Friday, November 30, 2012

What is Advent?

Here's a message from my Fieldwork church (Messiah):

Advent is the Latin word used to describe the fact that Jesus is coming to earth. Before Jesus was born, people were waiting for the first advent of the Messiah. Since Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago and fulfilled God’s plan of Salvation by dying on the cross and rising from the dead, New Testament Christians are waiting for Jesus to come again on the last day.

The four Sundays leading up to Christmas focus on Bible readings that present two important themes 1) preparing our hearts for Jesus to come again on the last day 2) preparing our hearts to celebrate Jesus’ first advent at Christmas. The more important part of being prepared is a repentant heart, a deep awareness of our need for a Savior to redeem us from sin. May this season of Advent be a time of reflection, joy, and peace!

New Testament Lesson: Jeremiah 33:14-16
God’s promise to send a Savior through the line of King David

Gospel Lesson: Luke 19:28-40
Jesus the King arrives in Jerusalem – His first advent

And, this is a Chestertonian take on the season (just skip the first couple minutes if you're not interested in the books).

Huckabee Survey

Dear Friend,

On the night of the Election I said there is a lot to be disappointed by in the election results but not despondent.

The truth of the matter is our nation is not hopelessly lost—it's still filled with good, loving, and patriotic people who love God, their families and each other.

Now many in our Party are putting forth new ideas and strategies to remake ourselves before the next elections so voters will choose us instead of the Democrats.

What I don’t hear enough of, is what actual voters like you think about the elections and our Party. I also want to know what you expected from a Romney administration had Mitt won. And what do you think of a possible compromise in Washington to avert the fiscal cliff and what type of leader do you want to run for President in 2016.

So please go to my website now and complete our American Patriot Survey. After we receive 10,000 responses, I will share the results with you in a follow-up email.

The wailing and whining about the election result needs to stop. We need to gear up and get ready for the next battle. That's what we do as people of faith and a party of principle. We don't stop believing what we believe. We do a better job of doing what we're supposed to do. That’s how you attract voters and win elections.


Mike Huckabee

Use this link to complete my American Patriot Survey today:

Trapped by Time (That Dastardly Fiend)

Eva tells her friends to stop fighting with her brother.
She doesn't know how, but they do.
Gold Coast, Australia.

Beast falls out of his chair and onto the ground in agony.
The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.

The Original (1963) X-Men have found themselves
at a strange, but familiar place.
Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.

What do these three things have in common?
One of Gollum's riddles might be able to help us out:

"This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
and beats high mountain down."

"Time! Time!"

(Asked to and answered by Bilbo

Time connects all of these stories.

There is no mistaking it. We are slaves to time. It flows from us like sand through our grasp never to return. We pour it out like a vat of water. And, it tends to change who we are with no remorse. It is with us always and everywhere. We cannot escape from spending it. In fact, it's taking time for me to write this. And, time for you to read it.

When someone is born we think of the time they have left. When we reunite with someone, we think of the time that we will have together.When someone is dying we think of the time they will lose or the time that was lost between us.

Many times we are like Eva (depicted above), things happen and we want time to stop. We want more control of it. This power that effects our mind and body and everything that we care about needs a leash. But, unlike Eva (who can pause time) we are helpless against it.

Where is our salvation?

In the first All-New X-Men, Hank (Beast) knows that he is at the end of his rope. Unlike most of the other X-Men, his mutations drastically effect him physically. He does not know if his brain or his heart can keep up with the rest of his body. He's a brilliant man. And, he knows he might die. He is a master of science and medicine, especially in the realm of mutant mutations. But, do you think that he tries to tackle this problem all alone? In a way, he does.

"I find myself the victim of another next-generation mutation. Another. This has happened to me before and my physiology was able to withstand the pressures. But this time--This time I fear that my heart will rupture under the stress. Or my brain will seize. I don't know how much time I have left. I will not take my own life. I will fight to the end. But being that I am the leading expert in mutation and mutant physiology, I am going to have to fight this alone. The others have too much to handle anyhow. What good will them worrying or tittering on about me do?"

