Monday, June 29, 2009

Mutant Chronicles (Movie Review)

I’d seen a trailer for this movie several months ago and was under the impression it would be released theatrically. The trailer impressed me and I was excited for a dark sci-fi/horror flick this summer. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this movie while channel surfing on the sci-fi channel! I missed about the first 8 minutes of the flick, but didn’t think I’d missed much exposition. I was excited to see the movie immediately and for free, but also instantly suspicious of its release on TV instead of theaters or even DVD first.

Starring Ron Pearlman, Thomas Jane and John Malkovich, none of these actors could rescue the movie from itself, though the flick was still interesting to watch for free. (The “Summer Of Free” reigns again!)

In “Mutant Chronicles”, our wars in the 28th century have broken the seal of a massive, evil machine that turns humans into mutant killers, who then hunt humans to kill and turn into mutants, rinse and repeat.

Humanity has collectively given up and is escaping to Mars, but a priest of unknown religious faith (though obviously inspired by Catholicism) believes that he has been chosen to lead a group of heroes into the earth to destroy the mutant-making machine.

The movie aims to have both style and substance. Obviously inspired by movies like “Sky Captain” and “Sin City”, this flick fills every shot with green screen backdrops and effects that did more to separate me from the action than draw me into it. The stylistic choices that make other green screen movies like “300” work were not implemented here, leaving us with lots of bells and whistles that mostly fall flat.

There is some exciting action and various effects in the movie look cool in their better moments. This movie had more special effects money thrown at it than any of the sci-fi channel’s usual Saturday night flicks. The visual design is also great, though in a few instances the colors are so drained that we are almost literally watching a black and white movie. Still, if you like dark visions of the future, you’ll find much to enjoy, visually.

Character performances are interesting enough during the movie, but instantly forgettable afterward. It’s all about the plot really, with some lip service given now and then to character development. Luckily, many genre fans don’t watch genre movies for character development.

Artistically, this movie has several elements that genre fans will enjoy, but only a precious few will give this a favored place in their DVD collection.

In terms of relevance, this movie seems interested in the topic of faith, bringing the concept up on several occasions. Those enjoying this movie will have multiple opportunities to springboard into meaningful conversation. Unfortunately, the movie has nothing of substance to say.

“Faith” is used in the same “Oprah”/pop-culture/fluff sense that carries no meaning or definition. Faith is good. We should have faith. At the climax of the film, a character who has been without faith the entire movie is told to “jump” from something very high, not knowing how he will survive. “Jump….jump… have faith.” He is told. This is clearly meant to be a moment of personal growth for the character. But no one(with one weak exception) suggests WHAT we should have faith IN.

The priest, early in the film, does implore another character to have faith in “mankind”, but this seems out of character, unless his religion worships mankind. (This didn’t seem to be the case, with multiple references to God and a Christian inspired “communion” service.) After all, didn’t mankind create the wars that woke up this evil machine? As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, man is capable of both good and evil, but good is not our natural tendency (hence the need for laws, courts, lawyers, judges, contracts, prisons and policemen) so I’d hesitate to put any faith in humanity. Our record is highly suspect.

Regarding faith, one character is scolded for not reading the religious book that she believes in. She replies, “I don’t have to read it to believe that it’s true. That is the nature of faith.” It is? That sounds like “blind” faith to me. I think it’s worth remembering that faith, particularly as the word is used in the Bible, is not blind by nature. That’s why we add the qualifier “blind” when talking about faith that gives no regard to evidence. Biblically, the word faith is used much more the way we use the word “trust” today. I trust someone or something because they have EARNED my trust with a reliable track record of some kind. “Blind” faith may be the norm in some Christian circles, but it is not biblical.

Another inconsistency in the priest’s theology is when he says that everything comes from God. (Well, so far so good.) Then he immediately says that the evil mutants have their origin “from outside”, the implication being that they do NOT come from God. Therefore, in his theology, not EVERYTHING comes from God. Maybe I’m nitpicking, but given that we absorb ideas into our personal philosophies that originate in movies and pop-culture entertainment, it bears mentioning that his theology is self-defeating.

