Saturday, February 23, 2013


Comic Art

Rob Duenas
Jim Chueng
Paul Renaud
Marko Djurdjevic
Mike Deodato Jr.
Jack Kirby
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Friday, February 22, 2013


Life In Confusion

Secondhand Smoke (Wesley J Smith) looks at a Newsweek article and a movement to bring euthanasia to dementia patients:
Often, the people who really suffer in dementia cases are the loved ones. I know we did. It is very hard to see your formerly vibrant and interactive mother, father, uncle, spouse, so ill and vulnerable. But they are not without dignity–unless we so define them.


Yes indeed, for Baby Boomers, it is always about us.

As I write my mother is in year five of severe dementia. Unlike most, we have a marker. The auto accident that killed my father moved my mother from "a little confused" to "lost." It hurts - a lot. But here is the thing - so does child rearing. I cannot begin to imagine the pain I must have caused her and dad. Is it too much to ask that I consider her more than I consider myself as decisions are made about her care?

There are two ways to look at my mother - a mindless eating and pooping machine requiring constant attention - or - a living human of diminished capacity. Why is it we lavish love on babies who are also eating and pooping machines, why is it we work hard to care for those of diminished capacity not old, but when the diminished capacity is the road to certain death, we throw them in the warehouse and pray for a quick death.

You either value life or you do not. Even within the range of "normal" some lives are more worthy than others. As soon as we start making decisions based on whose life is better, or more worthy we place ourselves in God's place - we blaspheme in a very real fashion. It is a sin, pure and simple.
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Friday Humor

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Thursday, February 21, 2013


Beauty and Truth

Mark Roberts:
The fact that we can perceive things as beautiful, I believe, points to the existence of a God who loves beauty and created us in his own image. I talked about this in yesterday's reflection. Yet beauty also calls us to God as it inspires in us a yearning for the author of beauty.


Worshiping something beautiful, whether it is natural or made by human beings, is idolatry. Yet, when I allow the beauty of this world to become a signpost to God, then I am drawn to worship the one true God, the creator of all things, the source of beauty who is himself beautiful.

While I am pretty Calvinist in my orientation, one of the places I take great exception is in the ornamentation of houses of worship. Some are indeed over the top. Weltenberg Abbey is gorgeous, but its ornamentation includes a less than subtle statue of its designer and a fresco of its builder - idolatry seems a real possibility there. But others can truly press you to your knees in worship of the creator. It is not ornamentation, but the attitude of the designer/builder and the viewer that makes the difference.

It seems that there are two important things when it comes to this attitude, one taking ourselves out of the equation, and two taking the maker out of the equation, which means the maker to some extent has to take himself out of it. In the end, art is NOT self-expression, it is, like preaching, expressing the Word. I wonder what modern art would look like that if artists thought that way. I wonder what contemporary worship would look like too.
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Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Anger and Expectations

Dan Bouchelle in a guest post @ iMonk:
While I don’t fully understand my anger, here is my current best shot at explaining it. I am angry because I couldn’t force the church to live up to my image of what it should be even when they implemented most of the changes I wanted. I am angry because I thought I had a contract with God: if I did ministry the right way, he would make me feel successful and fulfilled. I am angry because I could not shake the feeling of failure when I was doing everything I knew to do and I could not get the church to post the measurables I needed to validate my ministry. I am angry because the church I was building was too much a figment of my imagination detached from sustainable reality. I loved the people in my church and I enjoyed ministry with them. But, as a congregation—which is an abstraction in many ways—I could not reconcile what was with what should be. I am angry because other preachers who used what I thought were inferior approaches to serve inferior visions saw their churches grow while mine was plateaued or declining. I am angry because I could not solve the problem of church, as if churches are problems to be solved instead of people to be loved and developed. I am angry because I looked to my ministry for self-validation instead of modeling self-denial. I am angry because I wasn’t willing to obey what I heard God calling me to do and trust the outcomes to him instead of expecting something specific in return.
OK, just a thought here. Anger comes when reality and expectation clash - good point. The biggest part of the problem is that we think our expectations are God's expectations. And yet, we worship a God whose very nature is some incomprehensible to us that you have to believe His expectation are as well. Whatever vision you have; whatever expectation you hold - it is at best incomplete. So do not hold it so hard.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013


"A Check Against The Self's Worst Impulses"

In a column clearly designed to sell his book, Ross Douthat does have one great paragraph:
At the same time, self-created forms of faith are also less likely to provide a check against the self’s worst impulses --whether it’s the kind of materialism that Joel Osteen’s sunny promises encourage, or the solipsism that percolates under the surface of popular spiritual memoirs like Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat Pray Love.” Many of America’s contemporary crises, from the housing bubble and the financial crash to the collapse of the two-parent family, can be traced to just this tendency -- encouraged by too much contemporary religion -- to make the self’s ambitions the measure of all things.
I am not a big fan of the book generally, you can read my critique here. However, that paragraph does sum up in pretty quick order the thing that is most wrong with the church today - it serves us instead of us serving God. The church bears as much blame for this sordid state of affairs as we do. Yes we have become more self-centered, but a church prone to corruption and responding very poorly when it is uncovered has left us with few places to turn.

But this much I do know - leaving the church makes no sense, it simply abandons the church to its corruptions. Those of us who resonate with this paragraph need to work to fix the church. There is no viable alternative.
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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, February 18, 2013


Really, Really Big

Dave Bish @ Blue Fish discusses the bigness of God:
The Greek philosophers figured that god is a god of great attributes, bigger than everything else. Omniscient. Omnipotent. Omnidextrous etc. Like creation but bigger. Might leave you awestruck but not so safe. Attempts to impress leave me strangely cold... Start personal (see below) and then we can certainly talk in terms of the extent of his knowing and power etc. Then we get a knowing that isn't a spying big brother but a caring father, a power that isn't abusive and controlling but sufficient to save and give life.
I have to quibble a bot. God is in fact deeply personal and hugely "Omni." Either picture without the other results in a warped view of God. He is right that if we forget the personal we think God some sort of uncaring cosmic cop. However, a personal God without a deep understanding of His power, majesty and justice leads to a God that loves us without ever changing us.

Lewis says that God is infinitely good, but never safe. We risk, if we make God too small, making Him safe.
The other thing God's size reminds us of is his incomprehensibility. We cannot begin to understand God, and this is where the father analogy breaks down. Most adults end up understanding their parents. We will never understand God for He is so different, so much larger than us that He is beyond our frame of reference.

Finally, understanding God's immensity only emphasizes His grace. We should be beneath His notice.
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