An Easy Introduction to the Comic Book Hobby

Modern movies have taken heroes and villains flying into the mainstream. Whether it was Superman in 1978, Avengers: Infinity War in 2018, or somewhere in between, superheroes are now a large part of our current entertainment culture. Every fan has their favorite characters that they connect with in some way. From the silver screens, these larger than life heroes have found their way from our kid’s pajamas and toy boxes into our own likings.

If your story is similar to mine, this led you to an interest in comic books. Comics are such an interesting medium because the combined talent of the writers and artists come together in a way that makes their stories intriguing.

Have you ever stepped into a world that you feel like you know very little about? Even if you’ve kept up with all the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, knowing where to jump into comics can be daunting. What comics should I look at? Which issue do I start with? Where can I even get these comics?

From someone who didn’t even see all the movies but decided to start reading comics in late 2015, I’m here to help you with some of the steps that I took to clear the confusion on where to start your new comic book hobby.

Your Local Comic Shop

Have you been to a local comic shop? Yes, they still exist!

The first time I stepped in front of the sweeping rows of shelves lined with the week’s new releases against the backdrop of boxes and boxes of back issues, I began to feel overwhelmed. Where do I start? Not every city is going to give you this luxury, but if there is a comic shop nearby it will be a great help! Introduce yourself to one of the staff and tell them you’re just starting your hobby. Ask them what new releases are showcased this week, what they’re reading, and if they have any recommendations. Be sure to tell them if you have any characters you are particularly interested in. Mine was Batman.

If you’re on social media, remember to #SupportYourLCS. Mine is Borderlands Comics and Games in Greenville, SC.

Start Small With a Mini-Series or One Shot

Maybe you’ve entered the fray in the middle of some giant summer event like Marvel’s Civil War or Secret Empire, or a complete relaunch like DC’s Rebirth. This can really make things confusing. As story arcs can run several issues, it can be difficult to know what’s happened up to this point, and you don’t necessarily want to start in the middle. I came in at the tail end of DC’s five-year initiative called The New 52, with questions like why was Jim Gordon wearing the Batman cowl and fighting crime in Gotham, but Bruce Wayne was allegedly dead? How many Robins are there? Where I started was to look for a mini-series that caught my interest (which happened to be Batman: Arkham Knight Genesis). Unlike an ongoing series, a mini-series will typically be published in four to six issues.

If you want something even smaller than a miniseries to test different books out, you could try a One Shot or a promotional book. One Shot is an issue where the entire story is self-contained to that issue. Some publishers re-release back issues as promotions, like Marvel’s True Believers or DC’s Justice League Essentials, at the price point of $1. These are all lower commitment, so you don’t have to feel like you’re taking anything on for the long term. While you are reading your smaller story arcs, the issues will have ads for upcoming series that may be of interest to you, as well.

Ask your friends at the comic shop which new mini-series have started or will be starting. How can you know what to look forward to in the months to come?

Comic Shop News

At your local comic shop, you can pick up a free copy of Comic Shop News. This newsletter comes out every week with the latest on what events are happening, what new releases are slated for the coming month, what events are on the horizon, and even what authors and artists are taking on new projects. It’s a great way to get a handle on what might be interesting to you, and a little easier to digest than standing in front of a wall of comics for the first time.

The Pull Box

If you find a particular title (or titles) that you’d like to keep up with, a pull box basically works like a subscription service. Tell the clerk at your shop that you are interested in starting a pull box and ask for the details. It is no cost to have a box, and a store will sometimes even give you a discount (like 10% off cover price) of any books you have set aside for you. Of course, may still want to shop the rack each time you visit. New releases come out every Wednesday. The frequency of your pick up will be up to you. Will you visit once a month, or will your visit be a highlight of your week?


Attending a convention like SC ComicCon or an event hosted by your local comic shop like Free Comic Book Day or Halloween Comic Fest, these can be great points of entry for a new reader. For example, on Free Comic Book Day, you can have your selection of several comics made available free of charge to you. You don’t even have to buy anything in the store! The shop owner will typically put a limit on how many you can take on the day, but it doesn’t hurt to return later in the week to see if anything is left, either.

