Friday, September 17, 2010

Ramblings on messed up rhythms, God's grace, Daredevil and Orthodoxy!


This week has been another unpredictable one for me. Sunday did not start well as I had a low grade fever on Saturday night, which meant I did not sleep well. Sunday being Sunday was busy and I looked forward to my Monday off. Sunday night, I slept well and work up early on Monday and had a fun morning doing stuff related to gardening. But then by late afternoon started having headaches and that irritating low grade fever. Suddenly I had very little energy. My eyes could hardly open and even lifting my hands to hold up a book / comic book :-) was cumbersome. So I actually skipped prayer meeting! (Yes I know! It's something I hardly ever do, even when I have a cold!) I figured it is best to just sleep so I wake up on Tuesday morning refreshed and well, knowing that I had a busy week ahead.

So I slept early (think by 8 PM I must have been asleep). But as life would have it, I woke up at around 9.30 PM because someone texted me! (I keep my mobile on 24 / 7 it is usually with me) *Sigh* For someone like me, when my sleep is disrupted, I find it hard to go back to sleep. So I ended up working on my sermon till I got sleepy and then went back to bed .... then had all kinds of dreams, woke up a few hours later with a dry throat, coughing and unable to return to sleep. So I did some more work (sermons, devotions, Bible study preparation, reading), then back to sleep and then suddenly up bright and early ...

I did warn you that this may be a boring post ....To try to cut a long story short, this situation kept repeating itself all week. Tired, feeling under the weather, resting but not able to rest fully, then feeling better and re-energized, but quickly feeling "down" again etc. I was feeling rather stressed as I had people I planned to visit, a couple of meetings that required me to be very focused and clear, a number of meetings to prepare for, sermon to complete, a special devotion to write and present, my weekly Pastor's notes to write, and extra ferrying of my boys around (personal as well as ministry related). Stressed because when I am doing a project, I hate having to stop until I have reached a certain stage of progress. If I am too often interrupted, then my rhythm gets really off and it is hard to recapture the momentum (i.e. it is so much harder and takes so much longer to finish in a satisfactory manner). And I hate it if I feel that I have not put in enough effort to get a job done well.

But strangely everything has worked out well - the odd sleeping and waking hours were actually productive and I realized this last night when I got up at around 3 AM (again irritated throat and cough). There was a strange calmness too coming in today knowing I had some appointments but sensing that this too would be taken care of. (Indeed ... as another one got cancelled earlier this morning!)

So interestingly I have spare time to take it slow today, to reflect (and blog) and catch up on some internet links I have put aside due to busyness. I realized too that I even got to do learn some interesting things that is directly unrelated to my ministry activities! God is good and gracious in how he works things out. A number of planned appointments were cancelled (out of my control and I could not substitute at the last moment). A super busy week is ending up in a more relaxed pace.

What is interesting to me is that I can see some of my seedlings starting to burst forth from the ground  - some flower seeds, chillies, coriander, long beans .... Will blog on that another day.

Here's two unrelated things that got "squeezed in" due to messed up rhythms in between "work".

 This DAREDEVIL graphic novel was a great read! Kevin Smith, the author , from what I read is a successful Hollywood script writer who moved as a "big fish in a big pond" to be a "big fish in a small pond" (i.e. a comic book writer).  Move over Frank Miller?

I have always liked the Daredevil character even if he is considered a 2nd stringer superhero. What I liked about this particular story is that it revolves around Matt Murdock's faith (or faith struggle) in God. While messy and not a model to follow, his faith is nevertheless shown to be an important part of trying to deal with the conflicts in his life.


The story was interesting as it had to do with the immaculate birth of a child (touted as the return of the promised Saviour of the world), He is called upon to both to protect from the anti-Christ as well as to kill the child whom he is also told is the anti-Christ who will bring upon the destruction of the world.

His lie detecting ability is of little help as he sense both sides telling the truth! The child's mother truly is a virgin and evil people are indeed trying to kill her and the child ... yet the other party that warns him of the child and how she (yup it's a girl) will corrupt and ruin the lives of all  she touches seems to be also telling the truth - and evidence piles up. He even attempts to kill the child, and then changes his mind at the very last second to rescue the child.

Important characters from his life gets involved and the story is incredibly gripping and moving. But that's another story ...

I love how the story doesn't make fun of Christianity and in fact has great biblical themes, and even a story cum parable based on Pascal's Wager! (Pascal's Wager is one of my all time favourite philosophical challenge and I have even used it in a sermon!)

And how does Daredevil figure out his dilemma as to whether this child is truly the "Christianity's Redeemer" who has returned?  I love the way the author brings this to a climax ... using the words of a demon which I think is simply hilarious and has something important to teach Christians! (hey, it is comic book fantasy and I need to add that in real life the rule of thumb is that demons words are not to be trusted) But read this cool dialogue (the bold parts are my emphasis). Dr. Strange is involved in this scene helping Daredevil and Mephisto is speaking ... (you need to sift through the truth and the lies of this particular dialogue)

"Why is one so mighty as myself brought here to instruct as a Sunday School teacher? Have (sic) your Christian friend read his Bible -- more specifically the Apostle John's Book of Revelations, when the so called Son of God returns, presumably to end his Father's floundering exercise ...the blunder known as mankind ... it won't be as he came originally. In a rare fit of good sense, he is prophesied to return not born as a lowly woman, but as judge, jury and executioner - as a lion not a lamb, as that which will end your world and deliver the pure to his father ... and the rest to us. Now I'm no literary major, but I'd say the text is indicating a far different manifestation of the so called redeemer than as a human infant, wouldn't you, my inquisitive friend of Strange?

And then the though box of Daredevil ... "My God ... he's right, biblically, the Saviour is to come back as he left - a man!

Okay, that's enough spoilers BUT I think it is great that despite his ability to sense if someone is telling the truth, daredevil is stuck -as someone can believe sincerely he is telling the truth but still be wrong. He gets "his revelation" and realizes he now can discern what to do based on objective fact - the words from the Bible! 

Okay, just got a call confirming that I have got a substitute appointment to go to! :-) So looks like the Orthodox Study Bible bit will have to wait! But basically in between my sleeping times I have been enjoying reading this!

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