Saturday, September 13, 2014

Repertoire

(Poetry Scales 19)

My suspicion is
we each have a limited
list of ideas.

Quite scant in fact.

Most entertain
fewer than two,
at most maybe three,

Dozen sorts their whole life.

When was the last time
you encountered a new one?
Time to expand your range.

Discover something unthought.

Friday, September 12, 2014

"Guardians of the Galaxy" (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy has become a bit of a summer phenomenon. Perhaps it is due in part to a poverty of decent film-fare (as the media seems to want to stress), but it is also due to the fact that it is a good entertainment. It relies a little bit on reference humor, but it also has moments of true wit. It also uses its eighties references and music to supply its emotional and dramatic weight, but that is done so well who can really complain?

Perhaps it is due to the fact that I fit squarely into the target demographic for this movie, but it is shaping up to be my favorite film of the year so far. Sometimes you simply want a fun story and exciting, creative imaginary world building. That being said, this film does have its messages, even if they feel cliché and trope-y.

All of our heroes in this film are loners who have legitimate reasons for hating the rest of the world. It is their decisions to come together and fight for something other than themselves that gives them the power—and luck/providence—to defeat the evil force that is threatening to destroy an entire galactic empire. As I said, cliché, but there is a reason such clichéd storylines persist and strike chords with us over and over again. There is truth at their core.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Secular Strategies of Evangelism (2 Corinthians 10:3)

When Paul speaks of walking and warring in the flesh in 2 Corinthians 10, he is using “flesh” in two different ways. His accusers have labeled him as “fleshly” meaning worldly, or not spiritual. He counters by saying that, though he is human, and therefore limited and imperfect, he does not conduct himself in worldly manner. He is a jar of clay, but his efforts and his ministry are divinely empowered. He is carrying a treasure with supernatural power. He does not do things the way the world does.

When a believer shares their story, they should be careful to keep this in mind. They should keep in mind that the message they are bringing to the world—the Gospel—is a powerful message that can change people in miraculous ways. They do not need to do things the way the world does with clever marketing and branding. They do not need to bait-and-switch people into finding God. The Gospel needs no sugar coating.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Doctor Who 8.3 "Robot of Sherwood"

I love this episode of Doctor Who. Not for the simple, somewhat already done plot, but for the ideas and messages it is delivering.

When Clara asks the Doctor to take her to see Robin Hood, he scoffs. Robin Hood is a mere legend. He doesn’t exist. When He takes her to Sherwood Forest at the right time in history to prove it to her, they indeed do meet Robin Hood. The Doctor spends the rest of the adventure (an effort to save the people of that day from some invading, alien robots allied to the Sheriff) trying to both prove that Robin is not real and solve the puzzle of why he is there.

It turns out that Robin, the legend is also Robin the real, historical person. This legend appears to be based in reality.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Brief Thought on Mark 13:10

In Mark 13, Jesus reveals a whole list of things—shocking and fear inspiring things like wars, natural disasters and famines—that are NOT a sign of “The End.” He knew what He was doing too, because that is exactly what people start to think when bad things happen. Even followers of Jesus who read their Bible. They always seem to forget this passage. They see everything as a sign.

Included in the discourse about all the things that are NOT a sign of “The End,” but rather the normal course of the world and reality for His followers, Jesus talks about persecution and the related task of the declaration of the Gospel. He declares that the Gospel of the Kingdom of God will be proclaimed to all nations. This too is simply a statement about something that will occur, not a sign of “The End.”

What He also does not say here is that this is a triggering mechanism for “The End.” But that is what a lot of people try to make this statement mean. Even worse, they see it as a way to manipulate God. (But they don’t likely realize that is what they are doing.) Their thought is that they can make Jesus return—they can trigger “The End”—by accomplishing this task.

Now, our job is indeed to proclaim the Gospel. Even to do so to “all nations” whatever that means. But we are simply to tell. To everyone. It is God that orchestrates the way in which “all nations” are reached. It is He that determines what and when that is. People who put too much effort in defining “all nations” and strategizing the way that those nations can be ticked off some all-comprehensive list are in danger of missing the “trees for the forest” to reverse a cliché.

And there is a possibility that the Gospel will be proclaimed to “all nations” and “The End” won’t come just yet. Just as wars and earthquakes and famines will all repeatedly occur without Jesus coming back, it just may be that the Gospel will be proclaimed to “all nations” multiple times before “The End.” Some would say that it even happened within the time covered by Scripture in Acts chapter 2.

The sign you are looking for if you insist on a sign is Jesus coming in the clouds. If you see that happen, you are pretty safe in thinking “The End” has come!
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