EGO: LIVING PLANET, DEADBEAT DAD

“Didn’t you want to find out who your father is, Peter?”

-Gamora to Peter Quill

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Hey true believers! Isn’t it fascinating that the MCU’s plans are coming to fruition? Ain’t it even cooler that we fast approaching the cream of it all… the Infinity War!

I think it’s amazing that this far, we can say that Marvel’s story both on the small and big-screens has brought us to this point at last. Thus begins the countdown to the final act and build up of it all and we begin to get a glimpse of this in Marvel’s recent blockbuster success, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Here we are introduced to a marvelous inclusion to the cinematic canon as well as a well-crafted continuation to the first film, and every minute of the same is equally savory!

Let it be noted, this is the first film in Marvel’s cache that’s not a typical ‘super-hero’ film…whereas one could argue that the heroes are eager to be just that, heroes, they do it in the most unconventional way. This, they do by making the film, a family film with one agenda, winning you (the viewer’s) heart. The family-centered nature of the movie is a fantastic and timely movie with one answer to the question, “what does it truly mean to be family?”

True to Marvel’s history in the comics, GotG Vol. 2 delivers on its chosen relatable theme and captured the heart of all its viewers. If anything, watching Peter, Gamora and Rocket try and figure their place in the world was a great way to delve into their worlds. In this way, we are exposed to a present reality, the presence of a new kind of family dynamic. Here one chooses their family and finds their place and purpose. It’s very hard not to see a parallel with the Christian message of inclusion of the believer to a chosen family of sorts.

For true to the nature of the world, our biological relations may not all turn out right and we do suffer. Some of us do not end up finding true family among our own kin and we end up finding safety, warmth, love and identity among those we don’t share any blood-ties. It’s curious how this concept works and how its tied to the spiritual…gangs, Bloods and CRIPs, local and international, consider themselves a type of family and look out for their own and there are often rituals involved to show allegiance to the same. These rituals tend to involve tests, pain and even blood. Odd isn’t it?

But here’s where it gets even more peculiar and bear with me for a minute, we find that there really is life and a sense of joy in these settings, including the religious realm. It stands to reason that the cosmic and powerful nature of Ego drove him to associate himself with divinity, a god with a small ‘g’. He was what Marvel’s cosmos would consider gods, a celestial…and we are about to see more soon in Thor Ragnarok later on this year.

Look at it this way, Peter’s biological father though powerful as he was, and belonging to a race of vastly superior beings to anything else in the MCU was not only untrustworthy but was selfish. Peter was not his son in the same way that Bruce wasn’t his father’s child in Ang Lee’s Hulk (2002); they were their parent’s project. Nothing more. It’s also peculiar that much of the character flaws attributed to Ego in GotG Vol. 2 are the very traits associated with many deities in the ancient pantheistic world…they are powerful, but are unmarked by love. So you have a god but he or she comes with trace amounts of care, compassion and love…what an offer ey?

What makes this argument is Ego’s treatment of Peter, he uses him for his own ends. The whole time they’re interacting, he was simply manipulating Peter to use him and his power for his own bizarre ends. What a dad, ey? But hey, don’t take my word for it. Peter himself does say, “No wonder I got issues… (points)that’s my dad!” Heh. It’s actually quite funny, that Peter later realized what value Yondu added to his life by keeping and raising him and basically being a father to him.

Something crazily important to note here though, Yondu was riddled with flaws. He just wasn’t the perfect man. Heck, he was a leader of the ravagers and we learnt that he kept Peter because of his size as a child to steal stuff (now we see why Baby Groot was the ideal candidate for the ‘kill Ego scene’). But, above all, Yondu cared for Peter and grew to love and raise him as his own son. Now that’s fatherhood!

I thought that it’s quite a relatable that the message of Guardian’s was that their is beauty in imperfections, although, it doesn’t necessarily advocate for the abnormal scenario to become the norm. Rather, as a movie that seeks to capture the hearts and minds of its audience, it captured its soul.

And oh, I almost forgot, the comics have a version of God and yes, he’s a celestial. Yes, God with a capital ‘g’…

The One Above All…

Caution though, he’s just as bad…

IRON FIST: NETFLIX AND THE ‘WHAT NEXT’

MARVEL’S IRON FIST: WHAT WENT RIGHT, AND WHAT WE CAN DO

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It’s amazing to see how the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) has built up its interconnected universe on the small screen. Time, chance, coincidence and opportunity all seem to have worked to Marvel’s advantage as they have not only seen success in their most popular titles, but have also seen the return of some of their long-lost titular characters such as Spider-man, Blade, Daredevil and Punisher. Now, it was the worry of so many of us fans that each of these individuals wouldn’t get justice done to their characters, but again, the MC did us proud.

