Saturday, September 17, 2011


Comic Art

I have talked at length how I find Hawkman to be one of the most visually stunning, if grossly mismanaged, characters in all of comics. Well, his archnemesis Gentleman Ghost shares that distinction.

This character is probably far better known as a Batman villain - that's TV for you. Unable to leave GG's visual impact to the lesser known and read Hawks, he has made his way to the little screen in the cartoons.

The Hawk's have traveled between the worlds of SciFi heores and magical heroes their entire existence - as they have transitioned, so has the Gentleman Ghost, although I can find little information of his changing story. I seem to remember some decidedly unghostly origins in his past - or am I confusing him with Shadow-Thief?

Anyway, there is something about that headless, well dressed if outdated look that just captures the imagination and the eye. The rendering at top right is one of those that makes me appreciate modern comic production techniques. The subtlety of that image just could not be accomplished with old school four color newsprint technology, but man does it get the character across.

Visuals notwithstanding, bring back the Hawkman/Gentleman Ghost stories! THese characters need more of their original plays.

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Friday, September 16, 2011


About Chesterton...

SHS discusses the "prophetic" abilities of Chesterton:
One commenter there cited a G.K. Chesterton quote from the book Orthodoxy–which I read many years ago–that startled me in its precience.
Have you ever thought about the fact that prophetic gift is not the sort of mumbo-jumbo we so often associate it with, but is instead born of study, vision, understanding and reason. Certainly that was the case with Chesterton.

It makes me consider how often the supernatural touched us in the most natural of ways.

Are we open to it, or do we work to squelch it? Why do we fear it? Why do we seek naturalistic understanding for things that are clearly of God?

The answer, of course, is straightforward. If we acknowledge it is of God, we would have to change and nothing is more terrifying than that.

And yet nothing could have a better result.

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Friday Humor

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Thursday, September 15, 2011


Better Than John Lennon

OK, cheap pop culture reference headline, but it got you here. Chaplain Mike reviews a book:

I have always considered evangelicals (including myself) weak in the area of imagination. The evangelical or fundamentalist tradition has been, by and large, a prosaic tradition, characterized by simple logic, plain spokenness, common sense, and an iconoclastic rather than an aesthetic ethos. There is a certain literalism at its heart that carries with it a suspicion of metaphor, poetry, myth, mystery, ambiguity, symbolism, and open-ended questions. Evangelical faith is expository faith—it must explain. It values answers and certainty. It wants to “nail things down,” not set the mind and heart free to imagine and explore the possibilities. Its focus is captured in the immortal words of Detective Joe Friday, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

In some situations, this can be a strength. Overall, I think not.

That’s why I was so glad to see Scot McKnight take up the subject of imagination in his book, One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow. Scot notes how reading fiction and entering into its stories and characters “lengthens the horizons of my life and expands my vision of what life can be,” and then talks about how and why Jesus used fiction in the form of parables to teach about God’s Kingdom. “His parables draw us into the kingdom world and then they set us back down in this world hungering for more, hungering for a kingdom kind of world now.” (p. 38)

What Mike describes here is, I think, why the Narnia books are so popular. WE do not just want facts, we want pictures - images. Unfortunately, we have a healthy dose of puritan in us and cannot distinguish between a good imagination and a idolatrous image. Sadly, even good imagination can become idolatrous image, but not if we are careful.

You see, here is the thing - God is supernatural - we must begin to stretch beyond the limits of fact and "reality" of we are going to even have a modicum of understanding. Reason is created by God and is good, but it is not all. Imagination is also created by God and it is a tool to access God. Imagination is our door to the supernatural.

One of the things that really bother me about the hyper-rational aspects of Evangelicalism is that it attempts to make faith controllable - it focuses on us instead of Him. SOmehow I think that misses the point.

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Biblical Lands Illuminated

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011



According to an online poll from, 34% of people who attend church leave because of a lack of personal connections there. 18% left because they felt unwelcomed.

And why do people stay? 53% say because of the friendships they’ve established at the church.
Personal connections...friendships...relationships. Seems pretty obvious to me. Christians make other Christians, the rest of it is window dressing.

At what point did the pastor become the decorator?

