Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Amazing Apostle

Reading comic books as a child, I learned the source of Superman’s strength: He was born on the planet Krypton which orbited a red sun. When he came to Earth, our yellow sun gave him superpowers. I followed his adventures on our black and white television as George Reeves flew around in ill-fitting leotards, and years later in Technicolor on the big screen as Christopher Reeve sported a more expensive and better tailored costume.
As a teen, I discovered Spiderman comics. Though an ordinary human, Peter Parker gained amazing strength when a radioactive spider bit him. I watched his animated series with my younger brother—it might have been in color, but we still had a black and white TV—and the catchy theme song still bounces around in my brain:
Spiderman, Spiderman, friendly neighborhood Spiderman…
Is he strong? Listen, Bud. He’s got radioactive blood…
Good rhyming poetry sticks with a person.
Of course I saw the Tobey Maguire movies, and I plan to see the newest incarnation of the Amazing Spiderman, starring Andrew Garfield. (Who is he?)
I also admire heroes other than those in comic books. I enjoy reading the apostles’ adventures in Acts. I marvel at Paul, who seems to be a New Testament superhero.
What gave Paul the power to preach and plant churches, heal the sick and raise the dead, survive shipwrecks and beatings, and write for the bestselling book of all time?
More astounding than the sun’s color or a spider’s venom, Paul’s strength came from his weakness.
At first Paul struggled against a limitation, which he called “a thorn in the flesh,” until Jesus assured him, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT).” Paul described that power as the force that raised Christ from the grave—talk about superpowers!—and Paul declared it’s available to every believer (Ephesians 1:19 – 20).
With Christ’s muscle, instead of reading about superheroes, I can be one. And so can you. What heroic deeds are scheduled for today? Listen to a friend. Smile at a stranger. Meet a need. Love an enemy. Keep my mouth shut. The Bible is bursting with ideas for superheroes.
But let’s just wear our regular clothes, okay?

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty.  Zechariah 4:6, NIV

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Blog!

Today is the one year (plus one day) anniversary of my blog. In a shamefully lazy (but hopefully clever) move, I am re-posting my first ever blog post, "July 4th means never having to say your highness." Since last Independence Day, we've experienced one more British royal spectacle, the diamond anniversary of the queen. While I enjoyed watching the adoring Brits responding to the queen's little hand wave on the telly, I still have to say, "Uh, no." As Russell Brand says, we're getting ready to elect a new king here in America, and as flawed as the process and the two candidates are, I think we'll stick with them for the foreseeable future.

(a summer rerun)

With William and Kate on our side of the pond, the media rushes to remind us of the proper way to address royalty. “Your Majesty” has fallen out of style, so begin with “Your Royal Highness” and drop back to a respectful Ma’am or Sir.

Uh, no.

Methinks we fought a war about this a couple of hundred years ago. Unlike Canada and more than four dozen other nations, we severed our ties with British royalty when John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, signed his name large enough for King George to read without his spectacles.

Now we’re just friends with Britain. Good friends. Very good friends that saved their, um, tushies during two world wars.

So if you run into Willie and Kate, you have my permission to address them as equals:  

Hey youse guys!
How are youinz doing?

Or whatever passes for friendly in your corner of these independent United States of America.

Happy 4th of July. May all your princesses be Disney.