But, although he doesn't want to bother or trouble another mutant, seeing no point to, he does turn to someone else:

He knows that he may be running out of time. But, he knows that he has not yet accomplished what he has been charged to do. He needs more time. And, he turns to the one Being who can grant it. Then, he follows through. He acts.

A conversation with Iceman jogs his memory and he remembers a time of hope. Although the X-Men have become divided, he remembers a time where they worked together. He remembers better days with better people. He remembers his current enemy (Cyclops) as his friend. And, he goes back in time to get him.

Beast ends up bringing the whole 1963 team of X-Men (his younger self, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, and Angel) to the present (All-New #2). He brings a glimmer of bravery, courage, and hope to his hopeless present (their future).

To save the present from an inevitable "mutant genocide," time itself must change.

God, who is eternal, did quite a similar thing when becoming temporal. "The Word became man and dwelt among us." Christ put up with time, like us. And, he did it at just the right time. The Provider saved his best work in Jesus. Although, most would suspect that in creating the world and making the universe, God would have outdone himself, his real completion and perfection came through Christ.

Because we had fallen, we needed him to bring us back up, to fix the whole we ripped within our own hearts and breach the void we created between us and God.

Yet, because Christ was/is God ("I and the father are one.") his mortal existence changed all of time itself (providentially). Our calendars began at his birth. Even our language in itself changed from reading right-to-left to left-to-right (with Christ arriving in the center, pointing to him). Much of our own culture, thoughts, and ideas have been derived from knowing Him.

Without the infinite, we wouldn't even be able to understand the finite (let alone repair and complete it through Jesus Christ).

"The Bible tells us, we must look to the dimension of eternity. We make our decisions  and our judgments not on the basis of the temporal, but on the basis of the eternal. If you take the dimension of eternity away, think of two or three things and the wholeness of them as a result. If there's no eternal perspective, think of two or three things alone and see how meaningless life becomes.

Think of the dimension of love. What happens to love? What happens to the relationships you have so cherished and enjoyed?


They [Dawkin and attackers of theism] leave the biggest questions of life unanswered. The biggest questions of life are unanswered. What happens to love if there's no eternal perspective? What happens to justice? ... Is that all there is to it [Hitler and Stalin's horrific behavior]?


'In the beginning, God.' [A quote for the Apollo 8 astronauts who had landed on the moon] No science textbook or primordial slime could explain that for the moment. It was only the vastness and the intelligibility of a great designer. 'In the beginning, God.' The whole dimension of eternity is wrapped up in that first uncaused, uncreated, absolute Being who is above time, for whom there is no beginning and no end.

Think of how you and I also relate to this question of time. We react to things that are common as if they are surprises. I am indebted to C.S. Lewis for this idea. Lewis, for example, makes the comment, we look at a young man and say 'My, he's grown.' Or, 'My, how time flies.' ... Lewis says this, 'It would be as ridiculous as a fish, as a fish, constantly expressing its surprise at the wetness of water. Unless of course, he says, it was intended one day to live on dry land.

Get the point? Be as ridiculous as a fish being surprised at the wetness of water, unless of course, it intended to one day live on dry land. And, I suggest to you, it's this haunting reality of eternity that peers out of your eyes when you see the enormity and intelligibility of this universe. Or, when you recognize the surprising speed at which time actually goes. And, then you say to yourself, 'Maybe I'm really designed for eternity. That's why the surprising movement of time catches me off-guard.


Eternity helps you define existence."

Inevitably, this Sunday is the beginning of a new church year, the first Sunday in Advent. We temporally remain a slave to the villain of time. But, our souls reach for more. We know where our home is. It is with God, outside of time. And, we recognize that in the coming of Christ we will be freed from time. This is only the beginning; Heaven is our home.

Chestertonian Leadership and Thinking

"G.K. Chesterton is nothing if not paradoxical. That is because truth is paradoxical, and Chesterton is a teller of the truth. Truth is often the opposite of what we expect; it seems to contain contradictions; it is sometimes too big to be seen.

