Saturday, December 11, 2010


Comic Art


Baron Zemo - the man that killed Bucky Barnes, the second greatest teen sidekick in comic history. (Behind, or course Robin the Boy Wonder who has died a few times himself.)

But, I move to an aside when this is about villains, specifically Baron Zemo, or should I say Baron Zemos - it's a hereditary title, there have been a lot of them.

Now this is a villain. There is nothing cute or funny to say about the guy that killed your childhood dream. Zemo killed Bucky. Unlike Robin, there was no darkness in Bucky - he was just a kind that wanted to do the right thing that stumbled on Steve Rogers changing into his Cap gear and in order to keep the kid quiet, Cap put him to work. That was something that could happen to me - and Zemo killed him. Not good at all. (Bucky isn't like that anymore, but that is a story for another time)

So, you ask yourself - why the lame mask? Well, at least the original Zemo was grossly disfigured. A mug like that just had to be under wraps. Why the lame fur collar? Only Jack Kirby knows for sure.

This much is for sure - this is a bad guy. Nothing redeemable here - he killed Bucky.

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Friday, December 10, 2010


All of Me, Why Not Take All Of Me

Godspace looks at a book, the title of which I love - Keith Meyer’s "Whole Life Transformation:Becoming the Change Your Church Needs." Any book with a title like that needs to make it to the top of the to-be-read pile. Why?

Simple, it's what I say all along - leadership, genuine Christian leadership involves first personal transformation that is winsome. We cannot lead where we have not been , and hence we must be transformed to generate transformation. She also quote Meyer:
We cannot put transformation in only one part of a person’s life or activities. Ir must be the heart and interior life force that drives everything in a person’s life. This is what it means when Jesus says that we must lose our present life for a new one.
That's another way of stating something that I think is vitally important - Christianity, genuine faith in Christ is NOT about developing a "doctrine" for everything - it's about being someone that is so attuned to the Lord and His will that when a situation presents itself we will react in a Godly manner.

As I said, this one is going towards teh top of the pile.

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Friday Humor

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Thursday, December 09, 2010


The Wisdom of Denomination

Kruse Kronicle quotes the Columbia Partnership on the "Death of the Middle Judicatories":
This is bad news for congregations, because while many pastors have written middle judicatories off as irrelevant or worse, the fact is that they are extremely important to healthy congregational life. At their best, they help grow and maintain a strong and healthy clergy, they head off destructive conflict and help congregations engage in healthy conflict, they hold individuals and congregations accountable to the whole Gospel, they confront parochialism and interpret the work and life of the wider church, and they model health. In doing all of this they build life-giving relationships between individuals and congregations. As a former middle judicatory executive myself, I have some times seen these things happen and rejoice in them.
I never have understood why people have become "OKAY" with the sort of build-and-destroy cycle that has come to mark the evangelical church and parachurch. The "next thing" comes along and we flock to it like dogs returning to their masters, but then we tire of it and move on. Or more likely, with success comes a bunch of infighting as we try to slice up the pie of both honor and reward.

Dick Hamm is absolutely right when he talks about the managing conflict role for the judicatories. And there is something deeper to that - it creates a sense of permanence to the church in general. The church is not a disposal commodity to be replaced when a better deal comes along. The church is something eternal, lasting - reflecting that same attribute of God.

We seem to have lost tough with that reality today and we are lacking spiritual depth as a result.

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Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010



...someone is asking some good questions!

At Evangel, James Grant quotes Kevin Vanhoozer and opines:
The pastor is the Manager of resources, financial and personal – no wonder the MBA may be more appealing than the MDiv. Note, however, that this picture of leadership is taken from other social institutions. The Israelites wanted a king like the other nations; we evangelicals want managers of megachurches to be like the megacorporations of our age. On the institutional level, the pastor is a professional manager of organizations. On the individual level, minister function as Therapists, applying psychological technology to individuals. The Manager and the Therapist are the dominant social paradigms for leadership in our times: the question is, to what extent should the Church follow suit?
Hopefully we will start asking the question more frequently, but the answer to it is a bit more complex. For example, some of this depends upon the size of a church. In a smaller, independent-type church, the pastor will often have to wear the hat of not only the minister, but the secretary, occasional janitor, administrator, etc. Now I know (or rather believe) it is not supposed to be that way normally, but it is nevertheless the case in smaller settings.