All in all, “Mutant Chronicles” is an interesting diversion if you don’t have to pay for it, and it provides several opportunities for meaningful conversation.

Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout

Quality: 7.0/10

Relevance: 8.0/10

1st John at the Hebrew-Greek Bible Geek


With no podcast this weekend, I'm holding off on "In Search Of Truth" until next week.  However, if you need a little Bible-study fix this week, I'd highly recommend jumping over to to see the latest study notes of Dave Lindstrom. His entire series of notes for 1st John is up and his notes on Daniel are already a few chapters in.

Hope you check it out!

-Paeter Frandsen

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dragon Hunters (Movie Review)

For those sci-fi/fantasy geeks who are avoiding the inevitable "Bayish" Transformers movie this weekend, you might enjoy renting "Dragon Hunters".

This CG animated flick runs 80 minutes and is no epic story or triumph of characterization. It's aimed at the Pixar fanbase and does a very good, though not flawless job of catering to that crowd.

The animation is excellent and the visual design is beautiful in addition to creative. In terms of production values, this movie stands next to any Pixar flick I've seen. With the right marketing, this might have been a great success theatrically. For whatever reason it was a direct to DVD release in America.

The story takes place in a wildly fantastic world of knights and dragons. The land consist of countless islands that float among the clouds, with bridges or various floating rock formations connecting them all. The flight pattern of these land masses is un-synchronized in some cases, resulting in wild criss-crossing and occasional collisions in the sky. The film betrays its foreign (French) origins by not explaining to us why the world is like this. This and many other creative wonders go unexplained.

This might be a downside for some, but younger viewers will probably just enjoy the ride as we are all meant to. (And the movie is not as "trippy" as Mirrormask, so most folks will be fine without getting all the "world-building" details.) Some adults will also appreciate the design and animation of the world and its inhabitants in ways that kids will totally miss. I confess, I would have like more details about the world, but not because the lack of them resulted in a weird experience for me. I want more details because the world really interested me and I would have liked to have known more! (There is a feature on the DVD that offers some of this however.)

The world is about to be destroyed by a massive (and I mean MASSIVE) dragon called "The World Gobbler" and a young girl who dreams of adventure ends up traveling with two unlikely heroes to vanquish evil and save the realm.

Lian-chu, voiced by Forest Whitaker, is a hunter-for-hire who enjoys knitting in his spare time while his small, brainy and rather mouthy partner, voiced by Rob Paulsen, gives him a hard time while coaching him through their various hunting gigs.

Whitaker brings nothing unique except a little star power to the role. Paulsen, whom many will remember as the 80's-90's "Raphael" on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon and "Yacko" on "Animaniacs", carries much of the story and delivers a few chuckles. The girl is actually voiced by a young girl, a welcome change from the all too common adult actor hamming it up and trying to sound like a kid.

The humor in this movie is odd at times and may catch you off guard. It's not near as well written as the average Pixar release, but still enjoyable. It also has a slightly darker feel than other flicks in this medium, but certainly no gore or serious violence.

Overall, the movie is beautiful and a fun (sometimes funny) ride that would have been served by a better script and a little more introduction to the world.

In terms of relevance to meaningful discussion, the movie deals with the issues of courage, death and "belief". The latter is touched on briefly and in the same vague way Oprah and Hollywood all handle it. We aren't told what to believe in, just to "believe", like some warm and fuzzy "wishing machine". No topics are dealt with in ways that will likely interest or provoke thought in adults, but probably provide doorways for parents to discuss these issues with their kids.

As a dad who plans to indoctrinate his kids with the world of fantasy and sci-fi, this will serve as a fun tool in a few more years.

