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…

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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.

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

WHEN YOU TOOK THE PLACE OF MY TEARS, FATHER

WHEN WE HE TRULY IS, THE REALEST WE’LL EVER KNOW

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[Sevin]
Can I let my heart cry out?
Won’t let this flame die out

[Verse 1: Sevin]
Yeah
They really ain’t got no choice
I’m gonna make ‘em feel my heart the way that I empty mine
But an empty heart just leaves an empty mind, so send a sign
Coulda sparked, but the hood has darkened my attempts to shine
I bear the world with an injured spine, my strength declined
Yeah
Cause I need less of me and more of You
You are infinite, You’re the interest of my mortal view
You’re in control, and You implement my morals too
And You command that I recognize the only Lord is You
True
But is that too much to ask for being God Supreme
Two choices, casket full of cash, or a Sovereign King?
We are such prideful beings, we hit the stage, the crowd’ll scream
But they won’t cheer for the One that engineered everything their eyes have seen?
Dang
How we get so far from light?
You’re the face of truth, so they refute the martyred Christ?
I have realized that in Him is where real lies
If God so loved the world, no wonder Jesus cried

[Hook]
Yeah, You’re the realest one that I know
Feel free to take my life, Lord, I just feel it’s something I owe
Yeah, You’re the only one that I serve
And I swear I’ll preach Your Word until they throw me under my curve
Yeah, you’re the realest One that I know
Feel free to take my life, Lord, I just feel it’s something I owe
Yeah, you’re the only one that I serve
And I swear I’ll preach Your Word until they throw me under my curve

[Verse 2: Sevin]
Never did it for the fetty, nah, never did it for the fame
Never forsaken the fellowship with a brother and nothin realer than when we comin together in his name
Kill it
If it ain’t real, I don’t feel it – Novocaine
They say that my name shoulda been sport, and I musta been born on the court in gym shorts because i got so much game
But you know the name
Yeshua, the Blessed Christ
Line of Judah, Sovereign Ruler, nigga Hallelujah, he the Breath of Life!
The S-O-N of Man, came and He died for the remission of sins
So Mary don’t cry, Mary don’t cry
In the twinkle of an eye we gonna be risen again
So keep your eyes just peeled to the sky, no fear
If we die we gon meet up in the end
Submerged in that living water, I be swimming harder than a cheetah with a fin (ah ah ah)
Yo, God gave me the keys to the door
Boy, when I testifying in the west I slide like skis in the snow

[Hook]

[Verse 3: Eric C. Tha Tempa Tantrum]
And at my worst I’m gonna praise Jehovah
Looking up at the face of vultures
They be perched on the cross that I drag cause it breaks my shoulder blades
The pain brings me closer to you
Every time I take a hold of You, Father, You take me over
They wanna kill me cause I tell ‘em You really make it rain
We live in similar days to Noah
But, now I be kicking it with my Father somewhere over the rainbow whenever You say it’s over
You think You’re feelin me, shoulda got rid of me, but Lord You’re getting me feeling You are The Way deep in the pit of me and now I’m in love with Your Holy Spirit that You let live in me
You waiting for the day when You finally appear to me
I’m in the front row waiting for the curtain to open
And when the bands all playing tell em “send up the horn section” cause I’m ready for that trumpet to blow!
And when You stand on stage for the second time I’ma go crazy
Wanna give it your stance fo sho
He let the body open up for the Father to get the crowd hyped
And now He ready to headline the show
Somebody let ‘em know the Champ is here
The devil prolly be reliving him on the cross when Christ return
Jump in the box at the top of the rope
1,2,3, pin, death defeated, it was a massacre
Yeah
And He’s still the Champion of the World, baby (He’s the greatest One that I know)
Can’t nobody compare too, and illuminati gonna be bowed down to His throne
Yeah
You the only One that I fear, and I thank you for the blood, that be dripping off of the cross, cause He took the place of my tears

JESUS’ FATHER’S DAY SPEECH

HOW JESUS’ WORDS CHALLENGE AND INSPIRE FATHERHOOD TODAY

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the Gardener…any branch in me that does not bear fruit, he prunes”

-Jesus

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This is one for the season. I didn’t realize it until now but this particular text from John 15 packs a punch. While reflecting and meditating, I came to realize that there are plenty of chapters and verses that speak about Jesus’ relationship with God as his Father. All these verses are great, but Father’s day is unique and though it is no excuse for a celebration, it does emphasize something deeply rooted in the hearts of fathers all over the world. This thing is the greatest question plaguing children world over. Where are the fathers; who is he that I might connect with them? That’s right, relationship and connection is the missing factor among many youth today and they need answers.

