Saturday, March 30, 2013


Comic Art


Oftentimes, it seems like comics are at their best when they are archetypal, even primitive. Certainly villains are at their best when they when they play on fears from the deepest regions of our minds. The Joker, for example, plays on the near universal fear of a clown gone bad. Another such near universal fear is our toys. Remember the scene in the movie "Poltergeist" where the young man's toys attacked him? We all remember laying in bed in the dark or near dark and seeing shadows or skewed images of something that only a few minutes before had been a source of delight and being absolutely certain that it was going to kill us. It is on these fears that the villain Toyman attempts to play.
The problem with Toyman is that he has seen so many incarnations, reimaginings and reinventions that he is a minor player - never taken truly seriously. That is a crying shame as far as I am concerned - he is the stuff of near legendary fear if done properly. For one thing there is the fact that he has primarily been a foil for Superman. Supes is a creature of the light and for this kind of villain to work he has to be in the dark. When things get dark, Supes calls Batman.

Efforts to move the character over to Bats have been unsuccessful because there he is just another youth-fear-crazy in the giant pile of youth-fear-crazies. Toyman is one that they need to simply let go of the efforts at continuity and try all over again.

I'm thinking he needs to show up against the magic types - Ragman or somebody like that. He does not need to be crazy, just hideously dark. Maybe that is it, rather than building sinister toys, he enchants existing one. The traditional heroes would be powerless against such magics - they'd have to call out one of the "Z's" or Doc Fate or the Phantom Stranger. - or best of all The Spectre.

Think about the Stay-puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters - only not funny. OH, and would not this be delish - he could enchant superhero action figure to take on the superheros! The cover art alone would sell a whole bunch of comics. Probably should not write this idea down here - want to get paid for it. NAH - never happen.

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Friday, March 29, 2013


Good Friday

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Abandoned Kids

Think Christian:
When I talk to friends who have abandoned the faith, I hear little in their stories about the typical catalysts of rebellion: abuse and neglect and hypocrisy and unfaithfulness. Mostly I hear: “It wasn’t anything anyone did. It was simply my own desire to run away.”

The Scriptures reminds us that natural man is completely depraved with a natural bent away from God. Only the work of regeneration gives us the ability and desire to please Him. Even kids who grow up in the church. Even kids raised on a steady diet of Scripture. Even kids who were taught right theology.

We might realize that every child has a different spiritual growth track, that discipleship is, to quote John Ortberg, “hand-crafted, not mass-produced.” We might allow for honest questions and seasons of doubt during the critical years of adolescence. We might not assume that our children will automatically know and understand the Gospel, but need to be taught freshly the orthodox truths of God’s revelation.

Ultimately, it is God who works in the heart of every child to woo him or her to Himself. Our job as parents, pastors and influencers is to create an authentic environment of grace, where faith can flourish.

To this, I would only add that sometimes it is more that "knowing and understanding" and "teaching freshly orthodox truths." Faith that stays is not based in knowledge, it is based on the indewelling of the Holy Spirit. Not in the Holy Roller fashon, but in the fashion of someone that is being transformed from the inside out, including their mind, by a power over which they have no control.

It is not a matter of teaching, it is a matter of mentoring - being an example. The best way to provide this "hand-crafted" guidance is not in teaching - it's in living with. And that means we have to mind ourt ow p's and q's pretty carefully.
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Friday Humor

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Thursday, March 28, 2013


Sequenced, But Insperable

Christians who obey God and then expect grace and blessings have got it all wrong, according to renowned pastor Tim Keller. The proper understanding of the Gospel is grace first, obedience second.\

The sequence makes all the difference.

Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, was citing scholar Alec Motyer when he underscored the order in which God saves. Addressing thousands of women at The Gospel Coalition's Women's Conference last week, Keller stated that they can never understand the entire Bible unless they understand the proper sequence.

"God did not give the children of Israel the law (the Ten Commandments) and then have them say 'we'll do everything the Lord says' and then He says 'good, now I'll save you, I'll take you out of Egypt on eagle's wings,'" he said, as he preached on the Old Testament account of Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.