Rated PG for some scary images, fantasy action and language

Quality: 8.0/10

Relevance: 7.0/10 (for parents and their kids)

Searching For A Song


I spent virtually my entire workday today ( I STILL haven't eaten lunch!) trying to find the right music for the scene I'm currently mixing. I've exhausted pretty much all of my options at this point and have come to the conclusion that it may not be scoring the scene needs, but something else. After all, if I can't nail down exactly what I want in terms of music, I may not know the scene and its purpose as well as I should at this point.

So for now I plan to move on to mixing the next scene and take another look at this one again toward the end of the project so that I can see it in a broader context.

Still, the day wasn't a waste. I've certainly become more familiar with the scoring options available to me!

-Paeter Frandsen

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Favorite Leather Skirt


My wife has an old leather skirt that she nearly threw away about three years ago. I'm so glad I saved it from the "Goodwill" pile, as it has turned into one of her best investments into Spirit Blade Productions!

That leather skirt has been a trenchcoat, an element in a suit of chainmail and as of yesterday, part of a waterskin! I've stredtched it, whipped it and even worn it! (Though not in the way you might think.) 

Say what you will, but oh how I love my little black leather skirt! 

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, June 22, 2009

In Search Of Truth, 1st Corinthians 13:1-7




Paul has been talking about some of the various spiritual gifts that Christians are given to serve God and their community of believers. In chapter 12, he emphasized the equality of all believers, regardless of what their gifting may be. In chapter 13, he takes this one step further and points out the complete lack of value in any spiritual gift if its owner does not exercise love.


Love is a very popular word in spiritual discussions today. Though mainstream culture may have issues with Christianity, most non-Christians would still probably say they admire what the Bible says about love.


We often think of love as an emotion. A feeling that we have no control over. Something that just happens. We “fall in love”. (Some would even say they fall OUT of love.) We think of it as an almost mystical force that leads us around by the nose.


The Greek word used for love in this chapter is “agape”. It refers to a benevolent love that acts in someone else’s interest rather than one’s own interests. Someone exercising agape love will prioritize others over themselves. This is the kind of love God demonstrated by sacrificing Jesus so that we could have forgiveness and a relationship with God that lasts forever. It’s a love that doesn’t always involve pleasure for the one exercising it. In fact it often involves some level of discomfort. In some cases it may even involve terrible emotional pain for the one exercising it. It is also the most beautiful and powerful kind of love when put into action, and results in long-term fulfillment.


This is why Paul sees it as more important than even the most effective use of  spectacular spiritual gifts. Without agape love, the gift of tongues become obnoxious, vast knowledge and miraculous faith are worthless, radical giving is pointless and even being martyred for Christ gains us nothing. (v. 1-3)


This chapter presents a great opportunity for us to look at the relationships we have in our lives and explore how we can more effectively love those around us. Agape love can be applied to any kind of relationship. Spouse, parent, sibling or friend.


Try to avoid the temptation of reading through verses 4-7 too quickly. You might consider bringing a specific relationship to mind and pausing at each descriptive word in these verses.


(v.4)How can I be more patient with this person? How can I initiate kindness toward them? Am I avoiding thoughts of jealousy regarding something they have or some attribute they possess? Do I spend more time talking about me than them when we’re together? Do I secretly think of myself as more important than them in any way?


(v.5)Do I extend social courtesies to them, or have I become so comfortable with them that I take them for granted? Am I looking for what I can get out of the relationship, or looking for what I can put into it? Do become angered easily by this person or keep a mental list of all the times they’ve hurt or failed me?


(v.6)Do I ever “punish” them with my behavior or take satisfaction from mistreating them? Do I value the truth as I look at this relationship, or do I prefer to believe what I want about it?


(v.7)Am I willing to endure discomfort for the sake of this relationship? Do I think the very best about this person until clear evidence indicates otherwise? Am I always negative or can I bring optimism to this relationship? Am I willing to forgive their flaws?


It should be noted that agape love is not about being walked all over. Sometimes agape love behaves in a way that is in the best interest of others, though they may not see it that way at the time. (Much like Jesus’ contemporaries wanted a warrior, but he came as a suffering servant and sacrifice because that is what we all really needed.)


