Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorium | Memorial Day 2015


"The work and sacrifice of all of you
help to ensure the peace and security
of individuals and societies.
I pray that you yourselves
will always be kept safe as...
you fulfill your professional duties,
and that the divine gifts of wisdom and
strength will ever accompany you
in the service of your own countries
and of your fellow men and women.
Upon you and your families,
I invoke the grace and peace
of our Lord Jesus Christ...
I would like to raise my prayer
to the Lord for your many colleagues
who have died in these years
during various missions of peace
and in the defense of law and order.
May their sacrifice not have been in vain!
May their hidden and silent witness
be an encouragement to everyone
not to be resigned to injustice,
but to conquer evil with good!
May God welcome them into
his kingdom of peace
and grant serenity
and comfort
to their families
and to all their loved ones."

—Saint John Paul II

Angelus message to members of the armed forces around the world, November 2000.

Reference: Ignatius Press


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A-Force | 1


Has feminism
changed America?

Technically speaking, I don't believe there has ever been a single united feminism. There have been multiple feminisms representing the efforts of women to live into their full humanity in a world shaped by and for the generally larger and more violent male half of the human species.

To the extent that there is a capital-F Feminism that has dominated the history of feminist thought, it tends to correspond with the goals of the upper-class heterosexual white women who have traditionally been given, and still tend to have, disproportionate power to spread their message--but the movement is so much more than that...

Read this entire article on the history of American feminism here.

***The Philosophical Question of the Week Continues!!!!!

A question will be posed in accordance with new comics (both literate and cinematic) and our lives... there may be a few side notes or recommended texts. But, the main goal is to hear you!!!!!


*****Today's picture comes from A-Force #1 coming out today!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Gathering Moss


To say I travel a lot would be putting it lightly. Within the last few months I've been in, Missouri, Wisconsin, Colorado (twice), and Kentucky. I also hope to visit Tennessee, Indiana, and Wisconsin within the next few weeks before heading out to Utah for the summer. Traveling is the easy part for me. Personally, I find the in-between times, the waiting, the hardest. Stability is not something I'm used to.

So, you can imagine my fear upon reading the end of Chapter Three in G.K. Chesterton's Heretics, "Mr. Kipling [insert any traveler's name here] does certainly know the world; he is a man of the world, with all the narrowness that belongs to those imprisoned in that planet. He knows England as an intelligent English gentleman knows Venice. He has been to England a great many times; he has stopped there for long visits. But he does not belong to it, or to any place; and the proof of it is this, that he thinks of England as a place.

The moment we are rooted in a place, the place vanishes.

We live like a tree with the whole strength of the universe. | The globe-trotter lives in a smaller world than the peasant. He is always breathing, an air of locality. London is a place, to be compared to Chicago; Chicago is a place, to be compared to Timbuctoo. But Timbuctoo is not a place, since there, at least, live men who regard it as the universe, and breathe, not an air of locality, but the winds of the world.

The man in the saloon steamer has seen all the races of men, and he is thinking of the things that divide men--diet, dress, decorum, rings in the nose... or in the ears... blue paint [ink]... or red paint [ink]... The man in the cabbage field has seen nothing at all; but he is thinking of the things that unite men--hunger and babies, and the beauty of women, and the promise or menace of the sky.

Mr. Kipling, with all his merits, is the globe-trotter; he has not the patience to become part of anything... The more dead and dry and dusty a thing is the more it travels about; dust is like this and the thistle-down... Fertile things are somewhat heavier, like the heavy fruit trees on the pregnant mud of the Nile.

In the heated idleness of youth we were all rather inclined to quarrel with the implication of that proverb which says that a rolling stone gathers no moss. We were inclined to ask, 'Who wants to gather moss, except silly old ladies?' But for all that we begin to perceive that the proverb is right. The rolling stone rolls echoing from rock to rock; but the rolling stone is dead. The moss is silent because the moss is alive" (p.18).

So, what am I to do? It seems as if, when I travel everywhere, I am in fact nowhere... just a Dead. Rolling. Stone... I hope to have every experience, but at the cost of sacrificing the experience. Many times I can relate to Moses, the "stranger in a strange land," the only real security I have is that no matter where I go, heaven is my home. My family circumferences the globe and my travels do not kill me, but enrich me. I grow to love and learn about my surroundings, I feel stable although my schedule is flexible. The security I retain is in Christ.

