Thursday, April 28, 2011

Walking by the (green) light

(Today's Spiritual Sci-Fi Friday is a guest post by a good friend Tom Speelman. I met Tom a good 4 or so years ago and can tell you he's more Geek-tastic than me.)

This summer, one of the things I’m looking forward to is the Green Lantern film. GL’s one of my favorite superheroes and hopefully he’ll become a favorite of a lot of others.

For the uninitiated, Green Lantern is Hal Jordan, an Air Force test pilot who’s brave, reckless, and cocky—pretty much every pilot/astronaut stereotype in existence. Anyway, one day while flying a simulator, he was summoned by Abin Sur, an alien whose spaceship had crashed in the California desert. The dying visitor gave Hal his power ring and told him he was now the Green Lantern of Sector 2814 (AKA our solar system) and would patrol this sector of space as a member of the Green Lantern Corps, the interstellar police force controlled by the Guardians of the Universe on the planet Oa. For about 40-some years, Hal did his duty as a member of the Corps (as well as the Justice League) and all was fine. Then came the day when Superman died.

A lot of you may remember Supes’ death in 1993. Some of you may even remember how he came back a couple years later. But in between, something happened that made Hal Jordan lose everything. In the wake of Superman’s death, 4 different heroes sprang up, each bearing a variation on his costume. One of them, a cyborg, was actually Hank Henshaw, a former astronaut who had been irradiated and could transfer his consciousness into anything metal. He masqueraded as “Cyborg Superman,” paving the way for an invasion by the alien warlord Mongul, who, with Henshaw’s help, blew up Coast City, Green Lantern’s home, and used it to construct a giant engine as part of a world domination scheme. Henshaw’s plan ultimately failed, but Coast City was gone.

Hal tried rebuilding Coast City with his ring, but was chastised by the Guardians for breaking a key tenet of the Corps: using the ring for personal gain. Enraged, Hal flew to Oa to absorb all the power from the central battery that fueled the rings of every GL, killing virtually every other Corps member who tried to stop him. He sucked all of the central battery’s power, becoming the villain Parallax. Years later, Hal temporarily broke free from Parallax, dying to save Earth. Afterwards, his soul played host to the Spectre, an old DC hero who is God’s Spirit of Vengeance. Hal pretty much vanished from comics after that until 2004, when writer Geoff Johns brought the character back to life and back to being Green Lantern in the 5-part miniseries Green Lantern: Rebirth. It’s a fun story that I decided to reread on Easter. As I read my little trade that afternoon, I couldn’t help notice the various parallels with Christianity.

Besides the obvious good v. evil/light v. dark leitmotif throughout, there’s a very insightful examination into fear. See, the rule with Green Lantern has always been that his ring couldn’t affect anything yellow. Rebirth reveals this is because “Parallax”, the name Hal gave himself as a villain, is actually the living (yellow) embodiment of fear. Basically a giant lizard, it was imprisoned by the Guardians in the Central Battery. Because of that, the GL Corps had a problem with yellow because Parallax weakened the ring’s power over the spectrum. Parallax was later awakened by the villain Sinestro and was able to affect Hal Jordan, bonding onto his soul. That kinda reminds me of the demon-possessed man called Legion Jesus met, who cut himself with stones and cried uncontrollably. But when that man was freed by Jesus, the demons left him and went and drowned some pigs. The man himself returned to normal. But the locals, Mark tells us, “were afraid.”

In Rebirth, even after Parallax is conquered and trapped by Hal and other Green Lanterns, many other heroes still don’t trust him, Batman being the most vocal. He repeatedly tells the other heroes about how Hal was always cocky, never planned things out, and, as John Stewart, another Green Lantern reminds him, “didn’t buy what you’re selling. Hal was the man without fear.”

It’d be nice to live without fear, wouldn’t it? That way, you wouldn’t be afraid of what school to attend, what job to take, who to marry, and how to raise your kids. You’d just know what was right.

But the simple answer is that we don’t know what the right thing is. Only God does. He knew, over 2,000 years ago, that the right thing for Him to do was to send His own son to give up His life for us.

Due to that sacrifice, we can all experience our own Rebirth.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Change your questions, change your routine

I've been in a bad rut lately with lifting. And by "bad rut" I mean pretty much not really doing much lifting and by "not really doing much lifting" I mean not at all. I've been doing the stretchy-bandy-thingy's which have been good. And I found a way to hang by heavy bag outside,which is great. But I'm still having my own issues. And I'm still beating myself up.

