Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mixing Scenes and Prepping The Forums!


Halfway through the week and as usual it feels like there are not enough hours in the day!

While finishing up "Dark Ritual" and the entire time I worked on "Similitude Of A Dream", I looked forward to creating a Special Edition remix of Spirit Blade. After more than two long years of keeping it on the back burner, I'm finally able to work on it and move forward with the fixes and remixes that have been haunting my mind more often than you can possibly know.

I've also discovered the unique opportunity to make a few (and I do mean just a few) minor changes to the script. At least as far as Ebony or Merikk's lines go. No major tampering, but a few minor tweaks here and there and a few brand new lines that I think will clarify story elements and bring character to the forefront just a little bit more.

In one sense, starting work on this project is like heating up leftovers. But in another sense it's like working on a brand new project. And without so many of the monotonous details at the beginning that make starting a project an uphill battle!

Meanwhile, I'm also working with a couple of Spirit Blade community volunteers to launch the Spirit Blade Underground Forums! The site looks great and everything is almost ready. I hope to launch the forums by this weekend, but I will make an announcement here to let everyone know for sure when we launch. I hope you'll come by and say "hi" and connect with me or some other like-minded folks!

Well, back to work! The night is young and Spirit Blade won't remix itself!

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, June 28, 2010

In Search Of Truth, 2 Corinthians 12:11-21


A number of times up to this point Paul has been forced to talk about himself in a way that may appear to be foolish boasting. But the Corinthian church had forced Paul to argue on this level since they were following false teachers based on their self-boasting. Despite the risk involved in speaking this way, Paul refused to let the Corinthians believe that his ministry and teaching were inferior to that of the so-called "super apostles".

When Paul says that he is "nothing" in verse 11, this can either be attributed to humility on his part, or the fact that philosophers of this time referred to public speakers as "nobodies". In the latter case, Paul would be acknowledging his socially low status while defending the content of his ministry.(v.11)

Paul reminds the Corinthians of the signs, wonders and miracles done by him in their presence that validate his ministry. The silent implication is that these elements were absent from the false teachers.(v.12) Paul did not act less like an apostle with the Corinthian church in any way except that he did not burden them with an expectation of financial support. Paul is noticeably sarcastic when he says, "Forgive me for this wrong!"(v.13, and see also 11:9)

Paul says that when he comes to visit them again, he will continue to avoid being a financial burden. He wants to emphasize that he is not after their money. He wants the Corinthians themselves. Spiritually, Paul is their father and so views them as dependent on him, rather than the other way around. (v.14)

It's easy to look at relationships in terms of what we can get out of them. But Paul's interaction with others was focused on what he could offer to them. And although Paul valued their love for him, his reasoning was that they would love him more if he loved them more.(v.15)

Even if they did not love or support Paul, however, he refused to be a financial burden to them. Though they have still been at least partially convinced by false teachers that Paul has craftily deceived them. (v.16)

In addition to defending himself, Paul goes on to defend those sent on his behalf. He asks them to evaluate their own memories of those who visited them for Paul, asking themselves if they had been taken advantage of in any way.(v.18)

Although Paul has spent a lot of time defending himself, he says that ultimately he is most concerned with building them up according to the will of Christ. (v.19) He wants to restore his relationship with them so that when he comes they will be on good terms and their time together will not result in "strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance [and] disturbances" in the community. (v.20)

It's important to recognize, as Paul did, that every relationship we have is an opportunity to build someone up in service to the will of Christ. It's not enough to push conflict under the rug and be content with superficial tolerance and politeness. Areas of conflict or misunderstanding need to be addressed so that relationships can become both enjoyable and spiritually productive again.

Paul was concerned that this wouldn't be the case however. He was concerned that God would humble him in their presence, presumably through a difficult experience being with them, and that Paul would be saddened over the ongoing, un-repented sin going on in the Corinthian church community.(v.21)

Relationships are vital to the Christian life. When we cut ourselves off from them, we more easily fall into self-destructive behavior and our spiritual life stagnates or even shrinks. Consider who you can spend more time with that will ultimately result in spiritual growth for both of you.

Next Week- Paul's Ultimatum

Coffee House Question- What tends to prevent you from becoming closer to other Christians? What role might you play in counteracting this?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Song Bundles Are Available And The "Secret Project" Is Revealed!


They're here, they're here!

The song bundles are available for purchase right now at !