We encounter the paradoxical nature of truth when we consider the principles of leadership. A leader must be humble, not proud, yet he must be confident. He must be a servant, yet he must lead, not follow. He must be willing to take risks, but he must not be imprudent. He must demonstrate courage, and courage is a paradox. It is, says Chesterton, a strong willingness to live accompanied by a readiness to die.

My new book, The Complete Thinker, not only presents Chesterton as a model thinker, but also a model leader; one who is humble, yet confident, and who inspires confidence. He is one of the premiere defenders of the faith in the modern world, and it should be noted that the Latin word for faith also provides the root for the word confidence (fides). It is faith that gives us confidence. But Chesterton, as a great Catholic thinker, always connects faith and reason, which have been separated in the modern world.

But it is not only the separation of faith and reason that has destroyed thinking, it is the separation of everything from everything else. Chesterton says the world is one wild divorce court. What Chesterton does is, he puts things back together. “Thinking,” he says, “means connecting things.” Thus, I try to get the reader to see with Chesterton's eyes and to think his thoughts with him as he approaches everything: the universe, old and new, east and west, law and lawyers, health and medicine, politics and patriotism, buying and selling, life and death. Chesterton is very much the counterbalance to the specialization and narrowness that weighs down the modern mind.

Whenever I write about Chesterton (which is whenever I write), I try to present not only his common sense, but his joy and hope. Just as Chesterton has unfortunately been neglected as a writer, hope has been neglected as a virtue. The world today needs both."

--Dale Ahlquist (The the current authority of all things Chestertonian)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Barbara Minerva | Cheetah

Here is another great article by Babs describing Cheetah's backstory:
Click here to read the full thing.

"In last month's issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE we saw the return of one of Wonder Woman's most formidable opponents to comics; Cheetah. In the issue, Cheetah fought against both Wonder Woman and Superman, and even managed to cause The Man of Steel to draw some blood -- not an easy task and not one that should be taken lightly. Reading the last issue and getting a peek at issue #14 which is set to hit comic shops tomorrow, we got to thinking; who is the Cheetah now compared to pre-New 52? How strong is she really? And will she be a formidable opponent not only to Diana, but to the Justice League as a whole?

There have been five different versions of Cheetah over the years, but we will specifically be focusing on the Barbara Minerva version of Cheetah that was first introduced in the second volume of Wonder Woman #7 in 1987. Initially, she was seen as an opportunistic lover of ancient artifacts with a crazy obsession -- not only was she obsessed with Diana's "golden girdle of Gaea" (lasso of truth) and wanted to steal it for herself, but she was also a bloodthirsty killer. In issue #9 of the series readers witness Barbara Minerva's character engage in a ritual that would turn her into the Cheetah; something she would have to do every full moon in order to maintain her strength. But how did it all begin for Minerva? What led her to become the Cheetah? Was it her own choice?

Cheetah's story as Minerva pre-New 52 started when she was in Africa as part of an archeological dig in search of theUrzkartaga Temple. Minerva eventually finds the temple and when she does, learns of the bond between the plant God and the Cheetah. It is then that she binds herself to the plant God and embraces the form of the Cheetah, a ritual that would lead her to become a flesh-eating, blood thirsty killer and one of the strongest of Wonder Woman's adversaries.

Aside from the fact that the current version of the character and the pre-52 version of the character both look like a cross between a cat and a woman, these two versions of this character actually have several things in common. First off, they are both pretty crazy and don't like humanity very much. This is evident in the dialogue between Minerva and Diana when they fight in the very first pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE #13. Both characters seem to draw their power from some sort of magic. However, this is where their identities begin to get really different. While pre- New 52 Barbara Minerva chose to become the Cheetah, it doesn't seem like this current incarnation of the character did. According to a panel in JUSTICE LEAGUE #13, Barbara Minerva had been working for the military categorizing ancient artifacts when she cut herself on a "ritual dagger." Based on the conversation in this panel, it sounds as if Minerva became the Cheetah not by choice, but by accident. Not only that, but the ritual dagger that gave her her powers is not of African origin, but a lost tribe in the Amazon. According to the issue, Minerva is currently "possessed by the Goddess of the bloodthirsty Cheetah."
Babs continues to dig a little deeper into Cheetah's story in her article. But, I thought you may be more interested in checking out these comic book panels (click them to enlarge):

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oliver Queen | Green Arrow Origins

Here is part of a great article by Babs on Comicvine. It does a great job of describing Ollie's original story-line.

