Saturday, May 24, 2014
I suppose it was inevitable. Somewhere buried in my comic collection is the beginnings of a character known as "The Creeper." I will admit, that even at its Steve Ditko drawn inception, the character made little sense, but he was so inviting to look at. Even more than Spidey or Doc Strange, the character seemed to be tremendously suited to Ditko's drawing style and I was hooked. I figured they'd resolve the bizarre origins and motivations eventually.
The character did not last long in its original run and has since shown up and disappeared in small spurts, still stuttering towards a cohesive story. There are two hallmarks of the character. One, he was crazy as a loon. The second hallmark flowed from that, he walked the razors edge between good and evil.
By the time this is published the comics in questioned will be old news, but as I write they are yet to be published. As DC Comics gave their entire universe over to the villains in the fall of 2013, up popped the Creeper as one of the baddies. I suppose it was inevitable given how evil looking the artists had been drawing him in recent years.
I am certain that at some point, the character will be redeemed - that is the way of comics. But come on guys! Yes, we all struggle with our dark sides, but can their be no character that wins, consistently?
While not as dramatic as a true turn to the total darkness, I honestly worry that we are redefining the human condition in a fashion that means we have to, at some point, give into our dark sides. I have actually had someone argue with me that by giving in to our dark sides an recovering we discover our true humanity. As if good is not good unless it flows in opposition to evil.
I try to not get preachy in this space, so I will stop now, but....
Creeper comic art comic books comics villain
Friday, May 23, 2014
We Need To Do Ordinary Well
Here is my main point: disciple-making is ordinary Christianity. It is fundamental to it. Like learning to count and say your alphabet in the natural realm, there is scarcely any part of the Christian life where discipleship does not touch. In so far as Christianity is a community faith, it is a disciple-making faith.Do you live as if EVERYTHING you do is a part of disciple-making? It does not take a program or a process, just living.
There may be a dozen different paradigms flying around when you hear discipleship. Some people insist on reading a book, meeting for coffee, eating a meal, working out, etc. All of these may aid the work of discipleship but they are not a prerequisite for or the necessary substance of it. Jesus never gave us a program for discipleship but he gave us his example and a broad, far-reaching command to do it. As a result, we have great freedom and a great burden for discipleship.
What does it look like? When Jesus commands us to make disciples he intends for us to live our lives in obedience to him in the presence of other people (believers and unbelievers). This intentional living seeks to show others the worth and the power of Christ. In short, we let people in to see how we live out the Christian faith.
Now, the really important part is this - It happens whether we want it to or not, whether we intend to or not. If, for whatever reasons, we publicly fail to act in a Christ-like manner, then someone observing that learns that discipleship is less than it truly is.
Now, I am not fool enough to believe that any of us can always do as we should. So that means, confession, repentance and reliance on God's grace and the Holy Spirit's improving efforts must be an obvious and apparent part of our lives. We must find a way to live humbly while we also live boldly.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Years ago, I used to think that Jesus’ announcement of the kingdom being near meant something like, “You can go to heaven after you die.” Now I realize that I had mistaken Jesus’ primary message. Though his Good News does relate to what happens after death, it also has everything to do with this life. In Jesus, God was beginning to reign on earth in a new way, in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Under God’s sovereign authority, righteousness would triumph over injustice and multifaceted peace would fill the earth.God id our king, not merely our savior,
Through Christ, you and I can live today under the reign of God, however incompletely. When we seek God’s agenda for our lives, when we live for his purposes and glory, when we bow before him in worship, we are experiencing the kingdom of God, in anticipation of that day when all the earth will flourish under the glorious reign of God.
I think sometimes we forget that.
the kingdom of God
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
The Source Of Faith
And deepened faith comes by letting God's Word soak us again and again.I agree, but I would remind us all that God's Word is more than simply Scripture. Christ is The Word incarnate. I know too many people steeped in scripture but mostly void of Christ. The call here is to soak, to permeate, through every pore, to overwhelm and submerge.
It is not enough to mere read and study, we must pray and mediate, we must seek to let the Holy Spirit dwell in us and teach us things on levels we cannot cognitively comprehend.
Too many of us want to take a shower when we are called to take a long bath and too submerse ourselves in the water completely.
finding faith submersion
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
You and I will probably never hear a voice like Jesus on that momentous day. But we too can know who we are in a way that encourages us and calls us. Romans 8 affirms that because of Jesus, we are beloved children of God. Confident in the love of our Heavenly Father, we can live boldly for his purposes, serving him in every facet of our lives. In this way we, like Jesus, can bring great joy to our Father.Mark intends that to be uplifting and encouraging, but I find it humbling. I am truly unworthy of such status. But then maybe not.
Note the particular phrase there, "beloved children of God." Maybe rather than be broken by the love, that's the way to think of it. A child just absorbs love, but they also know they are not yet ready for the adult world.
God's love in all encompassing like when my mother would hug me so hard I thought I was being smothered, but such a hug does not empower, It reminds me that I am small enough to be hugged so, and that I need such hugs badly.
Monday, May 19, 2014
I thought this was insightful from Lee Powell, pastor of Cedar Creek Church (a GREAT church, by the way) in Toledo, OH.At best that is a theology answer, but it is not a practical answer. What do I mean when I say "theology answer." Well, all of those things can be summed up by the phrase, "The sensed their own sin."
He was recently asked by Leadership Network’s Eric Swanson why people came to Christ. Lee’s response:
- Something was broken
- Something was missing
- Something had changed
Christ is the answer to sin, He is the only answer and certainly a serious relationship with Christ comes from ever increasing awareness of our sinfulness and the humility such engenders. But given how little we preach sin, I wonder if that is really why people come initially.
Why do I not think it is a practical answer? Well, by restating sin in the way he does, this guy makes Jesus a solution, not a Lord and once the person feels their need met, they will not longer need to turn to Christ, and often will walk away. That's why we need to talk about sin more and brokenness less. In one sense that answers "Why do people come to church?" not "Why do they come to have a deep and abiding relationship with the Lord?"
This latter question is answered, almost exclusively I think, in the context of relationship. People come for a lot of reasons, but they stay because they feel loved. You see love shines a light on sin. Often we need not even speak of it, real love makes our unworthiness apparent.
As always, serious evangelism begins not with examining the motivation of those we seek to pull in, but in examining ourselves. If we let Christ work in us, evangelism will happen.