Saturday, July 05, 2014


Comic Art


This post will go up in July 2014, but as I write it is November 2013 - hopefully the later publication of this will prevent spoiler from being an issue. But if you have not seen "Thor- The Dark World" yet, well spoiler alert.

Comic Malekith
Fine movie this Thor film, like all the superhero movies of 2013, with the exception of the Wolverine pic, it exists as pure action/adventure with little to advance of develop the character, but its superheroes for crying out loud. I can live with that. But there is one thing that bugged the H-E-double hockey sticks out of me watching the film. I think you see it illustrated here.

Movie Malekith
Yep, Thor's opponent in this film is essentially Eclipso of DC comics fame. Yes, Malekith is a well established Marvel baddie, and the whole light/darkness schtick is a universal comic theme used over and over and over again. But come on! Consider the comic and movie versions of the character and them consider Eclipso. You tell me who we are dealing with as the baddie here.

Is this too "comic geeky" an objection to this film? Probably. Opening weekend ticket sales far exceeded the possible comic fan numbers, so I'm guessing the audience is not going to get what I'm saying here. But if I was Time/Warner (owners of DC) I'd sure be trying to pick Disney's pockets (owners of Marvel) for some of that money. I am sure there is a case for image infringement here.

And much as I absolutely love Thor I would much rather see him going up against Crusher Creel and the Wrecking Crew than I would this Eclipso knock off. Or since tales of Asgard seem to be the movie fans delight - Send Thor and the Warriors Three off in search of adventure - they always manage to find it.

BTW, where the heck is Balder the Brave? One of the few Asgardians aside from Thor himself to warrant their own title. In fact, a Walt Simonson based Thor movie with Beta Ray Bill would be just about perfect.


Friday, July 04, 2014


Fourth of July Art

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Friday Humor

Warning - this is stupid people doing very stupid things and the language gets foul, but you have to laugh.

Thursday, July 03, 2014


LIstening To Speech Aimed At Others

This new POpe has been a bit controversial. He does not appear to be liberal, but he does where a liberal's clothes. In response to one of his interview Elizabeth Scalia wrote about one of his interviews and her transgendered friend:
Pope Francis has redefined no dogma, changed no doctrine; he has done little more, actually, than change the tone of the voice of Rome, and yet that tonal adjustment has allowed an exhalation that feels like a sigh of completion. Amid a Church that has held its breath for decades while traipsing the wire between a pre- and post-concillar understanding of itself, this feels like we have finally reached the other side.
This put a couple of thought on my mind. The first was that such conciliatory thought and talk is what began the decline of several Protestant denominations, including my own. Though it is so proper a reflection of the love if Christ, it seems my church could not stop at an appropriate point and has ended up redefining sin. I pray that such does not happen to the Roman Catholic church.

The second thought concerned how do we behave when a pastor.leader/teacher of any sort teaches to someone else. The Pope is clearly not speaking to the committed members of the church, but rather to the world at large. Ofttimes I enter a church - particularly one that brands itself as "seeker-sensitive" - and I wonder when I get to go to church - it is clearly church for someone else. In such setting I can minister by reaching out to the seeker, but where is my retreat? Where is my place to commune with the Almighty? Where are the lessons I need to learn and where is the communion with like-minded and like-committed?

Here is where I think the Catholic have it over all the rest of us for only they are big enough to truly be all things to all people. Even if Sunday worship is "seeker-sensitive" there is still the confessional and other places where the post-seeker can practice their faith at a level commensurate with their own maturity.

I think we Protestant still have a few trick to learn.


Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014


Always Worth Retelling

Luma Simms @ Desiring God retells the story of the "de-dragoning" of Eustace:
I first read C.S. Lewis just after I arrived in the United States as a nine-year-old girl. Born in Iraq, I was still learning English when I first read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and it captured my attention and my imagination.

Life moved on, I settled into this country, I became an adult, and I later read other non-fiction and philosophical books by Lewis. But what breaks me — even to this day — are a few pages in his fiction book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Amen and Amen! It should be read and reread:
"I won't tell you how I became a-a dragon till I can tell the others and get it all over," said Eustace. "By the way, I didn't even know it was a dragon till I heard you all using the word when I turned up here the other morning. I want to tell you how I stopped being one.

"Fire ahead," said Edmund.

"Well, last night I was more miserable than ever. And that beastly arm-ring was hurting like anything"

"Is that all right now?"

Eustace laughed-a different laugh from any Edmund had heard him give before-and slipped the bracelet easily off his arm. "There it is," he said, "and anyone who likes can have it as far as I'm concerned. Well, as I say, I was lying awake and wondering what on earth would become of me. And then-but, mind you, it may have been all a dream. I don't know."

"Go on, said Edmund, with considerable patience.

"Well, anyway, I looked up and saw the very last thing I expected: a huge lion coming slowly toward me. And one queer thing was that there was no moon last night, but there was moonlight where the lion was. So it came nearer and nearer. I was terribly afraid of it. You may think that, being a dragon, I could have knocked any lion out easily enough. But it wasn't that kind of fear. I wasn't afraid of it eating me, I was just afraid of if-if you can understand. Well, it came close up to me and looked straight into my eyes. And I shut my eyes tight. But that wasn't any good because it told me to follow it."

"You mean it spoke?"

