Wednesday, August 15, 2012
This week my oldest daughter is visiting with us from South Carolina. We decided the night before last that we should watch a movie together rather than letting me watch my usual Monday night fare (sports and/or wrestling). So... we sat in the family room and watched the recent release of Captain America: The First Avenger. This is one of five Marvel super hero films that were prequels to this summer's blockbuster film The Avengers, and it was in my opinion the best of the bunch. Captain America is something of a period piece in that it is set during World War II, with the primary villain being a Nazi version of the super soldier named Red Skull. Red Skull's plan includes harnessing the energy of the tesseract, a mystical power source first introduced to us in the Thor movie, and using it to conquer the entire world including overthrowing Hitler. Our hero Captain America is a former scrawny weakling transformed by the super soldier serum. While his powers are not super, so to speak, he does have the ability to use the full potential of a perfectly physically fit human.
Ultimately, this film is an old-time good guy/bad guy story. Cap is the consummate "white hat" hero.
He's the very traditional "never thinks a bad thought" good guy, and I kind of like that. Of course, as good as Captain America is, the Red Skull is equally as evil. This sets up that very traditional good vs. evil conflict that hearkens back to the early days of Hollywood, but it is done with a modern style that makes it refreshing and quite a bit of fun. All in all, especially if you're a comic book fan like me, I highly recommend this film. It's a good origin story and it sets up the Avengers movie really well. But as always, I watch movies looking for the spiritual angle, and that is where this film shies the brightest.
Steve Rogers is an everyman. He even identifies himself later in the film as "just a kid from Brooklyn." But he is chosen as the experiment for the super soldier serum for a reason. Check out the following two pieces of dialogue from the film:
Abraham Erskine: Do you want to kill Nazis?
Steve Rogers: Is this a test?
Abraham Erskine: Yes.
Steve Rogers: I don't want to kill anyone. I don't like bullies; I don't care where they're from.
By the way, I'm still preaching that series on super heroes that I've titled "Holy Heroes, Batman!" This week we're looking at the Invincible Iron Man and trying to understand how his story informs us about being good stewards of our God-given gifts. 8AM on Jenkinson's Beach south or 10AM in the sanctuary.
Grace and Peace!
Thursday, August 09, 2012
Well I said I was going to try to post every week and, except for last week's mission trip, I've kept that going... so far. Anyway, this week I'd like to bore you to tears with a little report about the mission trip that I participated in last week with several of the youth from Central UMC in Point Pleasant Beach. Above you'll see a picture of most of the people that participated in this year's JUNE Project, a mission experience for youth that takes place in central Pennsylvania. JUNE Project, which stands for Jesus Unites Neighbors Everywhere, has been going on for over twenty years now and has been ministering to the communities of Reading, Pottsville, Hamburg and Hazelton. This year the church that I am serving sent three youth and two adults to be part of the team of over one hundred twenty servants. Each day begins with a hearty carbohydrate loaded breakfast before we split up into teams and head out to our work sites. The Central group worked with youth and adults from Erma Tabernacle UMC, Edison New Dover UMC, and Millville First UMC cleaning up and beautifying an area of Pottsville called Overlook Park. Here's what it looked like when we arrived:
By the way, if you'd like to see a video report of the trip featuring the youth that participated and some of the fun events that we shared together, check out the Central UMC of Point Pleasant Beach Facebook page.
Also, we're still looking at comic book super heroes and how their stories inform our faith each Sunday morning. This week will be all about anger, its risks and its benefits, as we try to understand Marvel's the Incredible Hulk.
Grace and Peace!