Saturday, February 16, 2013


Comic Art


Sometimes coming up with stuff for this space is not as easy as it seems. I have read a lot of comics in my day, but the characters are not always that memorable. So, I poke around a little and read a list or something somewhere and it triggers a memory and we're off. I am reading this lousy list of "lame DC villains" and it contains Batman baddie "Goldilocks." - Not so good, but it reminded me of one of the most original comic series out there right now - Fables. In Fables, fairy tale characters of old live in a secluded neighborhood in Manhattan and are in exile and at war with other storybook characters. Leads to some interesting recasting.

This book is so successful that it has spin offs, one of which is the adventures of the international, and interdimensional spy - Cinderella. In her latest escapades, Cindy had to battle her opposite number - Fable merc spy Dorothy Gale. That's right, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" singing, sweet, naive Dorothy turned bloodthirsty killer. See how this series gets interesting? Turns out Dorothy thinks that she was sent by the Wizard to be an assassin anyway, so when things go south in the fable lands, she goes south with them.

Cindy, of course, prevails in the battle of the fem fatales turned hardcore action types (Yeah, there is a female pro wrestling aspect to the whole thing. Hot chicks fighting and all.) because the good guy always wins.But I find myself hoping for a return of Dorothy - maybe even a turn as a good guy. Nah check that, as she turns bad she abandons her famous companions, that'll make for the perfect revenge story. Dorothy comes back in her baddie role and, Lion, Tin Man, and Scarecrow, now highly trained Spec Forces operatives, hunt her down like the dog she is and turn her over to the flying monkeys for her final demise. Come on - you have got to love that.
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Friday, February 15, 2013


Danger Signs

Ed Stetzer links to a piece from Thom Rainer who encapsulates stats from Christianity Today and comes up with "Eight Warning Signs for Forced Terminations of Pastors":
  • If the church had a recent church fight.
  • If the church is declining in attendance.
  • If the pastor’s sermon lasts between 11 and 20 minutes.
  • If your church has almost no men.
  • If the pastor is a woman.
  • If the pastor is young.
  • If the congregation is old.
  • If a slight majority of the congregation is poor.
Boy, fascinating stuff that - lots of analysis could go into such a list. But note that all the concerns are organizational, none are spiritual in nature. It would be fascinating to study churches where young or female pastors thrive and determine what the difference is. How do they buck the odds? See, I think it is only there that we will begin to really understand things.

Of course, I have a hypothesis.The churches that buck these odds do so because there are forces at play greater than the statistics. The only such force I know of is the Holy Spirit. Which tell me that if we spent less time focused on statistics and more time trying to achieve Christian maturity....
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Friday Humor

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Thursday, February 14, 2013


Come On! It's Perfect

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Transformative Habits

Brittian Bullock writes @ Godspace on "10 steps to transformation":
  1. Practice Gratitude.
  2. Find a flesh and blood group of peers who you can dialog with.
  3. Choose one thing to be consistent about, and live it.
  4. Routinely ask yourself “Who am I?”
  5. Read poetry.
  6. Pay attention.
  7. Discover prayer.
  8. Savor everything.
  9. Make it a priority to (re)connect with those who love you.
  10. Love.
Some of that is a little too touchy-feely, naval gazing for me, ("Who am I?") but I really agree with the general idea behind this post. That general idea is make new habits, and hopefully lose some old ones in the process.Not a very popular idea that.

We all hope Christianity is magic, say the magic words and "poof" - there you are. Being a Calvinist, I even believe that to be the case theologically speaking. The issue arises where theology meets daily existence.
God may grant us miracles now and then, but unless we grab the miracle and change based upon it, it vanishes like a mediocre movie.

Moving from "sinner" to "saint" is a lot like moving from smoker to non-smoker - only a whole, whole lot harder. That's why the advice in this list of tackling one thing at a time is a pretty good one - otherwise it is just overwhelming.

