Saturday, February 18, 2012


Comic Art

John! Have you lost your mind? That image on the right - it''s...a photograph! That's right dear friend, not drawn, taken. Why you may ask. Well the image on left here is a DC Comics poorly known villain by the name of Mister Who. The character on right is one of the numerous, and perhaps most popular ever portrayals of the science fiction television icon (from Britain) Doctor Who. Now come on, look hard - don't you wonder who ripped off who? (pun intended)

Or maybe it's the David Tenant Doctor Who that looks more like Mister Who, but however you want to compare, comparison is mandated. Now, of course, comics tear through characters like Niagara Falls tears through water, so rip-offs are fairly common and I have no idea who came first here or who did the ripping, but puh-leaze! When you have the look and barely a name change, you've turned borrowing an idea into flat out stealing.

Now Doctor Who is one of the most enduring and iconic characters in television history. Mister Who is a pimple on the butt of comic books. What's that say?

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Friday, February 17, 2012



John Piper on six characteristics of leadership
  1. Humility
  2. Diversification
  3. Mutual Helpfulness
  4. Strength
  5. Benefit to God's People
  6. Surrender to God's Sovereign Guidance

"Humility...Surrender," there are not words we often associate with leadership. And yet, they lie at the very heart of it.

To often people get into leadership out of their own need for acceptance, to prove something to someone, to get their agenda accomplished. But the fact of the matter is leadership is about accomplishing the agenda of the organization being lead. Or in the case of church, God's agenda, but that is an agenda that can only be found through the will of ALL those in His church.

Leadership is not task oriented, for we can become so focused on task that we forget general direction, or the fact that ultimately in the church we are called to build people, not programs.

Leadership is art, not science. Would that the church taught it better.

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Friday Humor

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Thursday, February 16, 2012


Heaven Help Us!

Roger Olson:
We’ve been discussing the concept “heresy” here and it is a notoriously difficult one to pin down or find agreement about. However, I worry that a bigger problem for the American church, especially, is folk religion. Sure, the two concepts overlap somewhat. But American folk religion (and I’m sure it has its analogies elsewhere) is rampant within the churches (all denominations) and outside the churches.

So what is “folk religion?” I’ve described it and responded to in in some detail in one of my books: Answers to All Your Questions: The Journey from Folk Religion to Examined Faith (Zondervan). I’ll define it briefly here. Folk religion began as a sociological concept; it hasn’t found its way into theology on any large scale yet. One of my authorities for describing it is sociologist of religion Robert Ellwood.

According to Ellwood and other sociologists of religion, folk religion is unreflective religious belief based largely, if not exclusively, on feelings (e.g., comfort), traditional folk ways (e.g., funeral practices), cliches (e.g., bumper sticker slogans) and devotional literature (including poems, songs, religion fiction, etc.). It thrives on urban myths (“evangelegends”) and unverifiable stories passed around among the faithful. It is unreflective and even resists reflection (especially critical reflection).
Olson then goes on to discuss one such example of "folk religion" in what most people believe about life after death:
The theological problem here is twofold and the two aspects are closely related. First, very little sound biblical teaching is being carried out in many Christian churches about death and life after death. For example, the Bible does NOT portray death as a friend but as the “last enemy.” People are being allowed, if not encouraged, to base their personal views on stories read or seen on TV or in movies. Funeral sermons are being adjusted to fit these folk religious visions of life after death. (For example, “Our dearly departed loved on has flown from this shell in which he lived for seventy years and is now in heaven with all the saints surrounding God’s throne worshiping him forever and ever.”)
OH NO - someone might have their theology wrong, there theology about something we can never know with certainty; their theology about something that is distinctly and utterly in God's hands; their theology about something that frankly has little or no bearing on how they live their lives on a day-to-day basis.

Mr. Olson, we are saved by Jesus Christ, NOT our theology. Oh, and by the way, I can assure you, knowing virtually nothing about you, that you are wrong about something too - in fact several somethings - maybe even THIS something. See Christians disagree about this stuff.

But far be it from me Mr. Olson to stand in the way of your deciding who is correct and who is not - you're free to do that - right or wrong.

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Illuminated Hymn

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Fitting Into God's Plan

Old friend Jollyblogger writes out of his pain:
But I thought I would share something today that I hope is helpful. It’s a quote from Larry Crabb, sorry I don’t remember which book – I know it’s got to be from at least 10 years ago -
The goal is that God be glorified in us, not useful to us.
That sums up my life. I think that sums up much of the Scripture and I think it sums up where we go wrong in so many ways. I just can’t figure God out. I can’t figure out why I can have one day that is so good I feel like I must be cured and then go for weeks without wanting to get out of bed. I can’t understand why I, as His beloved child, am following pretty much the standard path of the cancer sufferer – doing good for awhile, the cancer abates when I’m on chemo and grows when I’m not. My life pattern is one where, in order to keep the cancer in abeyance, i. e. keep it from killing me soon, I have to live a life of basic illness from chemo. I can go off chemo and start feeling a little better for a time but then the cancer grows and death looks closer.


I think much of our confusion and disorientation in life comes from the desire to find God useful to us. Job’s counselors’ mistakes were in thinking they understood the ways of God with man, and of course the corollary to that is that they then felt compelled to express their (mis)understanding.

