Saturday, May 26, 2012
One of the better aspects of this modern age of digital movie making is that in addition to the blockbuster super-hero flix, there are small little comic book movies out there. One of the better ones would be "Punisher War Journal." This is not a movie for everyone. It is dark and violent, but in a dark and violent way, it is excruciatingly funny. Much of that comic flare lies in the over-the-top protagonist of Frank Castle - Jigsaw. Look at the pictures around you and you will know the origin of the moniker. A gangster in a fight fight with Castle gets all cut up and the result is a face that looks like, well...you get the idea.
Obsessed with "revenging" his disfigurement, this guy goes after Castle with, well, a vengeance. Please do not under any circumstances confuse the bad-guy Jigsaw with the good guy you see here on the left. We know little else about the good guy Jigsaw. Despite being created by one of the greatest comic creators of all time (Joe Simon)- a two issue run at Harvey when they were trying to capitalize on the superhero binge of the inception of the silver age is pretty much a sure sign of a stinker.
But there is nothing stinky about the bad guy, Marvel version, except maybe the odor his body count leaves behind. Which brings me back to the movie - really use caution if you intend to watch this film. It's humor lies in the absurdity of the way people are killed, and the absurd amounts of blood spilled. You will either get it, or find it horrific. Hence it is a little film.
Friday, May 25, 2012
The Tension Of Christianity
Some evangelicals talk as though personal evangelism and public justice are contradictory concerns, or, at least, that one is part of the mission of the church and the other isn't. I think otherwise, and I think the issue is one of the most important facing the church these days.OK, with the exception of that highly judgmental "abandoned the gospel" crack, this is pretty good stuff. But like most things I have been seeing lately, the effort to be pithy, "follow Jesus," can be as problematic as it is helpful. That statement can be over-analyzed to the point of being a problem. And it is that over-analysis that is the real issue. This kind of intellectual tension is part of the way that we learn that Christianity is about more than what we THINK.
So how does the church "balance" a concern for evangelism with a concern for justice? A church does so in the same way it "balances" the Gospel with personal morality. Sure, there have been churches that have emphasized public justice without the call to personal conversion. Such churches have abandoned the Gospel.
But there are also churches that have emphasized personal righteousness (sexual morality, for instance) without a clear emphasis on the Gospel. And there are churches that have taught personal morality as a means of earning favor with God. Such also contradicts the Gospel.
We do not, though, counteract legalism in the realm of personal morality with an antinomianism. And we do not react to the persistent "social gospels" (of both Left and Right) by pretending that Jesus does not call His churches to act on behalf of the poor, the sojourner, the fatherless, the vulnerable, the hungry, the sex-trafficked, the unborn. We act in the framework of the Gospel, never apart from it, either in verbal proclamation or in active demonstration.
The short answer to how churches should "balance" such things is simple: follow Jesus. We are Christians. This means that as we grow in Christlikeness, we are concerned about the things that concern him. Jesus is the King of His Kingdom, and He loves whole persons, bodies as well as souls.
I spent many years in my earl Christian walk trying to find the equilibrium point for these tensions. As a chemist I was quite used to being able to calculate, with precision, the perfect balance point in an equilibrium between two competing forces. Why should I not be able to in this instance?
As I have grown older, I have learned that there is much more than figuring out where the balance is. I have to develop as a person, emotionally and spiritually so that I can, when confronted with such circumstance, judge the balance point, not calculate it.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
- Never attend a meeting without some way to take notes
- Respect your elders
- Learn all you can from everyone you meet
- Keep a resume handy and keep revising it
- Never burn a bridge
- Be an encourager in the organization
- Never underestimate a connection
- Drop the defensiveness
Let me sum this up for you in one sentence - Just because you are a "leader" it does not mean you have made it. In a word, humility.
My youth is rife with making every one of those mistakes, and the costs of them go a long way to explaining where I am now. I wanted so badly to have "arrived" - I was educated, smart and energetic, but I was not humble. I acted if I had arrived when in fact, I had just started the journey.
A leadership position is not journey's end, but its beginning.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Influence is a hot buzzword right now. It’s the topic of leadership conversations, and it’s a particularly hot topic online on blogs and in social media.We live in a world that is heavily influenced - advertising is so pervasive - it is inescapable. In fact, there is so much of it, that I pretty much completely ignore it. Oh, yeah, I can sing jingles with the best of them and likely tell you who sponsors what shows, but that is a function of mind that adsorbs way too much trivia - but make purchasing decisions based on it? Not likely.
Everybody wants more of it.
Lots of people want to sell you their strategy to get it.
Some people believe the way to gain influence is to a) get people’s attention through a unique branding strategy, and then b) broadcast a continuous stream of neatly packaged content – books, seminars, blog posts, tweets, videos. This is what celebrities, athletes, professional bloggers and media personalities do.
The truth is that strategy does build influence – influence that’s a mile wide and an inch deep.
The secret to building more meaningful influence is much simpler:
The actual influence exerted on me by all that effort to influence me is very, very limited. Name recognition and jingle singing does not amount to actual influence. If it did, Christ would be here now with a media strategy.
Make a difference, go deep.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
I Know A Lot Of These
*He spends a lot of time defending himself during his sermons.The first thought that ran through my mind is that's not a phenomena limited to the Korean church.
*He says that people who don't obey/submit to pastors will be punished by God.
*He talks a lot and is very persuasive.
*He does not recognize the individuality or rights of others.
Those are also symptoms of someone that is very insecure. I am convinced that more an more people enter ministry as a part of their personal journey, rather than to serve.
All I can say is had Christ been about His personal journey, the Passion would have ended at Gethsemane.
Monday, May 21, 2012
As is natural in all subcultures, Christians have developed dialects. Christians (Protestants and Catholics, clergy and laymen) use many terms non-Christians would not understand. Well, perhaps more often than not outsiders understand us—but we simply look odd. One of the biggest grievances against Christian culture is our bubble-like tendency. We can genuinely hurt the cause of Christ when we create holy huddles, only experiencing the world through our own eyes or the eyes of other Christians.She lists circumstances where such may not be "all bad."
I've heard many people refer to this phenomenon as "speaking Christianese."
- Born out of Scripture
- No Other Words
- A Deeper Meaning
I get her point, nut to me it sounds a bit lazy. Language is a funny thing, it is always morphing and developing, but our culture recently has sought to carry that to extremes - at this point we overuse phrases until they are meaningless.
I also tend to think that we use the catchphrases of faith as substitute for the genuine experience. For example - her point about "no other words." I find that developing the words for something is part of appropriating it and making it mine. SO if I have a spiritual experience or insight, I MUST learn to express it in order to fully "own" it. If I fall back on some cliched expression of it, then I am ceding that experience to the originator of the catchphrase.
It's easy to fall into cliche, but life as a Christian is anything but cliche.