Saturday, October 13, 2012


Comic Art


If ever oh ever there has been a hero that suffered from bad villains, it was Daredevil in the early days. Amongst the many was The Owl. One of the most overused images all of comicdom (Think Watchmen) the Owl may be the most cliche. I like what this guy said:
Ah, the mighty owl! Is there a more majestic or universally feared creature walking (soaring) the earth today? Yes, and why someone, let alone two someones (including 1 Stan Lee), felt there needed to be a hero or villain based around the aspects of the owl is something that can only be answered in either man’s therapy sessions. Yeah, so… the Owl.
But wait! He said more:
Leland Owlsley. With a name like that, your future is pretty much locked in. Following some good old-fashioned retconning in order to cash in on some of that sweet mutant green, Leland possessed many of the physiological aspects of a bird. Naturally, this led him into the world of finance. Following successively worse hairstyles and the reveal of some of Leland’s less-than-savory business associates, Owlsley turned to crime as a full-time profession.
I can't outwrite that - 'Nuff Said!

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Friday, October 12, 2012


The Transaction

Todd Rhoades quotes John Burchett:
“The mature worshiper is easily edified.” When hearing lackluster (even if biblical) preaching, immatureworshipers will typically not listen to the message because they wish the messenger was more exciting. Conversely, mature worshipers eagerly receive the truth as it is proclaimed, even if it sounds like the preacher is reading a phone book.
Then says:
If I got up and read from Lamentations like Ben Stine for 50 minutes, is it right for me to think that you should be edified?

I certainly hope not.
What Burchett is saying here is that the "transaction" of worship is between us and God not us and the preacher. It gets interesting after that.

The preacher is God's agent. The preacher is serving God, not the audience. The question is not what is the preacher supposed to do to please the audience, but what is the preacher supposed to to do please God. If the preacher preaches to please the audience, that is to say simply to make things interesting, then the preacher is engaged in a transaction with the wrong parties. The preachers purpose is not to please the worshipers, but rather to be God's voice to them.

But here is where it gets tricky. Do you think God's voice would be uninteresting? The answer is perhaps. Certainly the Pharisees found Jesus' voice uninteresting. certainly the Hebrews often found it uninteresting and wandered off.

The most riveting oratory of my life is Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. I now many people that could not stand to listen to it. Interesting is very much in the ear of the listener.

In the end there is no transaction between preacher and pew. Those in the pew have a transaction with God and the preacher has a transaction with God. It is up to God to make the preacher interesting and it is up to God to make the pews interested. It is up to all of us to join God's plan for the situation.

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Friday Humor

Just becasue it is probably the funniest cartoon ever made and I have not seen it in a while:

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Thursday, October 11, 2012



Adrian Warnock quotes Ron Edmondson - I will use Edmondson's three points about listening to God:

I think it is the last point that matters most to me. I have had so many people tell me that God told them something. The question for me is always how to verify that. I think obedience is a key.

God has spoken to us of many things through scripture and tradition. If you want me to believe God has given you a new of definitive revelation about something, one way I can verify your claim is by seeing obedience to the revelation we all share in your life.

Personally, that's why I make no claims to special revelation - I haven't gotten the common stuff right yet.

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Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012



Mark Roberts:
But Psalm 99:5 suggests another way for us to exalt the Lord. Notice the parallelism between the two imperatives in this verse: “Exalt the LORD our God!” parallels “Bow low before his feet.” The verb translated as “bow low” is the basic Old Testament word for worship (hishtachawa). It literally means “to bow low” or “to prostrate oneself” before a sovereign. Thus, we can exalt God, figuratively speaking, not only by raising our voices to praise him, but also by lowering ourselves before him in humble worship.

