Monday, October 20, 2014

Doctor Who 8.9 "Flatline"

The ninth episode of the eighth (or 34th) season begins by exploring a somewhat novel concept. What would an invasion of our reality from another, two dimensional one look like? It could be an interesting philosophical exploration, but that is not the story that is really being told here so that aspect quickly falls apart.

What this episode is really about, as most of this season has been, is exploring the Doctor/Clara relationship. In this story, the Doctor is effectively taken out of commission and Clara has to play his part. She sees things from his perspective and pragmatically comes to accept what she has thus far seen as his underhanded ways. In the end she happily declares, “I was the Doctor and I was good!”

The Doctor’s response gives one pause. “You were an exceptional Doctor, Clara, goodness had nothing to do with it.”

It will be interesting to see where this goes in the next few episodes. We already know that the looming antagonist, “Missy,” was instrumental in Clara meeting the Doctor, and that the Tardis did not initially like her. Whatever the twist is, you can be sure we won’t see it coming.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Trust and Obey

…or how “evangelism” has almost killed discipleship. 

Too many Christians today believe Jesus died for the sins of humanity in the way that one believes that the earth revolves around the sun. It is a fact that has no bearing on their daily lives. That is not saving faith. Biblical faith involves two actions beyond an acceptance of a fact: trust and obedience. Biblical faith involves betting one’s daily life on the truth of the Gospel. Trusting God to do what He has promised and submission to His Lordship over our lives.

The way we have elevated conversion, or “praying the prayer” to the goal of evangelism has missed the mark. True salvation is the result, not of a verbal declaration of a decision, but the real-life proof that follows. Faith that affects. It is a bit like jumping off a 10 meter platform into a pool. Those “praying the prayer” are declaring their intention to jump. They are climbing the ladder. True faith is seen in the trust and surrender of the leap. We have far too many people today claiming to be believers who are simply milling about at the top of the platform, failing to take the plunge.

We need to be sure we are communicating a complete Gospel. Calling people, not to conversion, but to a life of discipleship, of surrender, trusting fully in and obeying God’s will as they discover it in His Word.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Star Trek DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach"

Season 7a -- Season 7b

DS9 once again explores aspects of things that Trek does not usually address, and likely never would have under Roddenberry and his Secular Humanist message: faith.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What's Really Scary About "Saw" (2004)

Ten years ago, a film blew the horror genre up, changing the way horror and suspense are done. Many—including this viewer—would say destroying it in the process. But, however much “Saw” (and “Cabin Fever”) inaugurated torture porn, it is not as gruesome as its reputation would have you believe. (One imagines the subsequent films majored on gore instead of story.) It is a slightly involving mystery/puzzle that almost manages to engage.

Where it really offends is in the message it delivers.

The “inspiring” message of Saw is that people take their lives too much for granted. The puzzle maker in the film places people into a life or death situation where they have to fight—doing things they would normally find impossible—in order to live. If they succeed (often killing others in the process) and live, the idea is that they will appreciate life.

This is supposed to be a positive message in some sick twisted understanding of the world. And the most disturbing thing is that it has seemed to strike a chord over the past ten years.

The more inspiring message that other franchises and age-old stories have told (and that reflects the Biblical message) is that a true appreciation of life is found in those who do not hold onto it too strongly, in those who are willing to sacrifice themselves for others, in those who do not fear death in a way where they can be controlled and manipulated by evil.

Torture porn sees more inspiration in the evil side of things. That is the truly disturbing side of “Saw.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


(Poetry Scales 23)

Once upon a time there is a lie
The limitless plasticity of individuals
Shifting looks
Changing faces
Shaping bodies
Skewing races
It’s not who you’re born
What you’re created
It’s not how you’ve torn
When you’ve placated
Tell yourself it’s your decision
Believe the imagined mutable motivation
Pretend repercussions are the stuff of fairy tales.
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