I’m just wondering out loud now for ways to think through the importance of this distinction Vanhoozer made, and the necessity of “managers” and “masters,” and what kind of ecclesiastical structure we are conveying as we think through this. I’m also wondering out loud, although I didn’t get this far, about the responsibility of those evangelical churches with resources to those who are further away from the city center without resources. Again, that involves a discussion of “connectionalism” that evangelicals tend to avoid.
There is only one problem with the analysis presented here and that is the role of the non-professional in the church. It is presumed int his discussion that the roles must be filled by someone getting paid to do them? Why?

Seems to me that how to organize the church was a topic that consumed the apostles - it is throughout Acts and the epistles. But one thing seems implicit in all that storytelling and discussion - there are leaders, but everyone has a role. We are not intended to attend church, but rather to do it.

The issues arise, as is made plain in Paul's discussions of gifts, when here are too many who perceive themselves chiefs and not enough Indians. Hence all that stuff about heads telling feet where to get off, etc.

There is one other thing that this fails to mention. When the role of master of theology is lessened, so, in some sense is the spiritual life of the church. Spiritual leadership requires a level of study and meditation - it really is something for which people need to be set apart. Hence the divisions made in Acts when people were established to handle the programs like feeding widows and orphans, while the spiritual leadership was set aside to do just that.

So the bottom line is this, in the trend that Grant and Vanhoozer note are we punting on the churches true purpose> Are we letting the church become a mere dispenser of services?

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010


How About When They Do It Wrong?

Scot McKnight writes about:
When Christians Get it Wrong
As he, and the gentleman he is discussion points out, Christians often get it wrong:
Sometimes Christians are plain and simply UnChristian, as in insensitive, critical, judgmental and mean-spirited.


Sometimes Christians get it wrong on science and politics.


Sometimes Christians get it wrong when speaking of other religions: he sketches strong exclusivism, universalism and inclusivism.
Good thoughts all, but the question that is the title of this post ran through my mind almost instantly. I think we need to be more aware of what we do than what we "get."

There is no much that we do "get" that just is not evident on what we do. I personally would like to do well what we do "get" before I worry about the stuff we do not.

I know we are renewed by the "transforming of the mind," but I also know sometimes things work in reverse - and sometimes we just have to have the discipline to persevere when our minds will never be renewed. Bill W says you are always an alcoholic, you can just be a sober one. I know from my personal experience, I will always be a morbidly obese person, but I can chose - today - not to eat too much. In point of fact - it is that knowledge that is most important in dealing with my weight.

We are all sinners, and I think we all need to "get" that. Let's start there.

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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, December 06, 2010


The Necessity of Sacrament

Mark Daniels wrote about how we "grow up" in the Christian faith:
"How do we grow beyond being just spiritual babes?" is a question asked in this wonderful piece from Our Daily Bread.

The answer given by Bill Crowder, the piece's author, is to regularly meditate on God's Word and to devote ourselves to prayer.

I would add one more element to that answer, something which is indispensable to the growth of our relationship with Christ and which is pure gift. It's regularly receiving the body and blood of Jesus in Holy Communion.

In Holy Communion, Christ both bodily and spiritually imparts Himself to us and in God's mysterious way, works within us, making us over into His image.
Amen and Amen!

One of my least favorite things about the so-called "contemporary" worship practices is how the sacramental is reduced to the ordinary. Whether we hold the two sacraments of most modern protestants or the seven of Catholicism, there needs to be some place that is extraordinary - some place where my will, being and pleasure is secondary.

As Mark rightly points out, the sacraments are about God working in us, not us doing something for God. That's going to be uncomfortable - it has to be or else I have a hard time believing that we are letting God do His work. It is not comfortable to go to the doctor - it is certainly not comfortable to have surgery - being "fixed" hurts in some sense.

When we wrk to make the sacramental "accessible" we make that which is about God about us - big mistake.

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