Agape love doesn’t ignore sin in others, but it does demonstrate patience and forgiveness while confronting and working through sin issues with others.


Although no one will exercise agape love perfectly, we can each repeatedly ask ourselves: “In what area can I grow in agape love today?” “How can I better apply agape love to a relationship this week?”


Next Week- Love’s “Staying Power”


Coffee House Question


What seems to be pop culture’s definition of love and where do we see this definition expressed?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Catching Up


After falling behind because of my "image hunt" last week, I think I'm finally catching up with mixing. I'm still looking for an image for the cover of "Pilgrim's Progress", but I've got a few options now.

As I finish up the week, I'm working on adding music to the 3rd scene. I couldn't find quite the right cue in my music library or in the stores I like to buy from, so I created some choral and orchestral elements using myself and my wife as vocalists to create a creepy, atonal choral effect, accompanied by some weird orchestral stuff from a sample pack I like. Then I added these elements to an existing track to build the tension to an "explosive" climax.

After this scene I've got a couple of dialogue-driven scenes, which will take less time and hopefully make me feel better about my progress.

That's all for now!

-Paeter Frandsen

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Explosions Are Fun!


I spent 30-40 minutes creating an explosion today. I've got 20 or so in my library, but I like to try and create new sounds by layering exisiting sounds.

This particular explosion involves a combination of about 8 different explosions. The initial impact of 3 or 4, the after shock of another 2 and two more that I only use the "debris" sounds from. 

I couldn't quite find the sounds of brick and stone settling in any of the explosion files, so I used a combination of 8-10 individual "falling rocks" and some processed cauliflower being crunched up. Yeah, I know, it sounds weird to describe it, but it turned out really sweet! I can't wait for you all to hear it!


Monday, June 15, 2009

In Search Of Truth, 1st Corinthians 12:14-31


Paul uses a metaphor of the human body to express the equal value of all in the church.


Verses 15 and 16 seem geared toward people who don’t think they add value to the church and so disconnect themselves from it. But we should never have this attitude, since feeling this way doesn’t make us any less a part of the body of Christ!


Paul combats this self-defeating, isolating mentality in verse 17. If everyone served the same function or had the same set of strengths, we would lack elements that are vital to the church’s effectiveness. God has crafted and positioned each believer to be used where they are today. (v. 18) Believers are meant to work together, like a body, to accomplish what no single part could to alone. By definition, the church is made up of many diverse kinds of people. (v. 19-20)


On the flip side of the coin presented in verses 15-16, those with more publicly respected strengths and gifting should not look down on or devalue those with less outwardly impressive strengths. (v. 21) But God sees them as vital to the existence of the church, despite the priority we may deny them in our minds.(v.22) We can often have a tendency to praise and compliment those in the church who are in the “spotlight”. But we should look for opportunities to thank and compliment those faithful “behind the scenes” people that serve invisibly. (v.23-24)


God’s design for the church is for us to understand and appreciate the purpose each person serves, being united in our concern for each other, experiencing both pain and happiness together.(v.25-26) Sometimes it’s easy to look at this and see how our churches have failed us. But before stepping into that mentality, we should challenge ourselves. “I’m part of the church as much as anyone. What can I do to value and appreciate others in my church community?” 


Although there is meant to be unity in the church, Paul does distinguish three leadership roles: Apostle, Prophet and Teacher, in that order of “rank”. Although one could argue that the gift of “prophecy” is active today (while remembering it is not biblically defined as “predicting the future”), the ROLES of Prophet and Apostle, specifically those of speaking and writing the infallible words of God, no longer exist. Yet the role of Teacher clearly does, and should be given leadership priority over those with other gifts. (v.28)


There is some difference of opinion over what is meant by the “greater gifts” in verse 31. Some conclude that it refers to gifts that most effectively benefit the church community as described by example in 1st Corinthians 14:1-5. Others conclude that the “greater gifts” are those mentioned in 1st Corinthians 12:8-10 and 28. In either case, we’re encouraged to ask God to equip us to serve the needs of the Christian communities we are a part of. And next time we’ll take a look at the best way in which we can utilize our gifts!