"If we had to sum up Green Arrow in a single phrase it would have to be "multi-faceted." The character is a man comprised of many different personas. He is the greatest archer in the DC Universe, a billionaire playboy with a taste for the irresponsible and embarrassing, and he is also a man who found redemption in the unlucky cards dealt to him by life. A man who grew from being selfish to selfless, and perhaps that's why he is so popular to comic fans. That, or maybe because bow and arrows are totally cool right now (since everyone from Lara Croft to Hunger Games has them). But just who is Oliver Queen now, what has he been up to lately and where is he going?

Oliver Queen (or Ollie, if you please), may be seen as this charismatic, easygoing billionaire playboy type character but his origin story has historically been a little bit on the dark side. In some adaptations of Ollie's origin, the character lost both his parents, washes up on an island and has had to struggle to survive. In other versions, as in GREEN ARROW: YEAR ONE, Oliver is betrayed by his close friend and thrown off a ship onto the island. The result is the same. The marooning of Oliver Queen on a deserted island leads to the cultivation of his skill with a bow and arrow and his sense of survival. Queen learns to appreciate the things he has when he has them, but most importantly, he learns a lot about redemption. His time on the island prepares the character for crime-fighting in Star City, to be a member of the Justice League, and his role as a mentor to characters like Speedy and Connor Hawk and Roy Harper(pre New 52)."

Babs continues the Ollie's story in the New 52. But, I would suggest picking up back-issues or checking out the new series "Arrow" instead.

The Green Arrow comic books might be worth picking up again after its reboot in February.

The new writer of the series (starting in Feb.) stated:

"It [GREEN ARROW] really is totally a clean slate, so I can alter and change and rebuild his mythology however I want to, at the same time, trying to stay true to the core of that character that everyone always loves…His character is a really clean slate for me to kind of do something new with him. And I want to take full advantage of that and build him into something people like as much as the old Oliver Queen, but he's his own man and they like him for who he is rather than how he interacts with other heroes."

For more on the New 52 Green Arrow, the TV show, and the reboot, click here.

A Volstagg Thanksgiving

I'm not sure why, but every year around Thanksgiving I think of the hearty and glutenous hero, Volstagg.

Well, perhaps that is the very reason in itself. Volstagg depicts at least two of the well-known modern-day stereotypes for our American holiday (having a hearty time and a glutenous appetite). This Asgardian is the only hero that I can think of who would dedicate a whole day to the joy of eating.

But, both Volstagg and Thanksgiving are much more than what they appear.

Behind the happy-go-lucky appearance of the god above lies the "Lion of Asgard." When he is not happily stuffing his face with delicious edibles he is one of the fiercest warriors that Asgard has ever known. In his first appearance, he causes quite a commotion before he even gets to a panel. Thor calls him "Volstagg the enormous! Volstagg, the blustering, boasting giant of a warrior!"

His first words are, "Have at you, puny scoundrels! Stand aside for Volstagg! By my sword, there shall be many a flattened head this day!!" Although, his favorite weapon may apparently be a (beer) mug, he fights with the heart of a warrior and the body of a giant.

While Asgard had been under siege, Volstagg remained trapped on Earth (Siege: Embedded). And, he rose to the challenge.

Yes, he is riding a goblin glider.

Still, to this day we tend to see him mainly as a comic relief character. But, we must not mistake his "appetite for apathy." Instead, we should learn this lesson:

Volstagg: A fire giant is best dealt with by chopping off its head.

Driver: Is that a fact?

