Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Artist In A World Run By Math

Img_0529That's what I feel like sometimes while I'm trying to bring stories to life. I love to write stories. I love to TELL stories. And I love the medium provided by audio drama. What I DON'T enjoy is some of the tedium and frustration that comes from computers.

I remember working on our first project using some wonderful audio production software. Wonderful, once I worked the bugs out of it. Downloading patches, updating drivers, error messages that might as well be in Kryptonian. Despite spending most of my time working at a computer, I'm not a "computer person". I'm learning to be, but it does not come naturally to me.

I also don't know alot of the lingo for audio mixing that I'm sure would be helpful to know. I figured out what a "Flanger" was during production on "Spirit Blade" and only recently did I learn what a "compressor" is. (Let me tell you, I'm going to enjoy having that knowledge for "Dark Ritual")

So how am I doing all of this with so little technical knowledge? Well, I'm doing it slowly. At first. And I'm doing it with a clear vision of what I want in quality. So I develop my own short-hand and understanding of all the little mixing/audio/computer details and just keep working and experimenting until what I'm hearing matches the quality I demand of myself and our products.

As I said, it goes slowly at first. But in the last several months of mixing for "Spirit Blade", I noticed that I was completing scenes more than twice as fast as I did when I started out. Not only that, but they were sounding better, too! So with many of the early scenes that I mixed, I had to go back and re-do several things in order to keep the quality consistant throughout the entire project.

I've heard from several people that I should really switch over to using a Mac, especially given that I'm working with audio files so much. But I'm hesitant to do so. Why? Because I KNOW the devil I'm dealing with right now. I've gotten used to its bugs and have come to terms with what makes it crash. In fact, I'm still using the 1.3 version of my mixing software when the 6.0 version has been out for almost a year!

I DID actually purchase the 6.0 version, but only because I was able get it for much less than normal price and it has an auto-tune feature I want that my old version doesn't have. But you'd better believe I'll be using the old version except for the instances I absolutely need auto-tuning!

...and yes. "Auto-tune" is a recent addition to my mixing vocabulary as well.

-Paeter Frandsen

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

"Spirit Blade" Promo at "The Corner Church"!
This week you can hear a promo for "Spirit Blade" playing on "The Corner Church" Podcast! This is a great place to hear quality, independent, Christian music. These guys are strongly promoting independent Christian artists, so be sure and support them by trying out "The Corner Church" Podcast this week!

Monday, May 28, 2007

In Search Of Truth, John Chapter 3

The Gospel of John, Chapter 3

So who is Jesus, really? Who did HE say that he was? What did HE believe in? Our walk through the Gospel of John is aimed at answering just those kinds of questions. And today, with Chapter 3, we'll start getting some answers.

Nicodemus was one of the most thoroughly educated teachers in Jesus' culture. And even though he did so under cover of night, he put aside a great deal of the pride he had in his education and allowed himself to be instructed by Jesus. Have you ever noticed your pride keeping you from exploring and learning something new? If we really want to advance in knowledge and wisdom, we need to learn with questioning but open minds and try to keep our bias at bay.

There are a few different ideas on what the phrase "water and the Spirit" means.

1. "water" refers to human birth.

2. "water" refers to the symbol of baptism.

3. "water" refers to a cleansing performed by the Holy Spirit.

What IS clear, is that "the Spirit" refers not to a person's spirit, but to the Spirit of God. Aside from the Greek language context, this is emphasized in verse 6. Being "born again" isn't something we can make happen ourselves. The Holy Spirit is the one that gives us new life as a gift. Jesus compares it to the wind in verse 8. Because it is invisible, we can't see where it comes from before we feel it, or where it goes to after.

Sound confusing or maybe a little mysterious? Yep. It's an aspect of God no one can really grasp. Although the Bible DOES tell us quite a bit more about this mysterious "Spirit", so feel free to read and explore the topic yourself. For now, we'll keep moving forward with Jesus. (He'll talk about the Spirit more later, too.)

