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Happy Birthday: Amir Aczel

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Philip Shorey and Curse of the Vampire

Back in June I interviewed Philip Shorey about his participation in the May Day Parade, and his new book Kill Your Art. What you don't know, is there was another project that didn't make it into the final blog post. Philips comic book, Curse of the Vampire. At the time Philip and I decided that the interview should focus on Kill Your Art. We decided to save this part of the interview for early October. I think it was the right decision.  Here is the missing part of the interview.

Mike: I see you’ve come out with this comic book called Curse of the vampire. I love creepy things. I visited the Del Toro Exhibit here in Minneapolis this summer.  For that reason alone, I’m drawn to read this thing – but what makes this story different?
Philip: It’s a vampire comic about Jesus. It doesn’t romanticize the vampire like modern vampire stories do. Vampires are everywhere today, in pop culture, but its like “Oh the poor vampire. They’re stuck between life and death.” And the vampire is th…

Is the Success of the Church Directly Proportionate to the Abilities of It's Members?

After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island—it was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. There we found some brothers and sisters who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. The brothers and sisters there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged.
 - Acts 28:11-15
Several passages in the New Testament support a concept called The Universal Priesthood - or The Priesthood of All Believers.

Jesus gave the Great Commission to all of his followers (Matthew 28:19-20). Paul teaches that the church is a body made up of many parts and that each one has an important contribution to make (1 Co…

Leveraging the Attention Bias for Spiritual Growth

We typically think of biases as those bad thought patterns that prevent us from thinking rationally.
What they really are though are heuristics that make our thought life less complicated. These shortcuts are only bad if they routinely direct us to make errors in judgement. We can however take note of these problematic patterns and refocus them in beneficial ways.

Attention bias is the tendency for people's perception to be affected by their recurring thoughts at any given time. For instance, if think there is something significant about the number 13, you will start to notice it everywhere. Attentional biases explain an individual's failure to consider alternative possibilities, as specific thoughts guide the train of thought in a certain manner (see Wikipedia entry: Attention Bias).

What this means is that whatever it is you are focused on will be amplified in your perception, your subconscious will automatically direct your attention to things you've selected as importan…

The Role of Shame in Terror Recruiting

It's been 16 years since 9/11 - and since George W. Bush declared the War on Terror. Yet military action has not led to a more peaceful world. In fact, terrorist ideology has spread. The problem is exacerbated when people try to fight the war on terror in their own way - against people who are not terrorists - but just happen to be Muslim,

Though people have been repeatedly warned that this is exactly what groups like ISIS wants - that warning seems to fall on deaf ears. Even Christians who have tools for peace, more powerful than any government, have bought into this futile pattern of response.

I've just read an insightful post by Leena Al Olemy titled "Terrorists Don't Kill For Their Religion, It's Something Else." In it, Olemy points to a common factor among people drawn to terror groups and actions. The common factor is not religious devotion she says - it's shame.

As more and more details emerge about the perpetrators of terror, we are discovering t…

Schrödinger's Future - Prayer and Hurricane Irma

Kyle Roberts (Unsystematic Theology,) recently shared a question posed to him about Hurricane Irma. "Should we pray for God's protection from hurricanes?" Or, should we just pray for strength and comfort during and after the disaster?

Roberts says he used to pray for God to change history, but he rarely does so anymore. It seems highly manipulative that God would withhold his loving care and refuse to redirect the storm, (restore mutated cancer cells, or dissolve the plaques that cause dementia for that matter,) unless people can muster up enough faith to respond. I agree that this kind of manipulation would be entirely unworthy of God. And to bash one's self or others against the rocks of a request that cannot possibly be granted seems cruel and a surefire way to ultimately kill any belief in God. When my first wife died during the birth of our son - I was approached by some friends who asked if they could pray with me for God to restore her to life. I did not tell …

Whatever Happened to Gordon J. Glover ? ? ?

A number of years ago I was given a book for Christmas that radically changed my perspective on the the creation account in Genesis 1-2. The book was called "Beyond The Firmament: Understanding Science and the Theology of Creation." the author was Gordon J. Glover.

It was written to help Christians resolve the conflict between faith and science by informing believers about the nature of ancient cosmology and contrasting it with a modern scientific worldview.

Though both appear to address the similar topic of "origins" they differ in method - and purpose. Once you can accept this difference between the two approaches, it becomes easier to accept the conflicts between them - without rejecting either.

Creation in the Bible
Today most Evangelicals look at the creation account in Genesis to answer our questions of what happened. But Origin is not the primary concern of the creation account in the Bible. Without the secular scientific worldview as a competitor the questio…