I hear my friends’ hurt reverberate and echo in each word they speak and feel the pain buried in their hurts well up to the point that they literally feel like they are choking on their emotions. Seeing young women my age struggle to raise a child is no joke, especially when they knew that they got that child because of the love they felt their man have for them. It is no small matter when a child grows up never knowing his father. This actually is a a major issue. For where a boy would want to learn about life and how to win a woman’s heart and be the kind of man that she’ll need him to be, his father is not present to help.

As some of you reading this might know, I am a huge fan of comic books and I sometimes speak from my theological background as a graduate student on issues through them. I hope you realize by now that comics in some fantastic way, communicate something true about society. Take for instance, Peter Parker who is well known for being one of the world’s most loved and characters. Fans love the character not for any other reason than the sheer fact that they can relate to him. Think about it, in his earlier prints, it was revealed that a certain gentleman used to have his way with the young Peter and Peter could not share this information with his aunt for fear that the man might harm him; a bold move by Marvel and one of the reasons I love the company so much. At a time when many did not address these issues directly, they dared to do so through the pages of comic books.

Something else that I hope is not missed is Peter’s reaction to the loss of the only father figure he ever knew; he made an oath. He swore to embody that which had been passed on to him by his beloved Uncle Ben, that ‘with great power must also come great responsibility’. Peter changed entirely and sought to prevent the loss of innocent lives at the hands of crazed lunatics who sought to do harm to others. The point? A father figure is still a deeply influential figure to a child. And out of the loss of such a one, a fictional Peter Parker became a superhero!

Are we then to wear tights and fight crime? Are we to take on a new monicker to dazzle and impress the citizens of the world? The answer is a resounding, no. We are to call the fathers back. For those of you who have lost your father and someone else has taken over his stead, try your best to learn from him. Hard as it might be, they are there for a reason. There are lessons to be learnt that only they can give. We might not necessarily like them, but they deserve their honor. They are fathers.

As Jesus makes it clear, that his unique connection to the Father validated his authority and those who believe in him are connected to him. Although Jesus and the Father are not related in the same way we understand kinship, it is nonetheless beautiful and a mystery. As king, he makes those who trust in him, fellow sons and heirs of his and his Father’s kingdom. Most especially and most beautifully is the connection they have. Because of this connection, Jesus is able to say,

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other”

He has declared productivity to those who remain connected to him. For some of you seeking a productive connection. For truly this post is for the fathers/father-figures and their sons; do not let this moment pass and reconnect. You will make an impact on this world and the world itself cannot wait to see you bloom into who you are supposed to be.

For those of you who do not have a father, it is hard, I know but right now, God’s here and he loves you. If you give him this chance he will not, as I have experienced for myself, fail you. You are completely safe in his loving embrace. Yes, we do not know why we’ve had to endure, pain, hurt and suffering for so long because of this issue but take his word, he knows what you are going through. He understands pain. And isn’t that the point of having a parent? Do they not teach you from what they’ve actually experienced and endured in life?

This is his promise to those of you trusting in him right now, I will cause you to bear much fruit if you abide in me. That means, in the face of opposition; I trust, in the face of fear; I trust, in the face of doubt; I trust, when the chips are down; I trust. I do not believe in chances and that’s probably why I’m going as hard in this post as I am right now. There is hope for you. If you’ve read this post to this point, I believe that it’s for a reason.

For those of you seeking a hand and support in the form of prayer or encouragement, my contacts are as below. Feel free to introduce yourself and talk, I find it hard, especially for men to live without strength and that incredible re-assurance that they can still be the man they need to be in the face of all odds. Also, for the young women who desire to be more and need an exemplary example of manhood that they can look up to in a world that is robbing women of their worth and reducing their worth to mere eye-candy.

