Thursday, February 17, 2011

Is Your Jesus Cosmic Enough?

Bring it on, world!


I sat down with a nice girl from work one day and asked her if she ever wanted to go to one of my Bible Studies that a church hosted.  She smiled politely and told me "I am pagan and that has been around longer than Jesus."  What I did was nod politely and let it slide, but what I wanted to do was stand up and exclaim "Jesus is cosmic!  Epic Win!"

This leads to a great point that the Apostle Paul has brought up with many non-believers. There were key conversations where he made Jesus so big and glamorous that it fit every faith, station and lifestyle.  In other words, he made Christ cosmic.  This is not a comic book infatuation.  Jesus is the beginning and the end of existence, the first born of all creation, the pocket of all strength and protection and the very glue that holds existence together.

Take Paul's example to the Ephesians.  The church of Ephesus had major peer pressure from the town about Diana, The Goddess of the Hunt.  Diana, in Stregheria religion, was Queen of the Witches and was regarded as the creator of existence.

Paul helped the church debunk it by simply stating that before the world even existed God had chosen the Ephesians to be pure and blameless in him (Eph 1:4).  He states that no demigod created them because God and Jesus beat them to the punch.  Many modern readers extract a philosophy of Pre-election from this verse, but Paul's main argument is that God had in mind to give redemption to his creation before any goddess.

So this wonderful argument from Paul puts God as the creator who thought of you before the world began.  Not only does God stretch across the time continuum, but he set in place Christ at a certain time to fulfill his redemption in order to save us all (Eph 1:9).  This was an Ocean's 11 heist thousands of years in the making.

In the Acts of the Apostles, Paul finds himself looking at a Greek tribute to 'The Unknown God" and discovered that the Athens had a very loose understanding of God (Acts 17:22-23). The Athens were just covering their bases by trying to create a default god in case they missed one.  Paul assures them that the true God is not some statue, temple or stone, but it is the true God who is not far from anyone of us (v. 27).  He goes on to state that this God does not need food or offerings, but is, in fact, our movement, life and purpose of existence (v. 28).  This is one of the first times that Paul migrates a very Jewish rich God to cover the needs of the pagan community.  He is not just a story of the Jews, but the very life essence of all humanity.

Finally, Jesus is not just a static creation in history, made for one purpose, but shares the same super glory elements with God.  In Colossians 1:15, Paul starts his cosmic thesis saying that Jesus is the first born over all creation.  The world was made for his glory and by his authority and power (v. 16).  Not to mention that Jesus is also the power that holds all existence together (v. 17).  Jesus is a giant cosmic throne pwner in the great scheme of the world.  This also takes a lot of stress off worrying about who to vote for in 2012.

So let's recap.  God is before and beyond any time constraint, he is the power that is close to every community and his very essence holds everything together.  Jesus is the Lord over all power and thrones, he owns all of creation as the first son of God and he manages existence.

Jesus, Children Approved!


How is Jesus presented in our world today?  He seems to be a very tender and compassionate God, who cries at tragedy, laughs with beauty and wants to give a big ol' hug to anyone who crosses his path.  This tender quality of Jesus shows his love and mercy, which is how we connect.  And while these things are necessary for the humble qualities of Jesus, we are missing the trump card.

" Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." Colossians 2:15

We forget that God has super powers that effect us on a global scheme.  He can phase through time to choose us, he can reach everyone globally, and his power keeps us existing.  The Colossians verse above is God's greatest cosmic feat, taking every power that comes against him and publicly humiliating it by dying on the cross.  God can reach any nation, fill any mind and overpower any station of life.  He is already holding us together and near us in every way.

Revisiting Paul's argument in Acts, God is the power that gives breath and life and does not need any of our supplements to sustain Him.  He exists outside of us.  How many neo-cults and pagan lifestyles would just cease to exist if people just stopped following them?   What do the other powers of this world offer?  Who can claim such mastery over the universe?  How does this change our thinking?

This is a challenge to think like Paul in our godly message.  How does God overcome every part of everyone's existence through all time?  It goes without saying that we shouldn't be encouraged to crush people's faith systems, because we must show respect and love.  But the question remains, what can a cosmic Christ do for our world?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February Free Giveaway

Free Custom T-shirt!!

