Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resident Evil: Degeneration (Or, the problem with CG movies.)

Last night I watched "Resident Evil: Degeneration". I played the first one and a half games using cheat codes because I suck at these kinds of games, but love the atmosphere. So I'm not a hard core Resident Evil/Bio Hazard fan. But I do love a good zombie flick and sci-fi action rocks, so I knew I'd have to check this one out.

It had a few good things going for it, but not enough to make it a purchase. Some great visual designs and creature stuff provided nifty eye candy and a few of the action sequences scratched the itch for me. Where the movie falls short is, like so many of its kind, in the motion capture.

Now, I have to say very quickly and with great stress, this is not the fault of the mo-cap actors. I emphasize that because after watching the credits I discovered that the mo-cap actor for Claire Redfield was played by one of my and my wife's friends. I felt her performance was solid and one of the strong points of the film. Even before discovering her name in the credits I thought in one scene, "the mo-cap actor's movements are really selling this scene for Claire." I came to my own conclusions about the quality of the film before seeing the credits, so I believe I maintain my objectivity.

So what do I mean about mo-cap being the weakness? I'm talking about the technology. It hasn't reached the point where we can capture the subtle emotional tells in a person's face. With only a few dozen capture points in use, we just can't capture the facial performances like we need to. And if there IS technology available to track eye and eyelid movement, it hasn't successfully translated those movements to the screen yet. We can do large limb and joint capture pretty well. Even hands aren't too bad. But anything smaller and the performance is lost.

On the DVD for this movie, you can even see a live comparison from the actors and the capture they produce and there is just a lot missing from the get go.

Until we master mo-cap, I think it is best used for action sequences only. That's why films like Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Beowulf, and this one, will always produce characters that feel wooden. In the making of "The Incredible Hulk" they used a new mo-cap process where they spray florescent paint onto the actor's faces, allowing them to pick up MUCH more detail. But this still didn't result in very believable CGI. And without those believable performances on the screen, dialogue and "character driven" moments fall flat and are just plain boring to watch. That's why I didn't feel I could do a full and fair review of this movie. After awhile, I ended up fast-forwarding through a few dialogue scenes.

Resident Evil was great in it's action sequences, but it spent too much time trying to convey 3 dimensional characters with real emotions, given that the technology just isn't up to the challenge yet. A film in this format that succeeds like no other is "Final Fantasy: Advent Children". Compared to the other "all CG" films I've mentioned, this one really played up the strength of CG by giving us a 90 minute action-fest with crazy camera work and "stunts" that can only happen in a CG film. Advent Children doesn't waste alot of time trying to give great character performances. It plays up the strengths of CG and downplays the weak points.

I would LOVE to see a sequel to Resident Evil: Degeneration that utilized this strategy a little more. That, or one that waits to be made until the technology can translate the performances to screen that these actors and directors put so much time and thought into.

Squeezing In Some "Pilgrim"


Despite a very active Christmas/New Year schedule, I had some time to work on Monday and Tuesday and was able to get a few things done on scripting for Pilgrim.

There's still a lot I need to figure out about pacing and what the overall feel of the story will be. Bunyan's work contains virtually no realistic characters. While I'm working to retain all of the extreme qualities that his characters possess, I also want to add a few subtle layers to each character so that they are more than over-the-top stereo-types or symbols.

My philosophy is to "add" instead of "subtract". I'm not interested in cutting out characters, events  and ideas from Bunyan's classic. I'm aiming to translate them while adding additional material to round it out into a more character driven story form.(I'll probably add some action here and there as well.) But if I add too much, Bunyan's work becomes harder to see than I'd like. So finding that balance is what I'm currently working on.

Keep an eye on this spot. Very soon I'll be sharing some details on a few agenda items for 2009 that you won't want to miss hearing about!

Have a great New Year!

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, December 29, 2008

In Search Of Truth, 1st Corinthians 1:10-16


After his greeting, Paul "exhorts" his readers to agree with each other. Let's pick apart verse 10 a little bit, because there is room for this verse to be misunderstood. It also helps set the context for the upcoming verses.