"I don't know. Now that you mention it, I don't think it did. But it told me all the same. And I knew I'd have to do what it told me, so I got up and followed it. And it led me a long way into the mountains. And there was always this moonlight over and round the lion wherever we went. So at last we came to the top of a mountain I'd never seen before and on the top of this mountain there was a garden-trees and fruit and everything. In the middle of it there was a well.

"I knew it was a well because you could see the water bubbling up from the bottom of it: but it was a lot bigger than most wells-like a very big, round bath with marble steps going down into it. The water was as clear as anything and I thought if I could get in there and bathe it would ease the pain in my leg. But the lion told me I must undress first. Mind you, I don't know if he said any words out loud or not. "I was just going to say that I couldn't undress because I hadn't any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast their skins. Oh, of course, thought I, that's what the lion means. So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and, instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if I was a banana. In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bathe.

"But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that they were all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before. Oh, that's all right, said I, it only means I had another smaller suit on underneath the first one, and I'll have to get out of it too. So I scratched and tore again and this under-skin peeled off beautifully and out I stepped and left it lying beside the other one and went down to the well for my bathe.

"Well, exactly the same thing happened again. And I thought to myself, oh dear, how ever many skins have I got to take off? For I was longing to bathe my leg. So I scratched away for the third time and got off a third skin, just like the two others, and stepped out of it. But as soon as I looked at myself in the water I knew it had been no good.

"Then the lion said-but I don't know if it spoke, "You will have to let me undress you.' I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

"The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know-if you've ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it was such fun to see it coming away.

"I know exactly what you mean," said Edmund.

"Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off-just as I thought I'd done it myself the other three times, only they hadn't hurt-and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me, I didn't like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I'd no skin on-and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I'd turned into a boy again. You'd think me simply phony if I told you how I felt about my own arms. I know they've no muscle and are pretty mouldy compared with Caspian's, but I was so glad to see them.

"After a bit the lion took me out and dressed...

"Dressed you. With his paws?"

"Well, I don't exactly remember that bit. But he did somehow or other: in new clothes-the same I've got on now, as a matter of fact. And then suddenly I was back here. Which is what makes me think it must have been a dream."

"No. It wasn't a dream," said Edmund.

"Why not?"

"Well, there are the clothes, for one thing. And you have been-well, un-dragoned, for another."

"What do you think it was, then?" asked Eustace.

"I think you've seen Aslan," said Edmund.

'Aslan!" said Eustace. "I've heard that name mentioned several times since we joined the Dawn Treader. And I felt-I don't know what-I hated it. But I was hating everything then. And by the way, I'd like to apologize. I'm afraid I've been pretty beastly."

"That's all right," said Edmund. "Between ourselves, you haven't been as bad as I was on my first trip to Narnia. You were only an ass, but I was a traitor."

"Well, don't tell me about it, then," said Eustace. "But who is Aslan? Do you know him?"

"Well-he knows me," said Edmund.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014


Christ and Mental Illness

A third of Americans – and nearly half of evangelical, fundamentalist, or born-again Christians – believe prayer and Bible study alone can overcome serious mental illness, according to a recent survey by Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

The survey also found most Americans (68 percent) would feel welcome in church if they were mentally ill.

Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, said Christians care about those affected by mental illness.

He’s glad churches are seen as a welcome place for those with depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.

But he worries some Christians see mental illness as a character flaw rather than a medical condition.

Christians will go to the doctor if they break their leg, he said. But some may try to pray away serious mental illness.

“They forget that the key part of mental illness is the word ‘illness,’” he said. “In a typical evangelical church, half the people believe mental illness can be solved by prayer and Bible study alone.”
I wonder if the survey cited (the article does not say) defined what it meant by mental illness? The diagnostic manual for mental health is a document fraught with politics and agendas. Yes, there serious and debilitating mental illness, but in this day and age there are also many "disorders" that really could be resolved by a little dose of prayer, humility and the Holy Spirit.

I am also convinced that there are rare cases where diagnosed mental illness is demonic in nature and prayer is the only thing that can fix it.

As a blanket statement, the worries expressed here are genuine, but once one dives into the specifics the pendulum starts to swing back. That;s the problem with surveys. Life does not always fit into the neat little categories the questioners design. I don;t think most Christians save for those that are actually schizophrenic, think schizophrenia can be cured by prayer and Bible Study. But I am sure many think the melancholy often diagnosed as serious depression can.

This is why I don't like building churches based on surveys. It may build numbers, but does it build or understand people?


Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, June 30, 2014


Admitting Flaws

Todd Rhoades looks at "owning" mistakes when you are a pastor:
“The chief trick to making good mistakes is not to hide them – especially not from yourself. Instead of turning away in denial when you make a mistake, you should become a connoisseur of your own mistakes, turning them over in your mind as if they were works of art, which in a way they are.”
Any regular reader knows that I think lack of humility is among the biggest problems facing the church today. One of the primary reasons humility is hard to find in the church is that way too many pastors get into the business for self-validation rather than service. They WANT the world to view them as perfect as opposed to modeling the perfection granted by Christ.

Because of course,t he perfection granted by Christ is not perfection at all, save in the eyes of a loving God.

Personal ministry may have a problem when the minister is less than prefect, but institutions do not. And institution has a life of its own and can survive problems with any one member of it, regardless of their role.

Anymore churches are not institutions, they are gathering places for lots of individuals.

Think about that.

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