Volstagg: Its heart lies in its head, and from the heart comes fire. | It is the same with men.

Driver: You might need a refresher course on human physiology.

Volstagg: No, not the physical location of the heart... but the fire. The fire in you comes from your heart. The fire that carries you into battle is the fire that makes you a warrior!

This lesson also is about apathy. The heart of the man makes the man. Where his heart lies his mind, body, and soul will be also. And, if his heart is not in the battle he cannot win. Yet, if he is fully involved he will be able to take on his opponent with an unimaginable fire.

At the original Thanksgiving, the Americans weren't concerned with stuffing their faces to the brim and expounding their stomachs. They weren't concerned with taking a nap to be sure to be up early the next day to buy presents. They weren't about to forget all of the things that they had become extremely grateful for. Instead, they gave their hearts to God and gave Him thanks.

With half-empty stomachs and freezing fingers, the Pilgrims and the Natives were both grateful for all that they had been given. God had blessed them and they thanked Him.

Although, this idea may seem a bit late for the season, I wish to charge you with being like the first Americans. Do not become apathetic, moving through the seasons stage by stage, not caring for much, not caring for friends, not caring for family, not caring for God. Instead, by thankful. Do not only be thankful only on the day that has passed (Thanksgiving). But, continue to give thanks even through these selfish and materialistic days that we have run into. Be less concerned with objects and more concerned with each other. Give in to the season of thanks (for both the harvest and for Christ[mas]). Give your heart to others not only when it is the season, but continue to do so every day in between and through-out the whole year.

And, "in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

Like Paul and the pilgrims, we can learn to "rejoice" even though we are brought low. We can give thanks although we face "plenty and hunger," "abundance and need." Philippians 4.

We may be as merry and joyous like Volstagg. While, we remember to retain heart. And, we care, loving one another. For, where we love is where our hearts may be found.

Why do we do this?

"We love because he first loved us." John 4:19.

How can we do this?

"The love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us." John 4:9-12.

We fail to give our whole hearts into anything besides ourselves (even in this splendid season). But, we are able to try. We are able to follow God's lead and care for others. And, the only way we may succeed is with His help as His Spirit fuels the fire of our hearts.

Retain the heart of a warrior in faith, love, and courage.

This has been part of the Gods Among Us Series


"I once saw him sitting all alone on the top of the Carrock at night watching the moon sinking towards the Misty Mountains, and I heard him growl in the tongue of bears: 'The day will come when they will perish and I shall go back!' That is why I believe he once came from the mountains himself." -- Gandalf, as recorded in There And Back Again.

What About Love?

A Girl's Message To All Christians:

A Response to Her Comments:

Life's Toughest Questions (Ravi)

Here's another great lecture by Ravi Zacharias:

Monday, November 26, 2012

When Theology Becomes Doxology (Slice)

"... Whether administering care at the bedsides of plague victims or writing letters to feuding church leaders, she [Catherine of Siena] emphatically declared in word and deed: “The way has been made. It is the doctrine of Christ crucified. Whoever walks along this way…reaches the most perfect light.”(1)

Catherine prayed with a similar intensity: “O eternal God, I have nothing to give except what you have given me, so take my heart and squeeze it out over the face of the Bride.”(2)

In the frailty of her own life, which was racked with great illness and sorrow, Catherine’s severe desire was that God would take her life as an offering, using her in whatever way to mend the brokenness she saw all around her.

Reading through a book of her collected prayers and letters recently, I was struck by a phrase the editor used to describe her. In Catherine’s prayers, the editor notes, “her theology becomes doxology.”(3) Namely, what Catherine professed to be true about God became in her prayers—and arguably in her life—an expression of praise to God. But shouldn’t all theology naturally lead us to doxology?

Throughout Christian story and verse we find lives touched by God’s goodness, moved by God’s mercy, transformed by God’s mighty presence. In these men and women, we find a profound correlation between profession and praise.


God is a God who has acted in history and is present today. God is one who keeps promises and has indeed promised great things. Holy is his name.

