Saturday, May 18, 2013


Comic Art


First there was the Ed Benes Justice League cover that EVERYBODY loved
Then came the statue that was truly remarkable

And now everybody is doing it like this Phil Jimenez Cover of a JLA/Transformers crossover

And when DC decided to reboot its entire line with "The New 52,"  look what the JLA looks like

Comics turn out too much material for there not to be some "copying" going on, but sometimes it is interesting to trace it a bit.

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Friday, May 17, 2013


Staying In Church

Jeff Dunn @ iMonk with a lament I know well:
I have been in church, involved in church, serving the church, working for the church, sweeping up after the church for going on 40 years now. I’ve been in the back-room meetings that dictate what happens on the stage. I’ve been in meetings that discuss how to market the product we were selling (the Sunday service) to attract more customers (tithing members).
 I have worked with numerous motivational speakers who call themselves pastors, but who do all in their power to avoid ever having to even brush up against a sheep. I have seen lighting schemes in sanctuaries that put some Broadway theaters to shame. Video cameras TV stations would love to be able to afford. I’ve even known churches to rent those hideous spotlights that rotate on the night sky like the Bat Signal.
I go to a church that, for the most part, avoids being a full-blown circus. But even there I’m tired of singing the same emotionally-soaked songs week after week. I don’t need to watch movie clips during the sermon. And I really don’t need a comedian using the pulpit to try out his stand-up routine. Yet still I go—at least, most Sundays.

Why? Why do I keep going? I know that my salvation does not depend on my attendance record at church. I didn’t use to know this, but I do now. And to own the truth about this, most Sundays I’d rather sleep in, or go take a walk, or read—anything but go to church yet again. After 40 years, I don’t think I’m going to see or hear anything new.

Dunn looks at 2 Sam 21:15,16 and concludes:
This is where my church comes in. These are people who know me, know my faults and failures, see me as I really am and still accept me. They are there to stand with me, encourage me, fight with me. They are not afraid to tell me when I’m doing something in a wrong or hurtful manner. Their encouragement at times is hard to swallow, just like medicine that could save my life, but they give their encouragement still.

I need my church. And, somehow, I believe they need me. Me, as I am, with all of my failures, all of my warts, all of my scars. I’m not as strong as I think I am. I cannot do this faith thing alone. I wasn’t meant to. And yet that is my temptation these days. Just let me have my books and blog sites and fellowship occasionally over lunch or coffee and I’ll be fine. But Abishai sees right through me to my exhaustion, pushes me aside and kills the giant that would have killed me. I don’t always like that. I still like to see myself as a giant-killer, but life has taken its toll on me, and I really do need others to help me.
I agree, but I would add one caveat - there is a time to leave. It's rare, but it exists. When the church does not want to get better. Every church in some sense of caldron of dysfunction. So long as the church sees the dysfunction and attempts, even if failing in the attempt, to overcome it, the church is as healthy as things can get. Watch out for the church the revels in its dysfunction.

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Friday Humor

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Thursday, May 16, 2013



Chaplain Mike @ iMonk looks at "Summarizing the Gospel (in 7 words)." I have one question -


Christ did not come to "bring a message," Christ came to change us and in doing so change the world. The good news is not words, it is lives. Yes, we need to struggle to understand both what God is doing in our lives and what more He wants to do with them, but that understanding is not the point - our lives are the point.

What God does with our lives is both highly complex and individualistic, and many parts of it are simply unknowable. Can such a thing be summarized?

What's more, true devotion consists of so much more than just understanding. Like "wax on, wax off" of Karate Kid fame, one gains things through practice, not knowledge.

Why do we struggle to make the complex simple when we should be empowering people to deal with the complex?

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Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Wth God

Justin Taylor quotes Richard Lovelace on the the Holy Spirit:
A normal relationship with the Holy Spirit should at least approximate the Old Testament experience described in Psalm 139: a profound awareness that we are always face to face with God; that as we move through life the presence of his Spirit is the most real and powerful factor in our daily environment; that underneath the momentary static of events, conflicts, problems and even excursions into sin, he is always there like the continuously sounding note in a basso ostinato.


We should particularly recognize that growth in holiness is not simply a matter of the lonely individual making claims of faith on the basis of Romans 6:1-14. It involves moving about in all areas of our life in dependent fellowship with a person: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16 NASB).

The Holy Spirit is, simply, the presence of God in our lives, mundanely, routinely and ordinarily. Can there be supernatural manifestations of the presence? Of course there can and should be, and often are; however, that is not the stuff that holiness is made of. Such holiness is made of abiding with that presence in an ordinary fashion. To seek the supernatural expression at the expense of the ordinary is little different than consuming a drug to obtain a high. We are not made better by the drug, we just seek the high again.

We worship and extraordinary God that wishes to be make the ordinary better, not merely draw us into the extraordinary.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Sitting In The World

David Mathis writes @ DG about being "In, But Not Of." He looks at Christ's prayer in John 17:14-19 and notes a few points:
  • But notice that for Jesus being “not of the world” isn’t the destination in these verses but the starting place....
  • Jesus is not asking his Father for his disciples to be taken out of the world, but he is praying for them as they are “sent into” the world....
  • Jesus’s assumption in John 17 is that those who have embraced him, and identified with him, are indeed not of the world. And now his summons is our sending — we are sent into the world on mission for gospel advance through disciplemaking. -- Jesus’s true followers have not only been crucified to the world, but also raised to new life and sent back in to free others.
Note how he comes full circle here, and it makes me wonder if we forget to start by leaving the world through our figurative crucifixion with Christ. I wonder if we too often take people into church and hurry to turn them back out into the world, and forget that they must have to go through a pretty intense transformative experience?

Another way to phrase my question would be to ask if we ever let people get to the starting line? Jesus had to get to thirty. The apostles had time with Christ before they were turned out. And yet as nowadays as soon as some one expresses commitment to the church, we ask them to demonstrate that commitment by bringing others in. Yet I am not sure they are ready. What do we do to prepare them?

More, do we even ask them to die and be resurrected with Christ, or do we just ask them to :take a walk?" Big difference

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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, May 13, 2013


Church Is No Drug

And so it continues. HuffPo carries the story about church as drug that we have looked at recently. I picked up a new irritating bit:
The study bucks the idea that larger churches produce weaker member commitment; nearly 80 percent of congregants said church size did not hinder their spiritual growth.
Is no one going to point out the obvious oxymoron? Getting high stunts growth and the addict almost never realizes it. So if going to church is a high, and they report it does not stunt their growth have we produced disciples or addicts?

Where in the church are we producing people that get past the "rush" stage? Note this from the article:
To extend the spiritual high beyond Sunday, churches feature small group activities such as Bible study, book clubs, and volunteer activities, the researchers said.
I bet we have all been in a small group that extends the high instead of building depth.

It's not that there is not a valid place for this stuff in the church, it is just that this stuff is not enough to actually be the church. Using some sort of "mountain-top" experience is a valid way to attract people. I would have to think that attendance at the Sermon on the Mount would have had that sort of feel to it. But at some point we have to join Jesus on the long and boring trek from the Galilee to Jerusalem. At some point we have to clean up the debris from feeding the thousands. At some point our faith must inform not just our highs but our lows and our mundanes.

Isn't that the point?

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