They've been a lot of fun to work on and I'm glad to finally be able to share them with you! Enjoy!

And at long last I can finally reveal the nature and title of "The Secret Project" I've been talking about for so long now.

The completely remixed songs from "Spirit Blade" are more than just a stand alone project. In the fall of 2010 it will be my pleasure to release the "Spirit Blade: Special Edition" audio drama!

If you look back at my tweets and do some decoding, you'll find the letters SBSE pop up repeatedly, or other subtle references to the title. Of course, I'm probably kidding myself that any of you didn't already have it figured out. Still, the suspense of not knowing for sure was fun, wasn't it?

Now, for some of you, this will come as exciting news. (Hopefully MOST of you!) But some others may be wondering why I'm making a Special Edition of Spirit Blade instead of working on an all new audio drama. (Ahem! Like Spirit Blade 3!!)

Well you can find the answer to the question of "Why A Special Edition" in an article I've written and placed on our website at:

And if you have any other questions, feel free to send them my way and I'll be happy to get back to you!

But what are you waiting here for? Start your "Spirit Blade: Special Edition" experience right now with the new song bundles at!

Welcome to the exciting rebirth of Spirit Blade Productions!

-Paeter Frandsen

Song Bundle Previews!


Both song bundles have been given to my "tech guy" to upload and prepare for sale on the website, but you don't have to wait! You can listen to three of the songs from the Spirit Blade song bundle right now at the Spirit Blade Productions Myspace Page-

Or the Spirit Blade Productions Facebook Page-

You can also download previews of all the songs in the online store at or listen to previews on the Spirit Blade Underground Weblog.

And keep your eyes here! I will post an announcement as soon as the song bundles become available, and announce the "Secret Project" at the same time! Don't be the last to know!

-Paeter Frandsen

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jonah Hex (Movie Review)

Although I’m a big fan of DC comics, I’ve never followed the Jonah Hex comic book, so I can’t speak of this movie’s fidelity to the source material. And normally I wouldn’t review a western, but the previews for this movie indicated some clearly supernatural elements that made it a good fit for the kind of movies I review.

Jonah Hex is about a man in the 1800’s whose family was killed in front of him and who is now a bounty hunter, trying to punish criminals to make himself feel a little better. But when it is revealed that his family’s killer, once thought dead, is still alive, Jonah drops everything to hunt him down. Oh yeah, and a hooker with a heart of… well, she’s got a heart and she’s tagging along because she likes Jonah, or something.

This is going to be a short review because I found this movie extremely forgettable. I don’t remember a single interesting character. Hex was most interesting in the flashbacks dealing with the death of his family. Otherwise, he showed no depth of character. In fact, every character in this movie was pretty flat. John Malcovich plays the villain, Quentin Turnbull, but because of his “unique” style of acting, it’s hard to tell whether or not he’s phoning this one in. Either way, Turnbull was flat and boring in nearly every scene he was in.

The explosions were fine, the effects were fine. Everything was fine. But nothing was great, or even very good. Predictable plot, flat characterization, conventional shooting style and set/costume design. This movie might have been something special if it had used more supernatural story elements and been more creative in its visual design.

As with any story that deals with communication with the dead, this movie could potentially lead to conversation about the afterlife. But the movie is so bland that you’ll probably be ready to talk about something else before you even get out of the theater.

At least it’s short. From opening to closing credits, I clocked the movie at under 80 minutes. I can’t help but wonder if some good material was left on the cutting room floor.

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, disturbing images and sexual content.

Quality: 7.0/10

Relevance: 6.5/10

Getting Back On Track


My weekend away with my family was JUST what I needed and it's great to be back with a refreshed perspective.

A couple of updates. First, I'm currently prepping some guidelines and a "job description" for those who volunteer to be moderators on the Spirit Blade Underground Forum we'll be launching soon.  If you're interested in moderating on the new forum, please e-mail me at paeter(at)spiritblade(dot)net for more information.

Today I am giving what I hope will be the final listen through on all the songs for the song bundles. If that goes the way I hope it will, I'll be able to drop off the files to my tech guy later today. If the song bundles go on sale as early as this week, I'll immediately make a post here, so stay tuned and check back often this week and next!

And when those song bundles go on sale I'll also be announcing he name of the Secret Project! So you've got twice the reason to keep one eye right here!