Taking into consideration the fact that the MCU is the first of its kind to weave an interconnected universe in the form of movies and the small screen, it should not therefore, be a cause for alarm when they dare to try something new. I am careful to point this out since there is so much that the MCU is still yet to discover—and building a unique feel, theme and story for every character is not knew to Marvel, let alone its comics. One way to look at it is that, like the comics, Marvel has never shied away from tackling current issues (sorry DC, but Marvel did this better).

Perhaps one of the most daring moves by Marvel under the leadership of its forerunners, Stan ‘The Man’ Lee, being one of them, Marvel broke the approach to doing comic-books. Also, on the same note, it could be said that the decision to take certain concepts from DC and flip them was a conscious decision to prove that they could do it better. Though debatable, it’s still a fascinating topic for fans to discuss. So, I’ll leave that to you true believers. If we could then take that understanding to mind, then we could argue-all Marvel fans out there-that we could not have gotten some of the most memorable characters that the world has seen had Marvel (called Atlas then) not dared to create characters who challenged the norm and what defined super-heroes, we wouldn’t have been thrilled to see what’s going on before our very eyes this day and age.

It would not have been thrilling to plead for Sony to let go of Spider-man; or for us fans to plead for Punisher, Daredevil to be brought back; or to even hope for the return of the X-Men and the Fantastic 4 to Marvel from Fox. That is why we fight for them to be brought home, like the father of the Prodigal Son story, only that this time we go after him and try to drag our son home. We LOVE these characters, RELATE to them and acknowledge the UNIQUE attachment we have with them. Think about this for a moment, which discriminated parties in this world cannot see themselves in the X-Men? Which child of colour cannot see himself as Spider-man or as Black Panther, a king? If psychologists are correct, that is the kind of mental stimulation that challenges the imagination and helps a kid realize his potential in such a dark world that probably won’t like him because of such silly things as their skin-color or their gender.

Then in comes a character like the Iron Fist. It’s taken me some time but I feel ready to talk about the new Netflix show of the titular character. You see, it’s crazy to attack Marvel on the account that they should have made the Iron Fist Asian—on that, I agree with Comicbookcast2, Comicsexplained and Nerdsync; there is no need, because Danny Rand isn’t of Asian descent. The second critique is that of its main character played by Finn Jones—in his defence, there was no need to attack him on social media to the point that he quit Twitter. Yes, let’s admit it, depending on whose writing the story, Danny Rand Iron Fist has always been a bit quirky but wise, and at times dead serious. Trying to find the fine line between both iterations is tricky, especially if adapted for the small screen as a live-action feature.

Kevin Tencharoen (I sure hope I spelt that right), some of you might remember that name from the Mortal Kombat live-action series that was created a couple of years back. He was one of the minds behind it. I know some of you will immediately have a light-bulb moment and realize something…Marvel took a risk with the one person well-known for birthing a martial arts-based series some years back. But, given what Marvel had, they risked, yes, they did, Harold Meachum was a more horrible villain than his Earth 616 counterpart; Colleen Wing’s story and relationship was discussed; Davos’ deviousness and 2-Faced nature; Danny’s complicated, action-filled life as the Iron Fist was aptly portrayed as well as his desire to build his father’s company and seek justice for his family as well.

I will agree on one thing, the pacing is slow and they could have done something about that. Behold the blessed place of the critic and fan; the position of evaluator and analyser. We can critique it but we also have to do it in a manner that will see the characters built and brought back in Season 2 better than ever. So, I plead with you, the MCU exists not for Marvel but for us, let’s help them build it better.

KENYA’S MASHUJAA DAY: WHAT THE KENYAN CHURCH NEEDS TO NOTE

HEALING THE NATION

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Hey everyone, how are you all? I am so happy to be back here. I just hope that for those of you who’ve been following me, will take the time to forgive my absence. I have been trying to re-adjust to school life and I am so glad that I can now use this blog to impact, challenge and motivate my followers. Please do not feel left out or neglected, I am back and I’m here to be that blessing to many who read my posts. Remember, feel free to hit me up so that we could share and discuss these issues at a personal level. Love you all!