Jesus talks about his divine nature in v. 13 and then his divine mission in v.14. The incident referred to with Moses is found in numbers 21:6-10. (Read it really quick! It will make what Jesus says much more interesting!) The comparison of Jesus to the bronze serpent displayed incredible foreknowledge of his destiny on the Cross and the PURPOSE for which he would sacrifice himself.

Incidentally, some people may feel more comfortable just believing in Jesus and not all that "crazy stuff" in the Old Testament. It seems pretty clear, however, that JESUS believed in the Old Testament. So it would appear that the Old Testament comes as part of the "Jesus package".

John 3:16 is probably the most famous verse in the Bible. The Greek word used for "believe" here does not simply mean to have head knowledge. It means to "trust in". Very few people would say that Jesus never existed. But Jesus isn't asking us to believe he exists. He's asking us to trust in him and who he says he is.

As we continue to look at the life of Jesus, he will say some incredible things about himself. The question you should ask yourself is, "Do I believe that Jesus is who he says he is? Do I REALLY believe it? If I do, how should I think about this life differently? How should I LIVE it differently?"

Why do so many choose not to believe in Christ? Is it for lack of evidence? And why are those who don't believe in Christ judged so harshly by God in the end?

Look again at verses 16-20. Look also at verses 35-36. God loved humanity. He loved us so much that he gave up his only Son. Now, that concept in itself is hard to grasp. What does the Bible mean when it says that Jesus is "God's only Son"? Instead of going into a study of the Trinity right now, suffice it to say that Jesus uses this term to convey the immense love and connection between Jesus and "God the Father".

If you are a parent, you can only imagine in horror the idea of allowing your child to die.

God saw that we needed rescuing, and that it would need to come in the form of Jesus' death. (More on "why" another time.)

So he allowed Jesus, someone more precious to him than our imperfect love can imagine, to be brutally killed.

Since then, God has seen people live their lives in a way that says, "I have my own ideas about how I want to live life. I know this 'Christian God' probably wouldn't like some of what I do, so I'll just stay away from him and this 'Jesus' figure. I don't need his brutal death to save me. Poor guy was a victimized martyr. But he sure wasn't special enough to be God."

From God's perspective, this casual attitude is extremely disrespectful, even a spit in the face, of the character of Christ and the sacrifice willingly made by both Jesus and the Father.

And so God gives us what we want, and the death of Christ is either applied to our lives for eternity, or it is not.

This is easily the most important decision made in anyone's life, because once truly made, it effects all others. So we'd encourage you to consider what your choice is. And if you've already made the choice to trust in Christ, to DAILY consider what that choice means for all the other choices you will make.

Be sure to come back next week! We're just getting started!

Questions to Comment on: (Leave comments HERE about these questions!)

1. What has made it difficult to have "religious" discussions with people you know?

2. In your day to day life, talking with friends, watching t.v., or getting online, how do you determine if new information is true or false?

3. What do you think of, good or bad, when you hear the word "faith"?

(Want to be sure you never miss a chapter discussion? Put your e-mail in the field on the left side of this page and submit it for updates. This is different from the Spirit Blade Productions Mailing list and you'll only be e-mailed posts we place on this page. A great way to stay connected here!)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Theology Of The Matrix Trilogy- Part 2

Here's the rest of the commentary I wrote for the Christian theology of the trilogy. Enjoy!

The Oracle and the Architect are the only two programs, outside of possibly "the Machine god" from the end of the third film, that are capable of orchestrating events to provide options for choice. The Architect will not do this, because it is not his purpose, but the Oracle's purpose is to "unbalance" things, as she mentions in the third film. She took it upon herself to subtly manipulate the life of Neo so that when he defeated Smith in the first film, he would also end up unconsciously or "by accident" imprinting part of himself on Smith, leading to the necessary peace treaty.

