Saturday, June 11, 2011


Comic Art


So, I run across this post, "Bad Guys Gone Good" and I read it, and I note that my personal favorite in the category is missing from the list. And so I figure I need to compile my own list for the category which I will do beginning today with that very favorite - JUGGERNAUT. Some say he has not really "gone good," but this guy is just too cool to not really be good. He has recently gone back to the dark side after a turn with the X-Men and the New Excalibur, but somehow I think his popularity will bring him to the good side to stay at some point. He is, after all, brother to the famed Professor X.

SO, what makes Juggernaut so hot? O come on, Hulk level strength in that costume? Do you really need to ask. There is something about the no neck look of this guy that just draws you in and keep you looking. Of course, it was impossible to reproduce in the third X-man movie where he made his cinematic debut, but that was the least of the problems. He was way too physically small and way too underdeveloped as a character. So, If you want to know Juggernaut - ignore the jerk in the movies. Like the Hulk, he has to be CGI or not at all.

The most interesting aspect of this character is his origin - he is not mutant, he is magic. His power comes form some of the same forces that Dr. Strange calls upon. Somehow, I think there ought to me a miniseries in that and maybe it ought to be how Cain Marko finally goes good to stay. After all, Strange calls upon the Crimson Bands of Cytorak for good purposes, meaning his magic is able to tame the bad. Could he not tame the bad in Cytorak's avatar - Juggernaut? I hope so.

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Friday, June 10, 2011


From Whence Inspiration?

Ron Edmondson has been posting "motivational quotes" lately and this one caught my eye.:
Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them. Orison Sweet Marden
First thought that ran through my mind is, "Who is Marden?" Said Wikipedia (linked earlier):
Marden supported himself during his college years by working in a hotel and afterward by becoming the owner of several hotels and a resort. Financial reverses ended that career, and in 1893, he was again working as a hotel manager, in Chicago, during the time that the World's Columbian Exposition was attracting visitors to that city from all over the world. It was during this period that he began to write down his philosophical ideas, with the goal of inspiring others as he had been inspired by Samuel Smiles.

In addition to Smiles, Marden cited as influences on his thinking the works of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and Ralph Waldo Emerson, both of whom were influential forerunners of what, by the 1890s, was called the New Thought Movement.

Marden's first book, Pushing to the Front, was published in 1894. He followed this with several more volumes on the subjects of success, the cultivation of will-power, and positive thinking. He founded Success Magazine in 1897 and was also a regular contributor to Elizabeth Towne's New Thought magazine Nautilus during the first two decades of the 20th century.
So, he is your basic run of the mill self-promoting inspirational speaker type - and his influences are decidedly non-Christian. So then the question entered my mind, "Is this a good source of 'inspiration' for Christians?"

There is no straightforward answer to that question, it's going to be very circumstantial, but in this case I think not. Yes, we must go through obstacles, but we do not do so under our own power. We do so by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit - and that dear friends is a huge difference.

Sometimes as Christians, we grab stuff that sounds good without thinking about it. Atleast maybe when we blog, we need to think about it.

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Friday Humor

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Thursday, June 09, 2011


What's at Core

Kruse looks at the "core" mission of the church:
The primary mission of the people of God is to reign over creation in holy communion with God and with each other. Caring for the earth, bringing it to fullness, and working the cultural institutions that bring flourishing to the earth and to humanity is what we do first and foremost.

But in this time between rebellion and the consummated new creation, there is a supplemental but essential call: The mission of reconciling the world to back to God and restoring humanity to functionary status in God’s temple-kingdom. Yet, reconciliation is not the primary mission. It is the essential work that restores people to community and to their primary mission.
THe idea that the church exists merely to evangelize (reconciliation) is one that I grow increasingly uncomfortable with and I am glad to see someone setting the idea in its proper context.

A church that views evangelism as its core missions is an incomplete church. I was thinking about this the other day and it struck me that the essentially difference between man and animal is that man can do something more than simply reproduce itself. Animals, particularly the lower forms really do exists as a species simply to keep going. Only we have a higher life.

