Before we rattle our sabers too much, we should look at the context. The great apostle Paul explains that God exalted Jesus because Jesus chose to humble himself, even to the point of becoming a servant. Here is the lead up to those power verses I quoted earlier.
“ 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name…”
This is a different way, and this paradigm is not just a religious fantasy. It works. Jesus was a strong leader. He had thousands of followers that he ministered to personally and through his group of disciples. Jesus also taught that the purpose to leadership was service. When done well, this type of leadership is self perpetuating. People love to follow leaders they trust and who have their followers best interests at heart. That’s why Jesus still commands a vast and growing following today. His ways are different and wonderful. I think that beats following the owner of the Darksaber or striving to ascend a golden step ladder every time.
Did Jesus fix them? Yes. Did their live turn out the way they expected? Nope. Not at all.
I just uploaded an episode of the Telescope Show about Star Trek Strange New Worlds. As I sit here reflecting, I am struck by how things come and go in cycles. Strange New Worlds feels fresh, but it really isn't that fresh. It's really a return to classic, episodic storytelling that used to be the norm for all television programs. That norm was replaced by the more sophisticated, serial format that allowed for more intricate plots and character development. Now that streaming services are awash in serial style TV shows, however, a good ol' episodic show like Strange New Worlds is a breath of fresh air.
I'm not convinced that every trend should make a come back. Just the other day, my son asked me if he could get a mullet. It's official. The mullet is rearing its very ugly head again. Can we stop it? Probably not. Should it happen? I'll just say this. I survived the last mullet invasion and have the embarrassing pictures to prove it. I don't wish that on any future generation!
For Star Trek, the return to an episodic structure has real benefits. Strange New Worlds feels very positive, especially compared with season two of Picard, which released earlier in the year. The heroes save the day, and they do it in a cool 45 minutes every time. Is it cheesy? Yup. Is it satisfying? Immensely!
Check out Star Trek: Strange New Worlds on Paramount plus! The finale of season 1 of Strange New Worlds drops on July 7th! Here is the afore mention episode of the Telescope Show.
Have you ever scoured the internet trying to discover when and where a movie you missed was going to hit streaming? I missed Venom 2 and Eternals this fall and ended up spending a bunch of time weeding through articles and conflicting information about where and when I could watch those two films. Eternals hits Disney + on January 12th. Venom 2 is available to purchase. The info about a streaming release date is more sketchy at best, and I spent way too much time trying to figure it out.
Was that time well spent? Probably not.
As I write this, it is January 1st 2022, and I am thinking of things I want to accomplish this year. Each goal will take time. Time. That’s the key. If you’re like me, you often mutter the phrase, “I just don’t have enough time.” Sometimes, it’s true. I’m a father of 3. I work and have a host of other things clamoring for my attention. At other times, my claim about having no time is just an excuse for poor planning. I do have time. I just spent too much of it doing things like figuring out how to watch Venom 2.
What would be a worthy use of time in 2022. In John chapter 15 Jesus gives us some rock solid advice for how to spend our time. He told a parable that described us as branches on a vine and God as a vine dresser who pruned the unfruitful parts off of the vine. The vine dresser wants the branches to produce more fruit. The parable described Jesus as the main vine that provided nourishment to outer branches. The implications of the teaching are straight forward. We need to prioritize our connection to the main vine, and we need to let God prune unfruitful things from our lives, which allows the fruitful parts to reach their greatest potential.
How is your spiritual life? Do you feel distant from God? Uninterested in spiritual things? Chances are good that you have not prioritized your connection to Jesus. I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but your dull spiritual life is your fault. Hey, I’m the guy who just admitted to wasting a bunch of time learning about movie release dates! I am there with you. How can we spend more time with God? You and I will have to take time away from something else. In other words, we have to let God trim or prune some things in our lives, so that our spiritual lives can flourish.
The Lord is trying to save us from a life that is full of waste and lackluster. When we surrender and allow the master gardener to complete his pruning, we will experience an explosion of colorful, delicious fruit. We will experience an inner renewal that will lead to outer flourishing and fruitfulness.