Smith tells Neo later in the second film that like Neo, he wants "everything".
And this is true. Neo still wants to have peace and a long life, without sacrificing anything. All the good, without the bad.

Neo avoids the truth of his purpose until the very end of the third film. Smith asks Neo why he persists in fighting, and Neo responds, "because I choose to". Despite this being a dramatic line, it shows that Neo STILL doesn't believe in destiny, and refuses to surrender himself to his ultimate purpose.

The Oracle knew, in the second film, that Neo would have to return to the source, as he finally does at the end of the third film. Neo did not want to return to the source then, because it would mean the end of Trinity's life. Neo's problem, as the Oracle always new, was that as long as he had Trinity in his life, he would never be willing to leave her and go to the source. The Oracle knew that Trinity was everything to him, and he would never fulfill his purpose if staying with her was still an option.

In the third film, he no longer had the option of staying with Trinity. He had nothing left but his purpose. Still, though, he entered the final fight with Smith out of revenge, without a full understanding of his purpose. The deal for the treaty was probably secondary in his mind. He just wanted the end of evil, and the beginning of peace.

Finally, with nothing left to live for, he was able to recognize the meaning of the Oracle's words. "Everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo." He knew that by definition, he had no reason to exist after fulfilling his purpose, and so gave himself over to his ultimate purpose and destiny.

Christian Theology

Although there are varying philosophical references that span a number of faiths in the Matrix Trilogy, for those enjoying the movie from a Christian perspective, there are several symbols and ideas to notice, some of which that were purposefully done, and others that were probably not, given there deep, specifically Christian theological references:

Names: Neo is an Anagram for "One" but also means "New". Christ was the second or "new" Adam, and also came to make all things "new".

Trinity: An obvious reference to the Godhead, but why? Neo is the Christ figure and Morpheus, in the first film, plays a duel role of John the Baptist, preparing the way for Neo, and God the father, a guiding mentor for Neo. The name Trinity makes us think of the Godhead, and tells us to put two and teo together. Trinity represents the Holy Spirit. She is sent as a representative force for Morpheus to work among men. Additionally, it was the Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead and it was Trinity that "talked" Neo back to life at the end of the first film.

The Nebachudnezzar: This is an old Testament king who was troubled by dreams, a central comparison to the world of the Matrix.

Types: As I mentioned, Neo is Christ, Morphesu is John the Baptist/God the Father, Trinity is the Holy Spirit. Cypher is Judas, who makes a deal with the enemy. Smith and his Agents are Pharisees, who want to maintain a legal "control" of things.

Smith is also Satan or Evil. We see this particularly in the second and third film as he spreads all over the earth(Evil) and during the final battle with Neo, where lightning flashes behind him, giving him momentary "wings of light"(Satan/Lucifer). Zion represents heaven, where men go after they have left the world they live in. The Oracle is also a type of God, orchestrating events that allow humans to make choices, but still all within the confines of her orchestrated plan.
Salvation: Christ took sin upon himself, and God poured out his wrath on him so that sin's power over humanity would be destroyed. Those that believe in this event are set free from this world and will go to heaven.

Neo let Smith possess him. The Deus Ex Machina(Literally: God in the Machine) saw Neo's connection to Smith(Sin) and killed him so that Smith's power over the Matrix would be ended. Now, those humans that believe are able to be set free from the Matrix because of what Neo did, and they can now go to the city of Zion.

"Dark Ritual" Mixing Begins!

Img_0573 This week, Paeter finished adaptation and composition on the two songs that "Raan Galvaanik" will be singing. Mike Tully (the voice of Raan) will be flying to Phoenix in just under two weeks to record.

Mixing has also begun on the first three scenes of "Dark Ritual". Although no lines have been recorded yet, ambient sound cues, music cues and various sound effect cues are being lined up to make dropping in the vocal work easier later on.

Scene three will be a VERY heavily layered scene. It's a huge fight sequence near the beginning that takes place in the Spirit World and the action is fast and wild. Trust us when we say that the combat will be so furious that your ears will have trouble keeping up! We're starting this story with an explosive bang that you'll need to brace yourself for!