The Greek word used for "exhort" here is "Parakaleo". This word is stronger than a request, but less than a command. We might say that Paul is "urging" his readers toward different behavior. He wants them to "agree". More literally, this idea of agreeing would be translated "speak the same thing". Paul further clarifies his desire by urging them to avoid "divisions". This Greek word is where we get the word schism and implies social factions. He wants them to be "Katartizo", the Greek word used here for "made complete". This word means to "fit together" perfectly. Both in mind and judgment. The two words used for "mind" and "judgment" are similar, but with some key differences. One refers to opinion or thought, the other is more closely tied to the will and refers to discernment that determines conduct.

So if we take all these puzzle peices and put them back together, we can come to a few conclusions about what this verse is telling us.

First off, this verse, like the whole book, is directed to believers and should be read in that context. God wants us to agree whenever possible in our conversations. It's okay to disagree about whether or not the new Star Trek movie will be "better" than the classic continuity. (In any case, movies are art. Their quality is subjective.) Still, God wants us to focus more on our points of agreement than disagreement. He doesn't want any relational division, spoken or unspoken, to develop among his followers. So whether it's your favorite style of music, or a doctrinal issue, God wants us to strive for agreement. He wants us to be united in our love for him and in our view of him.

That said, remember that "Parakaleo" means "urge" and not "command". God knows we will disagree on things. Some disagreement is good! After all, it doesn't honor God if we all "agree" to rebel against him. Later in this book, God will give instruction on how we can live together even with very large differences in our personalities, cultural backgrounds, and Biblical views. He knows that being a unified community that believes the right things requires two complex elements (unity and right belief) that present an ongoing challenge.

The Corinthians were struggling with both sides of this coin. They had factions developing, motivated by personal pride. Some wanted to be identified with one Apostle or another teacher. Some very "piously" wanted to be identified with Christ. We can hear the same echoes of this today as people cling to one denomination or the other. One church style or the other. Or from those non-denominationalists, or those who don't attend church, who become prideful, believing they are more intelligent and open-minded because of their independence. We pit organizations, authors and speakers against each other who never asked to be a part of our debate.

Paul's response is a little sarcastic: "Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?"

We can go beyond respect for good teachers and leaders and make them our source of truth, when that position belongs only to God!

We might pride ourselves on being signed up for Rob Bell or James Dobson's newsletter, but it is Christ that we follow, and God wants us to follow him in community, working toward unity despite our differences.

Next Week: The "packaging" of the Truth.

Coffee House Question- When have you experienced or witnessed division in a community of Christians and what did it look like?

Monday, December 22, 2008


by paeter frandsen

Emmanuel. "God with us"
Beautiful words, but have we forgotten their meaning?
Consider the implications of God being with us.
The concept alone should leave us searching for words.
The Cosmic Creator of limitless power became a fragile human being.
A dirty little village held the conduit to eternity.
Its darkened streets concealed the God of all the universe.
His eternal nature might have shattered time by His mere presence.
With only a thought, His infinite power might have ripped apart the building blocks of reality.
This being, who is the sum of every hope and every fear mankind can think of, laid down His infinite might.
Why? To be closer to you.
And now, restored to his infinite glory, He waits. You have only to ask, and He will once again rip through the fabric of space and time, just to be near you.
Because, Emmanuel isn't just His name on Christmas. It's His name every day of our lives.




by paeter frandsen


Emmanuel. "God with us"

Beautiful words, but have we forgotten their meaning?

Consider the implications of God being with us.

The concept alone should leave us searching for words.

The Cosmic Creator of limitless power became a fragile human being.

A dirty little village held the conduit to eternity.

Its darkened streets concealed the God of all the universe.

His eternal nature might have shattered time by His mere presence.

With only a thought, His infinite power might have ripped apart the building blocks of reality.

This being, who is the sum of every hope and every fear mankind can think of, laid down His infinite might.

Why? To be closer to you.

And now, restored to his infinite glory, He waits. You have only to ask, and He will once again rip through the fabric of space and time, just to be near you.

Because, Emmanuel isn't just His name on Christmas. It's His name every day of our lives.

See you here next Monday!

Have a Truth Centered Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Spinning Lots Of Plates!


It's been a very busy week of juggling schedules with my wife and son. I've also got family in town that I rarely get to see, so I've been taking some time off work to spend with them.

