Grand Con

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Trailer

Greetings Scholars and Warriors.

The last week or so has had a lot of trailers. We got so excited over The Force Awakens and Dawn of Justice. Fantastic Four and Jurassic World were both exciting "trailer terrors" but they were nothing compared to power of The Force Awakens. Can you tell which one was my favorite?

We as Christians are very used to trailers, even more so than we think. The Old Testement had many trailers of Jesus, but we call them prophecies. Revelation is an amazing trailer, hard to understand at times, but pretty amazing.

Just as nerds and geeks of various sizes, shapes and colors argue about movies after seeing trailers for them, Christians argue over this one. We disagree on the tribulation, how these events will intertwine, and much more. We often make this a bigger deal than it needs to be. Did Jesus tell us to get ready for His sequal? Yes...but it doesn't happen by us arguing over what the sequal will be like.

Think about the MCU. We love the movies but in between movies we enjoy some Agents of Shield or now some Netflix shows. What did Jesus tell us to do during the wait for the sequal?

Jesus said: "All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (Matthew 28)

Our time here waiting is like the TV side of the MCU...but the Bible and Jesus 2nd Coming are like the movies. Although one might be far more exciting, all are there to create a beautiful world to enjoy. Often we think that only our time in eternity matters, but why would God have 66 documents written to teach us about the here and now if that were so? While we wait for Jesus sequal, he simply asks that we share Him with others and gently reveal him. He told us to love our neighbors and meet needs. In doing this, we prepare for His arrival. Get ready. It'll be the best sequel ever!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Daredevil, Violence and Protection

This last weekend was crazy for me. Saturday was International Tabletop Day and I hosted a location for it at my church for a local gaming group. On Friday I binged through Daredevil. Yes, I watched all 13 episodes in one day.

I have seen at least 2 posts written using Daredevil by other Christians this week, one on Ministry Matters and another by Costumers for Christ. One of the topics being discussed is violence and the Christian life. Not whether or not we should watch Daredevil (which has some violent scenes) but how we as Christians should feel about violence in general. I feel like we tend to be so scared of violence that we forget how often it is needed to bring hope to people.

In one episode, Daredevil goes to rescue a child from kidnappers and he does get very violent in the rescue, far more than Jesus would want. Yet...would Jesus leave a child in such a situation? Does love sometimes call for violence not for the sake of violence but for the goal of rescuing and protecting people? Now, I think if a man had come to Jesus and said "these guys are holding my child and I can not rescue them because their strength to much for me" Jesus would have done something about it. He might simply have teleported the child out of there or used another miracle to rescue the child without violence; but Jesus would not have refused to act.

Nobody should want war and killing and hatred. Yet, we do want to stop those who do love to use such ends. Right now a group called ISIS is spreading war and hatred. There have been some reports that some men from the US have gone over to join in the fight against them of their own accord and without being sent by any government. I do not know these men's hearts. I don't know if they feel warfare is their life or if, like the Machine Gun Preacher, they just hate seeing violent men take advantage of people.

One of the groups I enjoy supporting is International Justice Mission. These guys go into hard places to rescue people being held as slaves either for sex or for labor. Some of them are simply working on the legal side of things or help find safe counseling for the victims but some of them are former cops who participate in raids. I'm talking about men who go in with guns drawn and bullet proof vests to rescue these women, men and children from slavery. This is dangerous work with a strong possibility of experiencing violence. Sometimes, they are able to go in when there are no guards around and get the women out without fighting, but not always. Actually, this work is fairly similar to our first view of Daredevil's work in the series.

There is such a thing as righteous indignation and I think we need to respect it but also control it as it can get out of hand easily. There is also a calling and a preference for grace and peace in dispelling arguments. In our walks with Jesus, let us show respect for both of these and use peace far more than violence.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mindless of Sin

Greetings scholars and warriors.

Found at the Marvel wiki.
I recently read the large graphic novel version of "Original Sin" by Marvel. One of the many strange ideas in this was that of the mindless ones, a form of supernatural foot soldiers that Doctor Strange goes up against frequently, perceiving their sin. Essentially, they received knowledge of good/evil, and they hated it. They felt shame and guilt over their sin and they asked to be returned to ignorance, to become once again mindless. The shame and guilt of killing and evil they were committing was to much for them.

Mankind experienced this at one time. The story is found in Genesis 3. Man ate a fruit of some sort that God had forbidden. In shame, Adam and Eve hid from God. God calls to them. Knowing where they are and wanting to discuss this with them, He calls them to come out to Him, to step toward Him. At this moment, God could have obliterated us. I am sure He could have done any of a million things we would not think of. He chose, instead, to go the way of reconciliation.

What goodness would there be in simply being allowed to continue evil without any perception that it was evil? It might be more comfortable, but would it be good? It certainly would not be just, as the sin and evil, along with subsequent pain and disobedience, would simply be continuing.

Romans 5:8 tells us that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. While we were still choosing our own way over the way of our creator; while we were lying and cheating and being selfish, our creator died for us. Because He prefers reconciliation over destruction.

Spoiler:

The mindless ones were eventually returned to mindlessness. You do not have to. You can find peace in Christ by accepting His help. He would gladly get in the dirt and grime with you rather than leave you in sin and hopelessness.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Show of Gentleness

Greetings Scholars and Warriors.

So what do you think of when you hear the phrase "a show of force"? If you are a Marvel fan, you might think of the SHIELD hellicarrier and a large contingency of hulk busters. If you are a Star Trek fan you might think of a dozen starships together at location. Emperor Palpatine built a Death Star for his, but moved away from "a show of force" by actually using it.

When Jesus was in his 3 year ministry people were looking for such a thing from a Messiah. They wanted someone to overthrow the Roman Empire and give them a stable nation apart from Rome with no threat of being conquered by another nation. So what did he do? Jesus followed scripture about a donkey. Not just a donkey, but a young, child donkey.

"Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." Zechariah 9:9
Yep. Jesus came into Jerusalem on a donkey to begin His most important week ever in ministry. I don't know about you, but I don't think of a donkey as showing much power. I think of gentleness and servitude. Then what did Jesus do? He allowed himself to be arrested, even healing an ear of one of the servants of those seeking his destruction. Then he willingly got tortured and crucified. Does this sound like force?

We humans like force. We even have WMDs, which could effectively end life on our planet. Do you think God is proud of us for that one? Certainly God has that power and much more. When we were in the garden, we were told we could show God that we could be like Him. Then, after that fall, we continued to believe that a show of force was what we needed. We all gathered at a huge tower to say we could accomplish anything. We later build huge armies.

Notice that I did not use any heroes for my examples of "a show of force". I could have. Certainly Thor, Superman, Legacy, and others have that. But Jesus chose to do His largest work without force through gentleness and even submission. He did show His power over death by resurrection, but only after submitting to God's plan.

This spring and Easter, we are in a time of great fear. Many people are trying to solve problems through different shows of force. How can you show solutions through gentleness?