In other news, Spirit Blade Productions is planning a 30-45 minute audio drama set in space that will be available sometime in the first half of 2008, for FREE! We're very excited about this new project and although we need to keep the title and further details under wraps for now, look for more updates here in the future!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Theology Of The Matrix Trilogy- Part One

Okay, here's where my love for sci-fi and theology collide. I put this little commentary together a couple years ago. If you're a fan of the trilogy I think you'll dig it. (Spoilers ahead!)

The Matrix Trilogy is, in one of it's primary layers, a six-hour discourse on the subject of
pre-destination. The idea that choice does not begin with our conscious decision, but with events creating factors for making our decisions that are completely out of our control. The brothers suggest in the film that choice, if we have the ability to choose, is a mechanic that exists only within the confines of destiny.

We can only choose from the options available to us. And the options available to us exist because of factors that we did not bring about. For example:
If I choose to drink a glass of water, it is probably because I am thirsty. But let's go deeper into why I might have made that choice, and see if the choice begins with me, or with something I had no control over.

I'm thirsty because it's been awhile since I last had water. I may have been busy(something I could control), forgotten(something I can't), or not known where to get water(I cannot control what knowledge I have, because I don't know what knowledge will be useful to have at every given moment of my life.) So the possibility remaining that I DO have control over needs to be examined.

Can I choose NOT to be busy? My choice to stop doing what is keeping me busy will be based on the cost of stopping. Will I lose my job, lose a friend, become stressed and anxious at work piling up? If I were to force myself to accept the cost, it would be because I believe I can deal with the negative outcome. But why do believe that?

As you can see, we can continue to trace our choices backward in time until the moment we are formed in the womb and are first capable of "experiencing" anything. And our coming into being, our existence itself, is something none of us had any control over. You can choose to analyze your choices until you die, but even the very process of thinking you use to analyze yourself is determined by either genetics or previous events in your life that have caused your mind to operate in a certain way. In either case, both are again traced back to that which you have no control over.

So choice DOES exist, but not independent of destiny. What is destiny? The predetermined, irresistible or inevitable course of events. Predetermined by whom? The Merovingian would say "by those with power". The intelligent forces that govern what options we will have to choose from. So back into the trilogy...

The Matrix and those controlling it have the power to shape destinies, but even the shapers, if not possessed of absolute knowledge and power, are subject to the powers above them. In all three films, we see characters struggling with the nature of their world, and several key words continue to pop up: Why, Control, Purpose, Inevitable, Choice.

In the first film, Neo's employer tells him that he has "a choice". "Either you choose to be at your desk on time from this day forth, or you choose to find yourself another job."

Neo tells Morpheus that he doesn't like the idea that he's not in control of his life, and Morpheus knows exactly what he means.

The Oracle demonstrates choice as a mechanism within the confines of destiny determined by the control of others when she tells Neo about the vase just before he breaks it. She knew the outcome, and helped create options, but it was still Neo's choice to turn around and look for the vase, causing it to break.

The Latin phrase translated to "know thyself" foreshadows the Oracle's statement in the second film that we aren't here to make the choice, but to understand WHY we make the choice. According to the Oracle, choice is not something we have control over. Our only peace, as the Merovingian implies, is to understand WHY we make the choices we do. Our only real power comes from gaining a greater understanding of how the universe works, and learning more about those in charge of it.

Agent Smith explains to Morpheus that after Zion is destroyed, there is no reason or purpose for him to be in the Matrix, so he wants to fulfill that purpose so he can get out and be free. Smith is a slave to fulfilling his purpose.

Smith tells Neo in the train station that his death is inevitable, the first foreshadow to the end of the third film, where Neo fulfills HIS purpose.

