Apr 302015

ten-commandments-297x300““You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”

(Exodus 20:7 ESV)

The most common exegesis of this commandment believes it refers to using the Lord’s name as a swear word, such as invoking the name of God to damn objects inanimate and animate.

There is some value and some truth in that exposition.

There is a far greater and more damning meaning to it however.

That being when we attach His name to anything that would diminish His person or cast doubt upon His character or attributes we take His name in vain.

I would go so far as to say that when we as His representatives behave in a manner that does the same, we have taken His name in vain.

On the heavenly side that is sin and God is offended.

On the earthly side, the people we misrepresent God in front of no longer believe we come in love, grace, or peace.

Nor do they believe what we say about God, or His word.

We… who they trusted to be the bringers of truth have proven to be false, so all we have said is thought to be false.

Because our actions and our attitudes emptied our words of worth, the entirety of the faith once delivered is called into question or rejected.

The ones we have harmed are left in confusion and anger, trying to patch together a faith that won’t break them.

We end up with ash in our mouths and blood on our hands.

Be careful what you put His name on.

May He forgive me as I spit out the ash and try to clean my own hands.

icemanI don’t watch much TV and I go to very few movies.

My not so well kept secret is that I love to read comic books.

There were part of my survival as a young boy…the characters modeled virtues and character that were sadly missing in the people in my real life.

They modeled something akin to biblical virtues like honesty, self sacrifice, and heroism.

They ‘taught’ me those things.

That was then…

Today, the old Captain America I grew up with (and who evidently resonated deeply with movie goers very recently) has been stripped of his powers and his uniform given to an African American who is noble, but without the history that made Cap…well…Cap.

Thor is now a woman.

Finally, Iceman, one of the original X-Men, just came out as gay.

While this latest development inspired a number of very funny off color jokes in me, this really isn’t funny at all.

Now, I have nothing against women, African Americans or even gay people being portrayed as heroic characters.

What I object to is the real message behind these changes…which is that the old virtues must be changed to accommodate the current culture.

The writers could have simply created new characters, but they chose to transform old ones into the new mold.

It’s sneaky, but effective…and comic books are still teaching “values” to young and old alike.

The latest edition of the theological journal “Themelios” is available now for download.

Matt Redmond said everything else I want to say today better than I can…

  48 Responses to “Loose Ends”

  1. The Second Commandment.
    Luther kept it simple in the small catechism
    “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain.”

    What does this mean?

    We should fear and love God that we may not curse, swear, use witchcraft, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.

  2. Wonder Woman is now a gay African-American woman?

  3. London,

    No, she’s still who she’s always been…I probably should rewrite that.

  4. Bruce Jenner is now Wonder Woman 😉

  5. London,

    Thanks for that…it didn’t make sense anyway but in my own fevered mind…

  6. this may turn out to be a very entertaining comment list – thanks to London and MLD 😆

  7. re. the first observation… taking the name of God in vain… good point to ponder! ! !

    recently i’ve had to confess that when i pray, “Hallowed be Thy Name” i haven’t a clue as to what that declaration declares ….. well, barely a clue

  8. em – again from the small catechism
    The First Petition.- Hallowed be Thy name.

    What does this mean?

    God’s name is indeed holy in itself; but we pray in this petition that it may become holy among us also.

    How is this done?

    When the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we as the children of God also lead holy lives in accordance with it. To this end help us, dear Father in heaven. But he that teaches and lives otherwise than God’s Word teaches profanes the name of God among us. From this preserve us, Heavenly Father.

  9. Em…..I’ve thought about that as well…..


    I have changed my version of that line to “may we all honor and revere You and Your Name” or something like that.

    Michael, I think we’ve all seen a lot of our personal ‘super heros’ change.

    MLD….. you made me laugh, though now I am ashamed for being insensitive and politically incorrect. Sigh…..

  10. A little off topic, but I will be getting my son and his buddies some free comics this weekend, then watching Avengers:


  11. 🙂

    I’m newly, since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came on tv, addicted to comic book tv shows. Love that show, Gotham, Flash, the Avengers…not Daredevil (squishy sounds gross me out) or Arrow (boring after a few seasons) and Dr Who, even though it’s not a comic.
    I think that this generation of “creatives” aren’t all that creative. They spent a lot more time re-doing work of others in the past, than using their imaginations to come up with something original.
    Happens with movies, art, comics etc…
    I think it has a lot to do with how fast and easy the digital age technology makes it to “reimagine” work than to imagine it in the first place. People aren’t as patient not as persistent as they were with working through the birthing pains of bringing a new character, image, sculpture etc to life as before.
    I see a lot of that kind of thing these days. People taking other folks work, slapping in on photoshop, manipulating it and calling it their own.
    I know they create something different, but wonder if it something new.