Recently, I started reading a book called Change Your Questions, Change Your Life. The basic premise of the book is that it's not so much the answers we need but to ask the right questions. Now, before I get all Mr. Miyagi here, I do think there's a valid point to this. One I've been learning on my knees. And by knees, I actually don't mean praying.

Lately I've been feeling pain in my knees as I do dead lifts, squats, leg extensions, etc. That's not a good sign. Yet, I still press on with some of these exercises that work the knees. Why? Well, because, I need to work on my knees so they won't hurt. I need to exercise my quads and my glutes and all the rest of them muscles down yonder. Yet when I do, they still hurt.

After reading the first few chapters of Change Your Questions, I began to ask myself: "What questions am I really asking?" No, I didn't actually say it out loud, more like to myself in the inside voice type of way. But honestly, I realized that I was asking myself "How can I loose weight? How can I be healthy?" Good questions, right? Then I realized I needed to ask a different question: "How can I be healthy and kind to my body at the same time?" In other words, if it hurts when I do that, don't do that. Yet, I kept on doing squats.

Instead, today, I focused on cardio by riding the stationary bike. Guess what? No knee pain. I changed my question, I got a new answer. So, now I must ask new questions about the workout routines I've been doing.

What are some questions you might need to change. In order to find the answer we seek, we must first ask the right questions.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The last gasp of Data--A Lenten Meditation

Nine years ago or so Star Trek: Nemesis, the last Star Trek: TNG movies, came out--to poor reception. Roger Ebert said that while he was watching the movie, he realized that the franchise had run out of gas. Rotten Tomatoes has only given it 37% positive rating. It only raked in $43,254,409 and was beaten in the box office by a J Lo movie (all according to Wikipedia that is)

Oddly enough, Nemesis is one of my favorite Star Trek movies. It is right behind Star Trek IV and First Contact. The reason why is because of the final scenes. It is the final scenes that stick so vividly in my mind.

Picard and Data have a bond. It stems back to the Battle of Wolf 359 where Data did not give up saving Picard after he was assimilated by the Borg. In First Contact, Data is captured by the Borg Queen and Picard stops at nothing to rescue Data.

So why is this all important?

In Nemesis, Picard willingly takes a one way trip to the Romulan War Bird housing his clone, Schizon, who is bent on killing Picard. Picard knows that he must do this to save his people, his ship, his friends. Data, the android who so desired to be human, learns of Picard's intentions. And so, in pure sci-fi-is-it-sentient-or-not fashion, Data proves his humanity in giving his life to save Picard's.

There is a scene at the end where Data leaves the safety of the Enterprise, flies through space itself and enters the chaotic world of the War Bird. He enters in and saves Picard, giving up his own life to do so. Data's first and last breathe as a person was to give his life for another.

Today is Good Friday, the day that Jesus hung upon the cross. Thinking of that scene from Nemesis, I keep thinking of Jesus here on earth.

Jesus proved his humanity by willing to give up his own life for ours. Jesus leaves the safety of being in perfect triune community with the Father and the Holy Spirit, enters into our chaotic world and gives his life to save ours.

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. John 13:1

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. 1 John 3:16

I'm a spiritual musclehead and I am a geek. I find the touch of the divine in the attempt to look at the possible. The story of humanity is one reflected in battles of Yavin Prime, at the Battle of Wolf 359, along the Plains of Mordor and the halls of Hogwarts. They are mere reflects of the truth. The Truth incarnate, that Friday afternoon, breathed his last, said "it is finished" and gave up his Spirit so that we would be saved.

Today is Friday, but Sunday's coming soon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Scratch and Spit--A Lenten Meditation?

What is it about being a guy? We're supposed to be rugged and strong and protective yet at the same time be sensitive, have a feminine side and be mind readers. We're supposed to be able to work hard and provide and at the same time be good husbands, father's, crazy uncles and the knight in shinning armor all at once.

I remember back in the early '90s when Robin Hood: Men in Tights came out. It was a joke about how in the early Robin Hood movies, they all wore tights (tight tights!). And then, in the movie, there was a dance scene about how the men wearing the tights were manly men and that they were secure in their masculinity. At the same time they showed off some spunk and sass.