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, June 21, 2010

In Search Of Truth, 2 Corinthians 7-10


Why does God allow suffering in the life of someone who has chosen to put their trust in him? This is a broad question that might be handled poorly with a broad answer. If God were to answer that question for us, he would likely provide a different specific answer for each specific instance of suffering.

But the Bible does give us some insight on several of these kinds of instances that can at least provide us with a few broad answers. For example, allowing suffering does not necessarily make God cruel. Cruelty is only one possible reason to allow suffering. And in 2 Corinthians 12 we are presented one of many alternative reasons.

Paul says that because of the amazing things God revealed to him, he was also given a "thorn in the flesh", to keep him from pridefully showcasing himself.(v.7)

The nature of this "thorn" is unclear. Many have concluded that it was some form of physical ailment. Paul may have also been referring to the persecution he experienced in general. Paul also calls this thorn a "messenger of Satan".

The Greek word for "messenger" is "Aggelos. "It can refer to a messenger in the typical sense or an angel, fallen or otherwise. Given that this "messenger" was from Satan, we can probably assume that Paul refers to a fallen angel. Though he is still unspecific regarding what difficulty or pain this fallen angel (or demon) is bringing about.

At this point, you may have noticed something interesting. A servant of Satan is sent to Paul to keep him from being prideful. Why would Satan want to keep Paul from becoming prideful? The answer should give us a lot of comfort.

People often think of God and Satan as two equally opposing forces in the cosmic battle between good and evil. But this verse demonstrates that ultimately God is in control of the behavior of even his enemies.

It's likely that fallen angels would take every opportunity to harm humans. We all bear the image of God, whom they hate, but we are vulnerable, while God is not. Satan may have had vastly different reasons for wanting to torment Paul. We don't know what those reasons are. But God allowed this to serve his own agenda. An agenda that would make Paul a better person and that would draw more attention to the power and character of God.

God is in the business of taking evil behavior and forcing it to serve his agenda. (Genesis 45:4-8) And no matter what Satan or any fallen angels may plot against us, God is aware of it and they are only permitted to harm us as far as God allows. (Job 1:9-12; 2:3-6)

Of course, knowing this doesn't make our suffering go away. In fact, Paul asked God three times to take this suffering away from him.(v.8) God told him that his undeserved favor(grace) was enough for Paul.

Grace is favor from God that can take an almost infinite number of forms. It's "good stuff" from God that happens or that we receive, even though we didn't do anything to earn it. Health, emotional strength, an unexpected work bonus, knowledge, fun. The list goes on.

God also told Paul that "power is perfected in weakness".(v.9) What in the world does that mean? The Greek word for "power" here is "Dunamis". It can refer to capability or strength. It can also refer to miraculous power or acts from God. The Greek word used here for "perfected" is "teleo" and refers to "carrying out completely". It wouldn't make sense for Paul's own strength or capability to be carried out to completion by his weakness. So we should assume, as many translations do, that the "Dunamis" here refers to God's miraculous power, which is made complete the less our efforts are involved.

When God uses our abilities to accomplish something, someone who denies the truth of the Bible can say, "Wow. Look what humans can accomplish when we put our minds to something." But when God uses someone who is weak and uses them to accomplish something outside of their realm of strength, it becomes more obvious to everyone that God is involved and that he is powerful.

Paul recognized this truth. He knew that God's power would also become more obvious to himself and others during the times God used him despite Paul's weakness. So Paul began to look forward to opportunities to talk about his weakness, knowing that those were the times Christ's power was most present in his life. (v.9-10)

Next Week- Paul's ministry in the midst of criticism

Coffee House Question- Can you think of a time God showed his power in your life when you were weak?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Frustration and Delays


You'd think that since I'm only working for me that I'd be able to plan my own schedule better. But actually the reverse is true. When you're the only guy running things, you're the guy running EVERYTHING. And between trying to launch a new forum, watching E3 coverage just to have something to talk about on the podcast, and getting two new products ready for launch, all while crunching to get ready for a three day weekend... I've about hit my limit. Something's gotta give.

It can't be the podcast, since I've committed to running weekly codes in my show for a podcast network contest. It can't be watching and blogging on E3, because I have nothing else to talk about on the podcast this weekend. (I mean tomorrow. Crap. Gotta do that early this week.)