  12. I think this is an amazing and unique pre fight talk by Manny Pacquiao. (4:30 min)
    A couple of points about this fight which I am sure is the best since the Ali Fraizer fights
    1.) He says the fight is entertainment – that they are doing their best for the fan’s entertainment
    2.) he gives thanks to God for where he is in life
    3.) he wants to share his faith with Floyd Mayweather, who is sitting next to him, after the fight.

  13. I guess this post implies that most right wing politicians are on the Lords crap list……

  14. Dude, that’s a danger all politicians (& some others) face Jeremiah 8:1-2 🙂

  15. MLD, thanks
    i pretty much knew this, but the part that concerns me is: “But he that teaches and lives otherwise than God’s Word teaches profanes the name of God among us. From this preserve us, Heavenly Father.”

    because… i sense that this goes much deeper than just interpreting Scriptures correctly…

    our “standard operating procedures” may be testing the grace of God, i.e., every time a teacher elaborates/extrapolates with a clever illustration that seems timely, yet might or might not be the point that God was making…
    every time we say or hear someone declare that God is leading them to do such and such…

    i’m concerned that our internalized view of God isn’t governed by … what? … i guess as close as i can define it now is ‘reverential awe’

    maybe some things of the spirit are the result of growth and defy definitions? duuno

    i do know that i’ve still got some growing to do on this

  16. Paige – “I have changed my version of that line to “may we all honor and revere You and Your Name” ” sounds like a good place for me to start also

  17. Jer 8:1 & 2 KJV
    “At that time, saith the LORD, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves:

    And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth.”

  18. Dude,

    I really don’t know how you drawthat from what I wrote…I really dont.

  19. “I don’t watch much TV and I go to very few movies.” I dont have a tv have not had one for going on three years. Next to giving up alcohol it was the best decision I ever made.

  20. Love the premise of this article….very true.

    What is to really “believe” something?

    If you dig deep into that ideal philosophically….I think come up with a similar conclusion I have…the “church” and many of its leaders/gurus/pastors don’t really “believe” a lot of what they profess.

  21. They express a belief in Gravity…yet they jump off of cliffs w/o parachutes every single day…despite the future consequences they preach to you in words.

    Very telling of the true doctrine and theology of many leaders/gurus/pastors….

  22. If the church and pastors really believed most of what they profess and tell outsiders they should be doing…the church and pastors would act much differently themselves.

    They don’t. In fact, many times they are worse than the outsiders.

    They have preached their sermons well…and it is not what they speak with their mouths.

  23. from where i sit this a.m., Alex is confusing commitment with belief… we believe a lot of things that we don’t commit to… “unstable as water” … (who says there’s no science in the Bible?)

  24. Michael,

    Growing up in a project, in Pittsburgh fearing for my life every day, without a father or a father figure, no siblings, I too took solace and looked up to the heroes portrayed in comics, I learned a lot of good virtues following the lives, of Peter Parker, Matt Murdock, Steve Rogers etc. I learned that good always triumphs evil and even the best of us, even superheroes have a bad day and make mistakes.

    Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Stan Romita have given millions of young children of the seventies something that they couldn’t obtain on their own, a sense of hope and a sense of that everything would be all right if they just stayed true to themselves.

    For that I thank them and I thank God for their creativity. It is a wonderful thing to see these same characters come to life for me on the big screen.

    As far a the comics today, I haven’t picked one up for quite a while. After reading some of the way they changed the characters, I don’t know if I would agree with the direction of their developments.

  25. jumping off of cliffs without parachutes? every day? now that’s faith! “God is my parachute” ugh, sounds tacky 😆

  26. yeah, it’s like that story of the jailer when he asked what must I do to be saved and he was told to believe in Jesus Christ. I think it is one of my memory verses – the response from the apostle “hey jailer, you didn’t believe right.”

    Why do we need to over think things? People deny what they truly believe all the time – otherwise no one would sin since sin is going against what you believe.

    “If the church and pastors really believed most of what they profess and tell outsiders they should be doing…the church and pastors would act much differently themselves.”

    And why do you believe this? What factual data do you have that says this should be true? Do cops live better lives than the general population after stating the law to people all day long … I know for a fact that they do not.

