Saturday, March 03, 2012


Comic Art

Who can take a cliche and turn it into art? Why comic book creators - that's who. I cannot think of a more cliched villain than today's visit to Death Ninja. Just for starters we are talking the most redundant name in history. After all, ninjas are assassins so by definition they bring death. BUt then when have things like proper use of adjectives of redundancy ever been a problem at the Department of Redundancy Division otherwise know has the bullpen at your average comic creators workshop. That's all part of the fun. But still....

Of course, appears to be dead himself, but no one can really tell if he is a dead ninja, or a dead person trained in ninja arts, or just a superhuman in a really dead looking costume. DN is a foeman of the ever darker Ghost Rider - the demon under control of a good soul, well most of the time. No appearance in the latest film incarnation of Johnny Blaze and his flaming skull alter ego, which simply illustrates that there is some redundancy that even Hollywood will not dip to.

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Friday, March 02, 2012


Be For Something

Justin Taylor:
Pastor Byron Yawn, a self-described “recovering fundie,” explains 10 effects of the “angry prophet” type who defines himself by what he’s against:
  1. You’ll forget to talk about what’s good . . . especially about Jesus.
  2. You’ll begin to take yourself too seriously.
  3. You’ll begin to preach the same sermon from every passage.
  4. You’ll foster mean people.
  5. You’ll eventually assemble an audience of self-congratulatory clones.
  6. You’ll take all correction personally and as an unpardonable offense against “God’s man.”
  7. You’ll make a terrible shepherd.
  8. You’ll become the type of person you warn others about.
  9. You’ll thrive on controversy.
  10. People will stop listening.
Let me add my own brief thought here. One of the definitional characteristics of God is that He is creative. It is not creative to oppose something - it is creative to make something better.

Are we not supposed to bear God's image? Should we not; therefore, be creative?

Put another way, you get more flies with honey....

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Friday Humor

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Thursday, March 01, 2012


Christ and Comics

Think Christian:
It’s Tyndale House’s Manga series, available in four books, with another on the way. “Manga Messiah” presents the gospel stories with Jesus referred to as Yeshuah, and Joseph and Mary are Yosef and Miryam. “Manga Metamorphosis” illustrates the book of Acts. “Manga Mutiny” goes back to the Old Testament and retells the stories of Genesis. “Manga Melech” continues the Old Testament stories from the Exodus to the stories of David. “Manga Messengers,” due out in September, will continue the story telling the tales of the kings and prophets of Judah and Israel.


I wonder if Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message” idea is in play here. Is the medium so distracting that it sends a different message than what the content is trying to teach? I’m all for God’s people claiming all things for God and redeeming all things, but are some means of communication too tainted? Whether it’s books, theater, movies, music, animation or television, is there a forum or genre that has too much negative stuff attached to it that makes it unusable for Christians to use to tell the Biblical story? Or is it all good?
It's a bit of a cheat to raise the question and pose nothing int he form of an answer. There is also a real lack of information about manga in the piece, that helps answer the questions.

First thing to note is the presumption that manga, and comics generally, is an inherently childish style of communication. Some comics are quire sophisticated and wholly unsuitable for children. Manga most especially. Though harder to obtain in the United States, true Japanese manga is often horribly violent and not just sexual, but perversely so.

But that said,this is hardly new - people have been using images to communicate the gospel for pretty much as long as there has been a gospel - Christ used parables for crying out loud! There is nothing inherently wrong with this. Icons and imagery kept the gospel living through periods of great illiteracy.

Manga is; however, a cultural shift. From the stylized art to the story telling to the very conflict at the heart of the stories (at least in genuine manga of Japanese origin) manga is quite a different form than American comics. The rise in the popularity of manga in this country is a marked adaptation of Japanese culture.

So, is this manga gospel a good idea? Well it will shift culture in the church. Personally, church culture is in upheaval already, so....

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Illuminated Hymn

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Character Matters

So, we want to use science to enhance character?!?!? Secondhand Smoke blog reports on two efforts in the wake of recent riots in the UK and rants:
Everything, but give religious training, no doubt. How’s this for an approach? Teach the Golden Rule, which promotes ethical and moral societies regardless of whether one has faith. Teach “As ye sow, so shall ye reap,” also known as karma, aka, “what goes around, comes around.” Teach that there are certain things that can be divided into right and wrong. Set standards and expect them to be followed. Teach empathy and love of neighbor. Extol charity and pattern humility. Back it up with proper discipline instead of political correctness. Make sure there are real consequences for misbehavior. Stop sexualizing the young. (You know, the reasons why many secular parents send their kids to Catholic schools.) Don’t play musical families and fathers stay involved with children. In short, engage in the kind of socialization and maintenance of the social fabrics that were considered the norm until the so-called “experts” botched things up.
Here is what really bothers me. Let us assume for a moment that through a combination of drug and genetic therapy we could induce character change in an individual. Any such technology would, of necessity run both ways. So not only could we make "better" character, we could make "worse" character. But who is to say what is better and what is worse. In time of war would not a certain ruthlessness and disregard for human life be considered an asset? But after the war would not people so engineered become disposable? - They certainly would not be acceptable in decent society.

I could come up with dozens of misuse examples, but scifi writers have done that for me. The real point is that without God in the mix, we don't really know what is better or worse character - only utilitarian, and even then it will end up confused. Particularly when character has no value because it can be obtained in a pill.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012



What If I Stumble on memorizing scripture:

Save for regular prayer, I know of nothing more valuable in my walk with Christ than memorizing scripture. I am consistently amazed at when and how forcefully scripture, that is to say The Word of God, asserts itself into my day through this channel.

Not being personality prone to ecstaticism or mysticism, it is through memorized scripture that I hear "God talk to me." I think we would all be a bit better off if most of us listened to God more through this channel and a bit less with "our hearts."

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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, February 27, 2012



Christian Post:
Forever 21, a clothing store for fashionable men and women on a budget, is accused of pushing a strong religious agenda, with the launch of its new graphic tees that feature strong Christian themes such as Jesus, God and prayer.

The collection of T-shirts are embellished with holy slogans that include: "Love," "Jesus ♥ You," "Holy," "Jesus ♥ Me," "God," and "Three Words to Live by: Prayer, faith, and trust" are a few of the shirts found in the new line.

Rachel Kane recently criticized the fashion store in her satirical blog, “WTFOREVER 21,” for “going Holy balls to the wall with tops that have what reads like scripture on them.”

The cropped, oversized, and sleeveless tees that retail for around $14 are targeted to the brand’s teenage customers.

Forever 21 is run by the Chang family, devout Christians, who, according to Business Week, have hopes to one day devote themselves fully to the church.
Hmmm.... "Slogan: a distinctive cry, phrase, or motto of any party, group, manufacturer, or person; catchword or catch phrase." Can and should the gospel be reduced to a catch phrase? We are not Christ's, fans we are his disciples. We are not just any group or party; we are Christ's body.

When we use the techniques of say, professional wrestling, to market our faith we imply that that faith has characteristics in common with the wrestling. It is amazing how deeply marketing departments are involved in product development. The product suits the market, the market does not come to the product.

And that;s the problem with this approach to Christianity, at some point the marketing is going to change the faith more than it simply draws people to the faith. In fact, it could readily be argued it already has.

Is truth really subject to market whim?

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