Catch me on;

email: brian.opati@gmail.com.

cell: +254-728-670657

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The Lord is with you and the Father to the fatherless…

Be blessed!

HOW DEEP IS YOUR LOVE?: THE GRAVE OF A BURIED GOD

WHAT WE CAN TAKE AWAY FROM THIS HIT SONG BY CALVIN HARRIS AND DISCIPLES
“Open up my eyes and
Tell me who I am
Let me in on all your secrets
No inhibition, no sin”

-Ina Wroldsen

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I have to say, this post is for all of those out there looking for love; those who are yearning for it, like I am. This is for those who are sorta tired and worn out with shallow ‘love’ in relationships; for those of you asking one nagging question to that guy/girl that’s been on your mind and are uncertain that they are keeping real with you. This is for those fed up with cat calls, and having their hearts strung out like puppets; this is for those interested in more than empty words begging, hurting and eager asking one question…”How deep is your love?”

When I first listened to Calvin Harris’ song, I didn’t know what to make of it. I liked the feel of the song, it really felt like it resonated with something in my life. Before I knew it, I found myself humming to its tune, watching the music video on YouTube and memorizing it’s lyrics. All this happened when the song first came out. All those of you who can relate with me on this will agree, the song is catchy and let’s face it, there are some songs out there that really do speak to us. This particular one is just one of those songs I guess…

I am still young and as you know being in your early 20s can be a struggle, a lot about the world just dazzles us and we are like “OMG! I never wana grow any older!”. [Ahem, raise your hands up in the crowd if you can feel me there, you, young man I see you; and you, m’lady, I hear you]. These are the experiences that make us the kind of adult that we’ll become later. Apart from all the eye-candy and momentary happiness that the sights and sounds that we immerse ourselves into, there’s more we get exposed to…

“Umm, hey there. I couldn’t help but notice but I saw you from over the counter and thought I’d come closer and have a close encounter…[’cause, let’s face it again, love is alien]”. He comes closer and your eyes fix onto his. You don’t know what to do, you try and play it cool but soon realize that because he was so hot, you had quickly given up your cellphone number and [sometimes] more. The relationship with him seems to feel like something new, as though the stars above have just made their home in your belly. “Wait a minute” you say, “I am not feeling too good actually”. Before you knew it, you found yourself pregnant and he isn’t replying to your texts nor is he answering your calls. You panic. You realize that it wasn’t love, it was something else…

The question of the level of commitment in relationships is probably and arguably as old as time itself. It’s the fundamental flaw of human comprehension and understanding of the universe. A quick journey back to our ancestors, from Egypt to Greece to Rome and several civilizations prior, we see that the core of our cosmology [understanding of our universe] is deeply rooted in the relationship that exists among the gods above. Many gods were very human in their relationships, in fact there really should be a Tela Novella show casting what these (often scandalous) relationships were like. For, in my view, we knew then, as we know now, we can’t live alone. We need love and relationships.

In fact, it’s so essential to our nature that some forms of punishment across the globe actually involve isolation. The results of these punishments are heartbreaking, for whereas beating and other forms of punishment can heal over time, punishments involving isolation are shown to rob a person of part of their personality as they gnaw at their humanity. These people remain scarred for life. Mentally and emotionally, these people, once released back to society return with a social limp. Some cases have seen these individuals commit suicide; a phenomenon deeply, and closely related to the same scenario of a broken man or woman.

As painful as the reality of these occurrences are, they are relatable. As a believer in Christ, I find myself challenged by this very thing. I acknowledge my shortcomings and realize that no matter how holy I feel, I am human and still drawn to committing the same mistakes and sins that I have just alluded to in this post today. But I rejoice in one thing, God has answered this question. When I expected to hear an answer that would satisfy me from others, he gave me his answer, he turned to me. He embraced me. He told me, “Look, look at my grave…how deeper can love be?”

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“no greater love has a man than to lay his life down…”

-Jesus in his final days

MARVEL’S GHOST RIDER: THE CONCEPT OF BRIDGING TWO WORLDS

WHY MARVEL’S GHOST RIDER IS WORTH LOOKING INTO

“This is what I look like when I’m smiling”

-Johnny Blaze

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With rumors beginning to flood the internet and fan-boys (such as myself) and fan-girls going with the buzz of the small screen flow, I felt that it is about time that we discussed this peculiar character; Ghost Rider. I have to point out here that the character has been rumored to appear soon on Netflix with a new actor as the vexed Johnny Blaze. Although this is some big news, I feel that there are still some fans who’ll greatly miss Nicholas’ Cage’s portrayals of the character.

