Saturday, August 06, 2011
The only thing worse than a lame villain is a copy of good one. Honestly - Carnage may be a fan favorite, but give me a break here. The character, so derivative of Venom as to be utterly ridiculous, is evil beyond redemption, but please. According to Wikipedia, the story behind the characters creation is:
Writer David Michelinie created Carnage to be a darker version of Venom intending to have Venom's human alter ego, Eddie Brock, be killed off in Amazing Spider-Man #400 and have the symbiote continue to bond with a series of hosts. However, as Brock and Venom's popularity increased, Marvel would not allow him to be killed. Michelinie decided to create a new character; a total psychopath who unlike Venom had no sense of honor.
UH-HUH. Wanna know what I think? I'm a lazy blogger so I got no evidence for this, but have you ever noticed the similarities between Venom and Todd MacFarlane's Spawn? The symbiote costume for Spidey did not originate with MacFarlane, but Venom, when Spidey decided to leave the costume behind, did. I'm gonna bet you Venom got tied up in litigation between MacFarlane and Marvel, and hence Carnage was born.
Friday, August 05, 2011
Yeah, What Is It?
Ministry (diakonia) is service. Who determines what is service? The one being served. God calls, we serve. ANYTHING done in service to God is ministry. Here is how I see it.I want to take this one step farther. When we collapse "ministry," to borrow his phrase, we not only limit the definition of ministry to something less than God intended, we make the church into an idol. The church serves God, but it is not God. The church is God's instrument to speak to the current world, but it is not a priestly instrument - it is not the sole means by which God can be accessed. When we claim such, we claim for ourselves, or our churches much more authority than it has been granted.
The church tends to collapse “ministry” into activities that correspond directly with Christian vocation. Some will say they left the corporate world to enter “full-time ministry.” Acts of preaching and evangelism (Evangelical world) and acts of social justice (Mainline world) are seen as “ministry.” Daily life is merely a platform for executing acts of “ministry” as directed by ecclesial professionals. Daily work unrelated to these ends has no intrinsic value (though they may have a derivative value in providing incomes that generate offerings that allow for the continuation of “ministry.”)
To be clear here, we ARE all called to redemptive works of evangelism and justice. But the work in our daily lives is ministry every bit as much as redemptive work is. I’m rejecting a dichotomy in favor of an inextricable intertwining. Ministry is ANY work done in response to God’s call.
I worry little about idols of gold. They are readily identified. I worry much about idols that are God-shaped. Idols that we can easily claim are in God's service.
This is the reason I read The Screwtape Letters regularly.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Should a Church Ever Discipline Someone Who Claims to Be Repentant?They got no response. Fascinating isn't it - no response. What does that tell us about so important a question?
Well, in my opinion it tells us that everybody knows the answer, but is afraid to actually say it. In other words, everybody knows that the correct response is "Of course, anything less is cheap grace," but they are afraid to say it because they know the such an answer would be unpopular with Joe and Jane Pewsitter. Either that, or it would mean we are all subject to discipline (which we ARE!) and such would once again not set well with the plate fillers of the world. And so, we pretend the question does not exist.
And yet, the purpose of such discipline is to fulfill grace, it is not antithetical to it.
But we do not want to face the sin in ourselves, and that most certainly means we cannot face the sin in another. But most sadly, that means we do not want to really be God's people. We want the cheap grace to be sure, but we want little or nothing to do with the real power that God offers us.
And we wonder why we lose the culture wars.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Not So Simple A Question
The foundational insight of Ray Stedman’s Body Life dealt with the questions “Who does the ministry?” Is “ministry” done by the pastor or is it done by the “laity”? (For the moment we can dispense with the whole clergy/laity discussion because in one way or another Stedman deconstructed the distinction.)This is not a simple question becasue, as here admitted, there is no distinction. Our necessary institutional distinctions are not distinctions within the Body of Christ!
Whenever we read of the church's functioning, we read of distinctions based on function, not professionalism. Paul eschewed the very idea of professionalism, despite admitting "he had earned it" for the sake of the preserving body function.
That said, it takes a very special person to seek professional ministry. The bottom line qualification is a very special form of humility. One that that os enormously self-sacrificing, as the example set by Paul
I wonder how many in the job meet that criteria?
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
If we flippantly deal with God because 'He’s gracious,' rather than out of humility and utter dependence, it shows we have no concept of what God’s grace is and, more than likely, have never been recipients of it.Res Ipsa Locquitor
Monday, August 01, 2011
The idea for this conference came from two sources: A blog post from J.R. Briggs, a pastor at Renew Community in Lansdale, Pa and the wildly popular site www.epicfail.com.Why, for example, would a conference free from "thrills and frills" resort to such a marketing gimmick as calling itself the "Epic Fail" conference? Why would we seek to repackage failure in a fashion that makes it appear to be success. Isn't that sort of a way of putting pride where humility should be?
A few dangerous questions were asked:-What if we offered a space that is gutsy, hopeful, courageously vulnerable for pastors to let go of the burden to be a Super Pastor?
-What if we could hold an event that was free from the thrills and frills of other pastors conferences?
Trying to do away with the superstar mentality of things is not a bad goal, but it is only part of the problem. Even without the superstar mentality, the fact that pastors think it all depends on them is a big part of the problem. Somewhere the church has lost its feel of community where the pastor is a role player in that community and taken on the aspect of entertainment where the pastor is the focus, whether that pastor be a workman, star or superstar.
Maybe if pastors spent less time at conferences, "Epic Fail" or otherwise, and more time amongst their flock, encouraging and developing and building community....