I've been thinking about this the last few days since my Rocky IV post. You compliment a guy by insulting him. Guys are most happy when they aren't talking with each other but sitting in some deer blind, sitting by a lake with a pole in hand, or just scratching and spitting (not each other though). There's something caveman abut us that we genetically revel in and need.

In a nutshell, I really think men are hard wired to go out, slay the mammoth, drag it back home to be cooked, then hang around drinking grog or klah or whatever cavemen drank telling the events of what happened in ways in which they never did.

Is this an honest, true way of looking at it or is there another way?

Easter's on Sunday. Do guys even go to church? Is it too girly? Or if they do, do they even participate or just sit in the back waiting for there to be coffee and cookies afterward?

What does it mean to be a guy ten years into the 21st century? And anyway.. would Jesus be seen as a girly man by today's standards or as some he-man cool guy? Or something in between?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Training against disapointment like Rocky IV--A Lenten Meditation

After musing over my post on the X-Men and looking at things from different perspectives and rebooting new ways of looking at Jesus and life, I started to wonder what else I could reboot and relook at. Besides writing run-on sentences that is.

A little while back, I wrote about dealing with disappointment. I had purchased a weight lifting book I was really looking forward to reading over. I was disappointed by the exercises and routines they had in it. It wasn't what I was looking for. I tossed the book aside and let it be.

Over the last few weeks, I've been very busy. I haven't had time to hit the gym and that's been hard. Hitting the gym has been one of the best ways for me to recharge, refocus and to refresh myself. Hitting the gym helps me to keep on keeping on in many ways.

I've also missed my bag. My heavy bag. My heavy punching bag. I've had that thing since 2003. When my office was in the basement of our place while in Seminary, it hung next to my desk and helped me through Hebrew. That thing hasn't been hung up since we moved. No place to hang it safely.

The workout book I bought has a routine for those who are training for boxing. And I needed bands to use. I thought about it and finally bought some bands. I also found a way to safely hang my bag from a tree in the back yard.

I'm not so disappointed in that book now. My abs hurt, my arms are sore. And I got a chance to wail on my bag for the first time in a while.

After I was done, I began to think about something Paul said. He was a sports nut and used sports illustrations a lot. He made a boxing reference in 1st Corinthians

Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27

Reading through this verse again after hitting my bag and doing those exercises got me thinking about that scene from Rocky IV

I'm wondering why disappointment stopped me? Why didn't I fight through it like I've done before? But once I fought through it, I saw the benefit of it.

One of the things that always got me about that montage from Rocky IV is the fact that he's not training aimlessly. He's going towards the goal. Granted, his goal is a very young and buff Dalph Lundren, but still, he's training towards the goal. For Rocky Balboa, Failure was not an option, it was a necessity. It was his failure, it was Apollo's failure, that led him to train harder. To not just train to shadow box, not just train to fight, but to train to win.

Esater's so close I can almost taste the Reese's peanut butter eggs (or it might be the ones I hid from the kiddos for their Easter baskets). Easter is the second time in the year you hear the most about Jesus. And it's the second time of the year that people tell me about their disappointment in him. But they don't get all Rocky IV on it. They walk away. If you do that, then the spiritual-communist-Dalph-Lundren-Characters win. And that ain't good.

Disappointment's always going to be there. It's going to be in my life at other points. Not just in books, but in myself and in what I do. It'll always be there. And so will Jesus. He'll always be there for me. This is a fight to be healthy physically, emotionally and most importantly, spiritually. I know it's going to be hard at times. I know I'm going to get disappointed at times. But I'm going to get all Rocky IV in my faith, for I'm going to train to win the prize and not shadowbox!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The ever evolving X-men--A Lenten Meditation

The X-men have been around since 1963. They were created by the genius and awesome that is Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The "X" in X-men stood for extra. There was something extra to their genes. They were also for a while referred to as the children of the atom. They began to mutate because of radiation exposure.

It was 1963, just after the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was the height of the Cold War. The world was on edge. And this group of people, not bitten by radioactive spiders, not given powers by gamma rays, not given powers by unapproved space exploration, but just because they were born that way, had powers and were to defend not the free world, but defend humanity and themselves.

Over the last 40+ almost 50 years, the X-Men have battled various villains--mutants and human alike. They've also battled discrimination, genocide, and ostracization. Though they were at the fringe of society, they still were driven to protect it at all costs, even undo death.