Your Local Library

Sometimes you have to go beyond your local shop to find out what you’re interested in. One good place to start is your local library. Ask your librarian if they have a selection of graphic novels. I have found large volumes of old black and white SpiderMan from the newest DC Rebirth or Marvel Legacy titles. Checking out graphic novels and trade paperbacks (collected editions of single release comics) doesn’t replace the experience of getting your new releases from your pull box

Online Resources

Sometimes there is just so much backstory to be read, and so many heroes and villains and teams to make sense of, reading all of those back issues is just too much. When I need help to catch up on the backstory of Mister Miracle, Suicide Squad, Robin, Green Lantern, X-Men, or Guardians of the Galaxy, I start listening to the podcast Geek History Lesson. With continuing episodes going back to 2014, it’s worth looking at to see if this podcast can help clear the fog around someone you want a deeper history of.

Expand Your Horizons

Whether you are just through the front door of the comic shop or have boxes and boxes of sealed comics in your collection, a final piece of recommendation I have for you is to expand your horizons. Keep an eye out for things that look interesting to you, even if they aren’t mainstream. Big name titles with instant recognition have a lot of fanfare, but sometimes a title or series you’ve never heard of can be even better.

If you use the resources I’ve told you about in this post, you are on your way to enjoying a hobby that is a lot of fun!

Christianity Fellowship Gospel

The True Power of Christians

(photo used courtesy of Darrin Hamlin)

This idea of Christians having power has been swirling around in my head for a little while now. Honestly, the grasp I have on it is nowhere near complete. What you’re reading is my processing, which is asking for your consideration. What if it’s true?

People lust for power. Culturally powerful people will give those without power things they want in exchange for more power. Power is a loaded word, and like most words, can be backloaded with meaning to where we’re not talking about the same thing. There are more buckets that could be used to define power, but I’m going to try to use a “not this, but that” way as I think is appropriate for a Christian talking about power. I’m not talking about the American evangelical religious right having enough power to sway votes. I’m talking about the power of God and the Gospel at work in the hearts of believers that flows out of them.

Suspend Disbelief

I’ve already published a couple posts (on intentionality and being two-faced) which this one seems to be a natural extension of. Where I’m going here could be thought of as the relevance of either of those.

Many may think the Bible is an antiquated book, and many may think it’s dry and irrelevant by how much they marinate themselves in it. Well, the time spent reading the Bible is good, but maybe a better way of thinking about it is do I think the Word of God is irrelevant when I spend a lot of time reading it but not a lot of time wrestling with it? Or when I approach the Bible, which one of us is the anvil that the malleable is being molded against? Who is the authority in the relationship? I think for me, some want had crept in where I couldn’t acknowledge that I’m just not getting some parts of it. Maybe I had molded the mysteries of Scripture against my pride versus allowing my doubts to be molded against Scripture. Wherever you stand with your view on the Bible and the authority it has, I’m point blank asking you to suspend your disbelief and follow where I’ve been processing.

Power in Offense

You did this to me. You hurt me. You ignored me. You left me out. You embarrassed me. You made me feel less of a person than you are. You let me down. You didn’t do what you said you would do. You broke an agreement. You betrayed me. You didn’t meet my expectations. You damaged what was mine. You took what was mine. You set me back. You messed up my plans. You did these things to someone close to me. The list could co on and on. An offense is a wrong committed.

Think about how you talk about someone. Can you hear even the slightest offense against them left in even your tone, let alone your words? Any mocking? Any dismissal? I can in mine.

Thinking about situations close to me and far from me (meaning if you feel this post could be about you, it may include you but it is also bigger than you), it seems like there is a lot of power in the hands of the offended. Whether or not the offense is real or perceived, whoever is the offended can wield that offense in an way that creates motion. Offense is a force, for better or for worse. It says, “What has happened is not the way it should be.” Offense calls for repentance. A change in heart that leads to a change in direction, not just behavior.