Now, here we are, Kenya is celebrating yet another Mashujaa Day. The air is filled with excitement as every citizen of Kenya rejoices in the fact they are still an independent country thanks to its heroes. These heroes are what are known in Swahili as “Mashujaa”. These are the men and women who fought for the country’s independence from the British colonial rule…every one of these men and women are revered for their roles in the struggle.

The country’s heroes suffered greatly. Not only were our country’s beloved heroes beaten up, flogged, thrown in prison and persecuted, they endured! Give them credit where it is due, they never backed down even opting to lose their lives rather than live under oppression. And whether or not the country today realizes this, these great men and women defined the nature of Kenyan pride, philosophy and identity. We are undivided. We are one! We refuse to live under the yoke of oppression even that which originates from our own people. This very point, the church in Kenya understood.

In the second stage of gaining Kenya’s freedom, key church leaders stepped up to challenge unjust systems in the country’s governance. Not only did they rise up to speak, they, like the Heroes before, made a scene about it and suffered greatly for it. They did not relent, but they stood for one truth: The Gospel’s message was freedom from sin and injustice and the mere existence of the church in the country ought to reflect that fact. How incredible?

Here were a class of senior, revered ministers of the Gospel who did not esteem their positions higher than their true callings as followers of Jesus but let themselves suffer for the rest of the country to experience true freedom. It is no small feat to achieve such a treasured thing as freedom, but it is sad when the heart and values of those before are not seen to trickle down into today’s crop of leaders and ministers. But let it be said now, There is hope and someone reading this might agree and find him/herself to be that hero that the Kenya today needs.

The struggle is still not over until we are truly one in heart, mind, agenda and identity.

When the Chips Fall

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What Africans are Learning from the Pursuits of Men like Dr. Martin Luther King

Hey there people! It feels like ages but I am so glad that I got an opportunity to share something on this sensitive topic. First and foremost, Happy New Year, or as we would say in my country Baraka za Mwaka Mpya Kwenu (Blessings of the new year to you all)!

As the first post on my blog, I want to set the pace for a series of thought-provoking and inspiring pieces throughout the year. This is the first of many that I hope will get the world thinking a little bit more of my voice as a member of the black-African community.

For a long time now, people of African descent have been identified every now and then as “African”; a clear example of this is seen in it’s use as an adjective to describe members of the black community who reside in the US, naming them “African Americans”. As okay as it sounds, it isn’t the full story surrounding the terminology.

African American is not necessarily a substitute for the indicator of people group. Black is the race, African is related to the continent and as such does not make an excellent substitute for the truth. Our identity is black. The question then remains, why do we escape it so?

I was privileged enough to hear from people who have had negative encounters with some people from other racial backgrounds and what they have observed is worth noting. One of the first things that they observed is that black is associated with the worst things imaginable (think about it a little bit…’black plague’, ‘black coal’, ‘black sludge’). I’m sure you get the point. It is very hard to associate oneself with that word…and what seems to happen is that these negative connotations associated with the color itself are somehow pasted onto those whose skin is labeled black or dark (note the words used). This is how Africa itself gained its identity as the ‘Dark Continent’…not a cool name.

But should we run? Martin Luther King Jr showed the African American community–no, scratch that!–the world! That race does and can never determine one’s contribution to society (content of an individual’s character supersedes the color of one’s skin). It is on this very basis that black as a color has over the years been associated with cool, hip, fun and stylish…and it is on this very basis that my fellow black people ought to realise that there is hope for our people. Not because of change of use of the word black, but because of the potential of the black community to be more (so far I feel like we have been up to a lot of “doing”). We are either getting hyped up about immediate wealth/riches or clinging to titles or forms of power.

In us uniting and working together, we can show the world what we are made of as fellow citizens of the world and coequal members of the human race. Africa is probably the richest continent but we underestimate it because we underestimate ourselves. Racial slurs and awful history has affected us negatively and it doesn’t matter whether you were born in Africa or in the West…we’ve suffered but here we are. It’s about time we own our identity as one people and stop bickering and allowing divisions of no consequence to destroy us.

We know pain, we know labor and we know intelligence. How can we let divisions reign in our midst…we are one! All other races ought to work together in like fashion and help destroy the chains that have kept us in fear.

