Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: john wesley (page 1 of 4)

Sermon: Catch on Fire

This weekend I preached at Broad Street United Methodist Church in Portsmouth, Virginia. Originally I had titled the sermon “Hope Building,” but once I started writing this 1st Sunday after Pentecost sermon, it changed to “Catch on Fire.” My texts were Matthew 28:16-20 and Acts 2:14-21, 42-47.

Comic Review: Green Arrow Vol. 1: The Death & Life of Oliver Queen (Rebirth)

Green Arrow Vol. 1Green Arrow Vol. 1: The Death and Life of Oliver Queen (Rebirth) is written by Benjamin Percy and illustrated by Otto Schmidt and Juan Ferreyra. It collects Green Arrow: Rebirth #1 and Green Arrow #1-5.

The Story (aka from the Publisher)

The way the Emerald Archer lives his life will change forever, as Green Arrow is betrayed by those closest to him!

A budding relationship with Black Canary forces Ollie to confront the fact that you can’t fight “the man” if you are “the man.” And one by one, all of his friends leave him, and all the money in the world won’t bring them back when he needs them most. The events of “The Death and Life of Oliver Queen” will rattle Oliver’s status quo so much, his choices as a superhero will never be the same again.

The Pursuit of Justice

Oliver Queen is a socialite playboy who is the CEO of Queen Industries. While he leaves the company in the trusted hands of his CFO, he is a philanthropic do-gooder. As he glides through the dark streets of Seattle as Green Arrow, his legacy of charity bears his name. The children’s hospital, the homeless shelter, and a home for battered women.

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Book Review: An Exact Likeness

27297236._UY200_An Exact Likeness: The Portraits of John Wesley, Richard P. Heitzenrater, Abingdon Press, 2016.

The latest from Dr. Heitzenrater is for all the Methodist nerds.

Heitzenrater is the leading Wesley scholar of our time. In his latest book, An Exact Likeness, the Duke Divinity professor explores the many different portraits of the great preacher. As in paintings, engravings, and busts of the founder of Methodism.

If you want to call it biography, you can. But be forewarned, the subject is the portraits, not Mr. Wesley. Heitzenrater’s writing is approachable as he explains the history of the varying portraits. Heitzenrater draws connections between historical evidence and Wesley’s journals as to which portraits Wesley sat for and which he did not.

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Guest Post: Pain and Praise

by Rev. Daniel Wray

washing_3262c-2Read Psalm 22:23-31.

My freshman year of college was a year after Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf coast. Conditions in these areas were still desperate, and my home church in Richmond decided to go to Gulfport, Mississippi to help in the recovery. While there we worked on the house of a wonderful man named Leo.

Each day as we worked Leo and his brother would be there with us telling us stories about their family, their community, and about the hurricane. There were some stories of joy and praise, but a majority of the stories were simply heartbreaking. I remember one story in particular of a family climbing to the roof to escape the rising waters. After making sure the rest of his family was securely on the roof, the husband was the last to attempt and climb. As he climbed, the waters surged, sweeping him away, and his mother watching from the roof, was so overcome with grief that she had heart attack and died as well.

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Re-Light Your Candle

Ten candles had been lit to remember the saints who had claimed the promise of the resurrection this past year. The candles were flickering throughout the service. The wax dripped along the edges of the candlelabra. 

candles_12245cn

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Sermon: Step Up and Step Out

VeggieTales: Beauty and the Beet (2014)

Beauty-and-the-beet-cover-art“There are some who are hard to love.”

The family musical group The VeggieTones are starting to make it big when they get the invitation to play at Vegtable Square Garden. On the way, the family is forced to pull over due to a fierce snowstorm. They seek shelter at the inn owned by Mr. Beet. However, they have no money. They have to do chores around the hotel, including being the entertainment each evening.

This VeggieTales story is based on the classic Beauty and the Beast story.  Here, the Beet, much like the Beast, has walled himself off from other people – uh, veggies. His staff is timid around him, careful not to anger him. His inn has received poor reviews (only one star) because of his lack of hospitality.

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Sermon: Love: More Than Words

Sermon: Go Down, Moses

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Pirates_of_the_Caribbean_movieA ship sails across the Atlantic from Great Britain to the Caribbean. The ship is transporting the new governor of Port Royal and his young daughter, who is fascinated by pirates. The others on the ship, however, are not. As the young girl gazed out over the Atlantic, she notices something drifting in the water. It is a boy, about her age. They rescue the boy, who is wearing a locket. Worried that the adults will think the boy is a pirate, the young girl takes it to save his life.

Skip ahead eight years, the young girl is now a young woman, Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), and the young boy is now a young blacksmith, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). The high seas adventure of this Walt Disney summer blockbuster based on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Johnny Depp is Captain Jack Sparrow who has a deep affection for his blessed ship the Black Pearl. Sparrow’s trouble begins when he stops in the process of stealing a British ship to rescue Elizabeth Swann after she falls into the ocean. From there, Sparrow is at the top of the most wanted list.

Right away, one of Sparrow’s nemesis is the British commander, Norrington, who has made it his vocation to bring Sparrow to justice. Even though Sparrow saved Elizabeth’s life. Norrington wants to send Sparrow to his death. Elizabeth protests, only for Norrington to respond, “One good deed is not enough to redeem him from a life of wickedness.” To which Sparrow replies, “But enough to condemn me.”

Redemption is the theme of the film. Jack Sparrow is searching for redemption. Elizabeth, here in the rescue scene and throughout the movie, is the one who consistently raises the need to see others in a different light. People are not always so easily labeled good and bad.

Sparrow’s other nemesis in the film is Captain Barbossa, played by the brilliant actor Gregory Rush. Barbossa leads a mutiny on the Black Pearl which leaves Sparrow stranded on a deserted island. But because Barbossa leans heavily on a dark power, he and his crew are cursed leaving them among the Undead. They look like any other normal pirate, until they are exposed to the light of the moon, where their skeletal cadavers are revealed. Which all seems like a silly plot point, until you realize that even though they are dead (and not killable), they are searching for the cure from the curse.

Elizabeth is the source of Norrington’s other self-determined vocation – marriage. But Elizabeth has been in love with Will Tuner ever since she first met him. When Sparrow finds out who Will is – or more importantly, who his father is – Will becomes very important part of Sparrow’s plan to reclaim the Black Pearl.

Barbossa, believing that Elizabeth is a Turner, thinks that she is the one who will break the curse. But she is not. Sparrow tells Barbossa that he knows whose blood he needs to break the curse. Blood is needed to break the curse. For Barbossa and the crew to be redeemed, to come back to life again, blood is needed. The blood of the only son of Bill “Bootstrap” Turner – Will. At first, Will believes that his father was a salesman, killed by pirates. When he finds out that his father really was a pirate, he struggles to come to terms with who his father is and who he is.

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, would talk about sin as a disease (curse) of which grace was the cure. Grace is possible through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer.

We know the cure for the curse, but what caused the curse of the Black Pearl? No doubt, Pirates was intended to have a summer blockbuster sequel from the beginning. Who would have thought it would have four?

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