Daily Archives: May 29, 2008

On the Subject of Heroes: Man of Iron VERSUS Man of Sorrows

Went and saw “IronMan” a few weeks back.
Like an updated “RoboCop” really, but not TOO bad for an American action film. This movie got me thinking about the following topic:
Just what makes a hero anyway?
The North-American audience (and world audience even) love the idea of a hero who is MADE OF IRON and invincible. This is the kind of Messiah 1st century Jews were looking for when Jesus appeared on the scene. They were hoping that he would be the One to protect them and destroy their enemies without. Instead, he revealed that we are our own biggest enemies and wars, hatred and all sins come from within each of us in our sinful nature. He revealed an even greater hero that the world has trouble accepting. One who feels our pain. Who hungers. Who thirsts. Who cries. One who cries out to the Father above instead of relying on one’s own strength. One who instead of making himself invincible to overcome evil, in His wisdom became “weak” and died for the sins of the world. Now that is a hero worth living for and yeah, even dying for!

The Undying Died so that the Dead may Live.
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. but he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
(Isaiah 53:3-6)

What kind of a hero is that?!” some would snort.
They want to be just like Tony Stark: the Bill Gates or Brad Pitt of their generation. Someone who has a snappy one-liner for anything said, who can bed who he wants and when he wants and maybe as a side-thought does “nice things” on the side.

“So, you are a man who has EVERYTHING but yet has NOTHING.”
Looking at the people of Hollywood is good example enough of people who seem to have everything but have nothing. Even the perfectly chosen actor for this role, Robert Downey Jr., and the choices and actions he has made in life should tell us that fortune and fame are not enough to “be happy” and content in life.

“Let’s face it. This is not the worst thing you’ve caught me doing.” The audience laughs! Yes, we try to imagine what kinds of things he has wickedly enjoyed and many people thought it was fantastic to see his air-stewardesses who doubled as strip dancers. Airplane compete with stripper’s pole. Yes, a hero to the world indeed.

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s…”
The one Bible quote in the movie and the entire verse is not given. “…and unto God the things that are God’s (Matthew 22:20-21)
The world is like that. They have knowledge of the Bible to some degree but they do not have the whole picture or saving knowlege.
They quote the Bible frequently (even like some of my co-workers) but they take the verses out of context and say things like “Keep the Faith” to mean “Keep your chin up” rather than the original meaning which is about keeping one’s faith in Christ.
“Don’t waste your life. Use it.”
A dying man’s last words (who he barely knew) are supposed to be what motivate him. How much more should the Words of the Always-Living-But-Has-Entered-Time-And-Space-And-Died-For-Us-God-Man?! Tony Stark is supposed to have found “his purpose” through those words. We (every human being) are TOLD by GOD HIMSELF what our purpose is in Acts 17:
“And hath made of one blood of all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, AND FIND HIM, though He be not far from every one of us:” (Acts 17:26-27)
The Bible says we find God in Christ alone. (John 14:6)
We are then told what our life purpose is after that most important first step in Ephesians:
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
God has made (real-born-again) Christians (not necessarily just those who go to a physical church!) to be His ambassadors:
One of the trailers I say online reads,
“Heroes aren’t Born, They’re Built.”
Au contraire,
“Heroes aren’t Built. They’re Born Again.”

“What happened over there?” someone asks Tony Stark.
“I had my eyes opened.”
The Bible tells us that in “this war zone” earth, the enemy (Satan) has pulled the wool over the eyes of the world and that only in turning to the Lord is the veil removed and we can see. “but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.”
(2 Corinthians 3:16) God alone opens eyes. No event, in and of itself, will “cause your eyes to be opened”. It is God alone, through His grace. God, in His sovereignty, mercy, grace and love has provided the means of salvation through the cross. It is our choice to accept or reject it. “He who is not with me is against me“, Jesus declares in Luke 11:23. There is no neutral ground. Neutrality is impossible with the Lord. “..he that gathers not with me, scatters“.

Artwork at CCC (Capital Commerical Centre) in Muscat

CCC is the oldest mall in Muscat. For map lovers, check it out at: http://wikimapia.org/320153/

>Ibri Caught in Storm – Tuesday, May 27th



This storm came as a big surprise to me (and many of my colleagues). This video was taken from my bedroom (and only!) window. On Wednesday in Muscat, I read the following question put forward to citizens days before in the “Word on the Street” section of The Week publication (www.theweek.co.om ): “Have you heard about the possibility of the approaching tropical storm and are you making any preparations as a result?” Would have been nice to know a tropical storm was approaching!

>Newest Car on the Block!


Congrats to Blair on the new car! Sweet!

>Ancient Men Playing an Ancient Game: "Hawalis"


Ibrianites near Al Araqi fort playing “Hawalis”; a game which seems to be of Zanzibari origin. To learn more about this ancient game, check out: http://www.wikimanqala.org/wiki/Hawalis