In Jesus’ words, let us love one another…

COLOR AND LOVE

THE COLORED RENAISSANCE

Where do we start?

It seems to me that Black History Month (BHM) needs an entire make-over. I know that the first criticism I’ll receive on this is that I am not African American descent. But, even with that in mind, I consider that observation a half-truth for I do share half of that fact. I am African. It’s very difficult to dissociate the first half of the identity from its heritage; that’s where my argument finds its footing. We do share something in common and its more than a heritage issue…it’s a history issue.

I feel in my heart that it’s about time we talked about it, this history that we share for I do think that if we came clean we could truly become a team. First, we’re African and that means we do share a common pigment…oh man! Where do we start? If it isn’t colonisation and marginalization, or being made to fight ourselves, or being turned into slaves on stolen land…how can we say that we aren’t familiar and share the same painful history? I do acknowledge that there are slight differences between us but we are still one blood.

It is fascinating to me how much pain we’ve had to endure and yet in the midst of it all we have found a way to emerge stronger. Now, take a minute and think about it, whether it was Martin Luther King or Malcom X, we had individuals in what we could call black history who made a difference in the world and not just our communities. Whether it was the Pan African movement in the African continent or the Civil Rights movement, there is more than meets the eye. We have worked out our situations in relatively the same way but here is where we haven’t gotten it…we haven’t made ourselves family once more.

Yes, as family we do have our issues and we do make our mistakes. It has been way too long and there is a need to re-unite ourselves by coming together and mending any cracks in our relationship. Obama, an African made history and we all saw him as a black president loved by all…Africans of American and African descent did acknowledge the potential for unity between both blacks when he led as the first black president. Now that he’s left he will be sorely missed, but here’s where it gets interesting; we are a people rich in history and quoting from some of our greatest minds, we were told we didn’t have a history and that we were backward, but look who’s surprising the world? For to be told by others who knew nothing of our people and our culture. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means racist, I believe that we all need each other. But there is a distorted, evil history that sort to rob us of our identity, divide us as people and re-define us.

It is concerning this evil that I write this post. I write saying first that I love you all for reading this, regardless of race. I consider you special and brothers and sisters in need of the one thing Black History Month has in common with the month of February—that is LOVE. Now in a time of division and unrest in matters regarding race and unity…we need to learn from our past to forge forward.

Here’s where we start. We have to start talking. We have to reach and be real with each other. We have to forgive each other and love whole-heartedly for that is the only adhesive in a world thriving from division. We have to learn from our rich past, and moreso from our ancestors because, yes, we do have a rich history.

What are we waiting for? I extend my hand to you now.ColoredDrinking.jpg

WHERE IS THE LOVE?

LOVE IN A TIME OF HATE

Where is the love?

Did light lose the fight and flee,

And our sight we in three,

Appoint our vision to division,

Divide our eyes to see without inhibition,

The thigh that brings a high,

The lust that imprisons in thirst,

Does love truly dwell in such a lie?

 

When lives are snuffed out,

When children’s’ cried are hushed out,

When there is more to crush and destroy,

Than there is to mush and employ

To one’s heart,

Is love surely present,

When all we have is our hearts

And we hesitate?

Does love really dwell in such a mess?

 

Is love so abstract

That it cannot distract?

So aloof

To elate that special person’s feelings through the roof?

No,

Says the heart,

It cannot be! Says the mind,

We need it says the individual,

We are broken says humanity,

Let me in, says love

How can you go on without me?

BROKEN MIRROR

BIZZLE AND SEVIN LAY IT ALL OUT…I HOPE WE IN THE CHURCH ARE LISTENING

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[Hook 2x: Sevdaliza]
It’s true
In this life
I’ve never been the one
In your eyes
I’ve never been the truth
All you saw
Was a broken mirror

[Verse 1: Bizzle]
Bizzle
I know what it feel like to get hit real nice
With a rock in the side of ya noggin cuz you don’t feel right
To the crowd when you rockin
They holler “you ain’t no real Christ follower
How could you be you don’t look like you is right”
“And you said nigga so you ain’t saved
You just wanted attention so you dissed Jay
You just wanted dimensions you just hate
Cuz you ain’t paid
Six years gone by and guess who ain’t changed”
Still reppin’ for the hood like I’m supposed to do
I ain’t never pushed violence and dope to you
Never called young black queens out they name
And you wonder why they want Biz out they game
Psh that’s fine I’ll be the bad guy and the world to see
Who I shouldn’t be lookin at fly
These rappers attack God
These so called pastahz sabatoging our work
And giving the Church a black eye
But He’s still king and He’s still God
And we still man so we still flawed
He don’t stop being a rock because we stepped off
And He is no less God just cuz we rep wrong
I don’t look like Christ yet but that’s what I aim for
They sayin’ it’s impossible but why should I aim low
Made in the image of God
‘Til Eve and the snake spoke
Soon as we turned away the mirror became broke
Fix us