But, if I did not have the faith, I would be lost... a babe tossed about by the sea... Earlier this year, I wrote a paper about Nature vs. Nurture in the church. It seems as if, especially in my denomination, students are accepted because the family is known. They believe if a duck marries a duck, they'll produce a duck. Of course, they'll continue their faith, they'll hold to the inerrant truths of Scripture... They'll live forever. Wrong.

It may be true that ducks make ducks and Christians should make Christians. But, as the world around us grows, it has become flat. Although we may never leave the city we grew up in, our minds will travel the world. We can become just as sterile as the rolling stone paging through browser tabs and newsreels. We may have been born into the family of the Church, but we are often nurtured by the media... we're often more likely to turn on the TV than page through a Bible. This transforms us. It emphasizes the importance of allowing the time and being intentional about growing in the faith. If we are not nurtured by Scripture, we'll be nurtured by something else (consciously or not).

Grow in the Word of God. And, as you do, you'll become fertile, heavier, like fruit trees on the pregnant mud of the Nile. No matter where you go, you will be grounded. Your roots will be strong, anchored to a worldview everlasting. You will live.

Start with Psalm 1.

Storm | 11

What do you do
when your past haunts you?

Almost everyone of us is haunted by his past in a way or another. You might be thinking that those who are haunted by their pasts are only the people who are suffering from breakups or trust problems but in reality almost all of the psychological problems we suffer from are somehow related to our past.

Depression is a feeling of regret about something that happened in the past that doesn’t seem to have a solution, Lack of self confidence is nothing more than a reflection of the beliefs you have formed about yourself in your past and social anxiety is nothing more than the feelings you get when you recall fearful situations that happened in your past.

A child who was neglected by his parents might grow up feeling unsafe or insecure, A teen who was always mocked and
bullied by his colleagues might become a socially withdrawn adult and a person who have failed many times in the past might believe that he is a loser.

Every action that we take is influenced by the beliefs and the experiences we had in our past...

In lots of cases where our pasts haunts us we may not be aware of the fact that our current behavior is affected by our past. Sometimes our minds choose to
suppress the past events instead of making us aware of them because of the pain associated with bringing them to the surface...

Written by M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.
Author of The Ultimate Guide to Break Any Bad Habit
Read this entire article here.

***The Philosophical Question of the Week Continues!!!!!

A question will be posed in accordance with new comics (both literate and cinematic) and our lives... there may be a few side notes or recommended texts. But, the main goal is to hear you!!!!!


*****Today's picture comes from Storm #11 coming out tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Age of Ultron | Super Inc.



“When we are seeking for the real merits of a man it is unwise to go to his enemies, and much more foolish to go to himself.”[1] I would suggest instead that to understand a man, you must search for what inspires him.

 As I dig into G.K.C.’s Heretics, I am reminded of The Avengers. It just hit the box office hard these past couple of weekends and I can’t help asking what people liked about it. Their answers tend to be more revealing than I thought. “Scarlett’s choice to fight or hide” is said by a strong woman. “It’s hilarious when Tony Stark is giddy for a secret door,” chimed someone with a great sense of humor. I agree, both of those scenes are awesome. But, my favorite scene comes from something else.

There he is, robed, sitting in his throne like royalty. His face is hidden, but is still the center of the city, the center of the world. Ultron waits for the twins to meet him and he greets them as a god. Likewise, Vision, upon his birth when asked for identity only replies with… “I am.” These two scenes echoes portions of the Western Past. A story long sought after and accomplished, a tale of a savior promised since the dawn of time unfolds… a savior who calls himself “I am…” a savior who becomes the center of our lives. Yet, as the savior is recounted, other things take his place… tradition… loyalty… dogma… ego… all have their turn on the throne.

These scenes remind me of the gods we create… the metals in our image… in our likeness… gain our respect. From Siri to the Vision, what man can accomplish, what man can create, takes place of the One who created man. Whether it is a physical creation, the betterment of mankind, or an inner change, the betterment of oneself… we tend to put something else in the spotlight… someone else in the spotlight. Natalie Portman was right.

If what we can do becomes our only inspiration, the rest of the world will fall apart around us. As our idols become our gods… “The moment we care for anything deeply, the world—that is, all the other miscellaneous interests [our job, our friends, our family, our Lord]—becomes our enemy.”[2] What is worth losing the rest of our world for? Only God.

[1] G.K. Chesterton’s Heretics, 15.
[2] Ibid., 17.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Question of the Week | Super Inc.