Three Powerful Forces

There could be more forces at work, and I’m not certain an argument for why I believe forces at work in the hearts of man can be distilled down into these three things is valuable here on a blog. From my Christian worldview, entertain for a moment that this is what is.

Love. Guilt. Forgiveness.

Love. Maybe we would define love as acceptance. Maybe representation. Maybe having a place at the table. All those things I would say they are part of love, but not the whole of it. From the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV) describes love this way. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Has this verse become so common that it has lost its weightiness? Love is power, but a shell or veneer of love is not.

Guilt. I like to talk about guilt either by saying we are all train wrecks, or we all walk with a limp. Offense is widespread because we simply aren’t good enough to walk through the journey of life without offending someone. Try it. “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good,” says C.S.Lewis. We’re going to do it, even if we are milquetoast or passive or figuratively walk on eggshells trying our best to avoid a conflict. Are you aware of micro-aggressions? Then there is another complicating and destructive dynamic. When I act like a jerk to someone, I naturally want to create distance between us because the guilt of whatever I’ve done is strong. When we do offend someone, we are powerless to reconcile that guilt. We can do our best to live at peace with others, but as the offenders, we are at the mercy of the offended. We can say I’m sorry and further ask for forgiveness, but until that forgiveness is made manifest, the offense remains. The offended holds the power. The question though, is this power satisfying, or is it a false power? Guilt is a lot like fear with motivation, or fear with dividing momentum. I would think fear is the root of it. It would seem that timeless truths are not antiquated. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18) How can we be loved perfectly when we know we’ve fallen short, though?

Forgiveness. This is power. Recalling back to our 1 Corinthians verse, love keeps no records of wrongs. Love is not resentful. Forgiveness is not the denial of a wrong done, but a love that sees the wrong yet chooses not to hold it against them anymore. In a sense, it is a law broken, and then a law released. It is saying, I will no longer bind you to your offense. Forgiveness is release and freedom. We see this potently in Luke 23:34 while Jesus was being brutally murdered in a public spectacle. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” The power was not in the men who were killing him, but the power was in the hands of him who had every right to be offended, to say the least, and yet chose to extend love and forgiveness to his murderers instead. Further, we have denied the authority of the Bible and made it malleable against the anvil of ourselves, yet in love, God the Father (the offended) sent God the Son so we might be reconciled to Him. Power.

The Power in Christians

If you are not trusting in Jesus as God who forgives our sins, can you offer this kind of forgiveness to your offenders? Can you love someone beyond a surface level to where you will not hold their wrongs against you? But what of justice? How can we extend forgiveness when justice must be met? In Christ, Christians have not gotten what they deserved. They have offended man, but even deeper they have offended God. They have been forgiven, and proven God’s power might. Trusting that God is loving them, not holding their wrongs against them because Jesus met the demands of justice with his death on the cross, and that his resurrection proves it to be true is what makes a Christian a Christian. God is undoing the wrongs of this world, offenses against his holiness, with his love and forgiveness. I realize I am only one man and my capacity is only so high. Am I willing to love God and love others, others in my immediate circle and trusting the ones outside of that to God? Not that we aren’t to widen that circle of love to include whole people groups, but how can we love the whole world if we aren’t loving our closest neighbors in our own houses and streets?

Who are you to tell me this, anyway?

I’m someone who is processing a journey, too. Over the course of the few days that I’ve written this, there have been multiple offenses lodged in my own heart. It’s not satisfying to gratify these offenses. It’s like twisting the knife in my own leg trying to get it to heal. I’m saying this as someone who has tested the power of holding offense and found it wanting, yet somehow returns to it again and again, like a drunk who hates his drunkenness. A recent two weeks of comparison fueled depression drove some deep spikes into my mind. There’s no power in me myself. I’m someone who needs a savior, who in perfect love, casts out my fear to return to him after I’ve forgotten that he loves me. Again. And again. And again.