Now, many will argue that the top of any organization is really supposed to make an environment in which the "worker bees" can do their job, so that in a sense it is about "decorating."

But here is the thing - most pastors I know insist that it be about them. Services point to their preaching - people come to hear them. They are the star.

I've been to houses like that where you know the decorator, but not the people that live in it. They are called "show houses." No one lives that way.


If people come to church for relationship, then maybe it ought to look radically different.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011


How To Respond To Hatred?

Nick Cohen in the UK Guardian:
Surveys of scientists, whether they are fellows of the Royal Society in Britain or members of the National Academy of Sciences in the US, show consistently that about 90% do not believe in the gods of the conventional religions. They are likely to agree with AC Grayling's remark that the Templeton Foundation's project of conflating religion and science "is like mixing astrology with astronomy or voodoo with medical research".
Dear Friends, that is not disagreement - that's contempt! He foes on to accuse religion of beig the reason we "cannot confront radical Islam."
But the respect the secular give too freely involves darker concessions. It prevents an honest confrontation with radical Islam or any other variant of poor world religious extremism and a proper solidarity with extremism's victims.
That's a straw man born of the contempt that Mr. Cohen bears religion. Throughout history it was first Christendom and now the predominantly Christian West that does stand against radical Islam.

Mr. Cohen's objections, as couched, are the old and tired science v. religion debate. "If only we could help the poor radical Islamists see the "sweet reason" of science...yada...yada...yada." But they do raise a very interesting point in my contention that intellectual objections to faith should be "attacked" with other than reason.

With Mr. Cohen's contempt being so transparent in his arguments, it seems clear to me that no argument will convince Mr. Cohen, thus arguing with him would be pointless.

Only love can break through such contempt - only relationship, which means time and energy, can break through. Of course, we can't just look this guy up and start hanging with him. But I wonder what he would think if instead of seeing a church that makes a lot of mistakes, he saw a church that works diligently to avoid them and even harder to atone for those it does make. I wonder what would happen if he saw a church that did not leave its wounded behind....

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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, September 12, 2011


Yes, Yes We Do

Kyle Roberts looks at the Holy Spirit wondering if we really believe in Him:
If the activity of the Spirit is not "spiritual" (in the Gnostic sense of invisible, immaterial, and disembodied), then we are experiencing the Spirit whenever we are working along with God and seeking his Kingdom and righteousness. The work of the Spirit is everywhere present: in soup kitchens, hospitals, schools, community centers, mission and social work and, of course, in the Church itself.

The Spirit creates a unity in diversity, a presence of the new and different, a transformation of our selves in community, a re-direction of mission and conviction. The fruits of the Spirit include love, joy, peace, and faithfulness, but they also result in communities of people and coalitions of churches who are satisfied with nothing less than righteousness and justice and who prophetically advocate for the oppressed and for the "least of these." In short, the work of the Spirit leads to God-intoxicated, kingdom-inspired people.

Trinitarian theology tells us that where any one of the three persons is working, they all are. So where the Spirit is, there is Jesus, and where Jesus is, there is the Father.
I really like what Roberts says here, but I would come at it from precisely the other angle. He discusses how we ignore the Holy Spirit. My experience is to the contrary that we focus on Him too much and find Him only in the miraculous when we should be finding Him in the more ordinary expressions Roberts lays forth.

It does seem like we never get the Holy Spirit right. We either ignore or over-focus. We either demand miracles of Him or refuse to see them when they happen right in front of our eyes.

I don't think the reason is theological - I think it is fear - I think it is the fact that the Holy Spirit is God's agent of change in our lives right here and right now. We do want to be saved, but we do not want to change. We twist our theology and our experience of the Holy Spirit to avoid the change - We appropriate Christ because He brings salvation, but that whole change thing....

I mean it's easy to understand this point about those that keep the Spirit at bay, but those that insist on miraculous expressions of the Spirit do also. Miracles are isolated events - we can wonder and ohh and ahhh, but they do ask us to be different people in the everyday drudgery of existence - they remove us, albeit temporarily, from that.

Would that we would open ourselves up to the Spirit in the ordinary, for there is where we can becomes the people God created us to be.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011


In Memorium

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