Sunday, January 27, 2013

Icemen (Cold Love)

I've always thought that Captain Cold was one of the stupidest ideas for a Flash villain.

What happened? Did the DC comic book writers wake up one day and ask: "What do we do now? We have this speedster, Flash, who everyone likes. But, what do we do with him? Who could stop him?" "I know!! We'll make a guy that shoots freeze-rays to slow him down... and stuff..."

Anyway, it happened. In 1957, Captain Cold was written as the third villain ever to face the Flash. And, he's been around to fight the Scarlet Speedster time and again. Currently, he serves as the leader of a villainous group called the Rogues.

It wasn't until recently that I actually sat down to figure out what made this guy tick. I knew he was bad, but I didn't know why.

In his origins, long before he was ever called "Captain Cold," this villain was named Leonard Snart. He was "trailer trash." The only immediate role model that he had was his dad, a child and wife-beating ex-cop. In his tortured family life, his mom often left his dad. But, always returned. And, always received her punishment for leaving.

The only good influence that Leo and his sister knew was their grandpa, an ice delivery-man. He was the only one who showed those two children love. He took them to the park, to restaurants, and to baseball games. He was the one who was there for them.

Leo's grandpa died when he was only twelve. By then, "he and his sister had learned to never cry, to be emotionally cold."

"This aint the way it's supposed to be."

Eventually Leo got away from his family. He left "home" and his sister behind. He worked on the street, with thieves. While breaking in to a building one night, the Flash stopped him along with his gang. Leo was imprisoned and swore revenge on the speedster.

As he waited for parole, he studied science. He became a pupil of kinetic energy and thermal motion. In his studies, he realized that absolute zero temperature would stop anybody, even the Flash. As soon as he was released from jail, Leo broke into a lab and stole blueprints and the tools needed to create his new weapon: the cold gun. It was with this new mastery of science, ability of ice, and longing for revenge that Leonard Snart became Captain Cold.

And now, in the New 52, Captain Cold and his ice manipulation powers have become one. He no longer needs the gun. He is an Iceman.

"This aint the way it's supposed to be."

Wow, I kind of sympathize with the guy now. But, why didn't I before?  He just didn't make my cut? I didn't think he was worthy? He wasn't cool enough? (Had to make that pun somewhere.)

That's. Not. Right.

I guess I should be thanking God that Captain Cold is just a fictional being. He has no feelings, no humanitarian value or real character, no real life or any truth behind his name. He is just a figment of someone else's imagination. But, he is not the only one that I've had this bias against.

Don't we do this on a daily basis? I mean, judging comic book characters doesn't really matter. But, don't we judge others?

Now, although it is certainly true, I'm not going to sit here and tell you (along with myself) that "There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?" I'm not going to make a long, drawn-out devotion on the fact that "in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things." And, I'm not going to shout out to the heavens, "You hypocrite[s], first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye," "judge not, that you be not judged."

Instead, I want to get to the core of the problem.

"As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, 'Tell us... what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?' And Jesus answered them, 'See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name... they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another... And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved."

IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!!! THE END OF THE WORLD!!!! Be not alarmed. Although we have had famines, earthquakes, world wars, tribulation, and martyrdom these are but the beginning of the birth pains. We still have a good amount of time left. There's no reason to blow this out of proportion  Not here. Not now. That's not my point.

My point is just one of the signs. It is just one of the many things in the precurser leading up to the precurser of the precurser of the coming of Christ. My point is that many will fall away. They will betray one another. They will hate one another. The love of many will grow cold.

"This aint the way it's supposed to be."

But, it's the way it is. "Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned." This is where we find ourselves today. What I said above was true, we do judge. We act unaccordingly to our position. We are hypocrites. But, do you know why?

We have forgotten.

We have forgotten who we are. We have forgotten who we have always been. And, we have forgotten who we were meant to be. Children of God. But, we have now even forgotten what that means. We are brothers and sisters. Not by our own means. Not by a hallucination or awkward wish. We are brothers and sisters through Christ. Even more-so, we aren't to love each other as brothers and sisters often do. We are supposed to love each other with no end. Not only that, we are supposed to love our neighbors with no end. Yes, our brothers and sisters are included, our immediate family is included, our Christian family is included, our coworkers are included, our president is included, strangers who we meet are included, even our enemies are included.

HOW?!? How in the world are we supposed to do this? There is no secular way for us to even attempt such a feat. That's exactly the point. There is no way to follow through with this on our own. We need God. Not only do we need him to know what true unlimited love is, we need him to be able to love one another. Our love comes from him, and by grace we are able to pass it on to one another. That is why we must love him first, above all else.

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart."

Still... How do we know what love is?!? I know that this may sound cliche, and I am preparing you now to brace for it. But, we know what love is because: "God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." God has loved us so much that he has paid our price. He has made up for all of the times we fail to love or even acknowledge one another. "As one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous." He has endured to the end so that we might be saved.

Do not let your love grow cold. Do not give in to apathy, which I've heard is worse than hate. Do not fall short in the one aspect. Don't even falter to becoming lukewarm. Let your heart burn, not with vengeance, anger, or hate, but with love. Do not judge. And, when you do discern what is right and wrong, do so out of love.

Do not be emotionally cold. But, seek passion as Christ has had passion for you.

Do not be an iceman. But, a man of heart.

Do not judge out of false piety. But, discern out of compassion.

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