Next Week: What is love?


Coffee House Question


How do you think God has gifted you in terms of skills, talents or “spiritual gifts”? How do you think you could engage yourself more in using your unique “wiring” within the church?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Looking For An Image


After talking to my graphic designer this week I realized I need to bump up "cover design" on my list of priorities. Just when I was hoping to catch up on some mixing, too.

I'm looking for an image for "Pilgrim's Progress" that immediately conveys fantasy and a journey. You'd think a lone figure on a medieval/fantasy road would be a pretty basic type of image, right?

Well, based on my success so far, I may need to re-imagine my concept of the cover. If anyone has a thought, I'd love to hear your suggestions!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Feel Like A Wizard!


Specifically, I feel like a first-level wizard trying to learn a fireball spell. (D&D geeks, you know what I mean.) I got a SMOKIN' deal on Dr. Norman Geisler's four-volume Systematic Theology. I just couldn't pass it up, even though I already owned the first volume. The sale was that good!

The first systematic theology I read was Wayne Grudem's(one volume), which I still really love. But Geisler is covering so much with incredible detail and enormous scope that it presents a serious challenge.

I imagine I'll be re-reading and studying the content of these massive tomes for many years. Especially when it sometimes takes 20 minutes and a dictionary to get through one page!

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, June 8, 2009

In Search Of Truth, 1st Corinthians 12:1-13


The subject of “spiritual gifts” is an interesting one, but it also tends to spark some heated debate and bring about division. This is sadly ironic, given Paul’s emphasis on unity in the context of teaching on spiritual gifts in this chapter.


Rather than attempt a comprehensive, end-all-be-all study of this topic, we’ll be focusing mainly on what this specific passage is saying about it. For more on this issue, I’d highly recommend reading Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 7:7 and Ephesians 4:11 and the contexts surrounding these passages.


In verse 1 of this chapter, the word “gift” is assumed incorrectly in some English translations. The verse is better translated “concerning spiritual matters”. In general, Paul is less interested in emphasizing specific teaching on spiritual gifts here, and more interested in teaching the Corinthians how to discern and think about the source of spiritual things.


Paul recognizes their pagan background and the false spiritual ideas and philosophies that fooled the Corinthians before, so he doesn’t want them to be “ignorant” when it comes to spiritual things.(v.1-2)


So how can we tell when someone or something is worth following? Is supernatural power an indicator of someone speaking the truth? If someone heals, or channels spirits of the departed, are they a reliable source of truth?


The indicators and “red flags” Paul lists have nothing to do with supernatural demonstrations of power and everything to do with Jesus. No one speaking in line with the Holy Spirit (God himself) will say that Jesus is cursed. And only the Holy Spirit allows someone to say that Jesus is “Lord”. It’s important to note that the Greek word for “Lord” here (and many times throughout the New Testament) refers to the name God gave for himself in the Old Testament: Yahweh. (v. 3)


The assumption, in both of these cases, is that the speaker is speaking honestly. Someone who honestly believes and says that Jesus is cursed and doomed, nothing more than a tragic story, is not speaking with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Someone who honestly believes and says that Jesus is the one and only God, as described and named in the Old Testament, is speaking by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Comparison to the truth is the determining factor.


The Greek word for “gifts” in verse 4 is “Charisma”. Not to be confused with the modern English word, this Greek word means “gift of grace”. An undeserved gift of favor from God.


Paul’s emphasis in verses 4-6 is the source of these gifts. While the Holy Spirit guides the use of spiritual gifts, it’s not biblically the most fitting to call them “gifts of the Holy Spirit”. Verses 4-6 identify all three members of the trinity as the source. Spirit, Lord and God (an added article in the Greek identifies this use of “God” as referring to the Father specifically).


Verse 7 indicates that these gifts are “manifestations” of the Holy Spirit “for the common good”. In other words, the genuine use of spiritual gifts will draw attention to the Holy Spirit and it will in some way bless the community of believers.


