?
I don't have much of a problem with trying and failing - but I have a huge problem with not trying. The church may be intractably screwed up, but if we shrug our shoulders and work only on trying to make sure we don't screw up, we give the church permission to be screwed up. That's not right. Yes, it means beating our heads against the wall. Yes, it smacks of obsession - but are we not in some sense supposed to be obsessed with God's goodness?
I know I can never fix the church - I know that I have huge issues of my own and with grace I will do my best to deal with them. But I will try - I will endeavor to make things better - I will point out problems when I see them. I will fail, but I will not concede that failure is somehow acceptable.