Saturday, April 16, 2011


Comic Art


If you want a lesson in the fact that comics are a visual medium, look no further than "The Purple Man." I can hear the pitch now -- I've got this idea for a great foil for Daredevil - mental powers since DD can't see - he can muck about with people in Murdock's life. "OK responds the editor, but this is a visual medium - how is he physically distinctive?"

The creator thinks a bit - "We'll color him purple!" And not to be outdone in this battle of lame creativity, the editor responds, "We'll call him The Purple Man." And thus was born a human grape.

But rather than laugh themselves silly - they went ahead with the idea and good 'ol Kilgrave the Purple Man has been hanging around with DD and Spidey ever since. To be honest - this guy has made some "lame villain" lists around the 'ol internet, but I am not so sure about that. He is utterly lame when it comes to visuals - that I will admit, but he has been a very strong foil for our heroes over the years.

Let's face it a guy that can do mind control can really put together some sinister plots. But what I would really like to see is Killy "in the hands" of some real mastermind world conquering type. Purple Man is just shrewd enough to make the mastermind think he had control and then turn it on him.

If they can just get him a better tailor and some make-up....

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Friday, April 15, 2011


Finding Your Way

Mark Daniels:
It’s interesting, too, that the word, “Repent” in the original Greek of Matthew’s Gospel is in the present tense, meaning that repentance isn’t a one-and-done phenomenon. Repentance, constant reorientation to the rule and will of God, is to be part of the daily life style of a Jesus-Follower. This is no doubt why Martin Luther, who taught clearly that we cannot earn our salvation by obeying God’s commandments, nonetheless began The Small Catechism with a discussion of the Ten Commandments. Every grateful follower of Jesus will want to turn each day to God, asking God to show them where they have disobeyed God, so that they don’t, slowly and ignorantly, wander away from the gifts of God’s grace and salvation.

To repent then, is much more than to be sorry for one’s sins. In fact, it’s possible to feel sorry for a sin and not be repentant. Years ago, I met a woman in a nursing home. She was then in her eighties. But she had done something wrong when she was seventeen for which she still felt life-crushing shame. She refused to receive Holy Communion when it was offered to her because she was sure that God could not and would not forgive her. She acknowledged her guilt, but she would not reorient her life to the loving Lordship of Jesus over her life. She would not accept God's offer of forgiveness. It was incredibly sad! Repentance entails both the recognition of one's need of God's forgiveness AND the willingness to receive that forgiveness. For some reason, that woman saw her need of forgiveness, but couldn't accept it. She was like a person dying of thirst on the rim of an unseen oasis.


It’s those who daily and authentically ask God to orient their lives to Him who are truly prepared for the kingdom of heaven, truly ready to meet Jesus! May we be prepared. May we live in daily repentance!
Necessary words when the discussion in church is "what I want" and what we want is feel-good consumerism. Vital words when we live in an age where the gospel often seems to be about salvation without sins. True words at a tie when less than the truth is preached from many a pulpit.

Read the whole thing.

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Friday Humor


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Thursday, April 14, 2011


Who Get's Paid?

There was a discussion a while back at BHT about who should get paid at church. I doubt I captured all the discussion, but here is some:

As is typical for BHT, lots of opinions, some right, some wrong. What was interesting to me is that the discussion was so pragmatic and not very theoretical/theological. The last post starts to get there, but only makes it part way.

See, it's not about rules, or "should's," or "deserves" - that is the point of Paul's comments on the issue. It's about humility and charity.

Humility in that everyone int he church, on all levels should be seeking to serve God at the maximum of their capability and capacity without concern for compensation. When I hear a church staff member complaining about their pay, that;s when I know they have spiritual issues.

Charity in that the church should seek to give everyone as much as they can, whether those gifts be financial or otherwise.

There is no quid pro quo, no "compensation," no payment. There is service and there is charity. The instant it becomes about compensation is the instant it becomes at a minimum legalistic - and often much worse.

That's what the BHT conversation had to get practical. There are no "Biblical guidelines." - it;s not about rules. It's about attitude and who we are as Christians.

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Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Playing The Match Game

Stanley Hauerwas viq Mark Daniels:
It is not what the Pharisees and Sadducees say that John [the Baptizer] and Jesus condemn; but rather it is the inconsistency between their lives and what they commend.
As successful as the church has been throughout its history - why has it not taken over everything? Why is Christianity barely penetrating in some parts of the world? The world can in fact be divided between where Christianity has deeply penetrated and where it has merely sojourned.

It cannot be that the eastern world thinks so differently - they in fact do, but we have the power of the Holy Spirit on our side - that should be able to overcome such.

Or do we?

We speak in tongues and we heal the sick, but do we do the real miracles. But do we live lives consistent with the gospel? Do we speak with the tongues of angels or just men? Do our lives match our words? The power of the gospel lies not in our words by in our deeds.

Daniels response to the above:
God, forgive me for all the ways in which I have failed to live a life consistent with the faith I profess. Help me to walk like a Christian and not just talk like one. In Jesus' Name. AMEN

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Always Give Thanks

Mark Roberts:
If we take the Psalms as a model for prayer, then we should certainly feel free, even obligated, to share with the Lord our frustrations and disappointments. Genuine prayer is not putting a happy face on our true feelings. If you're grieving the loss of a loved one, or feeling afraid because you're facing a serious illness, you should surely share these feelings with God in prayer. Being thankful in all circumstances does not mean pretending or denying.

But it does mean that we must look beyond our particular circumstances. Gratitude comes when we look at the bigger picture, when we remember the multitude of ways in which we are blessed, even if we're also feeling sadness or fear or whatever else seems inconsistent with being thankful.
Ingratitude may be the ultimate expression of narcissism. Think about it for a minute. Anyone who is reading this has access to a computer - that alone qualifies as abundance and worthy of gratitude. If I am ungrateful in the face of of such abundance then it can only be becasue I do not have what I want, for I certainly have what I need.

But there is more involved than simple desire. I know when I see business reversals and begin to worry about not having "everything" or start to worry about tomorrow, It's not the stuff that is the real problem, it's that I feel I have failed or my customers don't like me anymore. Of course none of that is true, sometimes things just happen in business. But reminding myself of that fact almost never helps.

But gratitude does help - it forces me to stop thinking about me. God has given so much. Take inventory and be grateful. Everything else will fall into perspective.

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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, April 11, 2011


Think "Biblically"?

Justin Taylor links to an article on:
Thinking Biblically about Pop Culture
Look, maybe I am being a curmudgeon here - I mean the ideas in the piece are fine, but I don't want to "think biblically" about much of anything. When confronted with a situation I do not want to have to pick up the "instruction manual." In the first place getting from the book to the situation I am in required so much study and thought that by the time I figure our what I supposed to do, the situation will have passed.

I'd rather think like Christ - that is to say I'd rather be of sufficient character and intellectual development that I can rely on my more or less "gut reaction" to be a reasonable guide. In other words, I don't want to have to figure it out - I want to be transformed so that being Christlike is instinctive.

Now yes, knowledge of scripture is part of that. But then the Pharisees knew scripture better than anybody else at the time. There is more to it than that - if there is not then the stiff legalism of the Pharisees is the only possible result. No we have to let the Holy Spirit work in us - we have to transcend on some level our intellects and let God reach the very score of our being.

Sometimes the best way to figure out how to think about pop culture is to simply concentrate on God.

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