You can probably assume that the Friday updates won't involve much project progress for the next two weeks, although I've been able to keep up with filling orders, answering e-mails and doing the usual posts, so feel free to drop me a line! I always love to interact with you guys!

If you're a podcast listener, I'm considering making some cosmetic changes in January, along with adding a new feature to the rotation. I'd be interested in getting your feedback on the show as I'm considering what I can do to streamline it (intros and segues, etc.) and keep it interesting (content, topics, etc.). In general I'm looking to polish it up a bit and make things fresh without changing the things you continue to come back for. So I'd love to get your thoughts! Send them to me at paeter (at) spiritblade (dot) net!

Have a great weekend!

-Paeter Frandsen

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vincent and Video Games


For 15 years now, whenever I play an RPG that lets me choose the name of my character, I've chosen Merikk Scythe. I just loved the sound of it, and now of course the name has found its way into my own stories.

But in the last two years or so, ever since I started developing "Dark RItual", I began using the name Vincent Craft for my RPG characters. I've also made the conscious decision to ask myself, "WWVD"? What would Vincent do?

The result has been interesting. My games played as Merikk usually involved more wise-cracking and player wish-fulfillment, but as Vincent, I find myself making a mix of both good and bad choices that get my character in trouble and make for a very interesting story, if the game allows my choices to impact it.

Most recently, I finished playing "Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic" for the very first time. As I mentioned over on "Paeter's Brain", I made some choices near the end that finally pushed me over to the Dark Side.

After going back to a previous save, I finished the game on the Light side, having a very different experience. I certainly felt more resolution ending on the light side, but despite putting poor Vincent through the ringer, his choices did give me a more emotionally involved, if tragic, story experience.

So if you ever play an MMO and run across either "Merikk Scythe" or "Vincent Craft", be sure to say "hi"! Then again, I don't like playing MMOs, so it probably won't be me. But you can thank them for being a fan and then e-mail me right away since I would probably poop my pants in amazement that anyone would use one of those names for their character!

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, December 15, 2008

In Search Of Truth, 1st Corinthians 1:1-9


1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Before we jump into this book, some quick info:

Corinth was a metropolis that thrived economically and was culturally and spiritually diverse. Sexual promiscuity was very common, especially among males. Corinth was also a city plagued with sin and even had a temple with 1000 sacred prostitutes. Much like modern America, it was a place of wealth, diversity and an "anything goes" attitude.

Paul had helped to start a Christian community there and writes them this letter to correct some behavioral and relational issues he'd been told about.

Let's cover some quick vocab that will help us with this chapter:


: Jesus chose to call his twelve close disciples apostles (Luke 6:13) which means "one sent" or "ambassador". It was a distinctive word not used much in the classical Greek language, and so it functioned well as an official title. This term was primarily reserved for those who actually encountered and were "sent out by" Christ after his resurrection. They represented him and spoke on his behalf, and so had a unique authority in the New Testament time period. (Paul encountered and was "sent out" by Jesus "post-resurrection" in Acts chapter 9.)


Set apart for the purposes of God. To be "sanctified in Christ Jesus" (verse 2) means to be set apart for God's purposes through Jesus. Specifically, through his death that paid for our sins and allows us to have a clean slate and restored relationship with God.


Those who have been "sanctified".


: Although throughout the Bible this word has a variety of specific meanings, in general it means "undeserved favor". Grace is something good given without being earned. If we have anything good that we enjoy in life, whether or not we are Christians, it is ultimately because of the "grace" of God. We don't deserve it, but God has given it to us because he loves us.

Now, given our understanding of these somewhat "churchy" words, let's dig into this chapter a bit.

After identifying himself and his role (apostle), Paul identifies his audience in this letter, which first includes the Christian community in Corinth, but also includes all who "call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ". In the original language and culture of the day, to "call upon a name" would be to identify with and be dedicated to the person the name is attached to. So to call upon the name of Jesus Christ means to be identified with him and to depend on him. So this letter is also written to everyone who will ever put their trust in Christ.

In his greeting, Paul uses a phrase common to his letters: "Grace and peace to you."

In the Bible, grace can be used as broadly as its definition allows, but often refers specifically to the undeserved favor given to us by Christ's death and payment for our sins.