So you guessed it. It's gotta be the song bundle launch. I was really hoping to launch next week. And I take my self-imposed deadlines so seriously that I become very stressed out if I sense I'm going to miss them. Such has been the case this week, and it's shortened my fuse a bit. Not fair to my family and a terrible way to try and enjoy a weekend vacation.

So I'm giving myself permission to bump my deadline to an unspecified date this year. ;-)

Don't get me wrong. I have every reason to think that I will be able to clean up the minor details I discovered in the mix of two songs today in just a few hours tomorrow or next week. And at that point I'll hand it over to my tech guy and he'll be able to upload it to the store in a day or two. (He's usually MUCH faster than that, even.) So if I wanted to continue to stay in "stressed mode", I'd say the bundles will still be released next week or the week after.

But I think I'd rather stay out of "stress mode" and just say: They'll be done when they're done and I'll keep you updated till then.

For those who may be anxiously awaiting the release of the song bundles, I would really value any grace ("undeserved favor") you can extend to me regarding the release date. And for those who don't even know what the crap a "song bundle" is, thanks for humoring me.

Have a great weekend!

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, June 14, 2010

Buried In "To Do's"

"In Search Of Truth" will have to wait until Wednesday this week. I was greeted with a massive "to do" list today that has put my day out of wack a bit.

So for any who think I spend my day just sipping soda in my room while creating fun, geeky stories, here's a list of a few of the things I still need to get done. This kind of stuff is pretty typical for me every day, but it's not so typical for me to still have this much left at 4pm that I had hoped to get done before the end of the day.

delete 12 spam comments on the podcast site (5 min)

finish final test listening on Spirit Blade and Dark Ritual song bundles (30-45 min)

make final corrections to song bundle mixes (??min)

deliver files to website tech admin on CD for upload(30 min)

email new forum tech admin regarding some changes to the site (5min)

listen to most recent "Alliance" project for approval and make polishing notes for director (15-30min)

send notes to director (5-10min)

figure out what the crap to write about on "paeter's brain" (5-20min)

write paeter's brain blog entry (20min)

watch E3 coverage on G4 to prep for wednesday's paeter's brain blog entry and podcast (3-4hours)

check email and write responses (20-90min, I try to choose my words carefully)

find an appropriately themed picture to go with this post(ah forget it)

create a url for the new spiritblade forum (5min)

edit the video special feature for this month(20 min)

post video to youtube(10min)

create link for video on the spiritblade website (5min)

edit the behind the scenes audio special feature about the spirit blade song remixes.(20min)

start mixing work on the secret project (ah, who am I kidding. I'm outta time...)

See you Wednesday!

-Paeter Frandsen

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Philosophy Of Star Wars, Episode 1

Along with being entertainment, movies are also an outlet for the expression of one’s worldview. Most movies have a protagonist and an antagonist. Someone the film-maker wants us to root for, and someone else he wants us to root against. Protagonists may be flawed, but the storytellers give them enough of what they view as positive qualities that we will sympathize with them. Antagonists may not be completely evil, but storytellers give them enough “bad” characteristics that we can tell we shouldn’t root for them.

By picking up on these kinds of basic story elements that we take for granted, we can determine quite a bit about the moral and philosophical worldview of the creators of a film. Some creators want their worldview to be expressed and appreciated by their audience. While other creators simply let their worldviews “leak out” in their creations by accident.

I’m not assuming George Lucas had any desire to mold the thinking of his viewers. But his movies have presented a number of philosophical concepts that many have adapted and made their own. So my aim here is to evaluate the philosophical ideas that have been presented in the movies and try to determine which ones are ultimately consistent with reality and which ones are logically “broken”.

My journey will take me through all six Star Wars films, starting with Episode 1, The Phantom Menace. (And yes, I even forced myself to watch the Jar Jar scenes.)

In The Phantom Menace, as we get our first few glimpses of what Jedi are about, we can pick up on a few details. First, they value preparing for the future but being mindful of the moment. They are the guardians of peace and justice. And in their work they are comfortable with manipulating others against their will to get what they want.

Did that last one catch you by surprise? It caught me too, when I noticed for the first time that Qui-Gon had no problems manipulating the mind of the chief Gungan to make him lend them transportation when their interaction was not going as he would have liked. Given that the Gungan gave the Jedi a ship against his will, it would also seem that there are times when a Jedi can steal. This Gungan had not wronged Qui-Gon in any way that I could tell. But Qui-Gon seemed comfortable manipulating and stealing from him.

