Saturday, May 19, 2018

Jesus:won, Superheroes: Zero

It amazes me how so many people can read the Bible and come away from it with such differing opinions of who Jesus is. Or, in some cases, what He is and what He Does. As I was reading Superheroes Can’t Save You: Epic Examples of Historic Heresies, (B&H Academic, 2018) I kept thinking that in addition to the heresies that Todd Miles presents, he is also contributing a lot to a study of Christology.

                I ask to write about a lot of books based on an intriguing title. Sometimes it works, sometimes I’m disappointed, but this book is as intriguing as its title.  Based on a childhood fascination with the Superheroes of the Marvel and DC universes, Miles sets out to compare the superheroes of the comic book world to the Jesus of the Bible. After all in the comics, superheroes save people, and in the Bible, Jesus saves.  What he discovers is that in these battles, it’s a sweep. Jesus: Won; Superheroes: zero.
                As we look at several different superheroes, Miles talks a lot about Jesus, and points out a few similarities, but also a lot of differences, and these differences are what point to the heresies that the church has endured over the year.  Outside of Seminary, I don’t remember hearing a lot about things like ‘Docetism’, ‘Modalism’, ‘Apollinarianism’ or ‘Eutychianism’.  Come to think of it, I don’t remember studying Apollinarianism or Eutychianism at all, even in Seminary.
                But all these heresies, and a few others, are things the church has wrestled with over the years, as people tried to understand Jesus: fully human, fully divine; or as the church tried to understand the concept of the trinity.  So Miles brings in the superheroes, and although they are pretty impressive in their own right, they pale when compared to Jesus. Superman hides behind the identity of Clark Kent, and Batman lives as Bruce Wayne, but they are not both at the same time. Jesus wasn’t God in disguise, and he was a lot more than just a remarkable human being. Using Superman, Batman, Ant-Man, Thor, Green Lantern, the Hulk and Spider Man, as reference points, Miles points out the reality of Jesus as compared to the fantasies of our childhood superheroes.

                A received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of their blogger program.

Monday, May 14, 2018

the adventure of a lifetime: Beyond the Sun

Once again my friends at Grace Hill Media have reached out asking people to blog about a movie that releases this week across multiple platforms.  They’ve also promised me a gift card that I can give to one lucky reader (selected at random later this week from among those who comment on the blog (or FB or Twitter)
And if you really feel lucky, you’’ want to watch the trailer and then enter the contest to be eligible for a trip for 4 to Rome (Italy, not NY or any of the other states with a city of the same name) with a tour of the Vatican.

Summer means a slew of big blockbusters featuring the biggest Hollywood stars.  But this summer, the most inspirational person to hit the big screen may not be The Avengers, Tom Cruise, and even “The Rock.”  It’s Pope Francis!!!

The Pope will appear for the first time ever in the family movie, BEYOND THE SUN. The film hopes to bring a message of joy, and God’s love to all audiences.  

watch the trailer HERE

Kids, you know they’re always up for adventure, and sometimes those adventures take them a little farther than they knew they wanted to go. And in their quest for adventure, sometimes they make some pretty bold statements. Often those statements have to do with belief in God. Or lack of belief. (That’s probably where Pope Francis comes in)
            So bloggers have been asked to write about a childhood adventure memory, or an adventure with our own children. I like SCUBA diving, and love swimming where I can watch sharks, so one of my favorite adventures with my son was getting him certified, with the hope that one day we would be able to dive places like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and enjoy the majestic beauty of sharks in that area. It hasn’t happened yet, but there have been other dives.
            Our first open water dive after he got certified at the age of 10 or 11 was in Mazatlan, Mexico.  I was excited, he was nervous (just as I had been on my first few open water dives) and I was much more interested in watching him experience the joys of SCUBA than I was seeing anything under water. (To be fair, I had been diving there several times.)
But things didn’t go quite as planned. He had trouble maintaining buoyancy, and he is convinced that he was in shark-infested waters.
            I was disappointed, but certainly learned that not everyone experiences God's glory in quite the same way. It also taught me that my son is his own person, with his own interests, and although I can share the things I like, that doesn’t mean that others will like those same things. It’s turned into a life lesson in ministry also. I can share Jesus, but I can’t force anyone to become a believer…each of us makes our own choices, and what is fun, exciting and full of adventure for one person, might have no appeal  for another.
            A search for God is its own adventure. One which I would encourage everyone to experience.

A heartwarming family film is releasing this week.  Distributed by AMBI Distribution, BEYOND THE SUN, is a modern day tale of hope, faith and courage based on stories from the Bible. This delightful family movie chronicles the adventures of four young friends in search of God.

The film features a very rare special appearance by Pope Francis.  In support of the film, AMBI Media Group is holding a special contest where one lucky winner will win an Exclusive Private Tour of the Vatican and Front Row Tickets to an Audience with The Pope For Four! 

For anyone who has ever wanted to visit Italy and The Vatican, this is your chance!  For additional details about the contest and to enter, please go to: Contest info and entry form

BEYOND THE SUN will be available for purchase across multiple platforms including iTunes, Amazon, and TUGG on May 15th.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Growing Down. Bigger is not always better

Bigger is not always better, but unfortunately we’ve grown up in a society that suggests that more is what we should be going for, not just in a paycheck, but in everything else also.
Michael Kelley sets out to remind us that ‘less is more’ is a biblical concept. Remember John the Baptizer, while talking about Jesus, saying, “He must become greater, I must become less.” (John 3:30, NIV).  In Growing Down: Unlearning the Patterns of Adulthood that Keep Us from Jesus (B&H Publishing Group, 2018) Kelley offers numerous examples of areas of our life where we definitely need to become less so that Jesus can become more in our lives. Just a few examples are how we have learned to be self-reliant, when what we should be striving for is dependence on the Savior; or how we should unlearn anxiety in favor of trust. And my favorite is how the busyness that we’ve been taught is a good thing has to become secondary to Sabbath rest if we are to find time to be with Jesus in any meaningful way.
I enjoyed reading the book, but I’m not sure how much potential to be a life changer for me. It’s short and easy to read, but I didn’t find a lot of ‘AHA’ moments.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to post a positive review.