"Peace" refers to undisturbed and untroubled well-being. Having peace with God, through trusting in Jesus, instead of the natural conflict with him we create with our sin, is the real key to having peace regarding the other details of life. This one is especially good to understand the true definition of in the Christmas season. God will ultimately bring "peace on earth" to everyone. But in the meantime, as the carol says, he's offering peace to make "God and sinners reconciled" through the sacrifice of Jesus, who paid for our sins when he died on the cross.

In verse 3, Paul pairs Jesus with the Father under the title of "God", confirming his divine identity at the outset of the whole letter.

Jesus is the source of God's grace, as described here(verse 4). Because of Christ, the Corinthians were enriched in their ability to speak intelligently (translated "speech" in verse 5) and in their experiential knowledge (translated simply "knowledge" in verse 5).

Paul says that the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in them. In other words, everything Paul had been teaching about Christ was demonstrated to be truthful through the way the Corinthians were being changed by it. They were developing spiritual gifts of every variety (which we'll get into more in chapter 12) and were eagerly looking forward to Christ's return.

Although we shouldn't use these words to assume we can know the hearts of others, we can use these words to challenge ourselves. Is the truth really impacting me? Am I learning from good teachers and taking time to study the Bible on my own? Is Jesus just a nice idea to me, or does he find his way into my time? When people look at me, will they quickly see a reason to believe that Jesus is the real deal, or do I just "blend in" with a faith that no one sees?

The greatest grace that Jesus gives is found in verse 8. Jesus "confirms" genuine believers until Christ returns. The word for "confirm" here means "to make firm or reliable so as to warrant security and inspire confidence." From the moment a person genuinely chooses to trust in and follow Christ, until the day Christ returns, they will be considered blameless by God. Obviously, God is aware of our sin, but as far as his final judgment is concerned, those who trust in Christ have nothing to fear.

And God is "faithful" (or we would say "trustworthy") to carry out this promise. He's not going to change his mind! Christians have been called into "fellowship" with Jesus. The God of the universe has provided a way for us to have a really close relationship with him, without our sin getting in the way!

He didn't do this because we are good, or have earned it. This mind-blowing gift is another example of God's "amazing grace"!

Next Week: Believe it or not, you'll find division in a church...

Coffee House Question

What kind of Christmas traditions are you looking forward to this year?

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Day The Earth Stood Still (Movie Review)

Last night, for the first time, I sat down and watched "The Day The Earth Stood Still" and today I went out to see the remake.

The film has a suitable dark tone and while Keanu Reeves doesn't offer anything terribly new, his performance style fit the role of alien visitor "Klaatu" well enough. Jennifer Connelly plays a microbiologist recruited by the US military to help them understand what they are dealing with in Klaatu.

Times have certainly changed and this movie is a constant reminder. The re-imagining of the deadly protector, Gort, draws heavily from the original film, but leaves behind the clunky "man in a suit" in favor of a streamlined massive CGI creature. Gort is a silent, powerful and eerie presence through most of the film and goes through an interesting change late in the film that is a departure from the original movie.

In general the special effects work well, although they are unremarkable. This is true of the movie as a whole. It works, it's just fairly forgettable.

The movie becomes much more interesting as a vehicle for conversation.


The original film acted as a warning to humanity, identifying us as people bent on violence and hatred toward each other. That message still rang true when I watched the original last night. But for some reason, producers of the remake saw fit to change the warning to reflect the current issue of global warming. While Klaatu gives lip service to humanity's violent, hateful nature, his primary concern is for "the earth", and not humanity. Earth is valuable in the galactic economy because it can sustain complex life forms, a very rare trait. And yet it is the "complex life forms" of earth that are left behind as the aliens collect samples of all living creatures in preparation to wipe out all life on the planet. Scorpions, snakes and squids all make it onto the "ark", but humans are left to die. What does that say about the worth of a human life?

The message of the film is a little mixed. There is certainly a "green" agenda, but the film also points out our tendency to hurt each other. Thankfully, the film is not as heavy-handed in its tree-hugging as "The Happening", but I think the film would have served itself better by focusing on one theme from humanity's evil: Selfishness. It is our self-serving "learn to love yourself before you can love others" mentality that leads us into lack of love for others and a carelessness toward our resources. But if you have to choose one or the other, I think our hatred of each other is a more timeless theme than our poor management of fossil fuels.

