Saturday, September 03, 2011


Comic Art

Next time there is a Thor movie, they have GOT to include today's villainous group - The Wrecking Crew. Powerful enough to destroy the planet, stupid enough to get lost in a paper bag, this group is both evil and very, very funny.

Their power, originally, was derived by stealing Asgardian power (Thor stuff) so they were capable of fighting the likes of the Hulk to a standstill - these guys were baaaaaaad.

And yet all they really wanted to do was rob banks. Yes, they could have stolen the whole building - just picked it up and walked off with it - but no, they had to just go for the money. Fort Knox was theirs for the pickin', but they just wanted pocket change. Heck, they could rule a lot of planets.

The Wrecking Crew have now lost their Asgardian levels of power (though they remain incredibly strong) and spend their lives trying to get it back. I mean they work really, really hard at it. A lot harder than they would work if they just got a job moving pianos. Again proof of how ultimately dumb this bunch of meatheads really is.

They usually hang together - all four of them big enough to not fit through a door - in some one bedroom flop in Brooklyn - IN COSTUME!

My favorite would be the guy with the metal head. (Bulldozer) Why do guys, even really, really strong guys, insist on butting things with their heads like goats? I don't care how strong you are, you butt the Hulk with your head and you're going to break your neck. At least put a point on that helmet for crying out loud.

The next Thor movie needs serious comic relief. FOUND IT!

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Friday, September 02, 2011


Words Mean Things

Michael P. Orsi:
How we express ourselves to others reveals our perception of reality. Appreciation of status, for example, is suggested in forms of address and by the words and phrases we use. There is a current trend in our speech, however, that lends itself to minimizing human relationships.
Tend to agree, so let's look at the examples he lays out.
...the traditional sign-off “good-bye” at the close of a phone conversation or when parting has now been replaced with “I love you.” Once this most intimate of phrases was reserved for special people on special occasions, usually at the most tender, if not vulnerable moments, in their life. It is now so frequently and loosely bandied about that its power has been greatly diminished.
Interesting choice. Does it really express love, or just cheapen the expression? Have to go with the latter.
...example of the diminution of language has come by way of the animal rights lobby. In the past when someone wanted a pet they would say, “I am going to get a dog or a cat.” Today, the popular phrase is “I am going to adopt a dog or cat.” This is a mighty leap from the owner-animal understanding of the past.
This one is easy. Lastly:
In recent years the term for one’s parents has become my “mom and my dad.” In former times this would have been considered baby talk. Traditional maturity always demanded that when referencing parents the proper designation after childhood was my “mother and father.” This connoted a growing degree of independence. Only in private discourse was “mom and dad” retained as the familiar address usually replacing mommy and daddy.
That one is deep and one I had not really thought of.

Let me add one more to this pile - "grace." This term, so bandied about in faith circles has come to mean "license to sin" rather than and expression of the depth of our sinfulness and the amazing love of God. It's overuse has lead to precisely the cheap grace that Bonhoeffer warned us about.

This is in part why I worry about efforts to express the gospel in a single sentence, and other such efforts at simplification. Made by people who know what the word mean with precision, they break in the the consciousness of a public with only a vague understanding.

It is important that we endeavor to teach the entirety of God's message to us.

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Friday Humor

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Thursday, September 01, 2011


The Bible Is Not A Plaything

Via Secondhand Smoke, a Daily News story:
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, has asked the Committee on Bible Translation to update the New International Version Bible to include more animal-friendly language, according to CNN.

In a letter to translators, the group called the Bible's current text "speciesist" and requested that pronouns like "he" and "she" be used instead of "it" when referring to animals.
All right - I've had it. The Bible is not a plaything. "Scholarship" does not serve agendas. This is perhaps the most bass-akwards thing I have ever read. So naked in stating that the agenda is ahead of anything else.

I don't want to go all prophetic here, but reading something like this I have a good idea what Moses felt like when he descended from Sinai and found the golden calf. At the moment, I don;t blame him for dashing the tablets.

It's one thing to stretch an exegetical point. But this is a naked effort to shape the Bible to our own will and desires. This makes proof-texting look like pilfering a rubber band at work.

Is this really our societal view of scripture? If so, I'm buying flood insurance.

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Biblical Lands Illuminated

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Comics and Christianity

Greg Garrett @ Thoughtful Christian writes about 5 good comics right now:
Graphic novels interest me because they're often long narratives that allow us to get to know characters better than any other format. Even long-running TV shows don't compare to the longevity of characters like Superman, Batman, Captain America, or Wonder Woman. Superhero comics remain our most popular comics, and these stories also appear in wildly-popular TV, movie, and video game adaptations, so some powerful spiritual and emotional needs must be met by them.
There is more to it than even this I think. Evangelicals tend to ignore what an important role literature can play in the spread of the gospel and in our own spiritual formation. We look for self help books when we need to read Crime and Punishment.

Part of the reason for this is that literature can be difficult to access. I was told I needed to read Crime and Punishment many times, and I did. It wasn't until I had a good teacher that I got it. Good teachers are not always available, what are we to do?

Well, increasing the accessibility of literature is one way to do so. The icon, and considered in the Orthodox tradition, is "written," not drawn. It was born as a means of communicating messages of spiritual import to those that were illiterate. Well, barely anyone in the US is illiterate anymore in a functional sense, but many are there for whom Crime and Punishment would be an impossibility.

Enter the comic book, analogous to the icon. I wonder what would happen if we could move past the Chick tracts and other blunt instruments of published evangelism and made comics of the quality of those cited in Garrett's piece with the depth of understanding of a Dostoevsky or a Milton? Why does Evangelicalism seem to produce only blunt instruments?

Of those Garrett cites, Buffy The Vampire Slayer has shown some deeply Christian thematic material. I used to got o church with one of the writers, so I am not surprised. I wish there was more of it.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Always Remember...

...No Matter Where You Go, There You Are. - Buckaroo Banzai

Jeff Dunn @ iMonk presents some of his favorite quotations, so I thought I'd open the post with one of mine.

But seriously, Dunn's are a bit more profound, e.g.
“A comprehended God is no God at all.” (St. John Chrysostom)
But he closes with a whopper:
“I always have a quotation for everything — it saves original thinking.” (Dorothy Sayers)
Read the whole thing - it's worth the time.

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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, August 29, 2011


What It Takes

MMI asks:
“Every week in America, more people hear a sermon than engage in any other communal act,” Moody said. “Preaching still has an important influence.”

Moody hopes to improve the quality of preaching in America by attracting top talent to the pulpit.


I’ve seen some posts in the past couple of weeks that have kind of gone along with this sentiment… that preaching isn’t necessarily the best way to reach people any more.

I know many people that hold a very high view of preaching. Most all of them are preachers.

Is preaching something that is foundationally biblical? I mean, I know that Jesus taught. After all, we call it the ‘sermon’ on the mount for crying out loud.

But most of Jesus’ time was not ‘preaching’ per se, was it?
In my day in Young LIfe we talked about "earning the right to be heard." By that we meant that the kinds has to know us well enough personally that the relationship would create in them a desire to listen to what we had to say.

Preaching is a way to give thought and voice to what goes on in the rest of church and the rest of life, but it is not the gospel and it is not the primary focus Christ's, or our, ministry. It can attract crowds, it can put money in the plate, but of itself it cannot change lives.

This thought by the way reflects heavily on the worship wars. I won't belabor it, but I will ask you to think about it.

I will also confess that preaching is a huge temptation, Said Rhoades, "I know many people that hold a very high view of preaching. Most all of them are preachers." That is a huge clue. There is a lot of ego involved in this discussion.

I think the place to start is with confession.

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