Over the years, they've been revamped, reintroduced, rebooted. In the late 80's they had their own cartoon show. And again in the early 90's FOX came out with another one. In the early aughts, X-men Evolution came on the WB. There were also three major theatrical releases, one Wolverine movie and a prequel coming out soon. And now, there is an anime version coming out soon. The show is ever evolving and rebooting. Ever being looked at from a different perspective. It is a story filled with interpersonal relationships, disenfranchisement, and down right angst at times. Each person has their own personal baggage. Some have dealt with it. Others have not. But each time the story comes out to another generation, it is rebooted to apply to the time. And it is welcomed with open arms, sometimes even from the purists.

So what in the world does this have to do with Easter?

Jesus, for one, has been around a lot longer than the X-men ever have. He lived, died, and rose again almost 2,000 years ago. He is seated at the right hand of God, and still lives today. Even the purists say that. One of the things that I've always marveled at with the X-men is that though they were hated, despised, attached, ridiculed, they were still willing to lay down their lives for humanity.

We read in 1 John

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 1 John 3:16

Though he was hated, despised, attached, ridiculed, he still willingly to gave his life for not just humanity but for you personally. He was humble. He was meek. Did he get angry? Boy howdy he did (check it out here)But in the end, he went willingly to lay down his life for you. For me. For us all.
Yet, can we reboot Jesus? Can we take the same message he spoke, look at it from a different perspective? A story of a real man who live 2 millennial who changed the world. As we approach Easter, we need to look at the fact that Jesus is more than a man, but one who sacrificed all for you. This is the importance of Easter.

How can you take the same story of salvation from sin, death upon the cross and reboot it so that it applies to each generation and yet still keeps the integrity of the story?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sorry if I offended--A Lenten Meditation

I've been mulling over this post since yesterday. Yesterday afternoon I had to do a run up to Mitchell about 45 minutes away. While I was there, I stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up some items that I couldn't get in town. I'm pushing my shopping cart around and doing what I usually do when shopping in a big store--I'm looking for a quick checkout lane. As I walked by, I scanned the register area, some with screaming kids, some with food and other items piled to the sky. One person had a palm tree in their shopping cart. Then I found it. I found the prime register. Only one small family--a man and a woman in their 20's and a little boy--and a few groceries. I pulled into that lane.

Then, I thought to myself "Watch, this is going to be the lane that they'll need to do a price check or something on." And sure enough, no sooner did I say that to myself that trouble began. First they had to do a price check. Then a void, which meant waiting for a supervisor. Then the credit card reader thingy-do-hicky wasn't working. Okay, not a problem. Then their card was declined. Okay, problem. They started to look a bit embarrassed. They shuffled their feet. They didn't make eye contact with anyone. They then took some non-essentials out of the cart to return. Still not enough. The supervisor, still there, offered to suspend the account. The young couple quietly walked to the ATM.

My items were rung up. Credit card reader thingy-do-hicky didn't read my card either. Which made me a bit nervous. But it went through on the register. My stuff was bagged up when the young couple came back and told the cashier to put the items back. I then told the cashier that I would take care of their order. I took my card back out of my wallet and began to hand it to the cashier. The young couple looked shocked and then ashamed. They said no repeatedly and then left. The cart had been filled with food and kids clothing. Not alcohol, no frivolous items. Cloths and food. And they walked away. I could feel their heavy hearts in my soul as they walked out.

I felt bad. I felt that in my attempt to help, I offended them.

If I did, I'm sorry.

I wanted to help.

I began to think about a time when a Rich young man came to Jesus and asked what he must do to have eternal life. Jesus told the man to sell all his possessions and give to the poor. The rich young man walked away saddened because he had much wealth.

This young couple walked away--did they have too much pride? Did they have too much shame? Was it a combination of the too? I didn't want to give a handout, I wanted to give a hand-up. But they walked away.

They walked away broken and sad. As I was driving out of the parking lot, I tried to look for them, maybe offer again to help (or would that be like stalking?).

I began to think about Lent. Lent is for them. Lent is for those who are broken and saddened.

There is a song by Barlow Girl that rings so true (it is edited to a Teen Titans story arc)

Easter offends and mends at the same time. There's something honestly offensive about someone going above and beyond doing something completely gracious for you without your asking. For me with that young couple, it was neither above nor beyond. It was a small tab. A very small tab that they couldn't afford. It wouldn't have taken much on my part.