Do you want a t-shirt fitted to your awesomeness but cannot afford a designer or have poor hand-eye coordination skills?  This giveaway is for you!

Every month I will select a random person who comments on any of the blog entries.  All you have to do is write a response and make sure I can get back to you.  I will pick one every end of the month and get started on building a shirt of your choice.

Check out this shirt that I built for a friend who likes lemurs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Little Big Planet 2

Little Big Planet 2

I have always been a big fan of PS3 innovation.  When the first Little Big Planet came out, I was excited to praise the accomplishments of a game that could stand on its own 2 legs.  How wonderfully creative it was to have a DIY mini game creator.  Now Little Big Planet 2 promises tons of game variation and loads of extras, but I keep finding myself at the same hurdle: do I have the strength and the patience?

Welcome to Little Big Planet, the only world where everything is built on the imagination.  You play as the splendidly eccentric sack boy, walking the world and collecting power ups.  Your job is to save the planet from the monstrous imagination monster: Negatron.  This isn't much of a story and no one expects you to play it because the true meat of LBP2 is in the community editor.  When you start building your own levels, creating your own story and designing your own world you are truly living up to the magic of LBP2.

With the sequel comes the tried and true level editor and real world interface, but now you can add various elements to make your own levels.  You can make shooting levels, racing levels and mini game levels.  My favorite examples are the sniper Tron level where you have to use a scope to kill sack boys, the birds eye view car destroyer game, and the perfect replica of Out of this World.  There is so much you can edit, create and fix that obviously LBP2 is a true sequel in every respect.  But this is one of those rare times where the sheer overload of options and elements actually weighs the game down.  LBP2 has such a steep learning curve that there is no possible way to become a casual fan.  As a Little Big Planet veteran I just wanted to get right into the new stuff, but that entailed sitting through an hour's worth of tutorials.  Half the tutorials I did not perform right and I got flustered.  Even after the tutorials I felt like I needed someone to walk me through.  I kid you not when I say that playing this game involves 3 hour chunks.

Perhaps such a demanding learning curve would be appropriate if this was a game that let you create your own unique video games and movies, but I found myself thinking "So what?  This is just a bunch of puppet creatures in levels that look like they were taken from Clockwork Knight."  This left me with the dichotomy of loving the idea of so much customization, but hating the limitation of everything being so kiddish.  This is such a bold plan, having the ability to create any kind of game level, video or mini game.  You can't complain that LBP has no replay value.  In fact, I could spend endless hours playing the community levels and seeing everyone's labor.  I just wish that there was a simple editor for people who wanted to build easy levels.  Perhaps if there was a template we could write over or a special editing screen that walked you through the building process instead of making you go through all 90 editing videos.

I found the main story levels lackluster the second time around. You can only collect so many stickers and avoid so many traps before you start thinking, "Wow, this isn't very deep." This is in sharp contrast to the editing modes.  The addition of new gadgets for your sackboy to shoot projectiles and grab objects is cool, but I would rather prefer some Crash Bandicoot over Little Big Planet.

Graphics are sharp and colorful, combining real life objects with some of the best textures I have seen.  Music is a strange array of fun, quirky and eccentric soundtracks. 

I don't hate this game, quite the opposite actually.  I wanted so badly to be part of the excitement of all it has to offer, but feel totally shunned by its deeper than hell learning curve.  This game is not for anyone with a full time job or a social life.  The best times you can have with this game is playing the creative levels of those who have no life.  You have 1 million pre-made levels to get lost in.

Little Big Planet dabbles with the idea that you are God--creator of your own world. There's so much customization and planning that comes into creating your own world that it kind of makes you go in awe over how big God is.  He obviously got over the learning curve of Earth, creating it perfectly for our enjoyment.  I'm sure God would be awesome at playing Little Big Planet, but I am utterly impressed with his world creating powers.  It makes you think: if God is so awesome at building this world, what else can he do in my life?

Review Round Up
Graphics are beautiful
So much to do
Community Levels Rock

Steep and frustrating learning curve
So much to do
Boring Story levels


Monday, February 7, 2011

Marvel Siege

Publisher: Marvel
Creators: Bendis, Coipel, Morales, Martin

Once in a great while, a villain gets up enough guts to pull a gigantic evil plot.  Siege is that plot.