Either way, this movie says something that Hollywood doesn't often say. It says we are bad. People are naturally bad, not good. Diplomacy and responsibility are last resorts, both in our politics and personal relationships. This movie presents the concept of final judgment in sci-fi packaging that atheism and pop-spirituality will be more receptive to. (Because aliens coming to judge the world makes much more sense than God doing it, right?)

There is a beautiful metaphor midway through the film. Klaatu talks to another alien that has been undercover on earth for 70 years. This alien says that humanity is hopeless. That Klaatu shouldn't even bother talking to them because they won't listen. And yet, this alien says that he wants to stay and die with them when they are destroyed. He says that despite the fact that we will destroy each other, their is another side to us. And that he loves us.

My wife told me that tears came to her eyes when she watched that scene. Intentional or not, it was a depiction of God's love for us. Left to our own devices, we are bent on serving ourselves and destroying others. We have our good moments, but in the end we will fail. Despite all of this, God made us to resemble him in some way. We are beautiful to him and he loves us. He was even willing to die as one of us.

Although this movie is no artistic masterpiece, it offers plenty worth talking about.

Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi disaster images and violence

Quality: 8.0/10

Relevance: 9.0/10

Catching Up!


I've felt very behind for about two weeks now, trying to get the word out as best I can about "Dark Ritual" without being pushy or doing any spamming. Takes a ton of time and thinking!

As of yesterday I can finally say that I feel caught up. I've still got some e-mails to write and some interviews to schedule, but I've been able to slow down a bit and rest for a change, and that's been great, especially as I have family coming into town.

Although the never-ending battle of marketing will continue, I hope to begin giving you regular progress reports soon regarding the development of "The Pilgrim's Progress".

I'm also toying around with some ideas that may result in more audio fiction for you to enjoy from Spirit Blade Productions in the near future and on a more regular basis, but those ideas are still stewing for a bit...

That's all for now! Catch you at the podcast!

-Paeter Frandsen

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Punisher: War Zone (Movie Review)

Producers set out to create a Punisher movie with a "hard R" rating, and they succeeded. But did they do much better this time in overall movie making? Depends on what you buy your ticket for.

Although I'm a huge comic book geek, I've never followed the Punisher. I know the basic concept. A man sees his family killed and so dedicates his life to revenge, utilizing lots and lots of guns. In a sense, the Punisher is a lethal take on the Batman concept, but without the theatrics. His psychology is more straight-forward than Bruce Wayne's, although my understanding is that Frank Castle has some religious background (specifically catholic, I believe) that makes for some interesting potential.

My review of this movie is not from the perspective of a "Punisher fan" but from a comic book geek with limited knowledge of the source material. I can't compare it to the comics, but I can decide on whether or not I thought it was a good movie.

Ray Stevenson give us a solid if unmemorable performance. He's got a strong Steven Segal vibe(when he's not talking) that turns me off a bit. I kept looking for a little ponytail behind that slicked back hair.

The direction of the film is handled well and the film more than earns its "R". It is brutally violent with plenty of blood, although not "action packed". Despite lots of guns and explosions, it doesn't feel like a full-on action flick. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. The Punisher is merciless and efficient, and you'll see a number of shocking deaths that will make you cringe or recoil. Not for the weak stomach.

The film doesn't do a complete reboot of the franchise and could be enjoyed as a pseudo sequel to the Thomas Jane movie. Although this film is more true to what I know of the source material in terms of its dark feel. (This Punisher wouldn't use a popsical. He'd really fry the guy!)

There's some potential for drama in the script, but I never really became attached to any of the characters. This made the action less exciting. Frank is one bad mamma-jamma, but since I rarely feared for his safety, the brutality of the action was the only interesting part. Good for a one time shock, but not much replay value.

If you have a dark sense of humor, there are some great moments in this flick that will probably leave you laughing out loud. In several instances, Frank does what we always want the hero to do in other movies, instead of being the "good guy". An overall enjoyable flick, but one that can probably wait for a DVD rental.

In terms of Relevance, this movie can definitely lead to conversation of value. The concept of Justice runs through the entire film, though not by name. We all know that it is wrong to take the law into our own hands, and yet when we see Justice brought about by vigilantism when nothing else is working, there is something inside of us that says, "Yes! That's how it should be."

