Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Personal Demons

I have a problem with anger. I don't really have a temper, but I am easily frustrated and annoyed. As a matter of fact, at one point at work, I was often known to start conversations with, "You know what pisses me off?"

I'm fairly sure this isn't showing people what Jesus is like.

I think that having this kind of attitude is the opposite of being merciful. If my first response to incompetence or smugness or rudeness or anything else I don't like is anger, then showing mercy is the last thing on my mind. Quick to anger, quick to judge.

One thing I'm fascinated with is how relevant the teachings of Jesus are today. He said "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." I think he's not just talking about our final reward...I think he's talking about this life, too. His teachings are applicable to our lives because they are practical. I screw up enough; make enough mistakes in this life - I have huge need for mercy every day - from my family, from employers, from people I run into. How much less likely will I find people who will extend mercy to me if I'm not willing to do the same?

Jesus goes on to say, "You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family." (I love how The Message says it here). Being quick to anger isn't a trait that lends well to being around people. I'm thankful that God is releasing me from this; sometimes it just isn't as fast as I'd like...and if I had today to do over again, I think I would have responded differently...

Quote of the Day
What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.
-Paul, in his letter to the Christians in Rome

Monday, July 25, 2005

Voices in my Head.

Well, no...I'm not truly hearing voices in my head, but I have been trying to keep myself open to God's communication. I believe that there are opportunities out there for writing. More specifically technical writing. More importantly, I think God is letting me know that there are opportunities out there for technical writing.


Different. To me, anyway. Not something I have much experience with, but then I think that one of the great crimes of our rationlistic, humanistic society is putting God in a box.

Quote of the Day
We're all mad here.
-The Cheshire-Cat

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Wrestling with Sin (City)

Ah, the summer (or year) of comic book movies! Elektra in January. Constantine and Son of the Mask in February, Sin City in April, Batman Begins in June. Fantastic Four in July. V for Vendetta in November. Man-Thing somewhere in there, straight to video.

Throw in MirrorMask by comics favorite Neil Gaiman, Dr. Strange and Preacher that are both scheduled to be out sometime this year, and the superhero film Shark Boy and Lava Girl, and you've got quite a year for movies and comics. Something for everyone here. Elektra, Fantastic Four, Dr. Strange, and Man-Thing are all popular Marvel titles. Batman Begins is DC, but Constantine, V for Vendetta, and Preacher are all released under the DC: Vertigo Title.

But something's been troubling me since that first fateful day of April - opening day for Sin City, when I walked out of it contemplating life, Christianity, and spirituality. Sin City is excellent film noir. A finely crafted movie, with an interesting story, and probably the best comic influence in the film medium to-date (bringing the "feel" of the comic into the film - more impressive in my mind than American Splendor). But what to think of the movie from a moral sense? Something troubled me deep down - some feeling somewhere in my consciousness, my sub-conscious, or my conscience, I'm not sure. But it got me to thinking - is this the kind of movie that I tell people I saw? Is it the kind of movie I can glorify God with? Certainly, there is a subtle Good triumphing over Evil feeling to whole thing, but being film noir, it is quite subtle, and more hopeless than hopeful.

My writing's been spotty ever since, and my reviews and commitment to comic films has been lukewarm to say the least (I haven't written a review since Constantine). In an attempt to follow the flow of logic to its source, I asked, what could I articulate about the movie that bothered me? Well, answering that question has caused me no end of grief (maybe that's a strong word) since I tried to hash this thing out. There's some sex and nudity in the film, but the most obvious thing is the violence (and I've always had trouble with the "violence: good / sex: really bad" double standard). Anyway, there's a lot of violence in Sin City. Everyone in the movie solves their problems with violence - so I boiled my biggest issue down to: "glorification of violence". And that's where the trouble starts. You see, what comic book isn't about that? That's how Batman solves all his problems. So basically, the biggest problem I have with Sin City, I also have with The Batman on Saturday morning. I know a lot of people would think it's pretty stupid to compare Sin City to Batman cartoons...but I see a connection there.

So now I'm just in this movie limbo - I think I'm done with analyzing it; that get's me nowhere. If I give up Sin City, do I give up The Batman? If I give up all popular media do I give up being relateable? Maybe God has the answers if I just ask him...