Rather, God saved them first. "Now, because I've saved you ... obey me."

I understand this message entirely, but I do not understand its necessity now. I find the opposite problem to be more prevalent. I find that people tend to accept the grace and not follow-on with the obedience. I find that people tend to expect grace to overcome their lack of obedience.

Keller has the sequence right, but the two things are inseparable. If, after receiving God's grace we are not obedient then we do not yet have His grace. Grace inextricably and totally results in obedience and if the obedience is not evident then the grace cannot be relied upon.

That, I think is the message for our time - not that grace comes first, but that grace and obedience are inseparable.
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013


A Giant Waste Of God's Money

Todd Rhoades links to the giant fish tank at a megachurch. Look folks, I am all for spending a lot of God's money to build something beautiful that evokes - that points to the most beautiful creator. But this is just garish and media whoring. 'Nuff said.
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013


God's TSA

Mark Roberts looks at Psalms 139:23-24:
Then Psalm 139 takes another unexpected turn, concluding with a prayer for the Lord to examine David’s heart: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (139:23-24). Perhaps David realized that his hatred exceeded an appropriate zeal for justice.

Perhaps he remembered that, like his enemies, he had done things that dishonored the Lord. So he invited God to search him and reveal anything offensive. The implied understanding is that David would repent of those sins in order that God might “lead [him] along the path of everlasting life” (139:24).

I need God to search me in this way. Don’t you? Though a part of me resists dealing with what is wrong in my heart, I know that I need to see my sin as God sees it, so that I might confess and be forgiven, and so that I might turn from my sin to follow the Lord more completely.

How offended do most of us get at being searched at the airport? I wonder if we have the same reaction when being searched by God?

Why is it offensive? Is God a stranger? If so that needs to be fixed. Do you not trust God? If so you need faith. None of the reasons that apply to our issues with the TSA, apply in any situation with God. If they do, then you do not have God figured out just yet.
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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, March 25, 2013



Jeff Dunn @ iMonk writes a fairly painful story of his sojourn through the charismata:
When I graduated from ORU, I was seven years along in my faith journey. I had been taught that experiences—healings, tongues, supernatural gifts of money—were the norm. And if I was not experiencing these things in my life, then I was not a “Spirit-filled Christian.” I would be considered second-class, at very best. So I wore a mask, not exactly lying, but at least giving the appearance that all the mighty works that others supposedly did and saw were common in my life as well.

So I went through decades of my Christian life wearing a mask. I said and did all the acceptable things, and pretended that I knew God and was being used by him to do “great and mighty things.” And after you wear a mask for some time, you begin to believe that it really is how you look.

Then, apparently, the real God had enough of my impersonating a true son of his. He began tearing off my mask one painful layer at a time. All those experiences I thought I had and said I lived through dissolved. I found myself naked—and ashamed—before God. Thinking I knew it all, I was very surprised to find out I was clueless about everything.

God then took me in front of a mirror so I could see who I really was. What I found was surprising to me. I was a mystic. That’s how I could see God. That’s how I first met Jesus. Not by witnessing a miracle nor hearing a rousing, emotional sermon nor by being slain in the Spirit. I met Jesus by sensing a deep longing, an intense hunger in my soul. I couldn’t put it into words. One minute it wasn’t there, the next it was.

It is going to sound very cold, but that is a story I have heard over and over and over again. I know far too many "recovering" charismatics.

Way too many of "the gifts" express themselves in charismatic contexts. Ask yourself this question, "If a gift from God is real, why would it need a context to be used?" Is God constrained by such things? Now don't get me wrong here, I believe these miracles can and do happen, but I do not believe they can be coaxed, prodded or controlled.

Which leads me to my second point. The gifts of the Spirit are for the good of the whole - scripture makes that plain. To my mind that makes them a burden. If your "gift" is a "blessing to you," then I think you might want to think things through very carefully. One must remember that some men actually vandalized house to get to Christ for healing. That is a pretty big burden for Christ to bear. Iy is also the gift bursting out of the context.
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Sunday, March 24, 2013



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