Saturday, September 28, 2013


Comic Art

Worst Movie Villain Edition

Some things do not translate well to film. Even in this day and age of CGI. Something that looks good in a static image just cannot look good in motion. Or, more likely in a world where movies have budget limits, even the CGI masters cannot get the job done. Today we look at two such examples.

Parallax in the Green Lantern movie. At least they sorta-kinda matched the comic image on this one, but just barely.

Galactus in the Fantastic Four/Silver Surfer movie. SHapes in clouds notwithstanding - PUH-LEAZE.

What may we conclude here? It's simple, when the budget is limited and the image is hard, draw a menacing column of smoke and hope for the best. Yeah that'll work.

I still want to see a live action movie with a cool Galactus. I mean if they can pull off Asgard, and Loki's hat, they can do this.

Friday, September 27, 2013


Holy Is Not What You Think

iMonk quotes Lewis and points out:
The observant person will notice that it is not only Christians, but zealous believers of every kind, who teach that simple pleasures are somehow wrong. It is a common flaw of utopians who think that we must build heaven on earth through our own efforts or prove ourselves worthy of a heaven beyond.
…Of course, the Old Covenant vision of the Kingdom of heaven on earth is full of simple pleasures, and not only the worship services of the book of Revelation. When we read the whole Bible, we discover that “heaven” on earth includes raising animals, tending vineyards, laughter, wine and family. I do not pretend to know how this works out in history. I only know that simple pleasures are holy. The are not the enemy. They are not a waste of life. They are the gifts–even the delight–of a God who filled all of creation with simple pleasures, many of them for Himself alone.
I think we choose a legalistic path - the path of trying to make things holy because that is so much easier than the work God really wants to do. It's easy to quit drinking. It is really hard to learn to be a nicer person sober.

WE are what God make holy - not activities, not things - US! And in us being holy the things we do become holy through us.

But it is really hard to become holy. It requires that I face my sin and confess it. It requires that I let God rip that sin from my body, like a surgeon removing a tumor. We set up these things to avoid the having to actually change. Like the person that thinks the surgery will kill them, not the cancer, we soak in our own sinful juices and avoid the necessary.

Do you REALLY want to be holy?


Friday Humor

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Some Good Ideas

Jeff Dunn @ iMonk has some ideas to "save Evangelicalism":
  • Share the Gospel.
  • Remember, it’s Jesus Jesus Jesus.
  • Stop trying to make the Bible what it is not intended to be.
  • Learn to think.
  • Love one another.
These are all good ideas in the limited sense that Dunn means them and as he goes onto detail them. I would phrase some of them differently. For example, rather than say "Share the gospel," I would say "return to the heart of our message." I would do this simply because the word "gospel" has become too loaded.

But really, I think I'd just pare down the list to the final two items.

If we learn to think we'll get the "gospel," "Jesus," and "Bible" things right by virtue of that thought. And the admonition to love, if taken seriously solves all possible character flaws - particularly if we think about what it really means.

But here is the thing - if this all came to pass, would Evangelicalism still be Evangelicalism? I wonder if it might not just start to look an awfully lot like conservative Protestant denominationalism.

Which brings me to my essential point. Most free standing Evangelical churches are a protest of and schism from some thing else. So probably the best answer here is to return Evangelicalism to its roots. It's not a church, it's a movement within the church. It'd be hard work living with all those wild eyed liberals, but I think it might resolved all those problem Dunn identifies.


Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013


When Society Changes

Aaron Smith @ Boar's Head Tavern wonders:
If you were a pastor in Colorado or Washington, how would you be handling the weed laws now?
Heck of a question, is it not? Since those states put marijuana on essentially the same legal footing as alcohol, how does one deal with it? In some sense, the footing thing answers the question. One treats it like on treats alcohol.

But that hasn't always gone so well either. That, I think is because we tend to deal in rules rather than reasons. As I see it there are two reasons why, as Christiasn, we wish to moderate the use of intoxicating substances.

The first is that they are self- indulgent. Christians think first of others,not of self- and let's face it, when one is intoxicated, one is potentially a burden on the other.

The second reason is that Christianity should, to some extent at least, be culturally distinct from the world. Many are the things that are legal that Christians should not indulge in.

Maybe the key to all this is that rather than saying "Don't" we should say "Why not."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


From Whence Contentment?

Kruse Khronicle quotes extensively from a book that looks at the difference between happiness and meaningfulness and says:
And this is where the church does a great disservice. We form people into clients who look to the church as a route to personal happiness rather than as people who can discern meaning.
Kruse then goes on to discuss this int eh context of work - that is to say, giving meaning to our daily work, whatever that may be. But I think is comments are deeper than that. Happiness is a transitory thing and subject to so many uncontrollable external variables. In the extensive quote Kruse presented there is this gem:
Meaning is not only about transcending the self, but also about transcending the present moment -- which is perhaps the most important finding of the study, according to the researchers. While happiness is an emotion felt in the here and now, it ultimately fades away, just as all emotions do; positive affect and feelings of pleasure are fleeting.
I cannot recall "happiness" appearing in the Bible much, but the "peace which passes all understanding" - and "life abundantly" do. I understand these things to be about contentment. That is a lack of emotional turmoil when the world around us is in turmoil. That is an understanding that we are in God's hands and despite our external circumstance, all will be well in the end. That is a sense that whatever we are doing right now, in the moment - it is what God would have us do.

This is a key place where the church separates widely from the predominant culture. It is also a place where a significant portion of the church has chosen to lose its distinction from the predominant culture.

I cannot help but note that Jesus managed to spread His message while remaining quite distinct from the predominant culture. So why do we feel the need to conform to be heard?


Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, September 23, 2013


What To Do When You Are "Odd"

Todd Rhoades looks at the fact that most pastors are not at all like their congregants. Deep truth, cute idea, but I think he is understating things. Pastors are oddballs, there is something very different to choose that way of life. This can be a huge problem for the church.  But it also strikes me that Christ must have been quite the weirdo. I am not a all sure he would give off that "just a normal guy" vibe."

So I think it a legitimate question to ask how it is that oddballs and weirdos can be expected to attract people to church and the gospel.

I don't have all the answers there, but this I can say with certainty. The kind of attractiveness necessary is not based in current culture, or the latest fad. The kind of attractiveness necessary is of a much deeper nature. And that means that leaders in the church have to work extraordinarily hard to cultivate those deeper things.

No easy task that.

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