You remember that scene in Return of the King where Denethor pines over the mortally-wounded Faramir? He thinks his biggest problem is that his son is dead and his line extinguished, but he walks to the edge of the cliff and sees that it’s much worse: the host of Mordor is at the gates and he’s had no idea. And so he despairs, telling his soldiers “Flee! Flee for your lives!” Continue reading “on looking out in despair”
What place would you say the Ten Commandments still has for us today?
It has always struck me that for many non-Christians, and not a few self-professed Christians as well, the heart of Christianity is the Ten Commandments: whether or not you adhere to them, the similarity of your life in comparison to the standards and ideas laid out on those stone tablets. The measure of how good a Christian you are seems to hinge on your ability to mold yourself based on the Ten Commandments, your ability to transcend your own nature and force yourself to become godly and Ten Commandments-y. Continue reading “on the place of the ten commandments”
What happens when the Christian faith produces its own culture? Christian movies, songs, celebrities and cell groups with the Church stamp of approval, exclusively for Christian consumption so as to avoid secular culture? Or what happens when the Church holds out any group in particular as a special example of fallenness to avoid or resist, and leaves it at that? Continue reading “on elitism and inclusiveness”
I recently watched Man of Steel, and holy moly what a silly film, but fun. It was basically The Adventures of Space Jesus. The thing is I went into the cinema knowing that it had overt Christian themes, and I was looking out for them. And actually in the end I kind of liked seeing them there. A lot of the Jesus references were a bit ham-fisted, but it was fun, and there are plenty of explosions and fistfights. Plus it’s refreshing to see a big budget Hollywood film play around with Christian imagery and ideas.
Now apparently there are quite a few churches that are not happy at all about the Jesus imagery. Some of them have even labelled the Superman character anti-Christian, because the real Jesus would never fight back against the bad guys, punching and heat-raying them. The most Christ-like figure in the whole film, one critic says, is Kevin Costner’s self-sacrificial character, not Superman. Continue reading “on space jesus”
One of my good friends is an entrepreneurial, go-getter kind of marketer guy. I love the man dearly but there are a few areas where our ideologies are very different. He’s a dynamic, risk-taking kinda guy, I like to play it safe; he likes organising, I like following, etc.
So once when he explained the importance of knowing the right people, of connections, you can guess what I thought. It was something along the lines of “Pah! A man shouldn’t have to rely on connections, he should work for things!” Continue reading “on connections”
This bit of the OT blew my mind the first time a friend of mine, a god-fearing man, taught me about it a year ago. And here I am a year from then reading it for myself, and it’s still just as awesome. So, Numbers 21:4-9 –
They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”
Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.
Funny how secular interpretations of this passage point to a pagan god, the Greek god of healing Asklepios (whose symbol is a snake on a rod). But a biblical, Spirit-filled interpretation points to the real Healer, Jesus Christ. I had already heard how this passage is a direct prophecy of Christ’s healing and his sacrifice, as John 3:14-15 makes very clear – “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Also see John 6:39-40 – “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.“ Continue reading “a bronze snake and a talking donkey”