Scarlett Johansson recently filed a lawsuit against Disney, claiming they broke the terms of her contract by releasing Black Widow on Disney + at the same time they released it in theaters. Disney issued a statement asserting that the terms of the contract were met and insinuating that Johansson ought to be content with the over 20 million dollars she was paid.
Is Disney guilty of breaking the terms of the contract? Does Black Widow have a black heart of greed? Why can’t Scarlett Johansson be happy with her huge fortune and accept the situation as an unfortunate result of Covid-19? No doubt, the contract in question is more detailed than the U.S. Constitution, and there are many parties involved such as agents, lawyers and the like, which means the decision is not entirely Johansson’s to make. All we can really do is speculate. We are all just backseat drivers. Still, Speculating, back-seat driving and playing arm chair quarterback are loads of fun.
I couldn’t resist asking myself what I would do, as a person of faith, if I were in her shoes. Would I take the seemingly high road and let the breach of contract go? Would I take a stand and fight for what I was owed? How could scripture inform my decision?
The New Testament does offer a handful of teachings that suggest a passive approach. In the fifth chapter of Matthew, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘an Eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” At first glance, that seems pretty applicable to the situation at hand. Don’t fight back. Don’t sue Disney. Done.
What is “turning the other cheek” really about though? Throughout Chapter five John’s gospel, Jesus teaches His followers to go above and beyond the black and white rules of the Mosaic Law. Jesus pushes us to see the intent behind each of God’s rules. For example, the intent behind the Old Testament dictum “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is that the law should be administered fairly and justly. When the true spirit of justice is ignored, justice can easily be weaponized as a means to exact revenge or grab power. This is why Jesus urges His followers to go above and beyond the letter of the law and to embrace the heart behind the law.
Justice is tricky, if not impossible to implement in the real world, where pettiness, competitiveness and unforgiveness often reign. When it comes to interpersonal conflict, turning the other cheek produces amazing results. It prevents the escalation and perpetuation of conflict. Turning the other cheek garners sympathy and can even change the heart of the aggressor who begins to see their own malice. This happened in the 1960s during the Civil Rights movement. Police sprayed and beat peaceful protesters who refused to fight back. The heart of America changed as it watched these events unfold.
Turning the other cheek and walking away from a fight with Disney would certainly bring peace to the Johansson vs Disney battle, but would simply walking away be the right thing to do? Yes. However, the Bible might have another principle up its sleeve that would act as a counter weight to turning the other cheek. There is another Biblically acceptable answer.
Just a few years ago, it came to light that Hollywood powerbroker Harvey Weinstein sexually abused multiple actresses. Most of them chose silence instead of fighting such a powerful and well connected individual. This set a precedent, so the abuse continued. One day, however, a reporter named Jodi Kantor from the New York Times took her stand in a proverbial David and Goliath battle against Weinstein and won. She didn’t just win for herself. It was a victory for all women, who would now enjoy greater protection from predators in the workplace. Could Scarlett Johansson be making a similar stand?
The biblical story of David and Goliath kicks off with Goliath offering Israel a bargain: surrender and slavery in exchange for peace. A bloodless surrender was appealing! Peace was in sight! Thankfully, someone showed up who was not ready to trade freedom for peace! David stood up to Goliath and sent a river-smoothed stone crashing through the brute’s forehead. Israel was ecstatic! The Philistines wizzed their pants, and the rest is history.
If I were in Scarlett Johansson's position, I would realize that this situation affects more than just me. What about everyone in the film industry who will be affected if companies like Disney know they can simply ignore their contracts. What about the actresses fighting to receive fair pay and respect and wanting to be more than sexy window dressing in movies for men? Will holding Disney accountable positively affect how they are treated? On the other hand, what about Jesus’ plea to turn the other cheek? Am I obligated to follow the teaching and example of Jesus?