On the other hand, our tab with God is high. Very high. A tab for sin that we can never pay back. Jesus went to the cross to pay what we owe without our asking. And that offends us. We didn't want it. We need it but we didn't ask for it.

Easter is about the price being paid and a mending of relationships, a mending of making all things new again. Jesus came for the broken and the bruised, for the hurting and the struggling, he came for rich and poor alike. He came to bring us back to God by paying the tab we owed.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Disappointment--A Lenten meditation

I'm disappointed. I recently bought a new workout book I was looking forward to. It's based off of the Strength Training Anatomy book I've been using now for the last year or so. It's called The Strength Training Anatomy Workout book. It was supposed to have various workouts for sports, for fitness training, etc. I was excited because I thought that maybe I could take some of these workout ideas for football and change up my routine a bit.

I was very disappointed with the book. Why? Well, for one, I put a lot of stock into it I think. I saw it as my savior to a new workout routine. I was ready for it. I was excited to get it. And when I opened it up and started reading it, it wasn't what I was expecting at all.

Unlike Strength Training Anatomy, this version didn't have the science and calisthenics as the other. Not only that, but most of the workouts were given to be done at home with various rubber bands. Unlike Strength Training Anatomy, it didn't give as many variations to use.

This wasn't what I wanted. This wasn't what I was expecting.

As I've been preaching through our Lenten series at church, I've begun to see how many people were disappointed with Jesus. They wanted him to be something he wasn't. People wanted him to be some great conquering king. Some amazing miracle worker who could make all things new. Yet, he came for one reason only--to die on the cross. He died upon the cross to bring us back to God. There aren't any other variations. There isn't any other way.

Recently, I downloaded an app for my phone from JEFIT. It's to the point. It tells you what needs to be done for each exercise. It walks you through what needs to be done. Though it's a great app, there's no real frills about it. It does what it says it will do.

Now, I'm not comparing Jesus to an app for my cellphone, but think about it this way. Jesus came. He said that the son of man will be betrayed into the hands of the enemy so that scripture will be fulfilled. He said that he came to save us from sin, to be the ultimate sacrifice. He did what he said he would.

So many times, we're disappointed with what is happening around us. We're good people, why can't we be happy for once. Or, many Christians think "We're Christians, why aren't we happy." For some people, this drives them away. For others, this makes them act happy when they ain't.

Jesus didn't come to give us happiness, he came to make us right before God. He came to give us comfort in life and in death, not happiness. He came to give life, not a nice house and a sweet ride.

Are you disappointed with Jesus? Why is that? Can there be a change in how you see him that will change your disappointment into comfort?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The beauty of South Dakota

As I've been driving around in South Dakota (and out here you do need to drive a lot to get to places) I've been pulling over to the side of the road from time to time to take pictures. There are other times where I go off onto one of the side roads, the gravel roads and I'll stop and take a picture. What do I take pictures of? Some would call them random odd shots. Some might call them mundane every day occurances in South Dakota. Others might call them ugly. And even some who've not lived here and felt the dirt in their toes might not understand them. I call them beautiful. These are parts of the place where I live, part of the land scape. During our first month here, a big storm hit. I raced out and captures on my phone the rumbling of clouds over the church. The rain gone yet the clouds still moved on. Their gray and black mixing together creating something akin to a painting in the sky. The Missouri River was overflowing. It had risen above the rock and sand banks and had come close to the edge of the stairs. We had members of our church who loved the land, lived the land, show us this beauty when we first moved out here.I've taken a lot of pictures while driving (something that probably isn't the safest thing to do). There's something about being on the road, knowing where you're going. Seeing the simple of it yet knowing it stretches out in a vastness that fills the whole land.As you drive down the highways, there, jutting off like capillaries from the blacktop veins of the highway system, are gravel roads that go back into the deeper parts of the farmland. These roads lead between farms, between highways and between the lives of people. Along these gravel roads are old homes and barns, empty for generations it seems. They once had laughter, and loved ones. They once held dances, filled with music, where young men and women would meet (with or without parents permission).

And then, there are the sunsets. Brilliant yellows. Deep-hued reds, muted purples. And when framed by the clouds, rival that of a sunset over the Pacific any smoggy day there.

What I've learned (and am still learning) is that there is beauty all around me. I just have to choose to see it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Writer's Block--a Lenten Meditation?

