Saturday, March 01, 2014


Comic Art


Since last time we looked at a character that moved from TV to comics and then to the silver screen, I thought this time we'd look at a character that started on TV and should have died there. Yes, today let's talk about famed bat-villain from the TV series - Victor Buono as King Tut. Goofy as hell on the TV show, invented almost entirely as a vehicle for the actor (The TV show was famous for it's big names that played baddies) this character should have never seen the light of day at all. But that TV show did sell a lot of comics so the move from small screen to comics was attempted.

Like a lot of stupidity, the comics could have reinvented the character and made him part of the Bat-pantheon of villains, but the name was tied up in rights disputes and so it never really went anywhere. There was a recent attempt to revive the character renamed "Pharaoh," but it was as a goofy character on the goofy animated series "The Brave and The Bold." This guy has got to be ungoofed.

For starters he is just an egyptologist that gets conked on the head and thinks he;s Tut and tries to take his "kingdom" (Gotham) back. First thing we need for this guy is actual super powers. Let's have him possessed by the spirit of an ancient necromancer that comes upon him as he enters Tut;s tomb for the fist time. This necromancer is the source of the curse of the tomb. (Batman hates magic - this is good.) The necromancer will eventual get his own body back, but needs to borrow the egyptologist's for a while to work the magic necessary to do so - now we have a mummy hanging around and things are starting to get good.

Now we are going to have to get Dr. Fate and the Hawks involved (heroes with Egyptian origins). That'll tick Bats off as he really does prefer to work alone. Now this story is getting fun! Certainly better than lame-a%$ Victor Buono not being funny.

*SIGH* Nothing like a rights dispute to put down a good story. Maybe next time.

Friday, February 28, 2014


Church and Parachurch

Juicy Ecumenism:
Take, for example, this observation: evangelicalism lacks a common “church polity, creed, and worship.” Thus, it is “without a self-conscious notion about ministry, a common theology, and a coherent understanding of worship.” By the latter, Hart means the shape of service or liturgy–what may be called ordered worship. Though evangelicalism tends to avoid reliance on forms, it does not have any substantial, enforceable rules for worship practice. The issue of creed and church polity go hand-in-hand: “In effect, the evangelical movement of the late twentieth century replaced the church with the parachurch…”
Amen to that - it is a point we have made here over and over and over again.

It is not just about unity either. Evangelicalism is parachurch because it offers nothing beyond salvation. Entering a building has become dwelling in it. I enter a lot of building, but I do not live in them. Living in them implies a great deal more than simply going in every now and then. In Evangelicalism, not only to we encourage thinking that entering is dwelling, we actually design the building so entering is all there is.

And then we wonder about the state of things. Pathetic, really.


Friday Humor

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Do The Hustle

Doug Wilson:
North American evangelicalism is represented by two streams, yea, even down unto this day, two streams which come from the First and Second Great Awakenings respectively. Those who are descended from the First Awakening, represented by men like Whitefield and Edwards, know how to hustle, but they also know that all the hustling in the world will not accomplish anything if God decides not to bless it -- which He might not. This is the Calvinist stream, which has widened considerably in the last few decades.

In the opposite corner, one of the most notable teachers from the Second Great Awakening was Charles Finney, and he is the one who made the fatal move to autonomous self-sufficiency in religious ministry. Finney taught that if you did it right, revival was guaranteed. If you want the blessing of God, you need to whistle it up. It is to this notion that we owe the curious phenomenon, seen across the Bible belt, of churches that have signs out front announcing that there is going to be a "revival" the week of September 7-14. It makes you wonder who the Holy Spirit's booking agent is. And how on earth did the secretary at Antioch Baptist Church get his number?

The former view says that hustle is necessary, but not sufficient. The latter view says that hustle is sufficient. To the outside observer, the whole thing looks like a teeming mass of evangelical hustle, and the disagreement I have described looks to them like a trivial dispute about "words and names and your own law." and so it is that a modern secular Gallio drives us all from his court (Acts 18:17).

But if the Calvinists are right, what happens next is not up to us -- or to Gallio either.
"To the outside observer, the whole thing looks like a teeming mass of evangelical hustle...." That may be the most important quote I have read in a very long time. I am no proponent of sitting around and waiting on the Spirit. No I believe in hard work and hustle in obedience to the Spirit. But more I believe that out hustle should be aimed a bit differently. We should aim for holiness, not numbers, not conversions, not relevancy.

