Saturday, June 22, 2013


Comic Art


Talk about a bad guy that should have been more fun than he was - it is Spidey's original baddie, Chameleon. I mean masks!? That's all you got. I mean, if you're gonna change, let's see some change. You know gender-bending, mind-blowing kinds of change. This mask stuff is Cliff Robertson's Clayface from the awful 60's batman TV series. Besides, who can take seriously a bad guy in a smoking jacket.

When this is what passes for power, you have to be "a plotter," you know the kinds, schemes inside plans inside plots all designed to make our hero look foolish. Question, if you're that smart, why are you a villain? I mean really. Think about how hard you have to work to be a plotter. If you're gonna work that hard seems to me you could make more money the honest way. EH, what am I thinking - I am just not maniacal enough.


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Friday, June 21, 2013


Genuine Praise

Mark Roberts:
Was this the core purpose of my life? Would my life have been more glorifying to God if I quit everything else I had been doing so I could spend all of my waking hours singing praise to him? I have sometimes heard preachers and read Christian writers who envision the ultimate Christian life in these terms. They equate living for the praise of God's glory with the activities of so-called worship services. Everything that happens outside of the sanctuary is of secondary value.

But this is not the meaning of Ephesians 1:11. As we'll see later in the letter, there is one verse about singing to God (5:19). But there are dozens of verses about how we are to live each day. This ratio does not suggest that singing praise is insignificant. But it does remind us that we are exist for the praise of God's glory. We are called and privileged to glorify God, not just in singing and praying, not just in doing things we identify as "spiritual," but also in every part of life, in every action, every thought, every feeling. Just think of how different your life might be if you began to think of glorifying God as the core purpose of everything.
Amen and Amen


Friday Entertainment

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Thursday, June 20, 2013


Overstatement Is Not Helpful

Terry Mattingly writes of "Apocalyptic visions about Chernobyl." I don' think this is helpful. Mattingly writes of visiting  the Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum adn the immense suffering it purports to memorialize:
Soviet officials claim a mere 31 died. Ukrainians mock this number, saying it’s impossible to calculate the long-term fallout in cancers, birth defects and other forms of human suffering.
“The catastrophe at Chernobyl station took its victims before their time,” said Archpriest Andrei Tkachev of St. Agapit of Pechersk Orthodox Church in Kiev. “Man is supposed to meet death in his own time, when he has a chance to prepare to meet God. That kind of death is a gift from God — a good death.
“That is not what happened for many of the victims of Chernobyl.”

It is not just Soviet officials that claim such death rates. It's the USDOE as well. Regular readers will recall that I visited Chernobyl personally in 1991. I wrote about it in three parts - here - here - here. In the third post, citing the DOE report just linked, I said:
The site does not let me cut and past a pull quote, but read it carefully, the studies conclude that the damage is far more psychosomatic than physical -- no less real, but there is great comfort in that conclusion.
The fear that pervades the region and accounts for statements like that quoted by Mattingly is real, and requires aid, but have serious reservations about reporting on apocalyptic ties that seem designed only to deepen and reinforce such fear. Ignorance is a powerful force, but its corrective is in its removal, not in sympathy with it. Sympathizing with fear, born of ignorance, only reinforces the fear. MAttingly would do well in this instance to look deeply into the facts before reporting - something he seeks to correct in religion reporters all the time.


Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Why Is This Necessary?

David Mathis @ DG wrote a long piece quoting scripture to make Catholics look bad. He called it "Jesus Says to Rome." I am sorry, I respect John Piper and the Desiring God site quite a bit - but this is just ugly and wrong. In some cases it fails to have a deep and true understanding of Catholic doctrine. In the places where he does have a point, the way he makes it is as graceless and ugly as possible. Moreover, at a time when the church universal's influence and reach is receding in our nation, to go after some part of the church over such minutiae kind of misses the point. Such internal bickering is a big part of the reason we are losing such.

But mos of all, the sheer hubris to write in a fashion that pretends to speak with the voice of God reveals on Mathis' part a total conviction and certainty that he is right and the Catholics are wrong. To call such conviction Pharasetical is to understate things. Yes, I disagree with some Catholic doctrine, but it should also be clear I disagree with some of what Mathis holds as well.

In light of these differences, I have a choice - do I cast out Mathis, declare him apostate and bound for hell? Being wrong is not the same as being condemned. I wish more Christians had that idea.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Think About It

Chaplain Mike hosted a guest post about an understanding of music in worship I am not sure I would sign on to the whole thing because it focuses too much on "style" for my sake. But there are two thing about it to which I am deeply drawn. The first is this:
Our goal as a church is to have one integrated service plan that is repeated as needed (currently two ninety-minute Sunday morning times) that incorporates historic, modern, and global music. Rather than offering a “smorgasbord” of sound (take your pick of what you like–a traditional service of hymns and anthems, or a contemporary service of modern praise and worship), or a blended “soup” (everything is a blend of somewhat classical, somewhat pop, somewhat Broadway middle-of-the-road offend-no-one music), in the context of convergence, we offer musical “stew”–an expression of various styles, all working within a context of taste appropriate for Sunday worship, each with its distinctive flavor, yet a part of the whole in one cohesive “dish”.
The second is this:
The music in our worship will be Christo-centric — in every service we will use music to help retell the story of God’s saving acts throughout history — from creation, the exodus, and other events in Hebrew history, to the incarnation, death, resurrection and reign of Christ and the coming of His Kingdom.
In combination those two statements are powerful, which is where I think the statement is weak - it does not draw the connection between those two thinks. The point is the choice in music is not about what works for us, but about what is expresses about God. The music is not there to express how we feel - but to shape who we are. Further that shaping is to happen on the deepest levels, not the merely emotional or, frankly, the merely intellectual.

They have it right when they talk about how deeply music reaches into our souls - the problem is we make the music light so that we can prevent it from reaching too deep. I think about how much I first learned, whether it be scripture memorization, or deep theological proof long before I could even read because I did remember the hymns we sang. I ask you, does "God is awesome" really convey much? I think about how much "It is well with my soul" communicates about responded to trouble grief and strife - it is deep confession and teeth-grinding effort to come through it, not merely "Sing Hallelujah come on get happy."

It is not about "style."


Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, June 17, 2013


In The Scheme Of Things

JB Wood @ The High Calling:
Much of our time at work is spent trying to make a good impression. We are being paid, after all, to do a good job, and there’s no doubt that we are constantly watched and evaluated by a 360 panorama of witnesses: superiors, peers and subordinates. There’s a fine line, however, between channeling our gifts and talents towards maximum career impact, and conducting ourselves with grace and humility in the workplace.

After shaming the Galatians into focusing their attention on helping other people, now (in what may turn out to be my new favorite bible verse of all time) Paul turns up the blunt-meter (as he does so well) and confronts the Galatians with this: “You are not that important.” Your position, your brilliant education, your big salary if you are so fortunate, your flowing robes, none of this means a thing if you can’t bring yourself to see the pain and needs in others, and move to action.
He is looking at Gal 6:3-6 in the New Living Translation which deviates quite significantly from most other translations here, but the spirit of the passage remains the same. The passage is about self-reliance and and having a proper image of yourself.

The point of the passage seems almost antithetical to teh self-image obsessions of the current age. The point is to have a sober view of yourself and to base your self-image on your accomplishments, not on comparing yourself to "the sinner over there."

I can here is the screams now of how such a sentiment flies in the face of grace." Yet Paul writes consistently of "not thinking more of oneself than on ought." I think it is pretty simply really, the correct response to grace is a sober view of our inadequacy. Grace is a gift, not an entitlement.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Father's Day

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