When we come to know the God of heaven, when we see the Father’s character, when we glimpse the goodness of the Son or his merciful hand in our lives by the gift of the Spirit, there becomes within us a need to share it in word and deed. There becomes within us a need to praise God for all that we see and all that we know.

What do you know about God? What have you seen of the God’s character and known of God’s goodness? May this become your song. In your knowledge of God and in your knowing of Christ, may you find in word and deed, in prayer and song, your life a doxology to the truth of God’s holy name."

-- Jill Carattini

Jill also involves Mary's song from Luke chapter 1 in the full version. Click here to read it.

(1) Mary O’Driscoll, Ed., Catherine of Siena (New City Press: Hype Park, NY, 1993), 13.
(2) Ibid., 11.
(3) Ibid., ii.

The Evolution of Language (Hebrew)

Here are some interesting explanations behind the morphology for the first four letters of the Ancient Hebrew Alphabet:

I have not been able to find the other 19 letters
explained in the same way online yet.

Here is a chart that might be useful.

Jeff Benner's lecture series is also intriguing:

This is the first out of seven of his YouTube videos.

The Hebrew Alphabet

I'm relearning Hebrew this quarter. And, this beautiful woman is helping me pronounce the letters!! It looks like the Modern Hebrew letters are the same as the Biblical ones (excluding sin).

To check out more of LearnArabicwithMaha, check out her channel where she teaches modern Hebrew, Arabic, and Italian!!

Barney may also help:

He sings the English, Hebrew, and French alphabets!!!

Remembering Brabury (Schulz)

It's extremely difficult not to re-post a good Bradbury article. So, here it is.
Please make sure to visit the original source as well: Lutheran Philosopher

"Ray Bradbury died recently, in early June. There have been many fond memories of him popping up, here and there. For example, I heard an NPR reporter mention fondly how much he was missed at the recent ComCon. Many of us have been thinking of how his books kindled (foreshadowing pun intended) in us a love for books and reading, for talking about books and becoming authors ourselves.

Remember the scene toward the end of Fahrenheit 451 when Montag, fleeing from the book-burning firefighters, meets with Mr Granger and all the people who were the burned books inasmuch as they had each memorized great books in order to keep the books alive until they could be printed and read again? Montag himself was the Book of Ecclesiastes because he had memorized it; Granger was Plato's Republic because he had learned it by heart, four other folks were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and so on.

On the 50th anniversary of his book I had a chance to visit with Bradbury about Fahrenheit 451 -- okay, it was merely as a caller on a Public Radio show -- so I asked him if he were writing Fahrenheit today whether he would include these books of the Bible as in his 1953 modern classic. "No," he replied, and listed a few other pieces of literature instead. My reccollection is that he also deleted Plato from his hypothetical 2006 rewrite . One of my students, a fellow Bradbury fan, told me last fall semester that he had heard that Bradbury was actually very religious but had become reluctant to make an issue of it in public, so I wish I could have spoken with the great author in person, to encourage him to maintain the integrity with the Western tradition that he memorialized here in his book.

It seems to me that this is an obvious time and place to comment on the staggering a-literacy that we Westerners display today. I doubt that many of us would bother to read, much less to memorize these complete books. Even though Bradbury's living books apparently had developed a method to memorize the Great Books at one reading, I have learned from my decades of teaching that fewer and fewer folks (students and faculty) are reading these books as adults. This is particularly and inexplicably the case with the sui generis books of the Bible. It is nearly futile, I am reminded every year when I teach Christian apologetics, to teach apologetic defenses of Christian Truth to students who are not reading and meditating on God's written and verbally expired Word themselves. Truth be told, those who are in fact reading Scripture (or who take up their reading during the course) inevitably become living apologetics books themselves -- an accomplishment that is due to another Teacher than me. This is all very anti-Socratic, as Soren Kierkegaard explained. (See my article "Two Principles for Lutheran Teaching and Schlarship", Part 1, on the Documents page.)