[Hook 2x: Sevdaliza]
It’s true
In this life
I’ve never been the one
In your eyes
I’ve never been the truth
All you saw
Was a broken mirror

[Verse 2: Sevin]
Let’s go
Ay
Since the moment He birthed me
It’s certainly hurt me and irked me
How the jerks in these churchy circles
Will curse me from the turf B
It should be clear how I’m dirty
I’m unworthy and I’m only here by His mercy
Firstly I’d rather stay where they’ll murk me
And squirt me in the melon
Instead of tellin me it’s clear when it’s murky
They betrayin us
Slayin us for takin it personally
Ain’t gone play it how He played it why you wearin His jersey?
I was purchased
Layin in the bed of the serpent
I don’t deserve this
Bruh I never said I was perfect
But I’m purposed
He planted a seed knee deep in me
The leaf is startin’ to break through the surface
The father’s defending me
Ain’t you supposed to be befriending me
They’ll treat me like a enemy
As soon as I walk into these churches
In sixteen years I have observed this
The gospel music industry is not truly ministry
It’s a circus bruh
Yeah I was a killer
Yeah I was a thug
And yeah I was a dealer hell yeah I was a blood
And yeah I was a addict
Yeah I came to church with a vest and a semi-automatic
I was hooked on dope
And I was hooked on sex
And I was hooked on money and I was hooked on gin
Chained down to a spell I was hooked on sin
Christ saved me from hell now I’m hooked on Him
Ahhh

[Hook 2x: Sevdaliza]
It’s true
In this life
I’ve never been the one
In your eyes
I’ve never been the truth
All you saw
Was a broken mirror

MY BLOODY SHABBAT

WHY THE INJUSTICE FACED BY NON-WHITES IS DISTURBINGLY FAMILIAR AND A PAINFUL NEO-MITSRAIM WITH ONE HOPE

“I’m down to get killed for the real that I speak…black boys calling me white, white boys be calling me nigger; I ain’t fitt’n in my skin is havin’ me feelin’ disfigured”

-Sevin

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It’s enough. This shabbat, I feel it’s about time we took this matter seriously. There’s blood being shed and though it may be from a few individuals now, it’ll be from more later. Nothing in history has demonstrated that a disregard for any man/woman because of his or her race has ever ‘gone away’. Let’s face it, the issue of race is an old question and it has always provoked certain feelings. I get that. I know that for a fact, that although I am black African, I can still feel the pain experienced by fellow people of color. We witnessed in Africa such a brutality in colonial days that marred our African identity and culture in a way that’s virtually irreparable.

I’m reminded of the intentional use of the word ‘Mitsraim’ as a descriptive word for ancient Egypt under Ramses. The word itself is a play on the Hebrew word for suffering–a word echoing pain, torment, devaluing. I am Christian, evangelical studying in a Christian Evangelical school that is seeking to find that African identity that was lost when other cultures were imposed upon us. Seeing us as somewhat backward, unintelligent and incapable, we got ‘re-created’ in the western image and no matter what some historians state, we were not ‘Christianized’ we were de-valued and robbed of our African identity [Bert Gary, a biblical scholar based in Israel actually raises the question that attacks what we know as ‘western Christianity’, he asks in his book, Jesus Unplugged, “There is much emphasis in the church today–by laity and clergy–on being respectable, nice and presentable. Yet where in Scripture did Jesus say that we should make being well-dressed and well-behaved priorities? Is the Church guilty of reducing Christianity to mere social etiquette? The Jesus of Scripture rejected these priorities with both word and deed”]. It’s no small wonder that Africans who branched off from missionary-established churches to form indigenous African Churches that sought to ‘Africanize’ the Christian Gospel were looked upon with suspicion. Also, the educated elite, who sought to restore authority and governance back to Africans had one motive…to educate and elevate the status of their own–still they did so with so much pain.