To start this off I feel that I should be clear here and point out that although some of you out there might rate McFarlane’s Spawn higher than Ghost Rider, I want to assure you now that there is more to consider here when it comes to the latter. You see, unlike Ghost Rider, Spawn is limited to the spiritual aspect and does not fully, ‘walk both worlds’ as Ghost Rider does. Again, Spawn is a single individual who does not quite draw on any other being’s power other than his own in order to do what he does. Last but not least, I’d love to point out that Ghost Rider’s ties to Zarathos are quite unique and raise the Rider’s threat-level higher than that of Spawn when it comes to raw might and power. [Don’t get me wrong here, but Spawn IS an amazing character with incredible power, though he is no match for Ghost Rider as you’ll soon see].

Ghost Rider’s link to the mystical is through the ancient demon, Zarathos. Zarathos was Mephisto’s challenger when it came to seeking rulership over hell. What’s interesting about this is that he was almost as old and as powerful as Mephisto, and had already amassed for himself a large number of followers in his bid to take over Mephisto’s throne. By the time he was discovered and trapped in a crystal by Mephisto, he had waxed powerful. This way hell’s threatening divide was stopped up and mended.

Later on, Mephisto uses this very crystal to create the Ghost Rider. A process he undertakes by merging the crystal to the ‘soon-to-be’ Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze. What makes this particular Ghost Rider special to me is the fact that he did not make his pact with Mephisto out of selfishness, but rather out of selflessness. In his pursuit to save his dad, Johnny does the unthinkable and makes a deal with Mephisto who had since pursued and tracked him down for his own personal reasons. Conveniently for Mephisto, Johnny was in a desperate state and he used this to his own advantage and made the desperate Johnny into the Ghost Rider, while simultaneously denying him the one thing he wanted; the health and life of his father.

Tragic though, this may be, it speaks volumes about how we become what we least expect because of devastating circumstances that come our way. As though led by misfortune, Johnny’s loss became his greatest consolation for justice as he took on the mantle of the Ghost Rider! Now, tasked with the job returning wandering escaped souls [back] to hell, Johnny takes on the eery, mysterious and mystical persona of the dark angel, Zarathos.

Endowed with incredible power, the Ghost Rider is born. Zarathos’ power is freely given to Johnny to bring in the escaped spirits to their rightful place but [then again] here’s the twist; Zarathos lends all of his power to Johnny because through him, he gets to do that which he has painfully longed to do…he gets to bring justice to himself by getting revenge on the one being that put him in his present situation, Mephisto. This great power is alluded to in the World War Hulk Series when Ghost Rider intentionally avoids fighting the Hilk because of fears that the collateral damage would be severe. Basically, he knew that his might, combined with that of an enraged Hulk would cause death and that was not his mission when confronting him.

Why I bring this up is because of a little known fact; the Rider fights against Mephisto, rather than for him. In this way he is a very remarkable character. Intimidating though the Rider might be, he does not shy away from being what the Rider’s innate nature is-a fusion of two beings to create one new one-the Spirit of Vengeance. Allow me to make my point here; it is at this point that the Rider truly walks both worlds. He is as much a son of sorrow as a human being, as well as the expression of a disgraced spirit. He is capable of understanding as well as navigating his way mentally and physically in the astral and the physical plane.

As a Christian, I find this tremendously helpful in concretizing my understanding of what the Christian is. He is very much a being walking in two worlds; that of the spirit and the material. Not only is he called to do so, he is to embody the divine spirit that lives in him; that is, Jesus Christ himself. As the Scriptures would say, “as he lived, so also ought we to live…[and] as he is so also shall we be.” This has profound implications, especially when we consider that we become ‘Sons of God’ (see my previous posts on the concept of ‘son of god’ as applied to Christ). We are also said to be be transformed…but I’ll go more into that in a separate post soon.

Please remind me!

Remember, to keep riding and keep searching :-)!