Posts Tagged ‘stories’

This one is almost inexplicable to me. I mean I guess I kind of get the concept but I have never ever liked it. I just recently saw a preview for the new Suicide Squad movie. You should know, while I am familiar with some of the characters, I know nothing about the overarching concept, beyond this, it’s a bunch of villains brought together to do something good while being bad. This has always troubled me. Tell me you’re doing the wrong thing for the right reason and I will have to come back to the fact that you’re doing the wrong thing. I also don’t like the idea of being bad for good, with the possible exception of a few rising up against a bully stories, but even these almost have to be cautionary tales because this can and usually will go horribly wrong the vast majority of times. Don’t even get me into the lesser of two evils because I am trying to refrain from commenting on this years presidential election. The only thing I will say is the lesser of two evils is still evil.

I never liked horror movies. I’ve only ever seen one and it was edited for television and still too much for me. Visual people have great visual memories and putting horrible videos before them is a really bad idea. The movies I hate the worst though are the ones where the “monster” your Freddie Kreuger’s, Michael Myers’ and Jasons have long multiple movie story arcs. These movies make mass killers the heroes of the story, or as some people call them “antiheroes.” Let’s be clear. An antihero is not a hero, an antihero is evil and we should never ever applaud evil, ever. I can’t stand this concept.

Our world needs real, actual heroes. People who stand for “truth, justice and (the best of the) American way.” We need to broadcast their stories. We need to create their stories and share them with the world. Creatives of the faith, this is something we need to be working on. We need the underdog stories, the self sacrificing heroes who lay down their lives for their friends. We need the heroes who rise against injustice and stay good while the rest of the world goes evil. We need great stories of people who live, act and love like Jesus. Come to think of it, that’s also the way we need to live.

Antihero is a lot like antiChrist and we don’t need anymore of that in our world.

Let’s create something better, something we want people to emulate.

Let’s create some heroes. He have a great pattern to build from.

This morning I will be speaking on the parable of the talents (Matthew 25). It’s a story Jesus told to help us understand our relationship with God. There are a lot of things in this parable that creative people need to know.

A master, a ruler is about to go away on a journey, but before he goes, he gives a portion of his wealth (called talents, a biblical measure of money) to three of his servants. To one he gave five talents, to another two talents, to another, one. Before we go further I want you to notice something. I don’t think the use of the word talent is accidental. The master gives some of what it his, and something very valuable to his servants. If the master represents God in this story (and he does) and the servants represent us in this story (and they do) then maybe our talents are given by out Master (God) to be used to His glory. More that that, our talents are representative of a great spiritual truth. The fact that God gives these things of great value (talents) to us, shows something pretty cool. God believes in you. God has entrusted you and he knows you are capable of doing great things with them. God is invested in you, God loves you.

Another telling thing in this passage is the way God distributed the talents. It says he gave the talents to his servants, “each according to his ability.” This means God knows what you are capable of and gifts you accordingly. This is tremendously liberating. After all, if God knows what you are capable of and gifts you accordingly, you no longer have to compare yourself with anyone else. You simply have to be faithful and use what you have been given to the best of your ability. Comparison is deadly to us all anyway. Think about it. Comparison will either leave you discouraged (“I’ll never be as good as her”) or prideful (“He’ll never be as good as me”) both of which are counterproductive in God’s Kingdom. How much better would life work if we “kept our eyes on our own papers,” did the best we could with our strengths and used those strengths to help others in their areas of weakness?

Lastly, we have to say a word about the one talent guy. The first thing I want to call out is that I run into so many people who seem to honestly believe they have no talents. I believe that is a lie. I believe Jesus is showing us in this parable, that we all get at least one, and we need to find it and work it. Secondly, where the other two servants went to work at once, then talent servant, buried his gift in the ground, allegedly to keep it safe. Where the other two servants were praised at the master’s return, this servant was called wicked and lazy even though the master suffered no loss. Why? I believe it was because he did not trust the master to be good. The master invested in him, and he didn’t trust the master enough to use what he had been given to advance his master’s kingdom. The question is, do you?

To serve the master is to trust the master. Are you using your talents, God’s amazing investment in you, to His glory, or is there something buried that you need to dig up and put to work.

1 Peter 4:10 says “Each One should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” The things God invests in us, our gifts, talents, etc. are given so that we might serve and help others and through that help that they may receive God’s grace in a multitude of ways. To quote another verse that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in Heaven.

Time to dig those gifts and talents up and put them to work for our master.

Gos has invested in YOU!

Well I am on vacation this week and I am having a great time. In preparation for this year’s new program, Story, I am spending a lot of time enjoying great stories. In addition to reading the parables of Jesus, I’ve been enjoying some work by modern and classic storytellers. Here’s some of what I’ve been checking out:

I finished reading Winning the Story Wars by Jonah Sachs. This is a marketing book that looks at stories and how to use them to spread your message. While this is a business book and not a Christian book, there are a lot of principles in this book that could be applicable to the ways we communicate the Gospel and promote our ministries.

I watched the movie Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. This amazing film deals with the idea of manipulating people by manipulating their dreams. It is really action-packed, and a movie you really have to pay attention to. I absolutely loved this movie and it helped me to see how to handle mulltiple storylines simultaneously.

One of my Christmas gifts was the movie, The Avengers. As a cartoonist/comic artist, I’ve always had a thing for comic books and comic movies and this is a great one. Imagine bringing many superheroes, not to mention super egos, back stories, etc. and you have a recipe for some great conflict (an essential element in every great story). These heroes would probably destroy each other, were they not drawn together by a common threat, forcing them to join forces to save the world.

Just before vacation, I received a notice on Facebook that a publishing company was releasing C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy for the Kindle at a discount. I never even realized that this series existed, but it’s wonderful. I read the first book Out of the Silent Planet in about two days. It’s a great read typical of Lewis’ allegorical storytelling. I downloaded the whole trilogy for $6 and it is worth a lot more. I’m two chapters into the second book Perelandra, and it is showing signs of being as good as the first one. Don’t miss this series.

This morning I caught a matinee of The Hobbit. This is a fabulously well-made film that NEEDS to be seen on the big screen. Peter Jackson takes some liberties with the original text, it is a wonderful interpretation. I’m told this is the firt of three movies, and all I can say is I can’t wait for the second installment.

Still to come this week, Lord willing, are The Amazing Spiderman and the film version of Les Miserables. I can’t wait.