Although Paul seems to be listing types of “gifts” at random as he thinks of them, let’s see if we can clarify their meaning a little.


“Word of wisdom” and “word of knowledge” in verse 8 do not imply supernaturally revealed knowledge. These gifts would come into play for decision making and understanding scripture or other difficult ideas.


“Faith” in verse 9 does not refer to faith that leads to salvation, but the kind of faith that brings about growth and that remains a source of encouragement to others in difficult times. The phrase “gifts of healing” actually has a double plural in the Greek (“gifts of healings”), implying that God brings about healing on a case-by-case basis, rather than giving the power of healing to someone for them to use as they see fit.


In verse 10, “miracles” refers to unusual, even supernatural effectiveness or power(which could display itself in any number of ways). “Prophecy” might involve revealing future events, but it may otherwise involve a declaration of God’s will, either in general or for the moment. “Distinguishing spirits” would have been related to discerning whether or not a prophetic statement is valid, or if it comes from something other than God. “Tongues” here can refer to speaking in human languages the speaker normally does not know or speaking in non-human languages known to God. “Interpretation” can mean a direct translation, or conveying the general sense of what is spoken in another “tongue”.


Once again, we should remind ourselves that this passage was not written to strictly define these gifts. Given Paul’s seemingly random list of them (and each list of these gifts elsewhere is also different) it may even be that they were not intended to be formally defined. Although we shouldn’t neglect to seek out the truth on this issue, we should acknowledge that passages on the spiritual gifts were not written to clearly define them and that expending too much effort toward this goal may result in adding ideas to scripture that are not there. At the very least, we can say that spiritual gifts are undeserved, they are controlled and granted by God, and they are used to draw attention to him. (v. 11)


Paul again emphasizes unity in verses 12 and 13. He compares the church to a body. Specifically to Christ’s body. Christ sent the Holy Spirit to those who did and will believe. All those who trust in the sacrifice and identity of Christ(God himself) are given the Holy Spirit the moment they believe. In the book of Acts there are several instances of this happening accompanied by “manifestations”, or outward signs, of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2, 10, 11 and 19). But all believers are “baptized” in the Holy Spirit, regardless of their experience at the moment of conversion. This baptism is what unites us and gives us common ground.



Next Week- Unity And Diversity


Coffee House Question


What are some of the hot-button issues that seem to divide Christians and how can we practically develop unity despite our differing views?



Friday, June 5, 2009

My Favorite Part Of The Process


I think I've discovered my favorite part of this process. I used to say that I like it all equally. Acting, composing, writing, mixing...

But as I've started the mixing process again, I think I can say that this is my favorite part. Or at least, it's the part that most often makes me lose track of time!

It starts with the monotony of laying down the dialogue, deciding which takes I want to use by listening to each one over and over and over...

But once the dialogue is in place and the pacing of the scene comes together, I get to add some ambience. Then an FX cue. Then another. Then some music. And over the course of a few hours I watch a scene transform and a world come to life! It's not just the mixing itself, it's the culmination of all the artistic work that has been done by myself and others as I aim for the destination!

As of today, I'm nearly finished with the first scene of "Pilgrim's Progress", I've designed a few key sound effects cues that will be used throughout the project, and I'm feeling right on schedule. Woohoo!

-Paeter Frandsen

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dark Ritual Commentary Part 2!


You can now download and listen to Part 2 of the "Dark Ritual" Commentary at:

Why was David re-cast? Why was (insert name) killed off? What inspired "Hour Of Trial"? Those questions and more answered, plus the origins of the freefall/crash sequence and what aspects of my spiritual journey found their way into the script. 


-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, June 1, 2009

In Search Of Truth, 1st Corinthians 11:17-34


Although Paul had some encouraging praise for the Corinthians at the beginning of this chapter (v.2), he doesn’t hesitate to express concern here. As mentioned in chapter 1, Paul has learned of some divisions going on in this community of believers. In chapter 1, the source of division was related to various teachers as each faction aimed to gain social status by attaching themselves to the teacher they thought was superior. In the second half of chapter 11, the social divisions were probably more closely related to social status from the mainstream Corinthian culture that was spilling over into the church.