It’s heartbreaking that it’s because of this that we as Africans have it so ingrained in us to fight and steal in order to have our identity in and through what we own. What’s even more terrible about this is that the leadership that we are right now seeing in Africa that is so torn and broken (I purposefully won’t say corrupt because that is not the real problem) is in this state because of nil-succession in leadership and a lack in communicating how it was understood by our fore-fathers since it was largely disregarded in favor of a ‘better’ western model? What! We no longer have real respect and value for what our fore-fathers gave us, what do we want to be? Big businessmen, wealthy earners, empty individuals–not just spiritually but mentally; ask these same individuals what they hope to do with all their acquired wealth and status and you’ll swear that you can hear a pin drop in the room because of the silence. It’s only as I was growing up, that I got to understand the saying; “If you want to hide anything from an African, put it in a book” because we truly have lost our love for knowledge and wisdom, we now chase the wind till our great grand children can feel the hollowness of our vain pursuits.

We are in such a prison mentally that conquering the modern African child’s mind is just that, child’s play. How long can we stand and casually watch? How long do we here in Africa have before we experience what our counterparts in western countries are facing right now? Have we truly forgotten the price paid for our freedom? Have we indeed forgotten that injustice anywhere, is really and truly a threat to justice everywhere? Are we going to let the blood of those before us become worthless because of how we handle our so-called freedoms? How much more so the blood of the very Son who tread African soil when he sought refuge from Herod–the very Son who was nailed to the cross because of injustice? Do we even care? [I actually like what Lecrae Moore pointed out in an interview last year about how bad things have become in society. When asked about where are we going wrong, he pointed out that we merely observe the evils around us and criticize them but when asked to do something about it, we can’t, why? It doesn’t affect me].

Are we so blinded by watching all the glamour of the artists and celebrities–most of whom are colored, selling us ‘the good life’ on TV but living lives that are in no way close to good? Are we all letting the lives of the youth, the fathers and the elderly go down to the grave in vain because ‘it doesn’t involve us’? Is the blood of a colored individual that worthless? As someone so disturbingly pointed out on an interview in a popular UK show, “Why do the former enemies of the commonwealth, the descendants of Nazi Germany have it easy in matters migration, but those of African race/descent are treated as outcasts and terrorists yet their forefathers helped their forefathers in the WWII…a white man threatening death is said to be ‘demonstrating terrorist inclinations when he’s about to blow up a plane..a black/colored individual is thought to be a terrorist and a roach?’ Seriously, world, what’s going on here??

Shabbat reminds me of the battle the Lord waged against Egypt, her injustice and her gods. That battle freed the Israelites and showed them that God truly sees and he’s the giver of identity; giving Israel her first sweet exchange, being for worthlessness. Making out of a distorted psyche, a renewed perspective. They are made human beings when God decrees this day as a day to sit, reflect and delight in God; a day when they truly realize that they are defined by God. Then comes the rest of the spirit…negro spirituals have plenty to say about this. They speak of a hope in the midst of the storm, a longing for peace and rest for their souls…the cry for liberty. In comes the living Shabbat, Jesus suffers a cruel trial, dies a merciless, unjust death and rises triumphant. There’s nothing better than this message; that in the darkest depths of our despair here and now, our Jewish non-western Messiah breathed hope to us. He offers us a different kind of rest, not merely one that ignores the world and the suffering but one that guarantees us victory, even as we rise to the occasion and speak and act in love to those who hate us without reason…he has shown us that he has triumphed over the fallible governments of this world for his rules over all and one day, he’ll show it to all the world, that no man of no race is superior to the other for one Man trumps all.

I am by no means racist, but eracist. For I believe the Bible that tells me that before the Judge of all the earth…”there is no male or female, no Jew nor Gentile, no slave or free…all stand equal before him”. I am an eracist. This means that I believe in the equality of all because that’s exactly how we were created.

“Head up, while I’m walking in the MOB, people part like the Red Sea was it the color they saw? They clutching to their purses, as if I was young and thirsty like my people went an’ hang onto branches in front churches. They treat us like colored skin was made of sin and deemed worthless, my heart ain’t bad but can’t get past what they see on the surface, I tell ’em ‘God bless you’ and just keep walking in public, they take it in but no relief from the hurting, still getting pulled over, beaten up, illegally searched, cousin still got killed by cops…what’s done in the dark will rise to the surface”

-Faith Pettis

GOD’S MESSAGE IN DISABILITY: THEOLOGY OF DISABILITY

WHAT THE CONCEPT OF MARVEL’S DAREDEVIL HAS TO SAY ABOUT THE CORELATION OF DISABILITY WITH INABILITY

“Foggy: You’re blind, right?
Matt: Uh, yeah, so they tell me. I hope that won’t be a problem.”

