Saturday, July 23, 2011
Except of course when their just, I don't know - stupid? I guess it is inevitable that when a super-hero is as inordinately attractive as Power Girl, she's gonna end up with a stalker or two. But let's face it, she is at Superman's power level, so you have to be simply stupid to stalk here. Hence we have Da'Bomb. (That name may be the lamest attempt at cultural relevance in the history of comics - even Captain Kirk on Star Trek encountering space hippies can't compare.)
Anyway, there is almost nothing to say about Da'Bomb other than - WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Shouldn't he at least have been African-American? Or would it be racist to have an ebonics-named character of the actual race that speaks ebonics. And could the DC universe handle an inter-racial stalking? (Like it is an actual relationship)
If this is all it takes to invent a bad guy, I need to get into writing comics.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Church attendance has collapsed among youths and urban dwellers, so giving urban-dwelling youth special attention makes sense; congregants are interested in coreligionist marriageables, and the church has a clear interest in their meeting. It is unsurprising that young-adult services are an accelerating trend, in Protestant and Catholic churches alike.He goes on to chronicle a number of reasons for this trend, and then comes this goody:
Critics worry that a church trying to be hip is self-defeating — in being too accommodating of its parishioners’ wants, it softens its majesty. But the more important loss is much less abstract: old people. They are, by the nature of the service, missing, in a way that is peculiarly noticeable and sad because church might otherwise, did it not balkanize its generations, be the only place unrelated youths and geriatrics communed.
America today is startlingly segregated by age relative to historical norms, a change that is as lamentable as it is unremarked upon. Alarms have not been sounded — partly because we have chosen this separation, partly because it is unnoticeable in its progress, partly because its harms are not concrete or statistically measurable. They fall on our patience, our humility, our relationship to history, our gratitude, our preparation for death, in short our wisdom — things that are hard to put before Congress or in a think-tank finding.
How can this bad (separateness) come of this good (freedom)? The best allegory for this, the dilemma of modernization, is C. S. Lewis’s imagining of Hell, The Great Divorce (the title implying that it is a response to Blake’s Marriage). Lewis envisioned that the damned suffer not a fire, or any physical torment or confinement, but absolute dominion and inalienable rights: the liberty to roam an infinite and borderless land, and to freely and instantaneously build castles wherever they like.
Lewis’s damned enjoy this freedom by abandoning locations and acquaintances the moment they become inconvenient. The awkwardness of an exchange with a neighbor we think has slighted us can, in Lewis’s Hell, be evaded by simply moving away. So after a few years’ stay in Hell, each of the damned is thousands of miles away from any other, pacing solitarily in his castle.
Facebook appears to have been modeled on C. S. Lewis’s Hell. It is the acme of modernized society, allowing us unrestrained control over our relationships — we literally choose the face that others see, and can start or end a friendship by tapping a finger. These friendships never become inconvenient, because no obligation can impose itself through the digital medium. The irony of Facebook, and of modernity’s expansion of social autonomy generally, is that total, unlimited cosmopolitanism in the end produces more parochialism, homogenization, and even chauvinism than geographical confinement does: I can now commune with people all over the world of all nationalities and tongues and races who are just like me. As human interactions become less contingent on geography, and more on the preferences of digital cosmopolites, communities became more horizontal — incorporating similar kinds of people across broad territories — and less vertical.Shaffer goes on to try and come up with a few ways to fix this problem, but he does not mention one that I think is vitally important.
Prov 19:26-27 - He who assaults his father and drives his mother away is a shameful and disgraceful son. Cease listening, my son, to discipline, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.The wisdom literature is full of admonishment to listen to our elders for they have wisdom. Which leads me to the one thing Mr. Shaffer forgot.
Prov 23:22-23 - Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy truth, and do not sell it, get wisdom and instruction and understanding.
Prov 30:17 - The eye that mocks a father, and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.
The church should be come intentional about mixing the generations. We are told to by God, we hold the scripture that tells us to. We of all the institutions in society have the values and means to counter this force.
Nothing will kill our church or our society faster than a lack of maturity and how can their be maturity without old people?
Closing Note: It is shameful how little discussion of this important article I have seen in the Godblogosphere....
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving.Note that when you strip that down to the barest of essences - love is about the other, wholly, completely, totally - it is the antithesis of self.
I wonder if we in this world can even really conceive of such love, let alone even let the slightest glimpse of it peek through our lives?
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Kill It - Kill It Dead
Pastor Brian Jones tells of the response he got from one 'nationally recognized' pastor when Brian told him that he hadn't figured out the whole small group thing yet. Brian said the pastor's response was something like this:I have to agree, being careful to point out that "90%" condition on the sentiment.
“Well, Brian, that’s because they don’t work. Small groups are things that trick us into believing we’re serious about making disciples. The problem is 90 percent of small groups never produce one single disciple. Ever. They help Christians make shallow friendships, for sure. They’re great at helping Christians feel a tenuous connection to their local church, and they do a bang-up job of teaching Christians how to act like other Christians in the Evangelical Christian subculture. But when it comes to creating the kind of holistic disciples Jesus envisioned, the jury’s decision came back a long time ago—small groups just aren’t working.”
Small groups are usually really about connectedness to the church - and frankly, if we are brutally honest with ourselves, that's the reason we push them so hard. (growth, growth, growth, growth...spammity spam, wonderful spam - er, excuse me.) They tend to be self-help groups which is something very different than spiritual development, which has very little to do with the word "self." What I really don't understand is how they work when there is no one in the group of a much higher maturity level than the others. That is to say - no real leader.
See, spiritual development is about mentoring; it's a one-on-one thing. Not to mention it is a HUGE commitment. We keep designing church-lite - something that does not demand too much of the congregants, else they be "scared away."
I keep coming back to the same thought - Christ demanded EVERYTHING from His apostles, and they gave it. He was NOT scary.
The problem is us, we have not figured out Christ-likeness yet.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Christians who read this: Share the news about Jesus and let the chips fall where they may!Mark is emphasizing the need for all Christian to speak, and he is right, but I want to emphasize the need for truth.
And by that I do not mean doctrinally correct statements of our personal theology - I mean TRUTH - the kind of truth you can only speak about someone you are intimately familiar with - the kind of truth that comes from experience, not knowledge.
The apostles were apostles becasue they knew Christ personally. They changed the world becasue they knew Christ personally. They had not developed systematic theology yet, but they did hold the truth. We are offered the chance to know Christ personally too - not face-to-face, not yet, but personally. All we have to do is let Him in.
Are you prepared to speak the truth? Do you know Christ well enough to testify to that truth?
Monday, July 18, 2011
Direction of Focus
In my attempt to continue to identify the silly things we do as churches I decided to focus my attention on a few practices of churches that are more concerned with the activity inside its own walls than the community it rests within.He goes on to list five symptoms of this problem. Funny thing is, they are all the kinds of things that "growth-oriented" churches do
- Makes Converts Not Disciples
- Lives and Dies by Sunday
- Offers Multiple Styles of Worship...
Funny how that works. It is no accident that Kaufman illustrates his post with a picture of obese children.
Obesity is, after all, a form of growth but it is not a healthy one. Obesity is also a form of selfishness. Christ-likeness is selflessness.
So, what;s your church's body fat index? Might be worth putting some thought to.