Saturday, April 26, 2014


Comic Art


You would think that after all these years and all these comic books, that I would be past the point where something would drop my jaw in it's awesome awfulness. But when I ran across Armless Tiger Man, well, let's just say it took me a while to recover my senses. The Wikipedia bio makes a little sense:
Gustav Hertz is a man who worked in a mechanical laboratory in his youth. One day, his arms were caught in the machine and ended up amputated. After being discharged from the hospital, Gustav learned how to use his teeth and feet to act like his hands. After years of training, Gustav became the Armless Tiger Man and started a campaign to destroy machines as his revenge for the loss of his arms. He was finally caught by the Gestapo. When the Gestapo learned about his hatred towards machines, they sent Armless Tiger Man to North America to do as he would.


Armless Tiger Man can use his teeth and feet in many ways. He can slide down a chain with his teeth and swing on a rope by biting it. His teeth have been sharpened for use as weapons. With his feet, he can hurl knives from between his toes, catch heavy weights, and perform nimble tasks of agility.
But come on - I mean really - don;t you think some one should have gotten to him with that whole name thing? Why didn't he just call himself, "Dude who can do stuff with his feet," or "I have a lousy dentist guy."

Can you imagine the snickers at the villains bar? "Hey check out all teeth and no brains over there." Not to mention the toe jam in his beer. I don't know how Red Skull keeps a straight look on his face when he uses the guy for a minion. "And you, Arm...hehe...Armless...smirk, smirk...Armless Tiger...guffaw,guffaw (ROTFL). When he finally gets a hold of himself, he'd say something like "Sorry, my bad, but from now on we'll just call you Tigger."

What I really want to know is if the guy that came up with this ever worked in comics again?

Friday, April 25, 2014


Lord v Savior

Wesley J Smith @ First Things:
We no longer perceive ourselves to be free people making good or bad personal choices from which we will either benefit or suffer. Instead, our personal problems are being medicalized—almost to the point that whenever we hurt ourselves, we are told it is actually a symptom of illness.

Obesity is the latest example. The American Medical Association has now declared obesity—not just the maladies it can cause, such as type 2 diabetes—a “disease.”


Medicalizing our social problems isn’t healthy. It undermines personal responsibility and renders important character-building virtues such as self-restraint and discipline hopelessly passé. Lowering expectations for individual behavior is the real “disease” afflicting the modern age, and well-intentioned “experts” are the vectors.
I could not agree more. What is sad to me is that we see this increasingly in presentations of the gospel. No longer does Christ offer salvation - He offers a cure for what ails us. No longer do we learn to overcome sin, Christ simply cures us.

In some ways that is not a problem, learning to lean more on Christ in dealing with things like obesity is a good thing. The problem is this particular approach to the issue robs us of God's sovereignty. Instead of petitioning our King for mercy and grace, we are going to doctor - a doctor that we can tell what treatment we do and do not want, and a doctor we can walk away from once we are cured. This is classic "cheap grace," your God is indeed too small. (With apologies to JB Phillips.)

WE have more than a savior - we have a Lord and a King. We must never forget that.


Friday Entertainment

Thursday, April 24, 2014



At Christian Century, Carolyne Call talks deeply, intimately and painfully about divorce:
Despite the warm and loving support of family and friends, few truly understood what was happening to me. Deep spiritual questions plagued me. When I married, I believed that it was God’s will for me to be in this relationship for life. Was I wrong? Had I failed God? Could it be God’s will that a marriage end? What did God want of me now? There were few people with whom I could discuss such questions. I couldn’t share the yawning grief that would suddenly bloom when I stumbled on my husband’s handwriting scribbled in the margin of a book. I couldn’t explain the persistent questions about who I was without my spouse. And I couldn’t describe how I was wrangling with God and questioning my faith. The spiritual isolation was profound.

Over time I met and spoke with other people of faith who were divorced, and I began to wonder if there were parts of this experience that we held in common. Were any of the spiritual struggles the same? How did divorce affect their understanding of God? Was it possible to grow spiritually through divorce? My investigation into these questions led me to research and write about divorce.