Now it’s true that the Jedi believe they have a responsibility to protect the entire galaxy, and that may require doing things that do not benefit others in the short term. But it makes me wonder what moral code the Jedi are accountable to, and who gives them the right to violate the laws of others, however well intentioned their motives may be?

Qui-gon says at one point during underwater travel, “don’t worry, the Force will guide us.” If he was speaking metaphorically, he could have meant that the Force would guide them much like a map “guides” someone, even though the map has no will of its own. Otherwise, his statement implies that the Force has a will, and therefore is a being with desires of some sort. This is confirmed later in the movie several times when the Force is directly referred to as having a will.

Qui-Gon also makes reference to “the living Force” at one point. This phrase has what is probably an unintentional similarity to the common title of “the Living God” which we see repeatedly in the Bible. But it at least implies that the Force is alive and not simply a force in the sense that gravity is a force.

As the films progress, the nature of the force will be a key element to keep our eyes on.

When concerned about the Federations motives, Qui-gon tells the queen of Naboo, “My feelings tell me they will destroy you.” This came just after suggesting the federation’s moves were illogical. So it would seem that a Jedi values both logic and individual feelings as sources of guidance. Though feelings are mentioned much more often as a source of guidance than thought is.

Qui-Gon’s advice to Anakin before the podrace was, “Concentrate on the moment. Feel, don’t think. Use your instincts.” During athletic effort, this can be important. But instincts will only serve you well if they have been trained during practice to bring about the right instinctive responses. For example, I suck at all sports. My instincts on a basketball court would quickly make my teammates very angry with me.

So while this idea is very appealing in fiction (after all, who wouldn’t love to just trust their instincts, knowing they would always serve them well?), it doesn’t operate well in the real world.

I’d really be dropping the ball if I didn’t notice that Anakin was born without the involvement of a man. (The actress who played his mother also played Mary in a TV movie released before “Episode 1”.) This would suggest that Anakin is a savior of sorts. Near the end of the film, Qui-Gon refers to him as the Chosen One who will “restore balance”. We’ll want to keep an eye on this idea as we explore the later films in the series. We’ll also want to carefully consider what a Jedi means when he says “balance”. (A very vague but often used term in some forms of pop-spirituality.)

Fear can often be thought of as the condition of a victim, not someone who is doing wrong. But fear is a potentially dangerous thing. Yoda rightly observes that “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” When fear dominates our will and dictates our decisions, we’re not living the life God intended us to. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

Qui-gon tells Anikan, “Always remember: Your focus determines your reality.” This is another vague phrase, since we can’t be sure of what he means by “focus” or “reality”. This statement can be true in the sense that what we put our minds to will often either come about or become the priority of our lives. But it’s certainly false that reality will bow to our wills if we focus hard enough. Pop culture proverbs like this are useful if defined. But left undefined they can lead to some strange ideas about the nature of reality.

Remix Songs Finished! Forum and Big Announcement Coming!


As of last night the remixes for the songs of "Spirit Blade" are finished! Next week I will be getting them(and the repolished songs of "Dark Ritual") ready for sale on our website and anticipate that they will be available the week of June 20th!

I've also made the decision to move forward with plans for a Spirit Blade Underground Forum! Thanks so much to all of you who gave your feedback on this subject. It sounds like a strong core group among you is very interested in seeing this happen! Woohoo!

We're much closer to launching than you may think, but I need to check a few things off of my list first. One of those is getting some moderators for the forum. If you have contacted me before about being a moderator for a potential forum, please let me know that you are still interested. If you haven't contacted me already, but are interested in moderating, please e-mail me at paeter (at) spiritblade (dot) net and I will give you some more information that you can use to make a decision.

Lastly, keep a close eye on this blog. Very soon (in the next week or two, I haven't decided when) I will be unveiling the name of the "Secret Project" and providing you with a bunch of juicy details!

Stay tuned!

-Paeter Frandsen

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spirit Blade's "Isaiah" On "Wheel Of Fortune"!


No I am not messing with you. If you are a fan of "Spirit Blade", you don't want to miss seeing Mickey Bryce (the voice of Isaiah) with his daughter on "Wheel Of Fortune"!

Follow the link below to the video highlights(everything with the Bryce's in it) on Mickey's Facebook page. (Guess who won?) You can even get a quick look at Michael Bryce Junior ("David" in "Spirit Blade") sitting in the audience. (He's all grown up!)