So why then do we want to build our churches in a fashion that the resemble animalistic behavior?

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Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Detecting The Spirit

C. Michael Patton on preaching and the Holy Spirit:
Let's begin this way. Have you ever heard a preacher or a teacher in church say something like: "I had prepared all week to teach on __________, but the Holy Spirit changed my lesson at the last minute."

I have. Dozens of times. It conveys the idea that the particular message that was prepared was not of God (or was no longer of God) and this new message was most certainly of God. In fact, the new message is miraculously of God! Why? Because the preacher did not really prepare for it. It must have been God who prepared it. "I just step back when that happens and let God do his thing. Who am I to interrupt God?"

Let me—as I conceal myself behind a large object for cover—say something rude: That's a stupid thing to say!
He then goes on to state an number of very valid reasons why it is a "Stupid" thing to say that I will some up in two basic idea - one the Holy Spirit works in process as much or more that the sudden and miraculous and two, it's just wrong to claim Holy Spirit power for our capriciousness.

I'll be honest, about 90% of the time when I hear the Holy Spirit invoked it is to claim authority that I have no means of telling is really there or not. But I will say this, the louder the claim, the less likely I am to believe it.

See, one of the things that the Holy Spirit should produce in us if He really is at work is humility. And humility will tend to let the work speak for itself. If the Holy Spirit did indeed change the sermon, then such will be evident in the sermon itself.

And frankly that is true for most things....

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Words and Meaning

I continue to grow to have a strong dislike for the term "lovable." I especially dislike it in Christian circles. "God loves the unlovable," has alwasy struck me as oxymoronic - if God loves someone, then definitionally, they are lovable.

Therefore I was disappointed when the usually more astute John Piper fell into this semantic trap (although less so than most:
One of the most transforming forces in our lives is being regarded as better than we are.

There is something profound and paradoxical about the way God creates godly people by first justifying the ungodly (Romans 4:5).


Then—and the order here is all important—he says, “I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart” (Jeremiah 24:7). They did not have a heart to know God when he “regarded them as good.” But now he will give them a new heart. That is the order. First justification of the ungodly. Then transformation of the heart.

Now the question is: Can we do something similar? Can we, by God’s grace, love someone into loveability? Chesterton said, “Unlovely things must be deeply loved before they become loveable.”
And there you have the rhetorical slip - ungodliness is not the same thing as unlovable.

Now, none of what I am saying here should be confused with arguing Piper's central thesis which is genuine love transforms, deeply and completely. But that said, in an age where "self-worth" seems paramount, this seems more than a mere argument over word choice. We are lovely be because we are loved and the the statement ends. But even the lovely are ungodly.

Which leads to the converse statement, worth does not equate to good, worth equates to "worth saving - worth making good."

God loves us so much, we are so lovable in His eyes, that we meed to be saved, but make no mistake - we NEED to be saved.

These things matter. We have walked down a slippery slope of redefinition until all we need is worth - no we need loving transformation, but mostly, we need.

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Monday, June 06, 2011


Often Confused

Justin Taylor looks at a book "The Triumph of the Therapeutic". The book is from 1967 and it seems quite prophetic is terms of pronouncing the direction the church has taken in the ensuing decades.

I note simply how often we confuse our spirituality with our emotional states. They are not one in the same thing. The reason the church has progressed along the lines the author saw is because worship now seems more about emotional stimulation that spiritual.

Here is a core question for me, from whence has the confusion arisen. It's not "bad doctrine" - it's consumerism. That's where society is so the church followed along so we could keep people coming through the doors. Society got there by a variety of mechanisms, not the least of with is the overwhelming affluence even the poorest among us enjoy in comparison the the rest of the world. Who has time to worry about how they feel when they do not know where the next meal is coming from?

So how does the church appeal in a society so situated? I would suggest, as I have so many times before, that it is by being radically winsome - by following the example of Christ in the middle of our affluence and media filled society and being demonstrably different. It is by discovering our own spirituality in unique and different ways.

Christ was a Jew in Roman occupied Israel. The Apostles were all Jews and some affluent Roman citizens. They changed the world. Think about it.

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