Grand Con

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Violent Ken and Help Sought

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

Did you go out for free comic book day? I did! I went to my local shop, grabbed my 3, ran into some friends, and we went to a few hobby and gaming stores. Of my 3 comics, one of my choices was the Street Fighter Ultra issue. This story is a Ken-centric story written by Ken Sui-Chong, artwork by Hanson Steinbach, and lettering by Marshall Dillon. He has just gotten back from a battle in another realm against Lord Raptor, but is now faced with his own darkness. He often becomes Violent Ken with an insatiable appetite for maiming and killing others.

In Street fighter lore, the Satsui No Hado is essentially the Dark Side. It is the worst of the person given full energy and comes out with complete inhibition. This is discussed by my co-author, Nathan Marchand, in entry 17 of our book, 42:Discovering Faith through Fandom.

What I found interesting in this comic was Ken's interactions with 2 students at a Gouken's Dojo in Japan. Sakura and Dan both share what helped them come out if it.

For Sakura, it was friendship. Apparently that story can be found in the Super Street Fighter series. You have heard the phrase: "No man is an island," right? Exactly. We are communal creatures. Proverbs 27:17 tells us "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Do you have anyone who will speak honestly to you about your issues, be it sin or difficult life times?

Dan has another story, found in Street Fighter Unlimited. He shares that foregivenss is what changed him. When Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, something we call "The Lord's Prayer" or the "Our Father," there is one statement in there that He expounded on. "Forgive us, as we forgive each other." He goes on to tell us if we do not give foregiveness, God won't give it to us.

Ultimately, Jesus exemplified both of these qualities. He forgave the man who could not walk for his sin as well as the thief on the cross next to Him and Peter for betraying Him. He challenged our perceptions of how we should treat each other and protected the woman at the well from being stoned by men who had their own sin issues to deal with.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Heroes/Villains Chicago

Greetings Scholars and Warriors!

I apologize for not posting for a while. My computer frizzed out on me and I've been dealing with some personal issues.

This weekend I went to Heroes and Villains Fanfest in Chicago. I had a table there and met a lot of people. This con focuses on comic book TV adaptations and guests included stars from Arrow, Gotham, Black Lightning and more. This was also combined with Walker Stalker so you had about 10 guests from the Walking Dead as well.

I met many people, sold some books, and had a great time. Many people were surprised to find this and a few thought it was a joke. But many were excited and supportive. I think the most meaningful conversations happened in travel, though. Saturday night I was just off the train and looking for food when a guy was needing help. At first I thought he was just begging for money, but then I realized he was blind and just needed help finding his cane, which was easy for me to find for him. Sunday, on Amtrak coming home, the guy next to me noticed I was studying "Experiencing God" and asked me if I think God understands if we want to die. We discussed his situation and I tried to encourage him.

Here are some pics from the con. You can find more on the at

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Nobody to Jedi

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.


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Last month I and many around the world went to see Star Wars Episode 8:The Last Jedi. So much goodness in this movie! They took a look at the heroes journey from a different perspective and deconstructed it to show the dangers of seeing yourself as the hero. They showed us how Leia uses her Force powers. The take on Luke is not what we expected, but the Jedi before him did both run away when the Sith took power so that is example he had to look at.

One thing we questioned was the family and lineage of Rey.  Some wanted her to be Kylo's sister or cousin. Some wanted her to be a Kenobi. I wanted a weird mix of both. I wanted Luke to have met a girl, perhaps before meeting Mara Jade, who was from his home planet of Tatooine. I could imagine her eventually telling Luke that she didn't know her father. He had been a hermit or a "wizard" that people thought was really weird. You catch my drift? I had wanted her to be the daughter of Luke and the granddaughter of Ben Kenobi. 

Now, if Kylo Ren's story he told her checks out, she had been from a much more normal lineage. Her parents were drunkards. They sold her into slavery for booze money. Talk about rejection. This would be painful if true. For us as fans it means all our wonder about her being from a big lineage is gone.

However, there is a new, exciting thought here. If her lineage is of drunkards, then that means anyone can be an amazing, Force wielding power for good. You don't need to come from a family that has a history with the Force. You just need to be willing.

Jesus lineage was filled with both promise and obscurity. King David certainly makes for a great lineage. So do Boaz and Ruth. But what about some of the others? There is a prostitute in there. Some people we really don't know much about. We only know Mary and Joseph because they raised Jesus. Even His birth itself was in an obscure place rather than a palace.

Rejection and the Gospel are highly connected. Jesus experienced rejection from the religious leaders and on the Cross he shouted "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34). But in this rejection came the opportunity of salvation and healing. Isaiah 53:5 tells us as a prophecy about Jesus that "by his wounds we are healed." 

You might have come from a family that is dysfunctional. Maybe you feel abandoned by your family because you are in the foster system or adopted. Your life still can have amazing impact on the people around you. Rey saved the rebellion when they were trapped at the end of the film. That is fictional; imagine what you can do in real life. You can donate blood, serve in the armed forces, become a nurse or doctor. You can volunteer at your church or with a food bank. Make your life matter. Don't sit at home waiting for someone else to make your life matter.