Saturday, October 15, 2011
"Never get a good look go" - I think it is an axiom in comics. Especially when you are in the "x-world" of comics where characters have proliferated to the point powers are replicated left and right and measured on scales so our primary characters can remain primary even when there are a couple dozen other mutants out there with the same capabilities.
When the X-crew hit upon Colossus, they hit hero-look gold. The metal skin, the black flat-top haircut is just a winner. I fell in love with that look (though the character needed significant work) the first time I ever saw it - which believe me was a long time ago.
So, it is unsurprising that the look would show up in a baddie - Mr. Sinister.
So much does Sinister look like Colossus that the first time I ever saw Sinister (on a cover) I thought we had a story of Colossus gone bad. As I said, Colossus needed work, so that would have been a welcome story turn, but no, same-look/new character.
In more recent artwork, influenced perhaps by the prevalence of a TV entry to the character (cartoons can't do metal well) or perhaps to avoid the confusion with Colossus, the Sinister character has gone white face, ala the Joker in stead of metallic - crying shame.
Oh yeah, and while we are talking derivative, those "not a cape" things hanging off his shoulders are highly derivative. I think rooted originally in an obscure (but Lordy I love him) DC character - The Creeper. The are also evocative of the metallic wings Angel sprouted in the Apocalypse saga in X-world.
For such a derivative look, it is amazing Sinister has hung around as long as he has - or is it?
Friday, October 14, 2011
Sherry Maddox from Lexington shared about the vacant lot next to them where broken bottles, syringes, needles and other garbage have been dumped. They have spent long hours cleaning out the lot, bringing in good soil and compost, planting trees, preparing raised beds and making a chicken coop. Soon a couple of beehives will be added. People are excited not just because what was once an eyesore has become a beautiful site but because it will provide fresh vegetables and hopefully even an income for those who tend the garden.Fair enough, but it made me meditate on the limits of the metaphor. As I read, I though of all the other places the metaphor could work and all the places where it broke down. I also reflected on where she chose to place the emphasis, and how a different emphasis might keep the metaphor not only valid, but somehow more complete.
This seminar was a great opportunity not just to interact with people who love gardening but also to reflect on what is happening on once deserted and often toxic vacant lots in cities around the world. They are being transformed. God is taking what was broken and despised and turning it into something beautiful. At one point we stopped to contemplate the cactus that was growing up through a seemingly solid rock, a wonderful metaphor for what God is doing. No rock is too hard for God to penetrate. Nothing is too damaged for God to transform.
Metaphors are learning tools, but they are not the thing itself. How often do we, when we have learned the metaphor think we have learned the thing itself? How much more often is that true when it comes to God and His ways which we can never truly fully understand? And yet, we must struggle to get past the metaphor and to God Himself.
I am not satisfied with metaphors - are you?
Thursday, October 13, 2011
There is something incredibly precious about children who not only know to look for God, but also know in their bones how to recognize God.She gets to this point via one of my favorite scriptures - 1 Kings 19:11-13 - where in we learn that God often comes to us quietly and in an unspectacular fashion.
We need to be attuned to experiencing His presence.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Thousands of humans have been brought to think that humility means pretty women trying to believe they are ugly and clever men trying to believe they are fools...God wants to bring the man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another. God wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favor that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbor's talents—or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall. He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognize all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things. He wants to kill their animal self-love as soon as possible; but it is His long-term policy, I fear, to restore to them a new kind of self-love—a charity and gratitude for all selves, including their own.Selflessness, not unselfish is the key word.
Self-improvement, which seems to be the big thing in the church, may lead to unselfishness, but it is not selfless.
How do we motivate to selflessness?
My answer: winsomeness. I wonder if the world would now find selflessness winsome?
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
It happened a number of years ago in a meeting. All those present had been Christians for many years. All were church leaders. One man present was having a difficult time on a number of fronts. He began to express this to the group. Finally he stopped talking. The group was silent. Finally the chairman said, “The next item on the agenda is ….”I think this is a bit overboard. For one thing, pouring your heart out at a business meeting is wholly inappropriate. That is not said to demean one's personal issues - it is simply that there is a time and a place - seek a discussion before or after the meeting with selected individuals, but do not take up valuable meeting time with your personal stuff.
The man who had been transparent about his struggles later said, “I won’t ever do that again. I won’t ever open up to that group again.”
“But I don’t know what to say.” That’s OK. So often I don’t really know what to say either. What you can do is actively listen. You can show interest. You can ask questions. You can show concern.
Secondly, how many times have I responded to someone's heartfelt sharing only to be told "Don't fix it - I just want to share," or alternately, "That's no help."
I can say without fear of contradiction that for men ofttimes presence and silence is precisely the correct response.
See, here's the thing, this post is correct that we must express care, concern and the love of Christ. How that is done is very dependent on the other party and how best to reach them. Sometimes it's "I heard that!" Sometimes it is a touch or a hug. Sometimes it is nothing more than eye contact. Sometimes it is a joke.
Many is the time our efforts to express such concern will be inappropriate. It is hard to know the right way to respond, unless you know the other very, very well. And that is where grace steps in.
You see, I don't care how deep your pain, the listener you have chosen is sinful and broken just like you are. They cannot read your mind or know exactly what it is you are looking for from them in response. You have to listen to the response offered with a grace that permit them to misfire and the patience to allow them to find the right response.
It's a two way street, or it is not a relationship.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Roller Coaster Faith
Most congregations are small; most worshipers attend large congregations. Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? But it’s true. There is a substantial gap between where the largest numbers of people worship and the size of the typical congregation. This gap means that what a typical congregation looks like is remarkably different from what the typical worshiper experiences. Most congregations are small—about six in ten congregations in this country have fewer than 125 people in worship. But most worshipers attend large congregations—the largest ten percent of congregations attract half of all worshipers.Why does the phrase "Many are called, few are chosen" come to mind almost immediately? I am not at all sure what that says more about - the church or people that attend it.
I have contended for a long time that the megachurch phenomena is the parachurch writ large. It's what Young Life, and Campus Crusade, and all the rest used to be - just packaged as church instead of parachurch. These stats seem to confirm that suspicion. What this demonstrates is with I thought the problem with the parachurch was - how to move people from that evangelical experience into real depth and commitment to life with Christ - how to move from agreement to commitment.
IN the parachurch we wanted to partner with local congregations. Problem was , we need to partner with many so that the kinds that flowed through us could go tot he congregation of their choice. Congregations on the other hand wanted exclusivity.
Now here is what I wonder - could there be a partnership between these smallish, and assumedly committed, congregations and the megachurch? Could the megachurch become the feeder/sorter the parachurch endeavored to be? It seems antithetical to what the parachurch has set it self up to be, but....