Saturday, April 20, 2013


Comic Art


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Friday, April 19, 2013


On God's Terms

Mark Roberts:
When I was seventeen years old, I received a new Bible. For some reason, I thought it would be good to read through the entire book of Romans in one sitting. I had never before read all of Romans, but only individual passages. As I read, I found myself greatly encouraged, especially by the crescendo of grace found in Romans 8. But then I stumbled into Romans 9, and my joy departed. I saw, for example, that “God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refused to listen.” This was deeply distressing to me because it seemed to be so unfair, so arbitrary, so unlike the God revealed only a few verses earlier. In my distress, I actually stopped reading and never finished my project of going through the whole book of Romans. (Don’t worry. I have since read all of Romans, many times.)

I must confess, however, that I still don’t find everything in Romans to my liking. I would like God to be so much nicer. But my liking is not the point! Knowing God in truth is the point. And, not surprisingly, the real God is not the same as the god of my likes and dislikes. If I want to know this real God, then I must choose to receive him on his own terms.

This means that I must take seriously the passages of Scripture that I don’t like. I need to wrestle with them and their truth.

I am always startled at how we presume to judge what God has said. Have you ever really thought about the sheer hubris involved in saying, "Oh that's not what that really means," when it comes to scripture? Who in the world are we to judge God's intent, or correct His grammar? What is it about us that makes us approach things in this fashion? I know, sin, but my reason just cannot get around the fact that He is God and I most certainly am not.

Maybe we need to start there. Maybe we need to start giving people a definition of God. Not church or anything else that stands between us and Him, but just God. I think once people get their head around the fact that this is no force to be trifled with they just might settle down a little.

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Friday Humor

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Thursday, April 18, 2013


Cheap Faith is not Faith

It is not surprising that in a culture like ours, few people practice fasting and self-sacrifice during Lent anymore. Deliberately walking with Christ towards the Cross never comes at bargain prices, it is very costly. In fact it demands our whole lives but it is absolutely necessary if we want to become the disciples God intends us to be.
Sine discusses "bargaining" in this post. It dawns on me that you cannot really bargain with God. The cost is the cost. Christ paid the cost that we simply lack the resources to ever pay, but that does not mean we get off cheap.

That which is cheaply acquired is easily disposed of, but that which is precious is a different story altogether. Just ow expensive is your faith in Christ?

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Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013


God and Work

Mark Roberts links:
Ed Cyzewski has a thoughtful, challenging article on The High Calling. “Work is a Battlefield” tells the story of Ed’s unexpected experience of spiritual warfare at work. He offers suggestions about how we might fight such warfare in God’s way.
Being a Christian is not something we do at church, or on a short term mission, or even in the local mission field. It is something we do right now, where we are, at home, at work, wherever we may be.

Christ needs ambassadors not just to the Dominican Republic or to the wilds of Borneo, but also to the accounts of XYZ Corp. and the baristas of your local Starbucks. The evil one is certainly at work in those places, and it is there we should meet him in battle.
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Church is not Consumed

Ed Stetzer quotes Skye Jethani on consumerism in the church:
First, consumerism reduces God from a deity to a commodity. His value, like everything else, is determined by His usefulness to the user (i.e. the Christian). In consumerism, personal desires and their fulfillment are paramount, therefore everything and everyone-- including God--exists to satisfy these cravings. This is precisely the opposite of what Scripture teaches. We are called to live in submission to God and walk humbly with Him. Consumerism, however, reduces God so that He becomes a means to an end. He is presented as a useful tool that supplies us with our desires and expectations. As one sociologist noted, in our consumer culture we have come to view God as part cosmic therapist and part divine butler.

Secondly, consumerism reduces Jesus Christ from Lord to a label. When the early Christians declared "Christ is Lord" they were subverting the popular belief of the day that "Caesar is Lord." It was a proclamation of Jesus' authority and power over all things, and it was a declaration of allegiance to our heavenly King.

But in consumerism the customer is king, not Jesus. As a result Christianity becomes just one more brand we integrate and display along with Gap, Apple, and Starbucks to express our identity.

Amen to that, and might I just add that an understanding on self-identity based on the products you consume is a very shallow understanding of identity.
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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, April 15, 2013


Christ Geeks!?

Maureen Herring at ThinkChristian looks at "Cosplayers":
People who elaborately dress up as comic book, sci-fi or fantasy characters and attend entertainment conventions are used to being called nerds or geeks, but the official term is cosplayer. We usually get glimpses of them when the media covers events such as the recent Comic-Con 2012, but cosplayers occasionally show up at big movie premieres in costume as well.

Robin Rosenberg, a psychologist and writer for Psychology Today, is investigating the psychology behind cosplay. She believes identity play is the most important factor, noting that many cosplayers are passive, shy, introspective people who are able to express greater confidence and communicate more readily when dressed as a strong character.
She then asks:
In the Old Testament there are times when God tells His people or His priests to put on specific articles of clothing, such as sackcloth or robes, to symbolize an attitude or commemorate an event. Putting on these items contributes to the attitude God wants them to take. How many times does Scripture tell us to “put on” intangibles like peace or righteousness, or other character traits? Does the visual of dressing in traits help us own them?
What do you think? Are we supposed to "pretend" to be Christians like I might pretend to be Captain America? I don't think so God does not want us to feel powerful in some assumed identity - he wants us to BE powerful with His help, in our own identity. I think Ms. Herring is falling victim here to an English translation of Hebrew and Greek that has very different connotations than the plain English would imply.

When we put on the characteristics of Christ, it's not pretend - we become more Christlike.
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