When Neo enters Smith, some of his attributes, as Smith explains in the second film, are copied onto Smith, changing him, making him independent of the system. He no longer functions as an agent, and his purpose of destrying Zion is now gone because of that. He sees now that because of his similarities to Neo, he is redundant, and has no purpose, and so wants to remove Neo so that he will be one of a kind again, with a specific, unique purpose.

Smith actually DOES serve a purpose, however. He just doesn't know what it is. His purpose is to become dangerous to the Matrix, beyond the control of the machines. This will force the machines to make a peace treaty with Neo in the third film, since he is the only one capable of stopping Smith.

More next time!

The Modern Parable

There seem to be a number of opportunities cropping up today to dialogue about the Christian spiritual life and the truth of scripture that we overlook. And considering where these opportunities are appearing, it's somewhat surpising we don't take notice.

I'm talking about the movie theatre and the home theatre. In the last several years we've seen movies released that contain strong and pervasive spiritual themes. I started noticing it with the Matrix Trilogy. Some things the Wachowski brothers (writers/directors of the films) intended, and others were probably unintentional. I've written a commentary for the films that I may post here or at "Paeter's Brain" sometime. It's filled to the brim with comparisons to biblical truth. (Beware of major spoilers!)

Neo, the obvious Christ figure, sacrifices himself in the third film. He bears the weight of sin, represented by Smith. Smith, who has corrupted the entire world of the Matrix, just as sin has done to ours, consumes Neo, just as Christ took the weight and burden of our sin at the cross. Once Neo has done this, the door was opened to everyone in the matrix to be freed if they will only believe in the truth.

After which, they are promised a life in the city of Zion. Zion, of course is taken directly from scripture and is the holy city of the new earth promised in Revelation.

I could go on and on. This trilogy is so incredibly packed with good stuff. But let's keep going.

Superman Returns-

Despite some obvious problems with parenting that don't reflect Christ, Superman is a major Christ figure in this film. Luthor even stabs him in the side with a Kryptonite shard that looks remarkably like the head of a spear. Superman also makes the ultimate sacrifice to rescue everyone from impending doom. And even more exciting, he "rises from the dead" just before a nurse (Mary Magdalene) discovers only linens and an open window in his hospital room. Superman even tells lois at one point, "You say the world doesn't need a savior, but every day I hear them crying out for one." The film's director, Brian Singer, has openly admitted that all the messianic references were purposely included.

We also see strong themes of the gospel in "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". And the spiritual walk and challenges of a Christian life can be seen in the recent film "Pan's Labyrinth". This film contains strong themes that can be compared to spiritual warfare, living surrounded by people who don't share your beliefs, the pain of life and the promise of heaven.

Some Christians will look at these films and because they are violent, or have bad language, or don't perfectly represent Christ and biblical truth, choose to take offense at them. But what an opportunity I think they're missing! Jesus recognized that storytelling is a powerful way to imprint the truth into our minds. He told many fictional stories that contained spiritual truth, and his listeners were enchanted by them. Here we have opportunity to use stories to open dialogue about eternal truths. So many people today are open to "spirituality" that they will be more ready to talk about these themes than you may expect.

So the next time you see a film that reminds you and really impacts you with spiritual truth, turn to your friend, your spouse, or your family member, whether they share your beliefs or not, and say, "Wow. That really hits home." You never know what opportunity may be presented for you and someone else to learn more about each other.

Paeter Frandsen

Monday, May 21, 2007

In Search of Truth, John Chapter 2

John, Chapter 2

Okay, before we get started, have you read Chapter 2? Well if not, what are you waiting for? WE sure aren't the Word of God, so if you skip reading this week's chapter you'll miss the most important part. So really, take a minute and read if you haven't. We'll wait...

...all done? Okay.

We see here Jesus' first miracle, although John is quick to also call it a "sign". What's interesting to note is that when Jesus performed miracles, he was never just "putting on a show". He could have just as easily said, "Look everybody! I'm God!" and then proceeded to shoot lighting out of his eyes or fly around rescuing kittens from trees. But whenever Jesus did something supernatural, he did it with a purpose. To teach some truth about himself, or to express love to others.