Less obviously, I think that those of us who are undertaking graduate work or who dare to teach immortal minds in the classroom may be at some fault ourselves. I mean that our philosophy of language -- whether we explain it deliberately, as we ought always to do in Philosophy or whether we merely exhibit it, without providing our students any explanation -- may be deficient for literature in general and for the utterly unique reality of Holy Scripture in particular.

One of the most important books on this topic today is Phillip Cary's Outward Signs: The Powerlessness of External Things in Augustine's Thought. Cary offers the argument that Augustine and Calvin held a philosophy of biblical language (if I may put it this way) in which the words of Scripture are incidental, whereas what counts is what these external words may kick off inside, in a person's soul. Contrary to this ocassionalist view of language as something incidental, Aquinas and Luther believed and taught a philosophy of biblical language in which the text, the external Word, is inherently effective. Aha! I plan to post more of my thoughts on philosophy of language as I am reading and teaching Augustine's Confessions in my Medieval Philosophy course this semester.

First, though, I'm going to reread Fahrenheit 451 and maybe The Martian Chronicles as well, to remember the man who was these books and, in some significant sense, still is a teaching author by virtue of these printed and still-read texts."

-- Dr. Gregory Schulz

Augustine's Ocean Vision (Kreeft)

This is a great insight found on Peter Kreeft's website (here):

Augustine tells of a vision of seeing a little boy at a beach scooping up the ocean thimbleful by thimbleful and emptying it out on the sand. Then he sees an angel who tells him that this boy will have emptied out the entire ocean long before Augustine has exhausted what can be said about God.

This site's Featured Writings and Featured Audio about the ocean of God's love are only a few thimblefuls. No—less. For God's love is literally infinite. It is the shoreless sea we are destined to swim in, surf in, and grow in forever.

Under the Mercy,

Peter J. Kreeft

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rodgers-- Heart of the Warrior

“After all the cheers have died down and the stadium is empty, after the headlines have been written, and after you are back in the quiet of your room and the championship ring has been placed on the dresser and after all the pomp and fanfare have faded, the enduring thing that is left is the dedication to doing with our lives the very best we can to make the world a better place in which to live.” -Vince Lombardi

Monday, November 19, 2012

The "Catholic" Hobbit

Here's a great episode showing some of the underlying themes in the Hobbit movie coming out:

(You may want to skip the first 5 minutes.)

If you're interested in more of the Phil. of LOTR,
I'd suggest Kreeft's book:

Thoughts I never knew. C.S. Lewis' "Prayer"

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ravi's Letter 11/15/12

I received this letter from Ravi a couple on days ago:

The last few days have seen the country consumed by the emotional roller coaster of elections, in this vortex we call politics. 
I was reading Isaiah 40 and reminded that it does not say, “They that hope in politics shall renew their strength.” Nor does it say, “They that hope in financial security shall renew their strength.” It does say, “They that hope in the Lord shall renew their strength.” It goes on to remind us that the eagle eye view is very different to the limits of myopia. I have been praying so much that the Lord will help us to soar and not get locked into the immediate.

At the same time, it has been a stern reminder that we redouble our efforts to reach this world with the gospel. That is our divine mandate. That is our only security. RZIM is truly a ministry for such a time as this. So many have written to us to remind us of our calling and the urgency. We will not waver. We sense God opening doors that were thought sealed shut, and we are in arenas that our world situation has sprung open. The year seems close to an end, but our entire team is very busy during these months.

For me, I have just finished meetings in the West Coast with many men making a new commitment to Jesus Christ. I did three men’s breakfasts with evangelism as the goal. Then I was in New York to speak at the Brooklyn Tabernacle and straight from there to Oxford and London with two services at Holy Trinity, Brompton. Shortly after that, we have a historic opportunity in Abu Dhabi to speak at the famed Zayed University. This is the first for a Christian scholar to be invited to speak to the entire student body and the neighboring colleges. This was made possible by the invitation of Sheikh Nahyan al Nahyan. It is quite amazing. Following that, I will be in India.