Yes, I didn't put up a Monday blog. No, I wasn't participating in a digital fast for Lent. Even if I did, I think it might be against Matthew 6:16-18 to blog about it anyway. The story? I've had writer's block. Yep. Not just writer's block but weight lifting block. Heck, I've had exercise in general block!

With writer's block, I just can't seem to get the words out to blog about something important that is related to be a Spiritual Musclehead. I couldn't think about something that was highly spiritual. I couldn't think of something that was exercise related (mainly because I haven't gone to the gym in a a couple of days to get more material)and I was struggling to think of something dealing with relationships and the emotional side of things. ERG!!

And it's this not knowing what to say that bugs me. I need to know what to say each week. More than that, Sunday comes twice a week for me. As I was thinking about this, I thought of what happened the night Jesus was betrayed. We read in Mark 14 that Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane with Peter, James and John to pray. Jesus needed to unload what was on his soul in prayer. He wanted his three closest friends with him. And what'd these three friends do? They fell asleep. Three times Jesus asked them to stay awake and three times they fell asleep.

I always connect with what Jesus tells them in v40

"When [Jesus]came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him." Mark 14:40

They were blocked. Here they are, with Jesus, having the experience that so many people today wish that they had. It'd be like throwing the football with Joe Montana, playing basketball with Michale Jordan or golfing with Arnold Palmer or driving NASCAR with what's-his-face (I don't follow NASCAR, sorry). And they fell asleep. More than that, they tried to look away (Jesus could tell. He's the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity...that and their eyes were heavy). And they didn't know what to say.

Right now, I don't know what to say. My mind won't move forward sometimes on this. It's blocked. During this season looking forward to Easter, I just don't know what to say right now.

Have you ever had that?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Who's Who--A Lenten Meditation

I'm geeking out here big time. Dr. Who is coming back April 3!Dr. Who is in the Guinness Book of World records as being the longest running show in history. Dr. Who is about a time traveler who is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifry (Gal-eh-free). He travels around time and space in a big blue British police box called the TARDIS. As it has been explained numerous times, the TARDIS has the capability to blend in with its surroundings. Sometime during an adventure in the 1960's, the TARDIS disguised itself as a blue police box and became stuck in that disguise. The Doctor is a lone traveler and tends to pick up people who travel with him from time to time. These are called his companions. It is a way for the writers to help give voice to the viewer, being amazed at these adventures in time and space.

After a run through almost three decades, Dr. Who went off the air in the 1980's. in 2004 the show was rebooted by the BBC with the 9th Doctor being played by Christopher Eccelson. Then there was the 10th Doctor played by the very talented David Tennant. And now, just last year, the 11th Doctor is beginning his second season as played by Matt Smith.

Now, to non sci-fi and Dr. Who fans this may not make sense. How one show last so long with the main character being played by multiple people. That just doesn't make sense. There are 11 Doctor Whos but only one Doctor Who throughout the whole series. As the 9th Doctor explained to his traveling companion Rose Tyler--Time Lords have a way of cheating death. They regenerate. They die and then come back to life in a new body. It is the same doctor with roughly the same personality, yet different.

Now, what does this have to do with Easter? It is Easter Sunday when we celebrate Jesus' resurrection. The Doctor regenerates. He dies. Yet he cheats death. He continually hides from death. Each time he is about to die, he changes his look, his personality, his appearance so that he may not truly die.

Jesus on the other hand truly did die. He was dead and buried for three days in the grace. And we celebrate Easter because he didn't cheat death he down right defeated it. Jesus wasn't just resurrected he is the resurrection.

Jesus says

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
John 11:25-26

As much as I like the Doctor, he does cause problems. In fact, the British government created a fierce military command called The Unit which was created to specifically deal with Doctor related issues. After a run in with the Doctor, Queen Victoria creates an organization called Torchwood to deal with Doctor related issues. The Doctor has many times been the Earth's champion and savior and other times, unintentionally, it's worse enemy.

As we approach Easter, I think about this interesting comparison with Jesus and the Doctor. The Doctor dies to cheat death, Jesus dies to save us from death.

Jesus says

I lay down my life--only to take it up again. No one takes it form me, but I lay it down on my own accord. John 10:17-18

We celebrate Easter because Jesus did lay down his life for us. He laid it down so that we might rise up with him. With Jesus, you don't cheat death, you have victory over it.

Do you have this victory?