Prophetic Panther

I like a good super-hero movie so I watched Black Panther. It was really well done, with an excellent cast, and a positive message. It’s been said that there’s nothing new under the sun and as I reflected on the story, I realized it’s filled with Biblical/messianic metaphors (technically some are pop-Christian rather than Biblical but I’ll give that a pass this time).

*Spoiler Alert* Turn back now if you haven’t watched it yet.

There’s a historic conflict with a rebellion that develops into a great controversy.
The son represents the father – ensures the kingdom continues.
The son becomes king (messiah) once he’s “baptized.”
A fallen one lays claim to the kingdom thru deception.
The resurrection of a friend a few days after he was “dead.”
One who is a close as a brother becomes commits a betrayal.
The sacrificial death and resurrection of the true king; three women going to the fallen king’s tomb.
The outsider being made an insider by the risen king.
The true king defeating the enemy in a great battle,
The true king brings peace to the world.

What do you think? Did you notice any others?

Corey

When I was much younger, my cousin had a baby. She was one of those lost kids, the kind the world takes a toll on, and in short order, her mom was raising her son. His name was Corey.

Back in the day, none of us really understood what FASD was but we’re pretty sure now that Corey had it. It was hard for Corey to fit in with us. He was the first second-cousin and much younger than all of us. We were jerky kids and not very good at integrating him into our visiting. But he was there and he was family.

Over the years I lost touch with Corey. He had a son of his own. He struggled with alcohol. The last time I remember seeing him was at another second cousin’s wedding. It was strange to see the little kid we used to play with as an adult. Where had the time gone?  Unfortunately,, he started drinking and before long, there was an incident, and he and others were embarrassed and angry.

That wedding happened maybe ten years ago. Corey once again slipped into the past. On my mom’s side, we were all fairly close as kids. But as people grow up, move away, start their own families… we lost track. No one is to blame. It just happens but it’s still sad. What’s even sadder is that in all the pictures I have, I can’t find one of Corey. He’s missing.

This morning, I received a call from my sister. My second cousin Corey was killed, murdered. Details are sketchy but the cause of death was massive head trauma. Like most families, ours has been touched by accidental death, by cancer, by old age. All death is a curse but this feels so much worse; evil.

My heart hurts. It hurts for a lost little boy born to a lost young woman. It hurts for a lost family member. It hurts for a man lost to alcohol. It hurts for my second cousin. His name was Corey.

 

Cannot

Do you know what you cannot do? I try to write from a position of affirmation and encouragement. But do you know, no matter how hard you try, what you cannot do?

One of my favourite devotional books is Steps to Christ. It’s succinct yet packed with inspiration. Each time I read it, I discover something new. That’s why I was delighted to find a blog from newenglandpastor called,  No, You Can’t.

I encourage you to click the link and read the whole post but I want to give you a highlight.

“What is it that she wants us to understand we cannot do? Check these out (and look them up for yourself so you can see the full context; the page numbers are in the parentheses)…

Change our hearts (18)
Purify the springs of life (18)
Control our thoughts, impulses, affections (47)
Change our hearts (47)
Give to God the heart’s affections (47)
Atone for our past sins (51)
Change our hearts (51)
Make ourselves holy (51)
Resist evil (52)
Originate or produce love (59)
Make ourselves righteous (62)
Perfectly obey the holy law (62)
Become partakers of the life which Christ came to give (67)
Bear fruit of ourselves (68)

It’s like a broken record – especially the idea that we cannot “change our hearts,” which she says three times!

…This tells me, among other things, that simply telling people what to do is not enough – because simply telling them what to do does not give them the ability and moral strength to accomplish it. They will simply become better informed sinners.”

Wow. This post is right on the money. Please check it out; I know you’ll be blessed but then come back and tell me what it means to you to know what you cannot do.

Dare to Compare

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I stumbled upon this the other day…

Stanford researcher Leon Festinger developed a line of research in social comparison theory. He noted that in different situations we will tend to compare ourselves with people either above or below us, depending on which ladder we’re talking about.

For instance, on morality, we tend to compare ourselves with people we think are below us: mass murderers, drug dealers. On the topic of money, we compare ourselves to people above us, those who have more than we do.

Research shows that a tendency for upward financial comparisons generates increasing amounts of greed and decreasing amounts of compassion.

That reminds me of Richard Cory…