Our entire team is facing such unique opportunities. Please pray for us. All of this is made possible because of your kindness, generosity, and love for this work. Please accept our heartfelt thanks. Political seasons will come and go. The word of the Lord is everlasting.
May God bless you.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012


"When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, 'Τετέλεσται,' and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." John 19:30.

Jesus > Superman
I know that the above statement may be cliché, overdone, or even extremely cheesy. But, "Jesus > Superman" is something that needs to be out there. Today, I tried to take the easy way out. I googled "superhero devotion" to outsource the devo of the week. But, I came up short. They had plenty of thoughts concerning releasing the superhero within you. But, is it really about us? I've always felt the greatest honor in pointing ahead to something or someone that is greater than myself. As I continued to scan the pages I found "Jesus Christ: Super Hero" and "Jesus is the ultimate superhero." They seemed to miss the point, that Jesus is really better than any superhero.

Finally, I stumbled upon this paragraph:

"The Lord is the strength of our lives. We see the movies with all these superheroes in them. Well, there is no superhero like Jesus. He died for me and then conquered the greatest villain that there is, satan, and defeated him and made a show of him publicly. That is a true superhero. That is a conqueror! Our Jesus did not just win the battle, He won the battle and then gave us the victory. That is why we do not have to fear." -- Pastor Tom

Pastor Tom finally made the point that my soul longed to hear. "There is no superhero like Jesus."

All of our ideas of a true hero, every single one, are just failed attempts at forming the perfect man. We get a glimpse. But, it's always off. Maybe that's because the perfect man has already existed. How can we even attempt to recreate someone who already is ("I am")? The good news is, we don't have to.

C.S. Lewis said something like, "With something so true as the Gospel, there are bound to be ripples of smaller truths." They are things that come close to the complete picture of the Gospel, but fall to the side (on the path).

This happens in our own Logic and Reason. We can reason up to a point who God could be (Timaeus). But, that is still nothing compared to who God reveals himself as being (Three and One, Alpha and Omega, in the Scripture). Other religions have taken place around the world, everything from governmental order (politics and Confucius) to spiritual mysticism (Hinduism, spirituality, and the list goes on). But, none of them are as complete as the message of the Gospel. They reach to a point of who we need to be or what we need to do to be saved. But, they never finish. No one ever steps up and says, I can do this for you. In everything from judicial order to soul-searching, we fall short because we cannot make it complete. We cannot follow laws perfectly nor ever find out the realities of the spiritual world without help.

This is where we need Christ. Not only does he reveal to us who He is, who God is. He also takes it upon himself to make us complete. He takes the satire of heroes and demi-gods and finishes the story. He says that our ideas of who he should be are close. But, they remain pale in comparison to the glory of who he actually is.

And, in his final, humble yet powerful words of the cross, he says it all. "Τετέλεσται" - "It is finished." "It is completed." "It is perfected." This alone comes through Him. He won. And, he rose again to prove it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Roots in the Dark (Slice)

"...On a guided ride through the massive sand dunes of Silver Lake, we stopped at the highest point of the dunes."

"...From the hill we could see Lake Michigan, a historic lighthouse, and the endless shifting dunes that slowly engulf the small forests around them. Most of his [the tour guide's] words were lost in the beauty of the scene itself, but I tuned in as he described the survival tactics of the trees beside us. “These trees,” he said, pointing to trees that were no more than 10 feet high, “are upwards of 35 feet tall.” They are trees assailed each year by shifting sands and changing hillsides. When their branches are enveloped by sand, leaves die from lack of sunlight, but the branches become roots...."

Think about it.

"...We live in a world of shifting ideas where the potential to resign ourselves to fear or hopelessness is real. The Christian story counters this imagination with a different one: The light of Christ is not overcome, no matter how dark the darkness. In Psalm 1 we are reminded that the one whose certainty is the Lord, whose hope is in God’s unchanging presence, is blessed. “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.” In this changing culture of disheartening headlines and distracting information, many lead lives of quiet desperation. Still many others grow roots where life buries branches, tapping into the living waters of one who does not change."

--Jill Carattini