***From the same group that brought you numerous comic book devotions and illustrations (check out the archives!!) comes..... Super Inc.'s:

The Philosophical Question of the Week!!!!!

A question will be posed in accordance with new comics (both literate and cinematic) and our lives... there may be a few side notes or recommended texts. But, the main goal is to hear you!!!!!


*****Today's picture comes from Stephen King's House of Cards #3 coming out next week!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Growing Seeds | Mark 4


Growing Seeds
Goal: That the hearers are patient with the fruitfulness of faith.
Malady: Impatience in evangelicalism/filling the pews.
Means: Proclamation of this text… trusting the Spirit/seed/God’s work

Readings: Psalm 1:1-6; 1 Cor. 3:4-9; Mark 4:26-34

Grace, Mercy, and Peace to you
from God the Father and Jesus Christ, His Son, our Lord. Amen.
All these words, hear them with your ears and hold them in your hearts. (Ez. 3:10)

There’s a young mother with two kids, a preschooler and one a little older. She’s married and has a good network of friends. She has a great personality. And, she is also extremely pregnant. The last time I saw her, it looked like she was trying to shoplift a watermelon. (maybe, hand gesture) The other night, she was rushed to the hospital. Her water didn’t break. She didn’t go into labor. She wasn’t about to pop at all. And, that was the problem.

That day was the baby’s latest due date. And, the infant missed his appointment. When they finally tried to induce labor, they realized that the child was sitting crooked. In the ultrasound you could see his head angled to the side and his arm reaching its way out. If they tried to get the baby out of there, his arm would break at the least. She left the hospital the same night to take care of her husband and her kids. She now has to go to a specialist to see if they can help. There is nothing left for her to do but wait.

An office administrator was forced to resign suddenly, he had worked in his field for over twenty years and the past five were spent at the same location. The change blindsided his family and the shift was sudden. His wife who worked in the same field still had to finish out the year, his children needed a place to come home to for the summer, he was still working through severance packages, in between things… it was too soon for a different job and too late to cut all his ties to his old one. There wasn’t much for him to do beside wait.

She was ecstatic for her next mission trip to Madagascar. For years, she had helped as a medical doctor, tending to the sick as well as proclaiming the Gospel. This is the trip she worked the rest of the year for. This trip is where she had the best memories… it’s where her heart truly lied. Then, one year, as she went through all of the standard tests and medical procedures for her travel, they found something. It was a growth… a cancer. And, they had to treat it. She had to cancel her trip. She would probably never again directly help her mission in the same way that she had before. Her funds would be drained by medical treatment. She wouldn’t even be able to assist the ministry that way. She started the procedures, she began the tests and the treatment she needed. As she became a cancer patient all she could do was wait.

I have personally spoken with all three of these people. And, I know that they might sound a lot like you. You may not be at the pinnacle of pregnancy, somewhat unemployed, or a cancer patient. But, sometime in your life, maybe even right now, you have been put in a place where there was nothing left for you to do… but wait.

Yet, as we wait, we find ways to keep ourselves busy. We pick up hobbies or catch up on the news… we form new habits or refine old ones…. we air our dirty laundry or get advice from friends. Perhaps the thing we do the most as we wait is worry. There is an anxiety tied with the passing of time, an underlying distress as the outcome of our situation draws closer. There is a sort of helplessness and predictableness. There’s the yearning for the wait to just be over.

Imagine what would have happened if the farmer in our lesson had decided to worry about the crop every day of his life. He would go outside, dig up the seed, measure whether or not it had started to grow yet. He would flood his field with water, over-quenching his thirsty crop. Being too forceful would have killed any potential of plant growth.

But, that’s not how farming works. So, even his wait drags on. Day after day he rises and sleeps… in waiting. Jesus was reminding all of those surrounding him, especially the farmers who might have made up the majority, that just to eat, we need to wait. As the sower spreads his seed, he know that he won’t immediately gain from what he has planted. He goes into the practice of farming knowing that this is just the beginning. He scatters his crop in the hopes that he can trust the ground to let it grow. The soil will work for him as he waits.

 Although he may be hungry, he might need the funds he would receive from selling his crop, he might be anxious about how many of his seeds might actually grow, he might worry that he had not bough a good enough field for a decent crop… all he can do is wait.

For both the sower and our own situations, while we wait, life continues. As time passes, we change. We grow. The days pass. Then, something happens. The baby comes. The new job starts. The cancer’s gone… blades of grass form, growing up and changing into ears full of grain. The crop has come in. It’s time to move on.