  27. I like Archie and Jughead comics – I still read them some waiting in line at the grocery store.

    I still learn good relationship skills with the opposite sex from them. Betty and Veronica are hot 🙂

  28. Charles,

    “I learned that good always triumphs evil and even the best of us, even superheroes have a bad day and make mistakes.

    Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Stan Romita have given millions of young children of the seventies something that they couldn’t obtain on their own, a sense of hope and a sense of that everything would be all right if they just stayed true to themselves.”

    I love that…so true for me as well, although in rural Oregon.

    You and I have much common ground here.
    T and I are going to see the Avengers tonight if the crowd isn’t ridiculous.

  29. in a way what folks here are remembering of the comic book heroes of old is what some of the Christian community are trying to recapture – the ideals and the clean fighters against evil… we weren’t a nation of Christians, but we were a nation of Christian principles IMV

    for my generation it was the guys in the white cowboy hats on expensive horses chasing down the black hats on lesser stock – why was it that the bad guys used rifles and were taken out by the good guys’ six shooters? …
    oh well, that was the early 20th century’s lack of realism for you… the guileless, naive America of yesteryear 🙂

  30. MLD,

    This is where you just don’t get it…and have never gotten it.
    We’re supposed to be different…we represent Christ.

  31. Michael – I get what we are “supposed” to do or be. This is where you don’t get it – why are you still sinning (and I am sure you sin in public where others can see)?

    Why aren’t you different?

  32. Do we represent Christ, or does He represent us? Hmmm.

  33. MLD,

    You are correct.
    I sin and I sin publicly.

    The difference, if you will, is that I also try very hard to repent and repent publicly when I have to.

    I’ve had to do so here numerous times.

    That’s the difference.

  34. Josh,


  35. Are you saying that non Christians do not apologize for their faulty behavior when it is pointed out to them? Those are social norms.

    You still are not different. The human condition even has it’s grasp on Christians – every Christian.

  36. MLD,

    You are being obscurantist as usual.
    The Christian is held to higher standards and Christian leaders to higher standards still.
    There is no denial that we fail to meet those standards, but that failure is to be recognized and accounted for.

  37. No, I think I am telling you and Alex to first remove the log from your own eye before mentioning the speck in others.

    Although I think churches having financial accountability and having “rules” for child protection is wise – I would never say that a church without them is somehow in sin, practicing immoral behavior or covering up things.

    You have a standard set by you alone to judge others that God never set.

    But that’s OK – what thinketh thee of Archie & Jughead comics? 😉

  38. MLD,

    I report when there is evidence that standards for biblical leadership have not been met.
    Thankfully, I have a few thousand people online and few close ones in real life who help me strive to keep the logs out of my eyes.

    God wrote His standards down.

    Archie and Jughead were for the weak minded children who couldn’t handle Batman. 🙂

  39. is this a blog about issues at Calvary Chapel with pastor’s,? Is that a subject that can be discussed on this blog? thanks,

  40. cyndi,

    That’s what we’ve been doing for over a decade.

  41. Well Archie & Jughead were for normal people – not those who idolized characters dressed as if they were participants of a gay pride parade back in the day. What’s with the latex? 🙂

  42. Michael – my beef above was to Alex as he condemned the church and not just the leaders. But then I guess pietism still lives in some ares of blog land.

  43. MLD,

    My guess was that Archie and Jughead used latex for other endeavors…

  44. I have happy memories of super hero comic books.

    When I was a freshman in high school, my family moved from our rural community, where I had some very close friends, to a small snobby town closer to Cleveland. At this new high school, football and cheer leading ruled. I was the nerd who spent her evenings reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. What a misfit I was and I was teased quit a bit with gum stuck in my hair, etc. Never mind, I survived fine. No big desire to go back to Ohio for class reunions, though.

    I remember my great joy in life was taking my allowance money down to the corner store (D’Abate’s) and buying: Three Marvel comics, one back of potato chips, and one small tub of french onion dip. That’s as far as my allowance would stretch and it was the high point of my week.

    I read X-Men, Fantastic Four, Submariner and others. I think I had a crush on Cyclops.

    I was an oddball for sure.

  45. Xenia’s cool factor just went up a ton.

  46. Xenia,

    I would have been right there with you…Shirers book and french onion dip included.

  47. Michael,
    “My guess was that Archie and Jughead used latex for other endeavors…”

    As I said – they were normal 🙂

  48. I still have comic books from around 1975 or earlier that I cut my teeth on. I was a fan of Sgt Rock and EasyCo…..

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