Paul does point out one ironic benefit of these divisions. When people are segmented into obvious groups with different attitudes and priorities, it is easier to separate those on the wrong path from those on the right one. (v.19)


When entertaining guests, it was common for the wealthy in Greek culture to have favored guests in a reserved room, where they received the best food and attention. Lower class guests ate in a connected room and received inferior food and wine during the meal. With both rooms connected, the separation was constantly felt between both groups.


Based on Paul’s description(v.20-21), it seems the Corinthians were allowing this or a similar custom to affect their worship time together. Specifically, it was affecting their gathering for “The Lord’s Supper”. (v.20)


In the Corinthian church, the practice of The Lord’s Supper was part of an actual meal. There’s nothing strange about this, considering that Jesus created this tradition at the tail end of a Passover meal. The first Christians practiced this tradition in connection to other meals as well, and more than once a year.


Although the Corinthian church was coming together for a time of worship, Paul said that they were not truly experiencing “The Lord’s Supper” because of their selfishness.(v.20) Some of them were looking at this special time as an opportunity to gratify their personal desires.(v.21-22) By favoring themselves and a few others, these people were “despising the church”.(v.22) Not the church as an organization, but the church as a body of people.


If we allow social cliques to develop in our Christian communities, if we exclude other Christians from being a part of our “group”, we are despising God’s church and his desire for it to be unified.(John 17:20-21)


Paul then aims to refocus the Corinthians toward the central meaning of “The Lord’s Supper”, or as many Christians practice and call it today, Communion. (v.23-25)


Paul also says something in verse 26 that, while not his main point, is worth noticing. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” In a few religions as well as pop-culture consciousness, the death of Jesus is something played down. Many would rather focus on Jesus’ moral teaching or his healing miracles instead of his death. But the cross is central to Christianity. The same scripture that emphasizes Christ’s teaching and miracles also spends a great deal of time on the subject of his death. And here, Paul even says that as believers, we are to “proclaim” the death of Jesus repeatedly. Jesus, without an emphasis to the centrality of the cross, is not the real Jesus.


Returning to context, it’s clear that Paul wants the Corinthians (and us as well) to be mentally aware of the significance of this tradition as we are participating in it. The Greek word for “unworthy manner” in verse 27 is also translated “irreverently”. We should think of and revere Christ as we participate in communion. We’re also meant to “examine” ourselves before participating. Is our mind in the right place? Is there sin we need to confess to God? This is the attitude we should have when eating and drinking in our times of communion. It’s certainly not the ONLY thing that should be going through our minds, but it’s an important element.


If we take part in communion with a selfish or arrogant attitude toward other Christians(not judging or valuing “the body”/church rightly as it says in verse 29), we bring God’s judgment on ourselves. The Greek word for “judgment” in verse 29 isn’t referring to hell or eternal punishment, but consequences experienced in this life. Paul gives health problems and even death as examples of this in verse 30(“sleeping” was a metaphor for death in this time and culture).


Paul says that this kind of discipline can be avoided if we learn to evaluate ourselves more effectively.(v.31) God doesn’t want to have to discipline us and he doesn’t want us to blend in with the rest of the world. The Greek word for “condemned” in verse 32 can refer to temporal punishment, eternal punishment, or to show someone worthy of condemnation. Genuine believers never have to fear eternal condemnation. Ever. (Romans 8:1) But God doesn’t want us to carelessly display a worthiness to be condemned. He wants us to live differently from the default pattern of humanity.

The core of Paul’s message here is for the Corinthians to be unified to God and each other, considering each other’s needs and desires before their own.


Next Week- “Spiritual Gifts”


Coffee House Question


How might Christian churches do a better job of welcoming sub-cultures (geeks, gamers, fans, etc.)? How might sub-cultures do a better job of  connecting to Christian churches?