Monday, June 7, 2010

In Search Of Truth, 2 Corinthians 12:1-6


Though Paul recognizes the inherent pointlessness of boasting in general, he also reluctantly acknowledges that it is necessary for him to continue in it for the moment, in order to clear his name and the reputation of his teaching.(v.1)

Although the context so far has been Paul speaking of himself, Paul makes some effort to distance himself from the vision he speaks about here, referring to himself in the third person. It was not uncommon for teachers around this time period to occasionally distance themselves this way to avoid shame. Paul speaks this way here to avoid boasting.(Ahead in verse 7 it becomes more obvious that he is speaking of himself here.)

The experience Paul had was 14 years earlier, about 10 years after his conversion and before his first missionary journey. We might ask why Paul hadn't mentioned this experience in any of his previous writings. An answer may be found in remembering Paul's character.

Although he was very gifted spiritually, he was not one to flaunt his gifts. In 1 Corinthians 14:18-19, Paul was open about the fact that he was very gifted in the ability to speak in tongues. But when he was interacting with others his greatest concern was in benefiting them, rather than displaying his spiritual prowess. It's likely that Paul simply didn't have any reason to bring up this experience to those he wrote to before. But since the Corinthians were surrounded by a very "spiritual" culture and numerous competing ideas and accompanying spiritual experiences, Paul probably found it an appropriate time to talk more openly about his own spiritual revelations. Doing so would compare and contrast him with competing religious beliefs and false teachers.

Paul isn't sure if his experience took place outside or inside of his physical body, but he knows that he was "caught up to the third heaven."  In 1st Thessalonians 4:17 when Paul speaks about believers being "caught up" in the clouds, he is using a Greek verb derived from the word used here for "caught up". So Paul's experience was either identical or somehow similar to what believers will experience in the event known as the "rapture".

When the Bible speaks of multiple heavens rather than just "heaven", the first often refers to our atmosphere. The second, or the "heavens" refers to space. The third heaven, or the place "above the heavens" refers to the presence of God, beyond the boundaries of the universe. So Paul was pulled up (or out) into the presence of God. Specifically to a place called "Paradise". Jesus used this word to describe to the thief on the cross where they would both be before the end of the day. (Luke 23:43) It is a place of reward for those who "overcome" this life. (Revelation 2:7) It is the place where believers in Christ go immediately after death.

Paul doesn't go into detail about what he saw or heard there. The words he heard in Paradise were "inexpressible" and are not permitted to be spoken by humans in this life. Whatever Paul experienced was so amazing and foreign to our experience that he was unable to describe it even if he had been permitted to.(v.4)

I can only speculate as to why God chose to require Paul's silence on this. But if I were to guess, I'd wager that if Paul were able to accurately and openly convey the fullness of his experience in Paradise to others in writing, believers everywhere would commit suicide in droves to get out of this life and move on to what is waiting for us! We can tend to spend so much time looking for ultimate fulfillment in this life. But keeping our eyes fixed on "Paradise" will ultimately give us the best perspective on what we experience in this life.

The immensity of Paul's experience causes him to be very cautious in his boasting. So much so that he refers to himself in the third person regarding this event in verse 5. Paul is much more comfortable boasting about his weakness.

Again, in the context of all this boasting, Paul reminds the Corinthians that if he did spend much of his time with them boasting, it would not be foolish, because it would not be exaggeration. It would be simple statement of truth. Even so, Paul generally avoids talking about himself and what God has done through him so that no one will possibly think of Paul as greater than he actually is.(v.6)

I am very interested in pursuing truth when it comes to the Bible, philosophy and the nature of reality. But it is more challenging to pursue a love of truth when I look at myself and when I talk about myself.

It's much easier to highlight my strengths and downplay my weaknesses. It's easy to let people have a higher view of me than they should. But if you and I truly want to pursue and love truth, we should grow in our willingness to present an accurate representation of ourselves to others. No more and no less and always erring, as Paul did, on the side of humility.

Next Week- Paul's "Thorn" In The Flesh

Coffee House Question- What comes to mind when you think about life after death? From where have you developed your ideas about life after death?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Spirit Blade T-Shirts Available Now!


The contest is over, the winner has been chosen and the T-shirts are ready to go! Help spread the word and show everyone how Christians can be geeks, too!