-Daredevil Series (2015-to present)

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I had a very interesting discussion the other day with a friend who was curious about connecting comic books with the Bible. Where he is most concerned-and I understand him-is how is it possible to connect the two yet they do not have a common message? I do understand if some of you reading my blogs right now are equally disturbed by this. What I will say is that in the process of my walk with the Lord, I came to learn that the ‘secular’ realm does not give answers but it does raise concerns. The problem comes in when the church does not provide answers in and through the available media to these concerns/problems raised. As I pointed out in one of my posts, ‘these issues are progressively getting no sufficient answers from the church and are progressively becoming narrowed.’

Where the trouble comes in is the presence of a focus on materialism as well as a heavy reliance on them as the consolation for dealing with lack, pain, heartache as well the reality of one’s situation. Some of you might dispute this but study music over the last 40 years and you’ll observe what nearly every non-believer is taking notice of…that music ‘is not as good as it used to be’. This ‘good’ is linked to the positive values that were passed along through music rather than sidelining certain people groups in order to propagate one’s own fame–something comics like Marvel and DC sought to address in their own way. Now, comes in this post’s focus, on Daredevil and the concept of disability. Can a blind lawyer really exist?

Although Stan Lee, creator of Daredevil was having a ball creating characters in the 60s, it is said that he needed a character who’d stand out–but having an inability. The idea struck that he should have a character that would embody the idea of justice. That’s when the idea of a blind lawyer was born. As Stan himself said, “he’s blind and Lady Justice is blind so it kinda speaks for itself, doesn’t it?”. Now, Stan made things a little more interesting when he purposefully made Matt Murdock Christian and Catholic. Isn’t that a peculiar spin on ‘walking by faith not by sight’? I thought…

But come to think of it, the idea was brilliant. Matt is as much dependent on his new abilities to fight crime as he is on his faith to battle hatred, vengeance and the vices that tempt the heart. He is as much a hero possessing physical prowess as he is a saint trying to embody the core of his faith, justice. This aspect helps Matt stand out as a character of peace and hope [an emphasis that Marvel is no stranger to when it comes to presenting its characters as tragic heroes of some sort].

The question still remains: Why give Matt a faith/religious-inclination if such a dimension to a character does not impact the character’s overall person? That’s what art/concepts do though. Artists often reflect themselves in their artwork  in one way or another and also to one degree or another. This they often do by infusing into their characters certain aspects of their very own physical features, personality traits and or religious/philosophical/political inclination. Some good examples are J. Jonah Jameson and Stan Lee’s impatience and anger; Allan Moore and the DKIII Batman and most popularly Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster.

But but buuuut, Stan Lee’s Jewish. Now, here is where I find this all the more interesting, but he has some inclination to the religious as he himself has seen the religious facet of society play out to some degree as a positive force. Biblically though, it was common thought to see a diseased person and conclude correctly that they were suffering because of an ancestor’s sin; where a parent or grandparent. Take for instance the man born blind (odd story to use as an example ey, for all y’all Bible geeks out there?). The man was blind because, according to Jesus, “So that the glory of God might be made manifest in him”.

Now, both perspectives–Stan’s and Jesus’ view are superficially similar but they make a point. The fact that both their subjects have disabilities is not in any way suggestive or mildly hinting at, inability. This thinking is what is seen humanly communicated by Stan Lee by transforming Matt Murdock into what is humanly possible…as a hero. For Jesus however, the blind man is restored and his status changed as God’s glory was manifested in his restoration. We might not see it yet but the thrust of this understanding is seen all the more clearly in the hymn…’Give Thanks’

“Give thanks with a grateful heart,

Give thanks, to the Holy One…

And now let the poor say I am rich,

Let the weak say ‘I am strong’,

Let blind say ‘I can see'”

Whereas some are healed and some are restored to see the world through very different means, the point remains that in Jesus the person we are created to be is realized. And whereas we are no heroes, we are made into something more. We are enabled in our spirits to declare to the world what we experience within that “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

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