Despite our desire to downplay the wrathful part of God's personality, we yearn for judgment when evil goes unpunished and mocks Justice while escaping. There's a part of us all that sees the wrong things in this world. The evil that seems to go unchecked. So when we see someone in a film like this taking control and bringing justice, there is something satisfying about it. At one point in the film, Frank also says, "Sometimes I'd like to get my hands on God." In light of the themes of the film you can take that conversation where you will. It will probably make for an interesting one.

Rated R for pervasive strong brutal violence, language and some drug use

Quality: 8.0/10

Relevance :8.0/10

Dark Ritual Song Lyrics!


My thanks go out to Isaac Butler! He e-mailed me and asked if I was going to make the lyrics available for the songs of "Dark Ritual". Here I had them completed and ready to go up. I even thought I'd put them up already!

But for all you folks that like to sing along, the lyrics are now available on the Media Page of


-Paeter Frandsen 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Catch Me In The "Snark Infested Waters"!!


Catch my interview on the "Snark Infested Waters" Podcast! I talk with Taylor about "Dark Ritual" and some of my other voice work on the web. Enjoy!

Monday, December 8, 2008

In Search Of Truth, Acts 19:1-20


When Paul arrives in Ephesus, he runs into some disciples. The term disciples means "learners", and doesn't necessarily refer to disciples of Jesus. These disciples were following what they knew of John the Baptist's teaching, which was focused on turning from evil and recognizing our need for the Messiah. Like Apollos, they were missing the most vital piece of the puzzle: Jesus.

Baptism is believed to have originated with the Jewish tradition of ceremonial washings. Gentiles converting to Judaism would be completely submerged in water to signify the washing away of their past and complete embracing of their new direction. For Jews to be baptized like this would be a big deal. They had understood themselves to be God's chosen people for so long that a sense of entitlement had developed in many of them. Being baptized in the name of Jesus would strongly indicate that their former way of life was not sufficient and they were abandoning it in favor of something new.

So when the Holy Spirit enters into these disciples in verse 6, it is not because they were submerged in water in verse 5 or because Paul laid his hands on them in verse 6 (although evidence of the Holy Spirit appeared at that time.), but because they genuinely believed that Jesus is the Messiah as described in the Old Testament. All those who put their trust in the divine identity of Christ are given the Holy Spirit to live in them.(1 Corinthians 12:13) The difference, as we see here, is how the Holy Spirit gives evidence of himself in each individual believer.

Again, Paul follows his pattern of trying to reach the Jews first, and then the non-Jews. (v.8-10) God used him to do extraordinary miracles and Paul became so respected that people even took articles of his clothing and used them to heal the sick. God may have honored these somewhat superstitious practices with healing to draw attention to Paul's teaching, but we can't know for sure.

Those who practiced magic in this time period were known to believe that names gave them power. For example, knowing the "true name" of a spirit would give them power to manipulate that spirit. (This historical practice has also found its way into modern fictional representations of fantasy magic in a few instances.) These magicians even threw in the names of Jesus and Paul, as though by using their names they could harness more power. The response they received from an evil spirit is a little humorous: "I recognize Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?"

This little account should remind us that the name of Jesus is not in and of itself the source of power. It is the substance, the very person that the name represents that gives power. God doesn't want us to experience his power through removed superstitious mysticism, but through genuine belief and trust in him.

Paul's impact on this community expanded dramatically and many who were using magic gave up their practices, at significant financial cost to themselves! The total value of sorcerous materials burned in verse 19 represents about 137 years worth of wages! We don't know how many sorcerors contributed to this "book burning" but either way, the act represented a significant departure of the occult from the Ephesian culture and likely the economy as well.

Although not many of us practice real magic today, consider for a moment whether or not you could set aside financial security if it meant doing the right thing.

Paul stayed in Ephesus for about two years. During that time he wrote 1st Corinthians, which we will begin looking at next week!

Next Week: Paul begins teaching the Corinthians how to mature in their spiritual journey.

Coffee House Question

Why do you think many people look at the Bible from a superstitious distance instead of examining and trying to understand it?

Friday, December 5, 2008



It must be the Christmas season again! On the Media Page of, you can now download my dark electronic rendition of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" for free!