God is always glorified, we just can’t see how. God is not useful to us because our agendas aren’t His. I really don’t think as a Christian that I’ve been equipped to live in a world where God is not useful to us, and where His ways are incomprehensible. I think the only people who know this and can pass it along are the old school Presbyterians and Lutherans whom we evangelicals rejected in favor of church growth long ago. Oh yeah, I think all of those old people we put out to pasture because they stood in the way of our passions, visions and missions probably could tell us a thing or two. And as always, a good deal of my mud slinging in this paragraph is driven by guilt over my own neglect of the wisdom of old school Presbyterians and Lutherans and little old ladies and men who like hymns whom I discarded in my quest to become the next great “leader.”

We have Jesus in the theology of the cross that is communicated to us in the preaching of the Word and sacraments. He’s not all that “useful” to great visionary leaders, but He is sufficient and will be glorified, we just won’t necessarily to see it.
David has largely disappeared from the Godblogoshpere - I think it should be obvious why, but these words, written in the midst of his pain and suffering reflect the kind of wisdom that can only be born of such pain.

I grieve deeply for my friend, I do my best to empathize with his pain, but I thank God for his wisdom. I hope EVERYONE is listening.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Twisting Our Heads Around

Dr. Robert Crosby out of Gordon-Conwell is fed up with religion:
Mine was a test of endurance. The pew was hard; the clock, slow; the mind was wandering, and the scene, all too familiar. It was ten minutes after eleven on yet another Sunday morning. I was right where I had been told since my earliest years I was supposed to be at that time of the week. And, for the life of me, I could not figure out why.

To me, at this point my religion was just a place to go, but where was the purpose? What was the reason? Was it for guilt's sake or God's sake? Was church just a place I was supposed to clock in and out of—to keep God happy—or was there something more? My religion had served up lots of words to me over the years, but it had left me wondering and wandering still. In a world full of life, color and variety, it often felt as bland and tasteless as the factory-processed wafers on the communion table. I was already worn out on religion.


Make no mistake! Religion (in the sense of the term we are using here) is all about man trying to work his way up to God, but Christianity is something completely different. As strange as it may sound to some, I truly believe that the Christian faith is not just another religion. In its purest form - it is a relationship. The Christian message is about God working his way down to man, through Jesus Christ, his life, death and resurrection. It is all about God entering our world desperately seeking to restore a relationship with his creation that was tragically lost (or, better said, forfeited) in the Garden of Eden. Ultimately, the Christian faith is more than a code of conduct, more than a bunch of rules; it is a rescue mission with you and me as the focal points of the rescue. It is not about a Big Judge barking out orders; rather, it is about a Great Lover chasing after our souls and our affections. There's a difference. In its essence, the Gospel is not about more Rules to keep, but more Relationship with God to enjoy. Not that we have to pray so much as the fact that we get to.
I agree with Dr. Crosby whole-heartedly about what Christianity is, but why are we throwing out the religion bath water when it is the only thing - I repeat ONLY THING - that made sure that he would even know about Jesus these two millennia later. Warped, wrong, misguided though it may be, it is "religion" that has kept the gospel alive for centuries. Protestants the rail so against "Papists" for get that were it not for the Catholics there would have been nothing for them to protest against. American Evangelicals that claims the mainlines are "devoid of life and spirit" for et that it was those mainlines that founded America.

Everybody thinks they have the gospel figured out - me included. The problem is, that's not the issue. Crosby is right - it's about Jesus - but when we whine and complain, when we petulantly decry that which allowed us to hear about Jesus to begin with we reveal that we are as vain and self-absorbed as those we seek to condemn.

Somehow, somewhere, I'd like us all to get to the point that we understand that the most important lesson in all of Christianity is submission - then and only then can we really serve. And only in service is criticism useful.

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Kitty Kartoons Plus

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Monday, February 13, 2012


"What Do They Do With Us?"

As I read this post by Lara Blackwood Pickrel @ Thoughtful Christian:
...In the church world, young adults have a tendency to fall into the following category: troublesome.

It's not that church folk don't want young adults around. In fact, most congregations are desperately searching for ways to appeal to, reach out to and engage people in the 18-35 year age bracket. If teenage years are the cliff, then young adulthood is the great void - we are the people most likely missing from the pews and membership databases.

The troublesome things about "us" young adults...
one thought kept running through my mind. But before I get to it, I must preface my remarks by noting that I recall the same feeling when I was in that age group, just out of college, but not yet in the groove of total adulthood. They are natural feelings and concerns. But I can also tell you that it is when I quit being concerned about this stuff, that I fully grew up and the feeling just sort of vanished.

You see dear young adult friend, you are not special, there is nothing different or exceptional about you. You are now simply an adult like the rest of us. The time had come for you to join the rest of us in the daily, and seemingly unending grind of daily adult existence. Your life is no longer punctuated with summers off, nor do your classes end so you can have new and exciting ever few weeks. Now it is just drudge.

But you still have years of wisdom accumulation ahead of you, as frankly do old farts like me - difference is us old farts are ahead of the curve you're on. Which means, it is not so much our job to accommodate you - It's your job to figure out how to gt in the groove with us.

And now you know what the church does with young adults.

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