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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Faith not Strength

Greetings Scholars and Warriors.

Last week we finally got our eagerly awaited beginning of a new season for the Arrowverse. Wednesday I did not have to work, so I pulled out my laptop and hooked it up to a TV to watch The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow and later watched the new Supergirl episode with my Mom and Arrow by myself on another day.

Spoilers my friends.

This episode of the Flash, titled "The Flash Reborn," found Barrie's friends grieving his loss and all handling it in different ways. Remember, Barry was taken into the Speed Force at the end of last season. Iris was just running forward convinced, or at least acting convinced, that he was gone and would never get back. Wally, Joe and Cisco were just trying to keep up with the meta-human issues around the city. They were catching some of them, but not at all keeping it under full control. They come across a flying Samurai with katanas that had crazy power in them. Of course, he threatened to destroy the city if Barry did not come back.

As they tried to figure out what to do we find out that Cisco, along with a few other scientists from around the Arrowverse, has been working on a way to get Barry out of the Speed Force. He just needed Caitlin Snow so, without the agreement or approval of Iris, he found her and they got to work. They did get him out, though it didn't work as they thought it would. However, Barry was not the same. He was writing with symbols on the walls and speaking gibberish about physics and saying some things seemingly from past conversations. He was not Barry.

During this time Iris sits down with her dad for a talk. She doesn't understand how he has done well. How he is so calm. He explains that he has been going back to church. She is surprised and mentions that he hasn't done that since she was a child. But he went back and one of the sermons from the priest stood out to him because it felt like it was just for him. The message was about strength and faith; the reality that strength is not good without faith.

First off, I am really excited that they showed us a story where someone was willing to give church a try...and they were impacted by it. It meant something to the character that could impact others.

Next, I am glad they recognized that strength is not enough without faith. In the New Testament we are given many traits to chase after. Traits to build into our lives for our benefit and for us to be able to bless and help other people. But strength is not one of those.

Try reading Galatians 5. In this passage Paul is sharing with us what a Godly life should look like. What we should be espousing to, as well as the traits we should not seek out. In verses 22 and 23 he gives us a list we call the fruit of the Spirit. You will not find the word "strength" on this list. Now, you could argue that self-control takes strength. You could say forbearance/patience take strength, but strength is not the focus of either of these traits.

Faith is mentioned many times. Jesus comments on "you of little faith" before calming down a storm. He also says "anything is possible for one who believes" (Mark 9:23). Paul includes faith with hope and love in 1 Corinthians 13 as the "remaining" abilities. Essentially, where law and our gifts fail, these survive.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus himself encouraged us toward meekness. Now, this is not what some people think it is. Some see it as a complete lack of strength. Meekness is more about controlling your strength and trusting God to be the victor. Meekness is about putting your faith in God when you want to fix everything yourself.

Now we get back to the show. After this conversation, after considering that faith is what will change things, Iris literally gives herself over to the Samurai. She knows that if she were kidnapped, Barry would break every wall to save her which is essentially what happened. Learning of her need for him, was enough to shock him out of his altered state and bring him back to them.

We saw strength without faith in the new episode of Supergirl, "Girl of Steel". She was trying to get rid of Kara Danvers, who has faith in those around her and in her work in media. In her grief, she thought she could work as Supergirl and muscle things to a better place instead of grieving her loss of Mon-El. This self sufficiency lifestyle was hurting those around her.

Iris and the team could not fix everything. They could not get Barry back to himself with medicine or prodding, but with faith he did come back. Often we find ourselves in situations we can not fix or should not try to fix. In these times do you try to flex your strength or do you trust in God to step in with hope and healing?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Doctor Morbius and Hidden Attitudes

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

Found on IMDB.
Last week sometime I sat down to watch a classic 1950s film on TV: "Forbidden Planet". The film features Leslie Nielson as a commander of a space crew that comes to check on a colony many years after it had landed. Walter Pidgoen plays Doctor Morbius, who with his daughter Altaira (played by Anne Francis), are the last survivors of that expedition. He claims the others were killed off by some unseen monster but he is happy to stay with his daughter and a robot, named Robbie. He prefers that the crew leave but they need to contact Earth for new orders.

Spoilers ahead.

As the crew stays and tries to build a comm setup that would reach Earth, since apparently they have traveled to far for their ships equipment to do so, they come under attack. Something comes into their ship leaving damage as it came, but no one who was on duty at the time saw anything. Another time it does kill/injure some of the crew.

While going to see Morbius about this, the Commander learns that he has become somewhat of an archaeologist and is studying a race of creatures that is long gone but left a rather large facility with highly advanced technology. In one of the labs, there is a device that works with a persons mental capabilities. It can create images of what you imagine and Morbius has used it to train his mind. In fact, the reason they have the robot Robbie is because of the tech and knowledge left by this long dead civilization.

Morbius is rather arrogant. After years of this mental work, he feels he is the only person who can decide when or if any of this technology or knowledge gets out to the rest of mankind. He tried to kick the commander out off the planet right away when they first met. He is a man who wants to be left alone to study. He does not value companionship, aside from maybe his daughter, and thinks his work is more important than anything else.

I think Doctor Morbius would be a good pharisee. When Jesus was doing ministry he had a lot of arguments with them. They were arrogant and felt they did not need this man who could do miracles. They thought they should decide what people knew about God and that they held a monopoly on how to interact with Him. They had ancient knowledge and they were fine without the Son of God.

In reality, the system was never meant to work without the Son of God. All the sacrifices the priests made were temporary. It was a system that kept man in constant red tape; always having to atone for this and for that. No sacrifice could change out hearts, except one, that of Jesus.

In the end, Morbius found that his own "Id", or his own inner mind, was responsible for the monster that kept killing everyone. His own selfishness came out through the machine he had used to train his mind. It created this invisible force that would attack anyone he did not trust. Just as our own sin put Jesus on the cross.

How does your selfishness affect those around you? Do you ever try to do things alone that are meant to be done in community? Sometimes as humans we are blind to our own sin. We don't see how it affects others but just like an invisible monster, our attitude comes out.

Jesus warned us about this. "You have heart it said, "Do not murder" but that anyone who does so is subject to judgement. I tell you, anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement. (Matthew 5:21-22). Yet, He also took our sin upon Himself. Romans 8 tells us that in Christ we are freed from this law of sin and death and given over to the law of life.