If you've downloaded it before, you may notice that I've evened out the balance of the mix more this year. I hope you all enjoy it!

-Paeter Frandsen 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Stuff!


Some new stuff going on this week!

On the Media Page of, you can now hear PART 2 of my interview with Randy Hesson, the voice of Vincent Craft! We talk about the wierdness of some of the scenes he was in and the shocking twists and turns of "Dark Ritual". There are spoilers left and right, but if you've listened to "Dark Ritual" already, you do NOT want to miss this interview!

At the Spirit Blade Underground Weblog( you'll see a couple new features:

Since the old message system and phone number was acting buggy (at best), I set myself up with a new company and phone number you can use to leave me messages for the podcast. While the messages won't be available for blog visitors to listen to, this system is MUCH easier to use with no code to enter and no buttons to push after leaving your message. Give it a try and leave me a message, a shout-out or a random noise!

I've also added a "Friends Of The Spirit Blade Underground" list on the left side of the weblog. These are sites that have put a link to on their page. If you'd like to be added to this list, shoot me an e-mail and let me know!  paeter (at)

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, December 1, 2008

In Search Of Truth, Acts 18:18-28


As Paul continues his missionary journey, he is accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila, his tent-making partners in Corinth.

Verse 18 indicates that Paul shaved his head as part of a special vow he had taken. We don't know the nature of this vow, but the shaving indicates it falls in line with the format described in Numbers chapter 6. This being the case, it shows that while Paul embraced the truth presented by Jesus, he did not abandon his Jewish heritage and traditions. There's nothing wrong with holding on to these things if they enable your relationship with God rather than distract you from it or promote something false.

Next, Paul and company arrive in Ephesus, the most important city in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). He found some level of success while reasoning with those in the local synagogue, but when asked to stay, declined. He would, however, come back. More on that later. Meantime, he said he would return, "if God wills." (If you've ever heard the expression, "Lord willing", it's a lot older than you might think!)

While Paul continued on his travels, giving whatever encouragement and guidance he could to the believers he met, chapter 18 cuts back to the action in Ephesus, where Paul left his ministry partners, Priscilla and Aquila. An intelligent, eloquent man named Apollos came through the city. He knew scripture extremely well and taught it to others effectively and accurately. He specifically taught about the Messiah, but his information wasn't up to date. He only had knowledge of what John the Baptist had been preaching. He knew it was time for everyone to turn away from their "default" way of life and look for God's promised Messiah. But he hadn't heard yet that Jesus had come on the scene and fulfilled that role in line with prophecy.

Priscilla and Aquila noticed this about his teaching, and I love the way they responded. Instead of interrupting him or drawing attention away from him and toward themselves, they pulled him aside privately and explained the truth about Jesus.

It's also great to see how Apollos responded to this. He could have let his ego get bruised and resisted the truth. After all, he'd been explaining the truth very effectively. He probably saw people respond to his teaching on a regular basis. He may have felt like he had found his niche and didn't need to improve upon what was already working well. And yet, we see in verses 27 and 28 that he went on to have an even more effective ministry, using the Old Testament scriptures to demonstrate the truth about Jesus' divine identity.

Even though he had is own thing going on, he was willing to be accountable to others and connect with them in service of the bigger picture. In return, he gained encouragment and practical help: a "letter of recommendation" that enabled him to continue and have even wider impact in his work. He went to Achaia (where you'll remember Paul had recently run into trouble with the local Jews) and gave encouragement to the Christians there by powerfully refuting the Jews in public, using reason and logic to share the truth about Jesus.

The example here is of criticism performed and responded to correctly on both sides. A pretty rare event and one we can learn from. Do you look at criticism, even poorly delivered or mean-spirited criticism, as an opportunity to examine yourself and explore the truth? No matter how it is delivered, truth is still truth.

Likewise, we can follow the example of teaching seen here. Correction offered will be better received if delivered in private. It's a tough thing to be criticized publically (and yes, that includes comments on blogs and on message boards), but if we approach each other individually, we can avoid an entire layer of potential barrier that might otherwise obstruct the truth we are trying to share.

Next Week: Paul digs in and "sets up shop" in Ephesus.

Coffee House Question

When was the last time you were given criticism that was delivered well (even if it was hard to hear). What made it come across better than it could have?