Truly we are living in Rome…


As I got in my SUV with the Jesus fish decal yesterday with the station set to a Christian radio station, and drove to a church with a cross on the steeple and a very public sign facing the street which displayed the sermon title and bible verses the pastor would be preaching on, and took my children to Sunday School, and took my seat in the pew where we sang songs out loud about Jesus and read from our bibles, I realized just how persecuted Christianity is in this country: which is, not at all.

Total Truth: I don’t have a Jesus fish decal on my SUV. But everything else is true.

A Fantastic Four movie that probably wouldn’t suck…


Welcome to a new feature I’ll dub “A (blank) movie that probably wouldn’t suck…” in which I pitch my 1 page idea for a movie from a failing franchise that I think would improve and revitalize it.

First up, the Fantastic Four.

Credits. It’s the 60’s. A swinging new era of science where anything is possible. Space race. Reed builds a spaceship and takes his team into space. They get hit with cosmic power and change. Montage of different fights and newspaper headlines celebrating their fights: mole people, robots, green shapeshifting space aliens, etc.

Opening is the FF mopping up with an army of Atlanteans. Big action piece. Every team member gets to shine: Johnny melts a tank and drives off platoons of soldiers, Ben punches one tank and hurls another back into the harbor, Sue repulses various soldiers, Reed twists and turns through blaster fire twisting around various soldiers and flinging them about. They confront the Atlantean leader and Sue ends up stopping the fight by convincing Namor to give Reed time to convince the president to stop underwater atomic tests. Namor threatens to be back if they don’t.

Reed and the team at the White House getting an award from Kennedy. Kennedy invites them to stay for dinner as the Latverian premier who is in town asked to meet them. It’s Doom.

Doom hits on Susan non-stop at dinner and Doom and Reed trade barbs. They have an obvious past. Doom also sows dissention between Reed and Ben. He plays into Ben’s insecurity, wondering why if Reed is so brilliant, he hasn’t found a way to let Ben keep his powers, but look as normal as everyone else. While they’re at dinner, someone breaks into the Baxter Building and steals a blueprint of Reed’s. They deliver it later that night to Doom.

Later, Doom is in a lab working on a giant robot using a component he built from the blueprint that he stole from Reed. Reed discovers that someone broke into their home and suspects Doom. He and Doom were partners once, then rivals, and finally they broke with one another after an accident Doom blamed on Reed, but was due to Doom’s arrogance. He and Susan get into a fight over what happened that night. This opens up the door to a general fight. Ben leaves and goes for a walk, Reed goes back to his lab. Susan goes on a date with Doom. Johnny goes to try and track down the thief.

Doom has used Reed’s blueprint to construct an energy collector which he installs in a giant robot he has built. While the team is fighting, he unleashes the first robot on New York. The twist is that Doom intends for the FF to fight and destroy them. Doom needs the cosmic energy that transformed the team, so as they fight the robots, the robots are absorbing the energy the FF throws at them and once they are destroyed or compromised, the robots beam it via satellite back to Doom’s castle where he is using it to empower a time machine.

He unleashes a total of three robots on the team with each robot more difficult than the one before, Reed cracks what is really happening and traces the energy back to Doom, where the team confronts him.

Doom plans to take his technology and superior intellect back to the past before the nuclear age and conquer Latveria before the communists have a chance to kill his mother, then he plans to conquer the world. There is a fight. He is just as brilliant as Reed and uses gadgets and his skill to hold them off: his armor, smaller Doombots, weapons, but the team overcomes them all and Doom refusing to be beaten by them arrogantly attempts to use the stored cosmic power for his time machine on himself to gain powers. Something goes wrong and the time machine explodes and the team finds themselves in 2015. Doom is nowhere to be seen. The team is confused and distraught. Maybe throw in a cameo from another superhero. Reed promises to build a copy of Doom’s machine and get them back home, but for now, the team resolves to face this new future together.

Mid-credits sequence: Doom awakens to a hospital light shining in his eyes. His thief cohort, much older, welcomes him back as various doctors work on him. Doom asks where he is, the thief says “Home.” Zoom out to Doom’s castle in Latveria.

In a post-credit sequence, the Silver Surfer is through the galaxy when the temporal energy wave from the time machine rift knocks him off his board. He looks in the direction of the wave and sees Earth. He says, “I’ve found one, Master.” Cue a shadow shaped like Galactus’ helmet moving across the surface of a planet.

Previewing tonight’s debate


“America, **** yeah! OBAMA… BAD! IRAN… BAD! MEXICANS… BAD! HEALTHCARE BAD! ISRAEL… GOOD. Woo! America! **** yeah! Woo! Freedom! Woooooo!”

Repeat 9x in slightly different verbiage.

The problem of heaven, hell, and perfection


There is something profoundly wrong with the idea of heaven as a place where people are perfectly content and happy and at peace and singing songs to Jesus while billions of their fellow men and women are being tortured and are in constant pain forever. That’s not my idea of a perfect universe or a perfect final resting place for my soul.

And the callousness it would require to enjoy oneself under those circumstances doesn’t sound like the perfect soul of a saint, but the heart of someone who has lost the capacity for empathy and caring.

I find it rather difficult to think of myself singing praise songs to God as the smoke of the torment of the damned rises up before Him forever and ever.

“Hal-le-lu-jah!”

“AHHHHH, IT BURNS…. GAHHHHHHHH!!!”

“Hal-le-lu—jah…”

“WHY ARE YOU SINGING? PLEASE HELP ME!!!”

God: “Quiet down down there! I’m trying to enjoy this song about Me!”

Even a self-exilic hell doesn’t really work, because why would we ever give up on trying to convince them to come in to heaven?

Does that leave a place for judgment? Yes. But the only way the idea of a heaven works is if everyone is eventually reconciled to God and to one another.

Suggested music for tonight’s GOP debate…


A scripture verse I would be okay with plastering on government property…


If some of my fellow Christians are going to keep trying to put bible verses on government buildings and police stations/squad cars, I’d like to suggest Psalm 82:2-6 as a compromise:

2 “How long will you defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?
3 Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

5 “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing.
They walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

6 “I said, ‘You are “gods”;
you are all sons of the Most High.’
7 But you will die like mere mortals;
you will fall like every other ruler.”

State validation


Why do so many Christians seem to require the state’s validation of their beliefs?

Is their faith so weak that without constant reminders that the majority of the country also believes in God and Jesus that they would fall away?

Do they think Jesus is sitting up in heaven with a lightning bolt saying, “By Dad, if those Americans don’t get around to plastering my name on every state owned building, I’m so going to smite them…”?

What is the deep seated inner need for this? I think some people need to right, so they can be assured that other people are wrong.

But I’m honestly curious at this point. So any Christians out there who do want Ten Commandments monuments on government land and prayer in schools and other displays by the State of theism in general and your faith in particular, please explain to me why you want that and why we can’t simply let the government be secular and each of us practice our religion as we believe God wants us to?