Linville Gorge: Hawksbill and the Sphinx

October 2012 was my first trip to the Sphinx in Linville Gorge. I had heard about this wild place called the Lower North Carolina Wall, and how it led to the rock formation known as The Sphinx which keeps watch over the Gorge from its perch below the cliffs. A year prior, I had hiked Rock Jock on the opposite side of the Gorge, and knew I wanted to stand on the Sphinx. A year of research and planning made that a reality. Accompanied by friends from my local church body, we stood on the Sphinx. It was like a holy grail moment of hiking.

In October of 2013, I made a return trip with friends from local hiking groups.

In November of 2014, I made my first hike with Waldemar (or Wally, as his American friends have come to call him). We hiked in snow in South Carolina’s Mountain Bridge Wilderness, and that was where I first began to get to know Wally. In that time, I found out that our first trip to the Sphinx was when he first arrived at the church. He would have loved to be on that trip, to climb on those rocks, to see those sights, but I barely knew him then and it definitely wasn’t on a level to know he loved to be active.

As life happens, the path that our friend Wally and his family will be taking has them returning to Germany. In celebration of our friendship with him, and the fellowship God has given us, I wanted to take him on that first hike that he wanted to go on but did not.

Here is what happened in April 2018.

In Greenville, our crew met. Wally, Stan, Matt, Jared, Nathan, and myself. After being stuck in arrival delaying traffic for longer than we would have liked, we arrived at the event campsite below Hawksbill Mountain at the Linville Gorge. With a full parking lot, we were surprised to find that no one was camping at the campsite. After we selected our spot, pitched our tents and hammocks, and gathered firewood, we decided to hike to the summit of Hawksbill to see the sunset. It turns out that a lot of other folks had this idea, too, and were camping up there instead of at the base like we would. It really is glorious up on the highest peak in the Gorge.

Back at camp, we fixed our dinner. Jared hung a lantern which gave our site a very Narnian feel. Chris and Michael arrived just after our first round of hot dogs, and we all got to catch up. After eating, we splintered off to explore some of the nearby paths, to find rocky outcrops to stand on and see shooting stars in the darkness. As midnight approached, I closed our evening with a reading of A Liturgy for those who Camp in Tents from Every Moment Holy by Rabbit Room Press. The fire died down, the food was secured, and we retired to our shelters of nylon for the evening.

I unzipped my bug net just before 7:00am, thinking about how I’ve got to get a fire going. To my delight, Jared had risen before me and had the fire built to a healthy size. As Chris got out of his hammock, he said, “Hey, there’s a dude over there.” Jameson had come in during the night and was cowboy camping nearby.

My wife Jenny had prepared a hoard size supply of foil wrapped breakfast burritos for us, and they started to go into the fire. Jared took on coffee duty with beans he had roasted himself, and it was a great morning. Honestly, I can’t recall a better camping experience I’ve ever had. The site was great. The food was great. The temperature was great. The fellowship was great.

At Table Rock Picnic Area, we met up with the Three of Epicity: the Badger, Kitty, and Jill. This would put our group size over 10, which is the limit the USFS asks. We would meet up at intersections along the way, but mostly our groups were separate. In the Chimneys, we passed through a group of slackliners and a separate group rock climbers. The Mountains to Sea Trail was seeing all kinds of adventurers today.

Heading down the Mossy Monster Trail, I noted a camera just above the descent gully, and wondered if the USFS is tracking the traffic that is going down into this dangerous area. It is dangerous down here, really. Falls have happened. Any injury at this point would put the injured in a world of hurt, if they survived. Extraction by search and rescue would be extremely difficult, arduous, time consuming, and costly.

Carefully selecting our footholds, we spotted for each other as we climbed down the cliffs to and through the Mossy Monster separation crack. Next comes the Talus Field, where every rock can shift under your weight, and eventually the tree climb area. As of this writing, the tree is not dead, but the branches used to aid in climbing the cliff face are. Do not count on climbing that tree. Climbing the rocks to access the higher ledge comes with the looming empty space below, as a fall here could be fatal.

