Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dead Theologians Society: St. Irenaeus

An important early voice against the heresy of Gnosticism, Irenaeus’ writings are among the most important documents produced by the church fathers. He was influenced in his thoughts by St Polycarp, who himself had known some of the apostles and their immediate disciples.
Born in approximately 125 in or near Smyrna, a city on the Aegean Sea in what is now Turkey. He was raised in a Christian home, and may have heard Polycarp teach as young man. He became a priest in Lyon, eventually rising to the position of bishop, replacing the martyred Saint Pothinius.
His theological works, collectedas “Against the Heresies,” were originally written in Greek but quickly translated into Latin. This allowed for the works to be widely circulated, and are credited with dealing a death-blow to Gnosticism. He also wrote again Montanism and other debatable teachings of the age.
Details of the end of his life are scarce, as he seems to have thrown himself into his work as Bishop of Lyon. He is thought to have died in 202, of natural causes.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Podcast Recommendation

I wanted to give a "shout-out" to a podcast that is taking a look at similar content that what we do here, although from not the same perspective.

On the Parliament of Rooks podcast (the name is a reference to the Sandman comic), the husband-and-wife team of Tom & Melanie Lenese discuss all the elements of magic and the supernatural throughout the history of DC Comics. They don't examine the religious minutae of the characters, like we sometimes do here, but the show is an entertaining romp through an area of comics that we love.

They have looked at our favorite character, The Spectre, a number of times. In episode 19, they discussed his Golden Age origin, which is content that we covered on episode 2 of our podcast. They have also talked about such magical stalwarts as Zatanna & Zatara, Doctor Fate, Johnny Thunder, and Eclipso, in addition to the occassional dip into kids comics, such as Stanley and His Monster. The variety of the characters covered is on the strengths of the show.

Check out their show for a weekly dip into the magical side of comic books.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Bible Study, via Preacher

Nobody is going to mistake Jesse Custer, the lead character of AMC's comic-book-inspired TV show Preacher, for a good pastor. But on the third episode, "The Possibilities," which first aired June 12, he did a pretty decent job officiating a funeral.

Earlier in the episode, he performed baptisms, and maybe his heart wasn't in it. But when it came to the funeral at the end of the episode (spoiler, I guess), it seemed that he was taking his job seriously.

He read from 1st Corinthians 15:51 (and 52, although he only identified 51), a passage which is often read at funerals.

"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."

First, the show gets credit using a real verse (I'm looking at you, X-Files), from a real translation (the New International Version), a translation which seems like a reasonable choice for a small church in rural Texas). Second, it was quoted properly, and in context. And although Pastor Custer is a troubled man - a very, very troubled man - he read the words with an appropriate sense of the moment. As if the words he spoke, their message, have power.