At the wedding described here, Jesus provided very practical assistance to a family that would have otherwise been guilty of poor hospitality. Maybe not a big deal to you and me, but in first century Hebrew culture a mistake that would have haunted them for the rest of their lives.

It's also interesting to note that Jesus involved other people to help carry out the task. After all, if Jesus could re-arrange the molecules of water and turn them into wine, it would have been just as easy for him to make brand new, wine-filled pots appear out in the banquet hall. One reason for his subtlety and use of others may be the result of his statement to his mother. "My time has not yet come." The destiny of the cross was constantly in front of Jesus, and he always seemed very purposeful in how much of himself he revealed and at what pace.

After this we see Jesus go to the city of Jerusalem and then "go to town" on the money changers. This continues to be a message to Christians today. Let's be careful that we don't see our church communities as places to "network" and establish a customer base or business opportunities.

The Jewish leaders essentially asked Jesus, "Who do you think you are?" They had apparently become used to this level of corruption near the temple, and probably felt judged when Jesus held them up to a higher standard. They asked him for a sign to prove his authority. And here Jesus established the ultimate mark by which he should be judged. He said that if they killed him, he would raise himself from the dead in three days.

To this day, Jesus' physical return from the dead is the single event that holds so many back from faith in Christ. We're willing to believe he had some level of supernatural powers. We may even be willing to believe that he "died for our sins". But for some reason, when it comes to an actual, physical resurrection, we so often draw the line.

No one else in all history has raised themselves from death. This supernatural act, more than any other, separates Jesus from all other spiritual figures.

Even those who aren't sold on whether it happened or not should readily admit that the claim itself makes Jesus a figure worth very careful study and consideration.

And count on us to help out!

See you next week!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Web Stuff and "Dark Ritual" Music!

This week was a big week for us! We launched a new website and TWO new blogs and Paeter is close to narrowing down where all the songs will be placed in "Dark Ritual".

The story in "Dark Ritual" explores some elements of church history and so we are adjusting our music choices to fit some of that theme. A sizeable amount of music in "Dark Ritual" will be in some way adapted or inspired by ancient hymns and music of the church.

The research process has been meticulous and purposeful. We are avoiding the use of popular or easily recognized hymns (so you won't hear electronic versions of "Amazing Grace" or "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God") in favor of using songs that are long forgotten (even by "traditional" Christians) and relevant to our story and characters. Hopefully every song will be new to everyone that listens!

The challenge we've set for ourselves is to give a sense, through text, of some of the ancient mystery and wonder of our faith, while at the same time re-writing melodies and harmonic structures to create a sound that is anything but traditional. The mood throughout much of "Dark Ritual" is, appropriately, dark and the musical composition will reflect that.

That's all for now! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007



Hi everybody!

Been keeping busy today doing musical research for "Spirit Blade: Dark Ritual", but I thought I'd take a break and yammer here for a bit.

Although Mondays will be the day for our walk through scripture and Fridays will be our update days here at The Underground, I plan to swing by every Wednesday and make sure you all know I'm still alive. Beyond that I'm not sure exactly what I'll be writing here each week, but I suppose that's part of the fun!

This week, though, I want to make sure you all see the link for "E-Sword" at the bottom right of this page. I would HIGHLY recommend you check this software out! I downloaded an earlier version a few years ago and loved it, and I just recently (today in fact) downloaded the newest version. It's Bible study software made by a professional programmer with a desire to teach the truth of scripture.

I'm still amazed that this software and so many of it's supplements on the E-Sword website are free!

The most exciting things for me are all the free Bible commentaries that you can download to use with this software.

If you have a study Bible of some kind already, you know how helpful it can be to have some good insight to scripture you're reading. I've used some of the commentaries you can get with this software to prepare for group Bible studies, or just for my own learning and growth. It's a great tool.