I've already had a few great interactions with people as they puzzle through the meaning of the shirt.

Multiple sizes, fittings and colors available with prices starting at just $12.99! Visit our spread-shirt store to check 'em out! 

And be sure to send me a picture of you wearing a Spirit Blade T-shirt! I'd love to post SB Shirt "sightings" and see how many places we can find people wearing them!

-Paeter Frandsen

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

In Search Of Truth, 2 Corinthians 11: 16-33


Paul recognized that it was considered foolish to boast about your own character and accomplishments. But he was finding it necessary in order to counteract the false claims being made against him by the false teachers in Corinth. Paul asked that he not be considered a fool for the way he was defending himself. But that if he was considered a fool anyway, he requested that they at least hear him out the way they would another fool. (v.16)

He also clarifies that he is doing this for the sake of arguing on the same field as his opponents. Not because he truly takes pride in himself and his accomplishments. (v.17-18)

In verse 19, Paul is being sarcastic, as he was in verse 4. He points out the irony in the Corinthians putting up with foolish, boasting, false teachers while calling Paul's character into question.

This is a pattern natural to all of us. We tend to be critical toward those who teach the truth and welcome teaching that may be false but preferable.

Despite whatever preference these false teachers were fulfilling for the Corinthians, Paul points out the truth of what their teaching was doing to the Corinthian Christians. They were being enslaved by rules and ideas not required or advocated by God. They were being used (the implication is financial) and taken advantage of. These teachers were making themselves look great while humiliating the Corinthians. (A slap in the face in this culture was very much like literally spitting in someone's face today.)(v.20) Paul continues speaking ironically when he says that he was too weak to do all of those kinds of things to them.(v.21)

Paul continues to argue on the playing field of his opponents, admitting how foolish this kind of boasting is, as he compares his track record to theirs. He starts by establishing equal credibility with them in his ethnicity and heritage. (Important issues to this culture.) He then claims greater credibility as a servant of Christ, interrupting himself in recognition of how foolish he was sounding to boast like this. Paul's history of pain accumulated while serving Christ was far greater than those of the false teachers working against him.(v.21-23)

The 39 lashes and stoning were specifically Jewish penalties for crimes. As a Roman citizen, Paul should have been protected from punishment by rod, but officials sometimes chose to overlook these rules. Among both his own people and non-Jewish cultures, Paul suffered more than most people will ever experience for simply teaching the truth.(v.24-25)

Traveling by sea was extremely dangerous during this time period. Rescue at sea was much less common than today. With the lack of communication technology and no lifeboats or life-jackets, death was very likely in the event of a ship going down. But these were risks Paul was willing to take and even payed the price for more than once!(v.25) In fact, he would become shipwrecked at least one MORE time after writing this letter!(Acts 27:39-44)

Traveling in general was very dangerous, as bandits frequently ambushed travelers. Yet Paul was traveling a great deal for his ministry and encountered danger from nearly every type of environment and person he potentially could! (v.26) Paul's body had been physically pushed to its limit in terms of exertion, sleep deprivation, hunger, thirst and a lack of sufficient clothing in cold weather.(v.27)

Emotionally, in the midst of his physical pain, Paul was investing energy in the people he taught. When they were weak, he felt it right along with them. When they sinned, he felt both the shame and frustration surrounding it.(v.28)

In contrast to the pattern of this "honor/status-obsessed" culture(sound familiar?), Paul preferred to boast in the events that have showcased his weakness.(v.30) Paul again refers to God's absolute knowledge of the situation, since the Corinthians may have still not believed him.(v.31) When Paul was in trouble with the ruling government (a fact that would have shamed him in this culture), God provided a way out for him.(v.32-33)

All of this suffering, hardship and humiliation contrasted Paul with the false teachers in a way that validated his sincerity. Paul had nothing to gain in terms of financial wealth, comfort or popularity by suffering the way that he did. This man, who had once helped to hunt down and capture Christians, suddenly changed course radically because of a supernatural encounter with Jesus(Acts chapter 9) and spent the rest of his life suffering to serve Christ. The implied question he was asking the Corinthians to consider, the same question we should all consider today, is this: Why would Paul live the kind of life he was living if he knew that he was doing it all for a lie?

Next Week- With great blessing comes great humility?

Coffee House Question- In what way do you think our image-obsessed culture makes it difficult to be a Christian?