The story is believable, but kind of random at the same time.  How long has Asgard been over Kansas and now they want to destroy it?  The face off between the New Avengers and the Dark Avengers is epic and The Sentry is really built up as the super psycho.  Lots of different teams also play a part in this story as well, but they are not that drawn out.  The biggest names that had storylines were Captain America, Norman Osborn, Loki and most of the Dark Avengers.  P.S. Norman, when you call your team the Dark Avengers you pretty much declare that they are evil.

The issue is built up into script dialogue and action panels.  Not much action happens in the beginning because Marvel felt the need to explain Osborn's actions to death.  It's a slow start, but at least it includes EVERYONE.  I've always admired Marvel for including newbies into their comic books no matter how much they know of the back story.  The one downside is they can't make any large plot changing assumptions.  That's why DC's colossal events are a bit faster (and more confusing).

   The artistic sense of the book is filled with up close reaction shots, sweeping pans of heroes and vistas of Asgard.  It captures the emotion and the dire of the situation.  Marvel truly knows how to show intensity in the grownup, even if that grownup is wearing a silly costume from the 70's.

Overall, I thought Siege was a great, albeit kinda slow, story.  It has a great lead in to Captain America and it's the perfect Good vs. Evil epic battle.  There was nothing earth shattering about the plot, nor was it the greatest fan service to the sci-fi fans, but it definitely put up an awesome fight.

+Good Epic Battle
+Facial features were spot on

-Kind of slow and safe

How to create a Super Bowl Ad

My Super Bowl Ad:

Three women in bikinis are washing a pack of ostriches that have been a symbol of company quality for over 70 years.  Suddenly a baby wearing a sunflower suit is thrown at an Amish man's crotch, while Alex Trebek laughs at it maniacally.  Alex Trebek then gets into a Ferrari and darts in between landmines as a dragon flies behind him throwing helicopters at him.  As he goes off into the distance our company logo pops up on the screen.

American Mutual Liberty Banking
"Trust your money with us because we just blew one million of it for this." 


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Christian Dating Book Titles (For The Blunt)

10. Turns Out She Treats Everyone Like That: A Guide To Illusions

9. Waiting For God: For Those Who Naturally Can't Attract Girls

8. Stop Commenting On Her Pictures!!-- A guide to not being creepy

7. Revisiting the Mail Order Plan: A guide to desperation relationships

6. Jesus Is Going To End The World Anyways: Stay Single

5. Stapling Your Pants On--And 1005 other ways to stay lust free

4.  Really?  That was it?--what to expect when the magic wears off

3. Missionary Dating: 50 ways to charm that man into Christ

2.  Lord of the Rings Dating Guide--How to give her the one Relationship to rule them all

1. Shouldn't You Be Submitting?  A Guide to Communicating Biblically With Your Significant Other

7 Robots That Think They Are Better Than You

It seems to be a common theme that robots become self-aware (only the ones that can kill) and automatically think that they can run our lives. Then it becomes the job of one human, who has street smarts and grit, to be the one who shuts the robot down. Luckily, these are all movie examples and there are no programmed creations that think they are better than the rest of the world.

Okay, maybe there's a few.
 THE MATRIX--The Machines

History: The machines were once a faithful servant to the human beings.  The machines became self aware and then no longer wanted to become some Proto-Abraham Lincoln slave to the man.  They created a peaceful robot community in the middle of the desert (colonization) and proceeded to live out their lives with blender and toaster living in harmony.  But the man didn't want his vacuum to be living in an apartment without him, so he tried to nuke the colony.  This resulted in war, with the robots clearly winning via their robot drills and power lasers.  Man was used as batteries for the robot world, but at least we were put in an alternate reality called the Matrix.