A wide array of Bible translations are available on the E-Sword site for you to download and have right there on your screen. You can also easily pull up multiple translation of a single passage of scripture to instantly compare translations. (Sometimes, just having a couple translations on hand has helped me understand scripture better than anything.)

I also found the software pretty user friendly (and I'm not very computer literate) after playing with it for just a few minutes.

If you're thinking of purchasing a study Bible, I'd still get one. Many of the free commentaries of the entire Bible available here were written awhile back and still have an old-english flavor to them that, while scholastic and intelligent, can be a little dry when you're looking for relevant life application, and not just head knowledge. Also, there are a few commentaries, translations and features that are not free, but if you want them, they are very reasonably priced.

All that to say that for free software, there is no comparison. Although it may not rank with some programs that run a few hundred dollars, I can say from personal experience that it's not too far behind, and most won't notice the difference.

So if you're ready to jump into the spiritual journey God has for you, I'd very seriously consider getting this software.

Follow the link and check it out! What have you got to lose that clicking "Uninstall" won't fix?

See ya!


Monday, May 14, 2007

The Spirit Blade Productions Website is now Live!!

The day has finally arrived! Be sure to check out the Spirit Blade Productions website! Lot's of fun content, free downloads and for the first time ANYWHERE on the web, the ability to purchase a download of Spirit Blade in CD QUALITY audio for your mp3 player!

BIG thanks go out to Ryan Emenecker and Cory Gransee for the design and programming of the entire site!

Great job, guys!

Hot Fuzz (Movie Review)

Just saw this movie this afternoon. Like Shawn Of The Dead, this film combines action, drama, comedy and a few scares with incredible skill. Stupid humor suddenly makes way for gripping scares. Bad boy action moves aside smoothly for real human drama. The juxtaposed elements are what make this film so unpredictable. The ending had some great turns and surprises as well.

It's clear that these guys know action movie pop culture and they play to that strength with great results. With over-done action cuts they turn mundane behavior, like pouring a couple beers, into an intense, fast-moving sequence that puts a smile on your face.

I'd love to see what these film-makers can do when they have a really hefty budget to work with. As a straight-up action film, you won't see any effects or stunt sequences that will blow your mind or even make you terribly excited. But if you've seen a lot of action movies, you will really enjoy the way they reference the "feel", if not the specific shots, of Hollywood action staples.
This movie will bring a lot of vicarious fun to your day as you watch the heroes do the things you've always wanted to do, because you can tell that THEY'VE always wanted to do them too. The supporting bumbling "friend" character in particular is a big action movie buff, and so you enjoy seeing him experience some real action for himself.

In terms of potential coffee-house conversation, it's interesting to note that the main character, Sergeant Angel, is an outcast in this small town because he believes in searching out truth, seeking absolute justice, and has a disdain for the town's wishy-washy attitude about truth and morality; an attitude that could be compared to superficial spirituality or moral relativism. You be the judge.

All this to say, if you like action movies, be sure and see this one before it leaves theaters. And go soon! It's been out a few weeks and the theater I saw it in was pretty small with few in attendance. Of course, this wouldn't be the first time that ticket sales are no indicator of a film's quality. Check it out!

Rated R for violent content including some graphic images, and language

Quality: 9.0/10

Relevance: 8.0/10

In Search Of Truth, John Chapter 1

The Gospel of John, Chapter 1
This week we are starting our read-through and discussion of the Gospel Of John. Take a few minutes and read chapter 1.

You'll notice that John uses the odd title "The Word", to describe Jesus. He describes "The Word" as having existed before ANYTHING else. The Creator of everything that DOES exist. The giver and sustainer of ALL life, and a being that can NEVER be overcome by evil. He also said that "The Word" became flesh and lived among humans.

