Saturday, January 19, 2013


Comic Art


So, since every superhero has to die sometime - just so they can be resurrected (Hmmm, theological implications?) they had to come up with a way to kill Superman. You know, think about it, killing off Supes is no minor thing. He has become so powerful over the decades that is is more icon than character. He has overcome kryptonite, originally conceived to be his "Achilles Heel," so many times that is just is not a threat anymore. What to do, what to do?

And so we get Doomsday. A prehistoric Kryptonian creature, genetically revised, cloned, resurrected and otherwise folded and spindled and mutilated to the point that he could take on and kill the Man of Steel. After that it just gets silly. No villain capable of beating the Big Guy could be a one-shot deal. Why any baddie bad enough to kill Supes had to come back again and again and again and again. But given that Doomsday was pretty much just a killing machine with little character development continuing stories was a tall order. That is until I came along. Dommsday v Hulk - think about it.

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Friday, January 18, 2013


When Science And Faith Must Meet

Godspace writes about Earth Day and why she supports Christian Environmental activism. It's wonderful philosophical and theological stuff:
Creation itself inspires us and calls us to care. Many people have had their most profound spiritual experience in nature. [...] Psalm 24 states that “the Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.” Humans simply hold the Earth in trust for God. [...] At the heart of sustainability is the goal of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. [...] Justice means that in addition to providing aid to our neighbors, we are called to change societal systems that cause poverty, injustice, and environmental damage in the first place.
Fair enough as far as it goes, but like many things the devil is in the details.

Just one example - what is "environmental damage?" Most people have a semi-arbitrary line that says if we do it it is damage, if it happens of its own accord it's not. But that is based on the presumption that WE are not somehow part of nature - Theologically, I cannot think of a worse presumption, we are creatures.

Do you remember Jurassic Park? Jeff Goldblum kept going on about life finding a way. He was right. In that movie sterilized animals found a way to reproduce. In our reality, life finds a way even in changed environments. I have visited Mt St Helens several times. Both the devastation and abundance of life is extraordinary. That is a completely natural change in the environment. Why is it "OK" nut a man made forest fire is not?

Finally, given that we are part of the natural system and that change in the natural system is both constant and inevitable - there is the law of unintended consequences. Every action, or inaction, we take results in changes to the natural system, many of those changes are unknown to us and therefore may have negative consequences. Simply put, our science is insufficient.

And so, at this point where our insufficient faith and our inadequate science come together the one thing we cannot do is presume much of anything - most importantly that our actions control things. GOD's do, all we can do is our best.

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Friday Humor

Thursday, January 17, 2013


A Living Demonstration of Truth

Mark Roberts on Ezekiel:
Ezekiel would model this kind of “stiff-upper-lip” behavior in a heartbreaking situation. The Lord told him in advance that his wife would die, but Ezekiel was not to “mourn or weep” before the people (24:16). Remember, Hebrew culture made plenty of room for sadness, including ritual practices that accentuated grieving. But the Lord forbade Ezekiel from participating in these.

When his wife died, Ezekiel did exactly as God had instructed him. He did not grieve, which caused the people to be confused and curious (24:19). Ezekiel explained that his behavior was a model for them when God’s painful judgment falls. “Ezekiel is your sign,” he said, “You will do everything that he has done” (24:24).
Puts me in mind of something Jesus said:
Matt 7:15-20 - Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn {bushes,} nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.
If we are indeed all called to be "ambassadors for Christ." if evangelism is really everyone's job I wonder if we are known by our fruits?

If not, perhaps it is knee time.
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Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013


More than Salvation

Beth Pyles @ Thoughtful Christian asks a profound question:
I listen to a sermon in which the minister propounds the question: can you be a Christian without going to church? While stressing the importance of church, his sermon at the least implies a yes, because of the truth claim that it is Jesus who does the saving – thus can one ‘be’ a Christian without going to church.

Which takes us right back to my question: is ‘being saved’ the same thing as being a Christian?
She answers it just as deeply:
To say that Jesus saves is to make a truth claim about Jesus.

To say that I am a Christian is to make a truth claim about myself – that I follow the one who saves.

Both claims are ultimately verifiable. But they are not interchangeable.
Note that her response is based on the verifiability of truth claims. Put another way, when we claim salvation without outward sign of evidence if that salvation - from church-going to simple obedience - we deny the truth of the salvation.

You see, when it comes to the claims of Christ, we are the evidence.Oncve again, it is not all about us. My salvation has ramification far beyond simply my being saved of nor saved. That's why my salvation is not really mine - it reflects on God as much, actually MORE, than it reflects on me. Come to think of it, i God is entirely responsible for my salvation, as we like to say in the reformed tradition, then it is not really MY salvation to begin with. How can I claim any ownership over something I had nothing to do with?
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013


The Difference Between Promotion and Outreach

Url Scaramanga @ Out of Ur:
My favorite part in the gospels is where Jesus says, "Come to me all who are weary and I will give you cars, cash, and HD TVs." What? That's not in your translation? Well you must not attend this church.
And then he presents a video about a church that holds promotional drawings kind of like Publishers Clearinghouse. Well, it works for Oprah....

Have we really gotten to the point that we cannot tell the difference between Christian Outreach and mere promotion of an enterprise? I actually think we still can, but there are two problems here. For one, as we abandon denominational oversight and there is no one to give an imprimatur to this church, or any church for that matter, there will be many churches that will set up weird stuff, Which brings me to the second point. Because we are fallen, without such a gate-keeping capability, many shysters will succeed because the buying public does not know what it is supposed to be buying. It really is a, Oprahfication phenomena.

Can the truth survive? Of course it can, God is in charge That is the least of my concerns. More important to me is how does the truth come to stick out above the fray. Well, for one, we could attempt to reestablish some oversight, but that is probably a loser idea for now. More importantly, the truth has to be evident in the lives of people holding it. That is how it will be known as truth as compared to the falsity of such blatant promotion. That demands a lot of us as the leader. Are we willing to pay the price?
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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, January 14, 2013


Ugly Christianity

Jon Acuff wrote last Easter about direct mail Easter card from a church that was totally tasteless:

I started to write about how being correct does not give us the right toe be offensive, but then it dawned on me that Jesus was pretty offensive to a lot of people - powerful people as a matter of fact. So offensive that it got him killed.

But then it occurred to me that He is Jesus and I most assuredly am not. I cannot offend people with the assurance that it will all work out in the end that He could. I cannot know the heart of those that I offend as Christ did.
Under such circumstance, can I rely on offense as a tool of communication? I don't think so.
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