Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Strange Tales
"By the Layers of Photoshop,
Behold my Awesome!"
Three miracles happened this month; you need to know them, so you can give thanks. Abraham Lincoln decreed we should have “a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” and these certainly qualify.

First, the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years after being behind three games to one. They won it in the 10th inning after blowing a beautiful 5-2 lead. As one Facebook friend said of the last minute victory - after a rain delay of 17 minutes - “there are no fingernails left in Illinois.”

Secondly, contrary to my own prediction and those of the liberal-controlled media, Hillary Clinton lost the election for President of the United States to Donald “You’re Fired!” Trump. I have zero point zero adoration for Hillary Clinton and the same for Trump. I can only defend the platform he stood upon, as a conservative that despises his own past sins. I oppose abortion, and find partial-birth abortion especially heinous and damnable. I also found the Affordable Healthcare Act [“ObamaCare”] a terrific burden that was re-labeled a tax merely to slip by the objections of the Supreme Court. If you get it, you pay dearly, [standard family of 4 pays $12k and has a deductible of roughly the same]. If you do not, you are fined thousands of dollars.

I thought Hillary Clinton’s policies a bomb dropped into the heart of the American family. I think Trump is a baseball bat to the teeth of American liberals, and they have begun protesting and crying and damning all at once. It is madness. But I thought Hillary would win. I really did.

I was wrong.

Thirdly, I went to see Doctor Strange, though as an evangelical Christian who was raised to avoid all sorcery and magic, I never followed one of his adventures. I never cared a wit for his character, either. I did, however, think Benedict Cumberbatch a perfect casting for the role of Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. He’d played a great Sherlock Holmes on PBS – brilliantly arrogant and aloof satisfied with his own intellect – and looked the part very well. So I said “I’ll see it once, just to get it done.”

I was shocked again. It was marvelous.

Strange Fiction

The creative crew followed the original line of “Arrogant Surgeon in Car Crash Loses Superior Skill to Become Earth’s Greatest Sorcerer” perfectly. The small updates to the bare bones origin were excellent, using distracted driving as the culprit that destroys the doctor’s fine motor tuning in his hands in a stupendously brutal whirling car wreck.

Let me take a fast aside to tell you how marvelous the editing was done on this film. I never once felt rushed, but got just enough breaths of pain as Strange tries to recover his former abilities, that I throughly enjoyed watching it happen the second time in my re-viewing. It was not muddled or cut short; it was clear. It hit, and moved on.

Caught that did you? I saw it twice in three days. I had to.

Now, in my defense and to clarify: this was not a movie about how to be a sorcerer.

It was a film about how there is a greater reality above and beyond our senses. It was more like watching “super Jedi” being born than some forbidden dark art. A wise choice by the producers, IMHO.

My favorite scenes are where we find how much Strange can do, but how much he cannot be. He is a child in very many ways, and terribly selfish. But to his credit, when he sees how foolish he has been, he repents.

I mean it: he repents. He becomes wiser too, not just more powerful.

He sees that everything has a price, and the promise of eternal life – well, of “not dying” - is Survivalist Mentality turned Evil. We are supposed to die to self and let go of our life here.

God does the edits in our life. It doesn’t matter if we like them.

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

Here’s one section from I Corinthians 15:42-50 that I read to my mother before she died of cancer:

42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.

50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

That’s what Strange finds out: the Natural Man is not enough.

He has to become a Spiritual Man.

Not a Technology Man or Theology Man or a Wise Man. A man born of the spirit–and we Christians know that should come from God–i.e. the Holy Spirit.

If you want to be a spiritual man, you can begin practicing yoga, looking for enlightenment, buying books, studying arcane things, or a host of other things.

Or you can ask God for His Spirit. Jesus paid for this, so you can go to Him in your heart and say “I want to be a spiritual man. I want to have your spirit, Jesus. I want to know You as a spiritual man and walk with You.”

If you do this, strange things will happen you cannot explain.

But they will become tales worth telling – and a thousand thousand lifetimes from today, we will still be laughing.

It is a bargain you dare not refuse. ;)