As I was learning the Linville Gorge, Bob Underwood, the Linville Legend wisely counseled me, “You will see two entities on your hike: God and Linville Gorge. If you bite off more than you can chew, God will forgive you. Linville Gorge will not.” For those who have ears to hear, let them hear.

Once on top of the ledge, we looked back to see the Three of Epicity eating lunch on an outcrop. We kept going. Hugging the cliff walls, I was surprised to see how much the last wildfire had cleared out. Pine trees that used to raise over my head were now just above my knees. The bushes had been burned away. Charred logs and scrub were everywhere, but the briars were reclaiming what was theirs. For now. There is a curse over this earth and all its inhabitants that will one day be lifted. With echoes of Isaiah 55, violets and rhododendron prophecy of the coming day when death dies and all will be made right. If you’ve never read this awe inspiring passage of Scripture that makes every delight a shadow of what is to come, it is a wonderful hope.

In a roundabout way that kept us grounded and skirted risks, we finally approached the Sphinx. That iconic and mysterious tower that juts out of the cliffs like some twisted slalom welcomed our group through its wretched gates of char and thorn. Many scrambled up the final climb, but I did not. I have stood on that rock twice prior. I don’t have any fear of it. I am confident in my physical ability. I’m not bored with it. The thrill of standing there has been wrung out of me, and as I was guiding a few to the path to take up that final scramble, I decided that I would not return. This would be my final hike to the Sphinx. It is time to move on.

It was a surprise to see Kitty and Jill show up at the Sphinx. In a game of “Where’s Badger?” I was amazed to see him nestled up onto a Badger-perch on the side of the cliffs. We don’t call you the Badger for nothing! Hint: look for the orange, and it’s still going to be difficult to find him. This would be our final parting ways with Badger, Kitty and Jill today. As we looked back, it was clear that Spencer and a friend of his had caught up. It was commented that among the Team Waterfall hikers, even though our groups will often separate, taking different routes, but we always seem to end up at the same location. It’s like we are in some kind of adventure-sync.

A victim of our group that this hungry tangle would claim would be a wedding ring. One of our group had it flung from his finger as a charred log gave away beneath him on our approach to the Sphinx. We looked again as a larger group on our exit. With sadness, we moved on. Even though a ring is only a token, a small symbol, we hold with great esteem the unending covenantal love which the ring points to. It is a shadow of the covenant God makes with His bride. The covenant is not lost, even if it’s symbol is.

We fought the hills and thorny tangle through to a group of boulders colloquially referred to as the Icebergs, which we would scramble between as we stood at the foot of our final obstacle. The leg crushing Amphitheater.

Words don’t describe getting out of this place. Keep going up. Aim left. It really is trying to follow a path of least resistance, which changes as trees fall, rocks move, and scrub burns. I think this is my favorite part, though. A strep boulder field like the Amp is difficult to navigate on several levels, but this meat grinder doesn’t carry a risk of falling with it. You’re free to relax and give yourself over to complete physical exertion climbing out of here. Our group of nine was staggered at exit, but we all made it and rested at the top. Somehow, Matt and Wally were full of energy. I’m not saying I’m not still in my youth, but I did feel my age more this time around. They were excited to summit Table Rock back at the parking lot, so they took Jared and ran ahead while the rest of us slowly trickled in to the picnic area.

Thanks Wally. You’re still here for a short time. Here you go, brother. I’m grateful to have been able to put this together for you. With a mixture of hope and sadness, we wish you Godspeed. We love you are grateful to our Father to have given us this time with you, and entrust you into His care as your journey takes you and your family beyond the Upstate South Carolina. These stops are only pleasant inns on our paths to our eternal homeland.

The LORD bless you and keep you;

the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

– Numbers 6:24-26

Adventure comics

Thoughts on Judas 4:4, and final series.