Jesus turned the other cheek when he was persecuted and gave the world a stunning picture of grace in the face of violence, but Jesus set many other examples. Jesus also stood as bold preacher. He looked into the faces of powerful men and thundered the call to, “repent!” If Disney truly disregarded a contract it made with Scarlett Johansson, some repentance may be in order. I think I would stand like David. I think I would fight for those who were following in my footsteps. I think I would thunder like Jesus when it came to Disney. Hopefully, I would have the grace to bear the stinging word of my critics and turn the other cheek.
Despite the cats’ wayward ways, we still love them. In fact, we love them enough to put limits on them. We buy tricky cat harnesses that no cat can, supposedly, escaped from. We leash them or even try to confine them in-doors. The cats don’t get it. They are wild inside. They can fend for themselves by tuning into that killer instinct, something Fido the dog can no longer find that frequency. As cat owners, we get it. We restrain them for their good. We know cats pick up intestinal worms by eating mice and rabbits. We see first hand what happens when a car rolls over a fat house cat and all nine lives are spent in an instant. Thud. Splat. Flat cat!
This arrangement reminds me of my relationship with God. I can see the world beyond the mesh netting of my divinely placed Outback Jack Outdoor Cat Enclosure. I want to run through the mesh and into the freedom beyond, yet, God prevents me. I don’t get it. God does. In his book Trusting God, author Jerry Bridges says, “God can restrain not only people’s actions, but even their most deeply rooted desires. No part of the human heart is impervious to God’s sovereign but mysterious control.” God knows about the worms and the car tires that would probably eat me up and run me over if I had my own way. Thank God I don’t! Thank God for the Outback Jack Outdoor Cat Enclosure: non-sponsor the of the Telescope Show.
Thanks for reading! Click one of the links. Anything you buy on that trip to Amazon will help the show.
There are so many Loki variants running around these days! Maybe it’s time for you to get in on some of the mischief? If so, grab your glorious purpose by the horns! Purchase this golden Loki crown, and embrace your inner god of mischief!
These unfortunate side effects often lead to other unfortunate outcomes (also covered in the waiver). They include betrayal by co-conspirators, death of all hired or conscripted soldiers and beat-downs by groups of super powered hero’s.
Please, don’t let that daunting list of negatives keep you from grabbing these horns! You’ll be the most stylish mischief maker around, and remember, Loki never really dies. Take the crown today! You were born to rule!
After the interview, Matt was, against all odds, able to convince Marvel to not sponsor the show! It was an amazing act of non-diplomacy and statecraft! If you were dying to know all the details behind Ricky Pope’s theory of how to seamlessly introduce the X-Men into the Marvel Movie-verse, you can grab this anthology and begin your education!
The picture in this post is the cover of the complete Illuminati run. Check it out on Amazon. Anything you buy on that trip to Amazon helps the show. Thanks for reading, and thank you Marvel for not sponsoring this show!
These precision tools have all the classic features you’ve come to know and love over the years. Handles that beacon the most leathery hand to reach down and squeeze the polypropylene and polyethylene grip. The bristles are made from nylon. They won’t break down over time and are impervious to water, toothpaste and all the toxic preservatives found in the processed foods we eat. Put these tooth brushes to the test, and you’ll experience their versatility first hand. With a gentle sweep whisks away that morning tooth scum leaving you feeling fresh and confident. Need to deal with pesky gummy bear residue entrenched in the trenches of your molars? Add a little gusto to your brushing, and our bristles will have that bear gunk out faster than Smokey the Bear running from a California wildfire!
Finally, These brushes come in many fashionable colors, so you can stand out in the crowded toothbrush holder at your house. There is so much to love, and you can love it 100 times over with this great 100 pack of toothbrushes!
Thanks for reading this ridiculous blog! We all need a little levity now and then. If you want to help out the Telescope show, click the affiliate link. Anything you buy on that trip to Amazon will help us help others discover God through Geek Culture.
Having the creator of Narnia as an unofficial sponsor of the show is almost a dream come true! Clive, that was C.S. Lewis’ actual first name, did not have a life untouched by pain. He married late in life only to loose his wife to cancer. He also experienced physical pain. Wounded in WWI, Lewis carried a piece of shrapnel in his body for the remainder of his life.