I considered the role of clergy and congregations in the process of a member’s divorce. How could congregations reach out to and embrace those going through divorce? What could clergy learn from hearing the diverse voices of those who had been down this road? They receive little seminary training for the spiritual and theological questions that arise from divorce. In my case, I learned more from speaking with those involved in divorce. Their struggles, questions and stories, along with my own experience and reflections, helped me see my role as a pastor more clearly.
It goes on like this for quite a while. It is quite moving and justifiably so. But, and this is a big but, the word "I" dominates it like the Cascades dominate the landscape of the northwest. Not to mention the fact that it never attempt to find an objective viewpoint. Ms. Call seems concerned only with herself and her feelings, never once are questions of forces greater than herself or those who share her experience considered.

As Christians we are called to balance all these matters. Yes, we have to seek our one health and happiness, but we are also simultaneously and equally duty-bound.

I understand divorce - I have even counseled friends to seek it. But any discussion of it must include both the personal and the objective. IF we make it all about us we have missed the gospel altogether.


Illuminated Scripture

Related Tags:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Promotion, Sales and Conviction

Todd Rhoades expresses dismay at hype and fictionalization in the sales of Christian, well, whatever. Look there are a couple of things I want to get off the table immediately. 1) There are pure hucksters out there - Pure rip-off artists putting on Christan clothes. Don't want to talk about them. 2) There are pure marketers out there - their job is to sell something. Many of them are secular companies with a religious branch or division. Don't really want to talk about them either. What I want to talk about are people that borrow the methodology of those groups to sell either charitable work, or perhaps the gospel itself.

Remember the parable of the woman that gave her last shekel quietly and the rich guy that gave a lot in a showy fashion? Jesus points out the woman made the bigger sacrifice, and what He is looking for is sacrifice.

Now, here is my question - if what Christ is looking for from us is not necessarily results, but character change (sacrifice in the parable) can the techniques of sales and marketing produce that. Yes, they are known to alter behavior, but Jesus is looking beyond mere behavior to motivation. IN fact, if you think about it, isn't that what the whole message of Christ (and the Holy Spirit!) is really about? Behavior is not enough.

Most marketing technique appeals to the animal in us - it modifies our behavior, as the behavior of animals was modified in the work of B.F. Skinner and those that have followed in his intellectual footsteps. God, on the other hand is trying to pull us out of our animal nature into the nature that is in His image. So one approach reinforces what the other seems to want to eliminate.

Maybe we need to think about this some more.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Worship As Submission

Dan Edelen argues that worship is not prescriptive, but submissive. Yet he participates in the canard that there is a "worship time" designed to prepare one emotionally and spiritually for a message:
Yes, the worship had been exemplary, as usual. No doubt the Lord was present in their midst. But then, so it seemed was a spirit of bureaucracy....
If indeed worship is about submission, then its "spirit" should invade all aspects not merely of the service, but of life.

To sound utterly cliche', Edelen's point is to "Let go and let God." In order to make that not a cliche' it has to be more than about some sort of emotional release - it has to be transforming! And transformig not just of our worship services, but of every aspect of our lives. It has to penetrate both the behavioral prescriptions and the emotional high to reach a new and much deeper level. A level that is both a part of us, and somehow beyond our understanding.

We must submit not just out emotions and our behavior, but our core - wholly and totally. That's worship.


Kitty Kartoons

Tags: , , , ,

Monday, April 21, 2014


Polity Matters

Bobby Jamieson writing @ 9Marks posts a lengthy and thorough defense of congregational forms of polity and makes the case that such is the New Testament prescription for church organization. The piece is too long well argued for excerpting, but it is well worth the time and effort to read.

I am a Presbyterian primarily because of polity. Frankly, given the shifts in majority Presbyterian theological views in the last decades there are many churches with which I am better aligned theologically, but there are none that get church governance right.

My argument, unlike Jamieson, are purely practical. The Presbyterian version of congregationalism offers two thing that I find mandatory - 1) less opportunity for a charismatic leader to run amok and 2) better ability to check same when it does happen. In a nutshell, if God is going to tell one guy something, he is going to tell everybody something.

The downside is what we have seen happen in the church in the last decades, but this is a result not of the system, but of failing to exercise it properly.

The only real disadvantage to the system is it is hard to keep God sovereign - it requires leadership of extraordinary devotion and humility. But then that is what the church is supposed to produce, is it not?

Sunday, April 20, 2014


He Is Risen Indeed!

Related Tags:

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Feed


eXTReMe Tracker

Blogarama - The Blog Directory