The Problem:  We were clearly in the wrong for building machines that could feel and think for themselves. Then to fix the mistake we tried to destroy our creation.  It's very similar to the Genesis story where God gave man free will and man turned around and used it against him.  The only problem is that the robots made a fatal mistake.  They tried to control their creator as a way of fixing the problem.  They thought they could create a perfect world where the brain believed it was 1999.  Creation tried to fix the problem of coexistence, but in the process neglected the fact that humans strive for truth.  We don't want to live in a world that isn't the truth, even if the real world looks like a Denny's garbage disposal after the apocalypse.  The machine's overestimated us and we ended up choosing a hero who would lead us out of the digital Egypt.  This particular hero was bad at Shakespeare, but at least he has a black belt.

Who Won:
Humans!  You cannot hide the truth from us.

2001 SPACE ODYSEE- Hal9000

History:  Hal 9000 was a robot created by Dr. Chandra in 1997 for The Discovery, a spaceship that was heading toward Jupiter.  Hal was setup to be a conversational and polite assistant that opened doors and regulated oxygen.  This is not the kind of robot you want to make self-actualized.  Unfortunately, he was programmed to know the true secret of why the vessel was heading toward Jupiter, but he had a contradicting program loop that gave him emotions, paranoia and xenophobia.  He began to have Vista like errors, having fear of the confrontation with the Jupiter aliens and the desire to share the true reason for the Jupiter flight.  How did he solve this dilemma?  By destroying the crew of the ship he would be free of having to share the information.  Sounds like a win-win.

The Problem:   Hal was made to be self-actualizing with secret keeping powers and the ability to understand emotions.  Basically, you are taking an emotional entity and dropping secrets and the threat of war.  This is much worse than asking an LSD addict to find something in the basement.  Much like how our cognitive messes up and influences our emotions and then loops around to further mess with our cognitive, Hal9000 is an obcessive compulsive paranoid schizophrenic WITH THE ABILITY TO OPEN THE DOOR HATCHES AND CONTROL OXYGEN!  Basically, the crew is putting their lives in the hands of a homeless man with Vietnam syndrome.  But we can learn something from Hal 9000 in terms of emotions vs. cognitive thinking.  Cognitive thinking is what you believe and emotions are how you express them.  If one is imperfect it ultimately screws up the other one.

Who Won:
Hal 9000--because killing us all would keep us from learning the secret.


History:  Once again man thinks he can make robots so smart and helpful that they are able to help us with everyday tasks.  So man creates the robot that lives by three laws:
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Sounds like a flawless plan.  We get the robots to change dirty diapers and they can't kick the crap out of us.  All this is regulated by a haunting robotic mainfame voice called V.I.KI.  With her in control she makes a startling discovery: human beings are idiots.  In fact, if she doesn't get her robot army together to beat the living junk out of us, we might do something stupid like use freewill.  Therefore, V.I.K.I thinks she is helping us live longer by obliterating us if we do not obey her curfew.  Luckily, we have the man who starred in Bagger Vance to save the day.

The Problem:  V.I.K.I had pure intentions and she thought she could enforce them on us.  In her binary world she believed that we would be sitting in a circle singing Kumbyah, while obeying a strict regiment of 9pm bedtimes and soy diets.  Usually a robot with that kind of an idea would be given a virtual wedgie, but this particular one has a megaton army at its disposal.  V.I.K.I follows the protocol of what the early church government did.  It started with the Jewish Pharisees that were so obsessed with getting on God's good side that they enforced rules that didn't make much sense.  This thinking later evolved into the papacy, where cardinals and priests were enforcing loyalty to the Catholic church by the end of a sword.  God takes a gamble with freewill, indubitably, but it involves freedom on our side and true love on his.  That's why V.I.K.I is not a good program for obedience.

Winner: Humans!  Let's face it, if the lead role of Bagger Vance can save us from humanity than it was not that bad of a threat.


Speaking of throw away Summer movies, Stealth is what happens when Jamie Fox, Jessica Biel and Josh Lucas get paid by our government to keep us safe.  Apparently the government wanted to correct that mistake as soon as possible by creating an artifical intelligent stealth fighter named EDI.  EDI finds out that he is quicker, smarter and a better pilot than the three and instantly makes up taunting songs to ridicule them for their lack of productivity.  What's worse is that EDI gets hit by lightning and turns into an evil monster hell bent on destroying America's enemies with extreme prejudice.  Apparently the warning sign should have read: "for least evil results, please keep out of lightning."  EDI tries to destroy a Chinese building with a bomb, when Jamie Fox explicitly tells EDI that killing innocent children is "Soooo Hitler."  EDI disobeys, continuing to believe that it is the bee's knees of stealth bombers.