Now, what if I told you, the seed in this parable is the Word of God? We have church leaders who sow. Like the great sower, they generously spill the words of God anywhere they can. They’re a visible example in the community who just won’t stop talking about and proclaiming the words of Jesus Christ. But, it is not just religious leaders who sow. We have elders, deacons, the board of lay ministry… we have Sunday School teachers, musicians, and worship leaders. Even more-so, we have students, children, and janitors. We have you and we have me. We all sow. Every single one of us. We sow many things, both good and bad. But, let us be known as those who sow the good… the Word of God.

As we do, as we gain enough courage to generously sow the seed, to spill the gospel over all aspects of our lives, it will find soil. That’s a fact. It might not be where we expect. We might be sharing Bible verses with one friend every single day and they still don’t believe, but when we have a chance encounter with a stranger, the seed grows. It doesn’t grow because of where we chose to plant it, because of our technique, or because of anything we could do. It grows because God allows growth. As we continue to water and wait, to tenderly watch our lives, God makes something out of his Word.

 He takes empty shells and gives them life. He plants a living seed in the dying dirt. And, it grows. It could be the smallest seed in the world. It could be as small as a mustard seed. But, after it is planted, it grows. It eventually gets big enough to tower over our heads. The tiny seed sprouts branches big enough to hold birds and families of birds. It yields fruit and its leaves are as green as ever. The tree grows and produces even more seeds which will then be scattered by the wind and planted by God. And, all that tree will do is wait.

 You see, as the tree waits, as the pregnant mother waits, as the CEO and the cancer patient wait, God is at work. He is watering his seed. He is breathing life into it and making it grow. Although it may seem hopeless, the seed might only have a crack in the sidewalk to grow in, God gives the seed hope and room to grow.

 Waiting is the hard part, but our God does not wait. He acts. This is epitomized in the sending of his son. As the Jews had waited for centuries for their messiah, the Lord had been working on their hearts. He had been tending his garden of faith, raising hope, and performing miracles. He was the one preserving his word as it was orally passed down from generation to generation. Then, when the time had come, he enters the scene. He cries out as an infant, grows as a boy, he waits… Then, he begins his ministry. He proclaims his word, he shares the truth with us. He digs up the dirt with his own hands and plants the seed of hope. He dies and rises again to fulfill that hope. Then, he leaves. And, we wait again.

We do not wait apart from him, but with him. He is still active in our thoughts and in our lives, he hears our prayers. He is with us in his word and in his meal, communion. It might feel as if we are waiting, but God is constantly acting. He gives us life, motion, and identity. He gives us strength to continue and thrive, to grow up and bear fruit of our own… to scatter seeds generously and live rooted in Him.

As we grow into mustard seeds big enough to hold generations of birds and plant generations of seed… we remember the fateful trees… the tree of life that we had once been separated from and the tree of life which the cursed Christ was hanged upon. It was that tree which was needed to plant our seed, to give us water, and to make us secure… to live and grow in Him. Amen.

Now, may the peace that passes all of our own understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus from this time forth. Amen.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Save the Storks | May 2015 MoM

Happy Mother's Day!!!!!!
The Ministry of the Month this May is Save the Storks!!! Their mission is to save babies and serve mommies. They do this by utilizing vans (much more maneuverable than big buses) loaded with comfortable ultrasound equipment so that a mother can see her baby clearly for the first time. Oftentimes these mothers are at a breaking point in their pregnancy, considering abortion. This tool allows her to make a personal decision on whether or not the life of her child is worth protecting. This is also done in a loving and Christian manner, they have awesome advert. gear (stickers!!!) and COFFEE!!!!

********Pledge your support (NO COST) here!!!!!********

***The ministry of the month encourages an annual donation of approximately $25 for its ministries (that seems the most reasonable way to help without hurting yourself too much). If there is a charity you are called to fall in love with and give the most to, that's a blessing. There is no obligation and this blog has no sort of compensation or really affiliation with the ministry that it is supporting.

*****Please, give me feedback on what you think of the charities/your experiences/charity suggestions... I'd extremely appreciate your input.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Avengers Themes

Age of Ultron


-Man vs. Monster

-God vs. Man

-Made in a Creator's Image

-Beauty and Beast

-Natural/Science vs. Supernatural/Enhancements

-Real vs. Ideal

Let me know what you think in the comments below!!!!!