Sometimes, literally bowing before God is a fitting response to his greatness. The physical gesture can help our hearts to bow before him in submission. But whether we actually kneel before God or not, we can exalt him by giving ourselves to him as an offering. Thus, we can exalt God in the way we live each day: at work and at rest, in church and in our neighborhoods, with our families and our colleagues.
WORSHIP - is not about us - it is about God. When we insist that "real" worship is about raising hands and praising, I think we confuse what makes us feel good with what God demands of us. Yes, it is wonderful and joyous to praise God, and yes we should be full of wonder and joy at our Lord.

But we are also his servants. Raised hands and loud singing is just as hollow, if not accompanied by humility and service, as is the quiet "rote" liturgical forms of worship that are so decried these days.

As the worship wars continue unabated, let's be honest about what they are really about. They are not about which form is worship is more real or genuine or better. They are about something that is considered tacky - attendance and the plate. But then those things indicate the survival of the institution, they cannot necessarily be ignored. But we make such our sole focus at our peril.

Paul said he was all things to all people. Think about it.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2012


Cult of Personality

Todd Rhoades links to Chuck Colson's now well-discussed concern about celebrity pastors and comments:
Popularity does not automatically mean that that everyone who is well-known is bound to fall, haunted by ego, or self-aggrandizement.

Comparing well known ‘celebrity’ pastors to each other, is it itself dangerous. I don’t think there’s much comparison between Paula White and Andy Stanley; or between Billy Graham and Ted Haggard. I wouldn’t at all compare the two.

The church has been rocked by scandal for years. Scandals happen not just with TV evangelists and pastors of large churches, although those are the ones that get the most media attention. In fact, scandals happen in all sizes of churches, from 10 to 10,000. And with 300,000 churches in America, scandal happens every week, everywhere.
I think Todd is missing Chuck's point, to some extent becasue Chuck did not make it very well. Colson voices his concerns about celebrity pastors failure - which is an issue because the bigger the celebrity pastor, the more his failings hurt God's name, but then Rhoades quote of Colson ends with the real heart of the matter:
Friends, celebrity worship – in my book Being the Body I call it the Pedestal Complex – has no place in the Church. Let’s honor and care for our spiritual leaders, of course. But let’s be sure to keep them off our pedestals – for their sake and for ours.
The problem with celebrity pastors is that the only celebrity, the only pedestal, the only object of worship suitable for the church is the Lord. Even if the celebrity pastor has his head screwed on straight, the very nature of celebrity makes it so that the parishioners may not.

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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, October 08, 2012



Justin Taylor quotes an interview with Jerry Bridges:

How, then, can we get Christians to embrace the gospel every day? I believe Isaiah 6:1-8 gives us a paradigm for addressing this need. Isaiah sees God in His holiness, that is, His supreme majesty and infinite moral purity. In the light of God’s holiness, Isaiah is completely undone by an acute awareness of his own sinfulness. This is what we need in our churches today. Because we tend to define sin in terms of the more flagrant sins of society, we don’t see ourselves as practicing sinners.

It is only after Isaiah has been totally devastated by the realization of his own sinfulness that he is in the right position to hear the gospel proclaimed to him by the seraphim: “Your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for” (v. 7).

What happens next? Isaiah hears God say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Immediately he responds, “Here am I! Send me” (v. 8). What causes such an immediate and spontaneous response? It is gratitude for the forgiveness of his sins as he hears the gospel from the seraphim. Jesus said, “He who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:47). It is because the vast majority of Christians do not realize how much they have been forgiven that there is so much lethargy in the church today.

There is a lot for serious consideration here. I like the sequence he lays out, but I am not sure I agree with his use of the term "lethargy" when it comes to the problem of the church. To often the gratitude response is to do something - for the church, when the gratitude response should simply be to do something for holiness, which may look like we are not doing anything at all.

Holiness is not something you do, it is something you are. If we are holy, then what we do will be holy, whether that is for the church, our jobs, or our family. We are not called merely to be forgiven, nor are we called merely to solve problems - we are called to be remade into the image of our creator.

The humility and shame that springs from an understanding of God's holiness is not a call to action, but a call to submission.

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