Saturday, April 12, 2014


Comic Art

"No, Really" Edition 

Airhead -
Airhead could cause her head to inflate with something lighter than air causing her to float. Her upward force was strong enough that she could lift heavy things (such as her teammate Brute). She was also able to control the direction she floated. Apparently she deflated her head by exhaling.
I think I may have dated her many, many years ago.

I honestly cannot think of anything to out-silly this comic creation. It was Power Pack, a group of superhero children (not teens mind you - CHILDREN!), but come on does that mean the creators have to think like children. Besides, wouldn't "Hot Air Balloon Head" have been not only more descriptive, but more childish. Airhead - really?

Now, if you want to make this character genuinely funny, when her head gets big, she needs to become scattered, disorganized and peevish. Not to mention if she inflates her head for too long she turns into a curvy blonde in a pink car.

I should write comics, don't you think?

Friday, April 11, 2014


The LIne Between Innovation and Fundamental Change

As I read about church leadership, I read article after article like this from Todd Rhoades:
One of the biggest questions right now, whether it be personal or business, is how to innovate and move past what has come before. In fact, whole companies have grown up around the idea of innovation and fostering it within staid organizations. But really it comes down to a single question.

What If?
This is vitally important stuff in business. When a product moves from the new thing to a commodity, profit margins drop, markets stagnate and growth slows to a trickle. That is a deadly formula for a business.

Churches have come to follow this model on the reasoning that the church should be forever growing in pursuit of the Great Commission. The problem is such is not the church's only role. Yes, it should grow, but it must also preserve. The university finds itself in a similar dilemma. Universities, by definitions are institutions of research - that is to say the growth of knowledge, but they are also institution of education. Education is a means of preserving that which we already know and passing it on to the next generation. When growth become the sole pursuit, much is lost.

Churches, when they seek to innovate to grow, must also ask themselves what it is they are to preserve and what it is they are to pass on. The desire to grow is of itself not enough. The church does not seek to evolve, it seeks merely to be a bigger church. Business innovation, conversely often evolves a company from growing hay to making bricks - there is some sense to it, but it fundamentally changes what the business is.

I grow weary of discussion of innovation that do not at the same time discuss what must be preserved.

What must be preserved?


Friday Entertainment

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Dreadful Deformity

John Piper writes on "The Failure of Christless Tenderness":
The grotesque is part of what this fallen age is. Seeing it and seeing God with clear, uncompromising eyes of faith keeps us from making gulags or gas chambers.

When sentimentalism separates the grotesque from the sovereign goodness of God, we are on our way to Auschwitz. It is a great irony that in rejecting God, in defense of a less grotesque humanity, we become hideous as we cleanse the world of imperfections.

The tender-hearted souls who cannot bear to look on the deformed, and thus impute their distaste to God, so as to discredit him, sever the only sure root that can keep them from the “final solution” of mercifully ridding the world of the grotesque.
He goes on to quote quite effectively Flannery O'Conner. I think we can readily see the Nazi model, but I wonder if we can see the same in own modern desire not to admit to our sinful state? Do we note that efforts to be egalitarian destroy more excellence than they elevate the lesser? Piper puts it this way, "If you try to cut down the grotesque, you may sacrifice the trees on which much good grows."

An understanding of sin leads us quite naturally to faith - faith that allows us to see the good, the God-image, in all, even the deformed. As Piper says, "A gain in sensibility may be a loss of vision, and without that vision, the gain may be ghastly."

We simply must grasp our horrific nature - our sinfulness. Failure to do so will result in only more horror.


Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014


Group Thinking

Dan Edelen argues:
A reader wrote recently to say that my previous post (No ‘I’ in ‘CHURCH’–How American Evangelicalism Gets Its Pronouns Wrong) mirrored the collectivist thinking found in error-ridden cults and the teachings of New Age gurus. While I would argue that the actual teachings of such people are, in fact, largely about self-actualization rather than group actualization, if there is any guilt here, it is by association alone (ha, ha).

Here is truth: The entire narrative of Scripture is geared to a group. The story of God working is a story of Him working among a people. If anything, the words of Scripture should disabuse us of any notion that at the heart of it is the individual. What God is doing in the world has always been a “group project,” and if anything, the individual finds his or her truest expression of fullness only within a group.
I think Dan is right in his distinction of self-actualization and group actualization. I wonder what lies at the heart of it? I have been thinking on this a lot lately, about why groups, particular small groups work, and why they don't. One must start by asking just what they are. Some act like confessionals, some like educational groups and many like psycho-therapeutic groups.

Certainly there is a place for confession in the church, it is much needed. But if that is the purpose of a small group, then the members ought be trained on how to receive a confession. Too often we hear a fellow group member confess and we respond in a psycho-therapeutic model when we should respond in a spiritual one.

Likewise, there is a need for serious Christian education; however, that means the group needs to have a designated educator. Too often, in an effort to be egalitarian, the group had no designated leader and everyone just ends up feeding off of everyone else's ignorance.

Finally, psychotherapy is a wonderful and useful thing, but it should be practiced, even int he group setting by professionals. Amateurs do it amateurishly. Then there is the fact that psychotherapy, useful as it is is a human based means of healing, not a spiritual one. It can impede the operation of the Holy Spirit.

Dan's right, but we have a lot to learn about what it means to be in a group.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Adaptation Without Change

Kruse Kronicle quotes Business Insider on change in companies:
... What explains this longevity? Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Charles O’Reilly calls it "organizational ambidexterity": the ability of a company to manage its current business while simultaneously preparing for changing conditions. "You often see successful organizations failing, and it's not obvious why they should fail," O’Reilly says. The reason, he says, is that a strategy that had been successful within the context of a particular time and place may suddenly be all wrong once the world changes.

Staying competitive, then, means changing what you're doing. But the change can't be an abrupt switch from old to new — from print to digital distribution, say, or from selling products to selling services — if that means abandoning a business that's still profitable. Hence the call for ambidexterity. You can't just choose between exploiting your current opportunities and exploring new ones; you have to do both. And the companies that last for decades are able to do so time and time again. ...
Kruse concludes, "I think there is a message for congregations and denominations as well." I cannot help but react by noting that there is and there isn't such lessons. He is right that gradual is important when changing an institution. But he is wrong in the sense that companies change change cmpletely, churches and denomination cannot.

For example, back in the day I worked for the now long dead RCA. Did you know that RCA owned Hertz Rent-A-Car for a while? Yep, the electronics giant held on long past the time the union contracts drove it into the ground by acquiring lines of business that were wholly unrelated. A church cannot do that. It cannot decide to quit making product X and start making product Y. The church's product is defined for it. The church can adapt but it cannot fundamentally change. It canopt become something different from what it has always been.

We have to be careful when we draw these comparisons.


Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, April 07, 2014


Stupid Question

Todd Rhoades asks:
What is YOUR personal integrity?
I am stunned, integrity is about how we interact and behave with others and it is measured against an absolute standard. It cannot, by definition be personal. Now buried in Todd's post is a good point:
Because integrity… when it comes right down to it… is a very personal thing.

You can hide things from people, but not from yourself.
The maintenance of our integrity is often something almost entirely up to ourselves and God, but that is very different than saying the definition of integrity itself is personal.

I am growing to hate the standard Bible Study question, "What does that mean to you?" It used to be that everyone understood that when you asked that question you were really asking "How do you apply that in your life?" but now we have stretched it to the point that the interpretation is entirely personal and that understanding the Bible is entirely relativistic.

Truth is not a personal concept.

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