Among the earliest of Christian confessions is, ‘Jesus is Lord’. One of the many ironies of our day is that the language of conversion which is in the Bible is at times exchanged by preachers and others for language that is not. For example, we sometimes mistakenly urge people to ‘accept’ Jesus Christ. This is a weak, and I must say defective, way of formulating what it means to become a Christian. Our interpersonal parallels make this obvious. We say of Mr So and So, ‘He just wants acceptance. He just wants to be accepted by you’. Mr So and So is cast into the role of victim by the language of acceptance. Poor fellow. He just wants to belong, to be one of the gang. It goes without saying, I trust, that such is inadequate terminology for conversion to Christ. Jesus is not passively seeking acceptance. He is not pleading that we let Him be a part of our lives. He does not have a psychological need for a place at our table. He does not need us at all. Rather He is actively demanding and commending submission.
Quoted from When Grace Comes Alive: Living Through the Lord’s Prayer
by Terry Johnson, Pages 108-109
I cannot agree more. It is always sad to see ‘so-called’ evangelical churches in Malaysia, ‘persuading’ non-believers in the wrong way by passifying the command by the Lord to repent. It is a command issued out, not a weak call. Unknown to the believers, it reveals how we see God Almighty.
How can we merely accept Jesus Christ, as if it is up to us (everything dependant on human will)? One of the oft used reaction to a person’s ‘rejection’ goes something like: Oh, God is so ‘hurt’ by your unwillingness to accept Him. He is crying, etc. etc. This is really a wrong understanding of God who is self-sufficient and not dependant on anything in this universe (relating to His omnipotence). We equate God as if He is a mere man, and nothing more; that is wicked.
The Gospel is simple yet clear. It demands submission and the acceptance of a broken, contrite heart that is God given. It is not wrong to use the expression “acceptance” if you give it the right context. The question is: would you take the time and care to do so?
I once started a crazy collection of Savage Dragon 2 years back… it just snapped in my head when I began to track down Erik Larsen’s old Spider-man issues (where he wrote and draw). I like his ‘enthusiasm’ which he articulates through his artwork and plots. It is (almost always) over the top and ‘shocking’. He tries to ‘wow’ the readers by pulling out new tricks from his hat (or rather head). Look at his de facto character of 15 over years (more if you include the fact that he created Dragon from his childhood years): he’s a cop, a team leader, married, fighting with gods (& God, apparently), trapped in another universe, had children, burnt into crisp, etc. etc.
It gets a bit ‘too much’ after a while… and coupled with his taking over the Editor in Chief position of Image Comics, the title just got ‘snagged’… and suffered. Fan base dwindled (me included), as issues came out sporadically.
But things changed. He’s no longer busy, except on the Dragon. And surprise, surprise… after that awful Solar Man chapter (I really detested that)… here we have an issue that tells the highlights of Dragon and his newly requainted family’s (Angel and Malcom) day, as it unfolds, day after day. According to Erik (whose signature I plagiarise as my own – his “E” and “N”), the whole issue follows 120+ days in Dragon’s universe timeline.
Guess what… it works. It is nice to see how each day corresponds to the same day of another week. Recurring issues are dealt and expanded. The nicest moments (to me) revolves around his children’s settling down to their new status quo, after being lost for a long while in Dimension X (ala ‘the Negative Zone’). Dragon’s own battle with a heavy financial burden grounds the whole setting with reality; here is a superhero who is struggling to make ends meet, and has a family to manage. Some things have to be sacrificed (relationships and security). But towards the end, you get glimpses of progress in the life of Dragon and family.
That’s it… I give up. It is confusing… and I think I finally understand what is wrong with the whole Crisis series: It’s not in the writing (because All-Star Superman had the same ‘crammed’ style to it, which worked excellently well), it’s the whole need for the background infopedia of the DC universe and the mismatch art. The art (especially by JG Jones) was above average, but somehow it lacks the pacing and storytelling needed to execute Morrison’s plot and script nicely. I believe Quitely (Frank) would have aced this, but we know that probably would have taken a few years to finish the series.
I think the artist (J.H. Williams III) who worked with Morrison in his Batman run (The Island of Mister Mayhew) is another who catches the storytelling approach needed to make Morrison’s compressed plots come to life without forcing too much out of the reader. I really like Morrison’s work when it really is executed well (Seaguy, JLA Classified, Batman, All-Star Superman), but Final Crisis is really way too complicated and convulated for my liking.
Definitely not friendly to the person who wants to just jump on a new series for the fun of it.
Parts I liked:
Black Superman and Wonder Woman. Really interesting.
Silhouette of Bruce Wayne.
The Title page for this issue. Really appropriate (even though I have no idea how it got there).
I find it hard to blog about spiritual issues anymore since it is now part of my work and is tied very closely with my church. I still will if there is something important that has to be said. In the meantime, I think I better write less about it, unless I want it to be taken as an ‘official statement’ (which I won’t want to, as yet).
So, it comes down to ‘other things’. Like comics and computer games and my childhood… hahahaha. It will have to do for now. In some sense it is quite a relief to talk on other things.
I’ll be going back to Kuantan this Sunday till Tuesday. I do not know whether it is a long or short trip. Feels like I have my Monday packed with activities. Wish to catch up with my old friends and all… but, as I get older, it seems to get harder to do so. I do not enjoy the quantity of visits. I enjoy the quality and length of visits more.
Meaningful conversations are a rare commodity nowadays.
Only to those who measure success in numbers and shallow Christianity.
How does one measure Moses against Elijah against Isaiah against Job against Jacob against Jeremiah against Ezekiel, etc.? Yet, of all the prophets, John the Baptist IS the greatest. (Mat 11:11) Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.
The work of ministry is always not about a ‘physical’ battle. It is an intangible one that is only tangible spiritually. How it ends, determines what is our portion that has been planned by our Creator. As long as our ‘talents’ are used to the best of what is given.
In some sense, there is no such thing as a losing battle. Not when the war has been won and victory guaranteed.
The last page of Final Crisis #6. The aftermath of a showdown between Darkseid and the Dark Knight. I have to say that the whole series has been extremely confusing. I really tried giving some effort and showing some tolerance for what Morisson and folks were trying to do with the DC universe. But in the end, I cannot be bothered. It assumes way too much knowledge and background information. People like me (casual DC readers) are lost in transition.
The art is good. I love Carlos’ work (as always).
The ending for this issue was done well… Superman being ’emo’ over his best friend’s death. He was preoccupied elsewhere (as usual).
Anyway, my speculation is that NightWing (aka Dick Grayson) would take up the mantle of the bat. I really dislike Damien (Bruce Wayne’s supposed son).
For great sagas, give me Marvel anytime. At least it is coherent and structured. This Final Crisis (actually all the crisis except the one that started them all, ‘Identity Crisis’, was confusing.
I really have not been buying comics for 2 years. 🙂 It has been relatively easy to do so. But after seeing this, I might just buy one last graphic novel!
Very good comic which I still flip through at times to appreciate the simplicity and yet profound storytelling exhibited by Scott McCloud. I like the story very much, especially the relationship between the Zot and his girl (read it to find out more!)
Now this is what I call reliable. For once, an announcement made by little known Australian online retailer, on a concept that many has failed to deliver, and now proven to be true (see for yourselves) from the video.
It is not pricey, only costs AUD399. That’s about RM1,000.
It looks smooth too.
I think we have a potential winner for the Asia Pacific market.
Mr Chaput added: “Caloric overcompensation following intellectual work, combined with the fact we are less physically active when doing intellectual tasks, could contribute to the obesity epidemic currently observed in industrialised countries.