In the end it is all about habits - making them and breaking them.
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Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Not My Job

DG quotes Russell Moore:
You need not be intimidated by unbelievers, as though what you need is a more nuanced “worldview” to protect the kingdom of God from their threats. Yes, we engage in apologetic arguments, but those aren’t at the hub of our mission. By talking with unbelievers about arguments against the existence of God or scientific evidence for blind natural selection or whatever, all we’re doing is listening to the defense mechanisms of those who are, as we were, scared of the sound of God’s presence in the garden. We should talk about those things lovingly, but not so we can defend the faith. We engage others only so we can get to the only announcement that assaults the blinding power of the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4).

The gospel is big enough to fight for itself.
Not only is "The gospel is big enough to fight for itself," but it does so in battlegrounds and on levels that we cannot understand. Our salvation does not come merely by our acknowledgement and embrace of a specific set of beliefs. It comes becasue of supernatural work by Christ on the cross and in His resurrection. It comes by the operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Sometimes, when we engage in argument, we give someone an opportunity to distract themselves from that stuff. Sometimes we want them to argue with us, when they are wrestling with God. Let them wrestle.
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Kitty Kartoons

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The Ups and Downs of Being A Christian

Jon Bloom @ Desiring God tells a story about John the Baptist that reflects how many of us often feel:
The past year had been a heady one. John had blazed across Judea like a shooting star, the first real prophet in Israel for four centuries. All eyes had been on him from king to peasant. And he called them all to account, including the self-righteous Pharisees. When John spoke God moved and people repented and were baptized. No one had spoken like this man. From all over Palestine people had flocked to hear him. The oppressed, weary people of God, living under Tiberius’s thumb and Antipas’s corruption, had hope again. These disciples had seen revival. And they had been in the middle of it.

Then abruptly they weren’t. The surge had moved past them toward Jesus.
He discusses the disappointment and loneliness, even abandonment, that John's disciples must have felt. And then he tell John's response to his disciples moans:
With affectionate empathy John replied, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.” He waved them to sit down beside him. “You yourselves bear me witness that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but have been sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”

We must remember that our role is not our reward. Jesus is our reward. Roles will begin and they will end. And the only way for us to end well is if in our heart Jesus has increased and we have decreased.

How often do I wish to know exactly what God wants from me? But how often do I not hear it becasue God wants me to be a bit player, when I want to be a superstar? How often do I feel convinced that God wants me to change the world when only He can do that? How often do I take my reward where no reward is intended and in so doing miss a reward of far more value?

If I have learned anything over the years it is that even those on whom the spotlight shines brightest are but bit players. The ones that know that going in really do play large roles in helping God change the world. Those that don't? - well they almost always flame out in a blaze of corruption.

God, please give me serenity in my bit role.
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Monday, February 11, 2013


Where Science Stops

Jason Summers @ Think Christian:
"Looking for scientific evidence that individuals are (or are not) born with a particular sexual identity does not and cannot address questions about the moral status of a particular sexual identity."

As moral philosopher David Hume famously observed, what is does not determine what ought to be. And, more than that, Christians - who affirm that the world was created by God and that God has ordained the right ordering of things - know that, despite the ongoing effects of sin that ensure that what we observe is not what ought to be, the deepest truth of things remains not what we observe them to be, but what they are created to be. Though we may not see it now, we believe in hope that all things are being brought to perfection through Christ.
As I have said repeatedly on this blog, when science turns to questions other than the ordering and functioning of the observable, it ceases to be science. We have come to confuse scientific methodology with science itself and further we have reduced the attainment of knowledge to only that attained through the use of such methodology.

As a scientist myself, this is a strong temptation - that which I can see and order is that which I can control. If we can control everything then we have in fact achieved a god-like status. But true faith begins by understanding that we are NOT even close to such status.

My question is, why do we have such trouble communicating the superiority of our humble view? My guess is becasue we are not so humble about it.
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