Recent discovery solves one of childhood’s greatest mysteries

May 24, 2011

I read a lot of Archie comic books growing up. Something about the lives of these Riverdale teens was so fascinating to me.

In hindsight, it probably had to do with the fact that young guys actually talked to pretty teenaged girls. That was a frustrating impossibility to the shy younger version of myself.

But while the comic antics were entertaining, they also portrayed a situation that was utterly mystifying. How could Archie be so smitten with the aloof Veronica, while blind to the equally attractive Betty? For crying out loud, they were drawn exactly the same, except for hair color! How could Archie ignore Betty in edition after enigmatic edition of the comic?

The riddle that had long plagued me was solved when I happened upon this tantalizing clue recently:

Archie didn’t pursue a relationship with Betty because she was already going steady with Jesus!

Suddenly, Archie’s avoidance of Betty made sense. Even though he was very popular, there was no way he was going to compete with the King of Kings!

If you find this revelation to be perplexing, here’s a little back story. Al Hartley, who wrote and drew Archie comic books, became a Christian in 1967. Five years later, he convinced his publisher to allow him to create a Christian version of the popular characters of Riverdale. Based on the huge success of Hartley’s prior work creating a comic book adaptation of “The Cross and the Switchblade,” Archie president John Goldwater licensed the cartoon teens to Spire Comics who created 19 editions over the next 10 years.

To today’s readers, the religious comics seem a little cheesy. Okay, a lot cheesy. But how cool is it that Hartley, an artist at the top of his game, worked to use his gifts to share the Gospel in such a visible manner.

Are there other examples of faith-based comics in circulation today?

HT: Comics Alliance


Jukebox: The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues)

May 23, 2011

“The Sound (John Perkin’s Blues) is a very important song for us as a band. I see so much hatred and fear around me, I see so many people living out their pain. I hear it on the radio. I see it in the headlines. John Perkin’s story needs to be heard. This song was inspired by a man who sang a louder song than hatred. In a world where we are defined by our differences, Mr. Perkin’s life of service and compassion is a tangible demonstration of what it means to live a life of love. Love is the loudest song we could sing. Louder than racism. Louder than fear. Louder than hatred. John Perkin’s said it right, love is the final fight. We’re excited to hear this song on the radio, louder than pain.” — Jon Foreman, lead singer, Switchfoot

Francis Chan is no Rob Bell

May 20, 2011

Da Vinci’s design for the iPhone

May 20, 2011

HT: How To Be A Retronaut

Seal Team Six vs Civil War Reenactors

May 19, 2011

“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”
(2 Timothy 2:1-7 ESV)

When I’m reminded of the call to be a good soldier of Christ Jesus, I like to think of myself as one of the Navy’s Seal Team Six, the elite military group that made news by killing Osama Bin Laden. They’re the best of the best … highly trained, super tough, and thoroughly committed to accomplishing their mission, regardless of how dangerous.

But all too often, I think I’m more like a civil war reenactor. I’m a weekend warrior with a homemade uniform. Sure, I’m putting on a good show, but I’m play fighting with a weapon that shoots blanks. Once the “battle” is over, I hop back into the minivan and drive back to my civilian comforts and diversions.

Truth is, I’m in a battle that never ends with an unseen enemy taking pot shots at me. I am a soldier, and so are you.

By the grace of God, let’s endeavor to be good soldiers. Let’s aim to please our commanding officer. Even when we run away from the battle, the Lord will find us, as he found Gideon hiding from the Midianites in a winepress. And God’s messenger will likewise say to us, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”

Why there are no more sasquatch sightings in Utah

May 18, 2011

Book review: Nick of Time

May 17, 2011

Nick Polchak is spending some time in the Poconos the week of his wedding. Unfortunately, it’s murder and not marriage that brings him to the popular honeymoon destination.

That’s the kickoff for Nick of Time, a new thriller by Tim Downs. This story is the latest in a series of novels about a brilliant, yet socially awkward forensic entomologist. His study of insects that collect on corpses enables him to solve countless crimes, which makes him something of a minor celebrity among other forensic scientists.

Nick heads out of town just days before his wedding to Alena, a dog trainer who is almost as quirky as himself, to assist a colleague who’s stumped by a cold case. Needless to day, she is unhappy with his prenuptial road trip, and fears that it will interfere with the ceremony.

I found the story to be very engrossing. Nick is a refreshingly original sleuth, and the murder mystery that captivates him to the point of forgetting about the girl he’s left behind, arrested me as well.

The author is masterful with dialogue throughout Nick of Time. Nick, Alena, and the supporting cast of suspects and law enforcement professionals pepper each other with witty remarks and sarcasm at a pace that reminded me of the banter between Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd in the 80s television series Moonlighting.

In fact, the verbal zingers are just a little too plentiful. When everyone in a story has a perfectly timed, comedic comeback, it feels like the author’s voice is drowning out the characters. Given Tim Down’s past experience as a comic strip creator, where each panel requires a humorous moment, that shortfall is understandable.

That minor weakness aside, I found Nick of Time to be the most enjoyable Christian novel I’ve read all year. From it’s fast start to it’s unexpected and emotionally complex conclusion, this book is a great choice for your summertime reading.

The publisher provided me a complimentary book. I provided a complimentary book review. In other words, if the book was crappy, I could have told you without jeopardizing a paycheck. Sounds about right doesn’t it?