Pilgrim Notes

Reflections along the way.

Month: June 2006 (page 1 of 2)

Superman: Christ or Anti-Christ?

I’ve been looking forward to the new Superman movie because I love the mythic power of comic book movies. As I’ve scanned the various reviews, I’ve noted multiple writers suggesting a link between this new Superman and Jesus Christ. MSNBC calls Superman the “inspiring story of a savior.” NY Times suggests that Superman has come to save mankind from its sins. And in one sense, superheros do reveal some savior characteristics.

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But as much as I want to see the film, it is hard for me to see Superman as Christ. I was actually joking to someone yesterday that Superman is just like Jesus except that Superman is strong and Jesus is weak. The mystery and offense of Jesus is the cross. He comes in weakness. He is mocked, rejected and eventually killed. Yes he does demonstrate feats of strength through miracles but his miracles are clearly not the focus of his ministry. The cross is the defining event of his life. Von Balthasar says that Jesus falls so low that all future human falling and failing is falling into him.

In his weakness, we find one who can cover our weakness and failures. And despite our bravado, most realize our frailty and falleness. I hope.

As I was thinking about this, I found an interesting perspective from Acton Institute. Jordan Bailor writes:

Superman, the secular savior-figure, manifests the superlative qualities that the world worships: power, strength, immortality. Jesus Christ embodies mercy, weakness, and suffering. But as Paul also writes, “The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”

I think is interesting that the film is titled “Superman Returns.” Sort of like the return of Christ. And this makes me think of how someitimes Christians like to emphasize Jesus Christ returning in POWER. Sometimes I wonder if we are embarassed of the weakly Jesus and can’t wait to serve a Jesus that busts a few heads.

I guess the message of the cross offends just about everyone.

Shop Wiki

The wiki engine is now serving a shopping portal. This has potential to takes sites like shopping.com and shopzilla.com to a new level. Shop Wiki searches 120,000+ stores, allows customer reviews, customer shopping tip articles, customer video reviews. And in true wiki format, the content is out there for review and update by the community (though not the videos). Pretty cool.

The darkness within

Looks like the next Spiderman wrestles with the darkness within his own soul. This could be interesting. I sure wish those engaged in political dialogue in this country would have more awareness of their own personal weakness. Maybe the self-righteuos finger-point from left to right and from right to left would slow down. Maybe not.

Would that we all might learn the prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian:

Yea, O Lord King, grant me to see mine own failings and not to condemn my brother. For Thou are blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen

More Customer made Stuff

Springwise highlights a co-creative venture between customers and Vodafone Netherlends. Customers create content in the form of videos via their cameraphone and then submit. If their videos are downloaded off the website, they get 10% of the revenue. Now that’s real co-creation and I salute!

Personal Space Being Invaded?

If you have a big body bubble, why not make it tangible? Iconoculture reports on a new life dress for women by Anna Maria Cornelia. I guess you could sit in there and IM all your close friends.

Life Dress by Anna Maria Cornelia

And while I’m noting anti-relational trends, Iconoculture offers a succinct quote from a recent CNET article.

For many reasons, people bond with robots in a way they don’t bond with their lawn mowers, televisions or regular vacuum cleaners. At some point, this could help solve the looming health care problem caused by an enormous generation of aging people. Not only could robots make sure they take their medicine and watch for early warning signs of distress, but they could also provide a companion for lonely people and extend their independence.

While that certainly sounds convenient, I don’t think it sounds personal. The origins of the word “person” are fuzzy and may have several strands, but it was once a legal term for property owners (men) in the Roman empire.

When trying to articulate the doctrine of the Trinity, the Greek Church Fathers gradually came to link person with being to suggest that “God was being in communion.” In other words, the doctrine of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) suggests being cannot being reduced to a substance or essence that precedes relationship.

Humans, as images of God, are persons in the sense that we are fundamentally relational with other humans. While dogs, cats and even robots may give us warm fuzzies they cannot enter into the messiness of a fully reciprocal relationship.

And in one sense that is what relationship is about: messiness, conflict, forgiveness, betrayal, redemption, and sometimes separation. Our capacity to wound one another corresponds with our capacity to enter into genuine loving relationships that cannot be duplicated with any other force, object or creature.

Sure caring for elderly can be difficult and messy and overwhelming. That’s part of what human life is all about. I guarantee it is not about sitting on the couch watching American Idol every night.

Friendships

The story I cited yesterday seems to be taking legs. I’ve noticed several others folks writing and talking about social isolation and absence of friendships. Dr. Helen offers some interesting thoughts and questions what “friendless” means in terms of our behavior.

This is and has been a passion of mine for the last fifteen years. It part of why I’ve chosen to function bi-vocationally. Trying to learn how to pattern and live in a way that encourages the possiblity of lifelong intimate friendships drives much of what of I do.

I hope more will come of this article and more people will think deeply of their own friendships or lack thereof. Maybe some will rediscover ancient writings on friendships by folks like Cicero, Augustine and Aelred of Rievaulx. And maybe some will actually devote themselves to building lifelong loving relationships.

Twilight Zone Mash-up

Just what I've been waiting for: Planet of the Apes seen as an episde of Twilight Zone.

Floydville

I decided to keep my long meditations over at Floydville and use this blog to send out the interesting developments I am noticing on the web and in our culture so I renamed this blog Doug Watching. I will however notify when a Floydville post pops up.

Transalation lation what's your station?

Here's a game, translate, retranslate, retranslate, and repeat watch how you phrase shifts using this non-human translations software. 

Apple back at Best Buy.

Best Buy is going to start selling Apples again, so I guess CompUsa is going to start selling peaches and cream.

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