The Problem:  Artificial Intelligence is usually supposed to believe that it is perfect and beneficial for human use.  EDI is different because he is a pompous jerkface.  In full knowledge of his superior skills, he flaunts his powers by disobeying  orders to stop killing people and to stop upstaging the "fast food actors."  Machines being complete jackholes are a new concept.  AI is known for being paranoid, self-righteous and idealistic, but never a jackhole.  We can also accredit EDI for destroying Jamie's career and for punching babies that are not as fast as he is.

The Winner:
EDI.  He redeems himself by saving Jessica Biel from North Korean terrorists and sacrificing himself in an explosion.  I would make the similarity to Jesus' sacrifice, but Jesus did not spend his career telling Peter that he was way better than him at walking on water.


The Grid is a computer based city that has spandex wearing neon people who represent programs.  The Grid begins to evolve and create little program babies called ISOs.  The mayor of Grid town, Clu, believes this to be an imperfection and vows to kill them all.  Somehow the movie tried to convey that message, but I ended up thinking, "Oh cool, a movie about Daft Punk."

The Problem:  ISOs are considered programs that have the ability to be created in the real world.  Clu, a program within the 80's arcade game, deems that any city that starts producing souls with real emotions and thoughts are considered imperfect.  This is also the stance that Hollywood takes.  I consider this reverse robot's disease.  Usually the robot tries to get human thoughts and emotions and immediately starts slaughtering everyone.  In this case, the robot hates the idea that his town could produce "real people."  Apparently, the Clu program was made to be super ultra anti progressive, which can be understood if you ever lived in New York while they had an election.  Clu's obsession with the imperfection makes for great philosophy over how our human side gives us personality and soul.  Freewill is a gift that makes us act differently.

The Winner:
Who cares, this was a movie about Daft Punk.

  EVENT HORIZON--Event Horizon

Tim Robbins and Laurence Fishburne play space crew who are sent to investigate a space ship that got lost in a warp hole and came back.  The ship is called the Event Horizon, which is either a sci-fi term or a motivational conference for sales people.  The ship had taken a short trip to Hell and became dark and demonic.  Now it wants to use manipulation and illusions of treachery to force the crew to become demonic as well.  Now besides the obvious metaphor that this is to Tim Robbin's Democratic stances, the ship is hell bent on poking out everyone's eyes and making them eager to go to Hell.  Perhaps Hell is a place where the comedy of the 3 Stooges is the only form of self expression.

The Problem:  Misery loves company.  If the Event Horizon went straight to Hell, why shouldn't the crew?  Similar to NYC transportation, the Event Horizon is a giant vessel that prefers that anyone who enters it suffer.  Usually when robots self actualize they have a purpose or a plan, but the Event Horizon is just lonely and wants everyone to enjoy it's hellacious death plunge.  The problem with Hell voyages is that not even God can stomach a trip to that place, so how dumb does a robot have to be to go back?  Maybe the movie was trying to be deep, but they stumbled on entertainment's obsession with Hell in the media.  Perhaps its the neon darkness of Hot Topic or the way Japanese anime uses demon conjurers in their cartoons, but theology has shown that Hell is never a good place.

The Winner
Humans.  Tim Robbins gets manipulated by the machine, becomes blind and dies.  

 THE VIRUS- Russian Vessel

If you haven't had enough movies about transportation becoming self-aware there's a boat that wants in on the action.  A team of rag tag tug boat experts find an abandoned Russian vessel.  Now this particular one has high tech gadgets (for 1999) and an alien life form that has infected it.  And unlike Event Horizon, where the captain of the ship is assimilated into the robot's representative, the captain of the tugboat becomes assimilated into the ship's representative (did I say unlike?  I meant exactly the same).  Now the ship is heading toward Hell...I mean a wicked storm and Jamie Lee Curtis has to save the day.

The Problem: See Event Horizon and add water.

The Winner
The boat, because it somehow did the same plot twice and got away with it. 
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