Imagine that concept for a second:

If you're a sci-fi buff (and if you're reading this, chances are good that you are) you may be familiar with the science-fiction concept of a non-linear being. A being existing outside the confines of time and the 3rd dimension. Although this concept is portayed in various ways in sci-fi and fantasy stories, ultimately it is portrayed in physical images for our linear, 3rd dimensional brains. In the end, we simply can't comprehend the concept of a non-linear, non-physical being.

Now consider that this infinite God chose, in ways we can't fully understand, to limit himself to the life of a human. Stew on that for a minute and try to comprehend it. God and human at the same time.

Jesus says later in Chapter 10, verse 30, "The Father and I are one." And later on in chapter 14, verse 9, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." Even wilder concepts still. But before your brain hurts too much, let's keep moving forward.

The Hebrews of the time understood "The Word" to be the acting power behind creation (Psalm 33:6) and would also have understood it to make reference to God's law and goodness.

The Greek philosophers of the day would have recognized the Greek word used for "Word" here: logos. In Greek philosophy this word was a reference to the divine source and sustainer of all things in the universe. So John was writing so that both Hebrews and Greeks would clearly understand that Jesus is God in every sense.

Many in American culture will go so far as to say that Jesus was a "good man" or even a "very spiritual person". They may even admit that he was a prophet. But to say that Jesus is God is just as hard for many to believe as it always has been.

So we have to ask the question, "What did Jesus believe himself to be?" Shouldn't his vote be the one that counts? After all, what if his friends thought so much of him that after he died they started writing stories about him, elevating him to the status of mythical legend?

While we don't have time or space (no pun intended) to go into a deep study of the topic(For more, see reading recommendations below), at a glance we can conclude that the Gospels represent what Jesus said. Their circulation was great enough among both those who loved and those who hated Jesus that were they falsified, someone would have spoken up. Yet we have no records to realistically support the idea that these stories were made up. We DO know that people have said from the beginning that Jesus was a madman, deceptive illusionist or sorcerer. But history does not support the idea that these documents were fabrications created by "Jesus Fans".

In this first chapter we can already see a contrast between a prophet OF God and a prophet who IS God. John the Baptist flatly told the Jewish leaders "I am not the Messiah". He also denied being the specific prophet mentioned throughout the Old Testament, who was destined to be greater than any prophet before or after. In everything he said and did, John pointed to Jesus, not himself, because John knew who John was. And John wasn't God.

Jesus, on the other hand, doesn't even seem to blink when he is referred to as the unique Son of God, or the King of Israel. In fact in response to being called these things he said, in essence, "Oh yeah? You ain't seen nothin' yet..."(verses 50-51)

As we'll see in future chapters, Jesus is more humble than any man, in the sense that he is a servant to everyone else. We'll watch him invest in the people of his culture that were judged and cast out by society. We'll see him love and take into his circle of friends, those whom no one else wanted to even be near.

At the same time, we'll also see that Jesus never denied worship, when he was given it. He never denied who he was, saying with false humility, "Who, me? Oh I'm nothing special, really."

We might ask, doesn't that make him arrogant to accept worship? And did he ever really SAY that he was God?

Grab a Bible and come back again next week. Join the discussion and we'll see what we can find out together.

Have something to add, or a question to ask? Join our discussion and leave a comment!

See you next week with Chapter 2!
Additional reading recommendations- "The Case For Christ, Lee Strobel", "Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Josh McDowell"

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Jaded Visalian Interview

Catch Paeter's most recent interview by visiting: or  "Feed Numero 47- Spirit Blade"

Dave gets answers from Paeter on the origins of his unusual name, the "swearing" in Spirit Blade and the commentary Spirit Blade gives on today's culture. A great interview! Don't miss it!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A New Beginning!


Welcome to The Spirit Blade Underground, the all-new weblog for Spirit Blade Productions!

This is the place for you to find out each new step forward in our current projects, and also gain some encouragment for your spiritual journey. Be sure and leave us a comment so we know you were here!

We're planning to update this blog several times each week, so you may even consider subscribing to our feed!

Thanks for visiting! Make yourself at home!