Do you see Wilson's point? Even the guys that are closer to doing it right look like hustlers to the outside world. That's because, at least in large part, they are aiming at the same thing that the pure hustlers are. There should be nothing normal about the church

I have vast theological disagreements with the Roman Catholic church, but in many ways it is doing so many thing right. It is a thing apart. The world sails blithely by and it marches to the beat of its own anachronistic drummer. Thus it survives. While our Protestant world is one of constant roiling seas - the Catholics march ever onward. Yes, they have their crisis' and yes they have changed over the centuries, but they stand - while in our world institutions come and go like the latest fashion.

That is a lesson I think we could benefit from.


Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014


What About God's Character?

Ron Edmondson lists seven thing he has or is learning about God:
  • God’s plan for my life is always bigger than mine.
  • When God stretches us we are never the same.
  • God has ways I have never even thought about.
  • God uses people I wouldn’t have expected.
  • God allows the darkest periods of my life to produce the greatest light.
  • God never gives up on me.
All of that is fine, I can't fault it, but it seems to me to be shallow. It seems to be focused on either feeling good about oneself of accomplishing something external. What seems missing is the development of character.

I cannot help but reflect on the fact that God often does not deal in specifics that way. God is not nearly so much interested in our circumstances as He is in us. If we are good people, then we can cope with whatever circumstance. But it seems like we keep wanting God to fix things instead of us - or alternately we want Him to help us look good, but not necessarily actually be good.

There is a real lack of faith in this view. It's as if we do not believe that God can actually make us better - that some sort of self-control is all we can hope for. God has much more in mind for us than that.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Not So Out Of It

Todd Rhoades replays an old 1970's era Pat Robertson video. He describes it this way:
But the portrait it paints is this:

1. Sin is somehow either new, or more rampant or more decadent than ever.

2. It’s all because we just don’t care.
He then asks:
And what type of mindset or video being produced in 2013 will look this ‘out of it’ in 2050?
Frankly, I am shocked at how prophetic the video actually is. Oh, it's dated stylistically to be sure, but the problems it identities, increasing influence of pornography, growing militancy on the part of the homosexual community and general cultural corruption strikes me as absolutely correct. I am no fan of Robertson, mostly because of how he tries to solve the problems he so rightly identifies, but he has nailed the problems right to the wall. And I think it is right in saying the problem is because we do not care.

When Robertson says "We don't care" he was attempting to prompt people to political action. To some extent we responded in the Reagan 80's. But did we care? We evangelized when we should have discipled. We worried about what was attractive when we should have worried about what was effective. We acted as if church attendance was the same thing as spiritual formation. IN some cases we shuffled deck chairs instead of lowering life boats. We cared about our institution more than we carted about people.

Rhoades declaring a video with this kind of content as "out of it" is part of the problem. Rhoades looks more at the style of communication than he does the message in making such a declaration. MAybe the Bible is out of it - after all, it was not even written in English.

Monday, February 24, 2014


Shouldn't He Be?

Jeff Gissing @ Juicy Ecumenism holds a long discussion about whether God is angry based on the exclusion of a hymn from the new Presbyterian hymnal.
It is deeply theological, but I am drawn to this portion of the discussion:The wrath of God is a necessary corollary to His love. Were God not angry with our sin, He could not truly be said to love us. It is almost impossible to conceive of the absence of anger in any relationship marked by love. I deeply love my wife, when she is wronged by another I become angry at the injustice. I deeply love my children, but when one of them does something that places them in harm’s way—running into a road, for example—I become angry.

The analogy may not be perfect, but I believe we could all agree that were I to be unmoved by the injustice my wife suffered or the danger facing my children, it would be doubtful that my love for them was anything other than the most superficial of affections. Love occasionally produces anger, indifference never does. God is not indifferent to us and the result is his wrath at the sin that both violates his law and is so detrimental to our flourishing.
It seems as if we want nothing we perceive as ugly around us. We don't talk about sin because it's ugly . and anger well, anger is really ugly. And yet, just anger, that is to say anger at injustice, is a beautiful thing. I think of the soaring rhetoric of Martin Luther King Jr. He may have held to non-violence (a discussion for another time) but that rhetoric was anchored deeply in anger at the grave injustices visited on his people. His anger produced true beauty.

Why then do we find anger so ugly? I think because it is often aimed at us - because we are the source of the injustice that is the anger's seed. We do not wish to see anger because we do not wish to see what we have done. An angry God would acknowledge that there is sin and once we acknowledge that we will eventually have to acknowledge that we are sinners.

And yet, as Gissling so rightly points out, without the understanding of our sin we do not understand how deep is God's grace or how truly wonderful is his love.

There is much anger i the world that is unjust, but that does not mean we can afford to ignore just anger.

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