March brings us the finale to BOOM! Studios comic mini-series of Judas, an imaginative and exploratory new telling of the events leading up to and after Judas’s death. **This will contain spoilers.**

If you missed my thoughts on the prior issues, you can read 1 here, 2 here, and 3 here. You’re now reading 4.

The final issue treats the reader to some of the best artwork Jakub Rebelka has brought to this series. What started to build in the 3rd issue comes to fruition with bold and contrasting color palettes to tell the dramatic culmination of this story.

It seems that Judas finally has his head on straight and is thinking clearly. Jesus has been taken to the deepest depths of hell, beyond the beasts of John’s revelation. He is being held where all hope is gone. Jesus needs a savior.

In this inner circle of hell, Judas finds Jesus in his weakest state yet. Deflated into a shell, he is also defeated and depressed. He has believed the lie. “Lucifer was right. He was always right. The story is broken.” Then, as Judas sits by the limp Jesus, lost in the defeat of his friend, the story begins to shift. The reservoir of Judas’s accusation has been completely emptied, and now what is left?

The Father has been testing. The Old Testament recounting of Abraham sacrificing Isaac that prophetically points to Jesus is reshaped to suggest that God has been testing himself on a small scale to see if these things could be done. Could a father truly give up his son? To give him up to a place where the Father could not follow, where he would be alone?

But wait, Jesus is not alone. Judas is here. Judas has been sent before him, to be with him. When Jesus is weak, Judas was intended to be next to him to make him strong. Is this the grace of God, Judas asks himself? Is this his purpose, his story? In this section, we do find the answer to the close relational death Judas experienced in the first issue.

One thing is holding Jesus back. There is one sin that is keeping Jesus defeating death: his own sin of making Judas the villain in the story. Satan steps back in, seeing that he is about to lose what he has worked for, and Judas turns his doubt toward Satan and regains his faith in Jesus. As the betrayed and the betrayer are about to be overcome, Judas utters, “I forgive you.” In a dramatic change, light enters the darkness. Jesus’s power returns, and the gates of hell have been broken.

God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. – Acts 2:24

Even if this comic entertains the possibility of Jesus being held by death, there is no escape for Judas. His black and broken halo remains, and Jesus goes where Judas cannot. Judas is not bitter, though. Even in death, he is watching the story continue on without him, but is comforted in love. Judas’s identity will always be the villain. He will always remain as broken as the story he finds himself in. In truth, Judas comes to the conclusion that there is more to our story than we know.

Judas, even in death, finds redemption in love. He doesn’t escape the dark wasteland he finds himself in, but he chooses to love. His bitterness towards Jesus is gone, his resentment of the story is no more, and in a bizarre turn that I was not expecting, we find Judas echoing the beatitudes and becoming the Christ of hell.

The curtain closes.

Final thoughts on the Judas mini-series

I’m reminded while reading that this series is called Judas, not Jesus. Jesus, while an integral part of this story, is not the focus. I found him quite uninteresting, drained of being fully God and fully man. The story started strong, with the heavy emotions and accusations that Judas was wrestling with. Even as Judas was trading words with the Satan, there was clever dialogue in the way that Satan was guilty of the exact things he was accusing Jesus of but disguised it with sleight of words. When Jesus entered hell, and lost his godhood (with a show of his words fading from red to black), the story took a turn which felt like an Academy Award winning movie doing something for the sake of being artistically provocative that wasn’t compelling. From the beginning, with the uncomfortable juxtaposition of Judas and Jesus, there was a tell in this ring the way the story would go. Artistically, the resurrection of Jesus was great, but without any significance, why should I care? Again, this is a story about Judas, and not Jesus, but as I closed the book, it was just not satisfying.

Even from an angle of something I didn’t line up with, the story that was told didn’t seem like it was a story that had to be told. It felt like art for the sake of art, and not much driving it beyond that. I stated at the beginning that this mini-series could be considered a good gift, but I’m not entirely convinced of that at the end of the tale. It falls flat. There may still be value in the discussion that can come from shared readers, but on what authority can any conclusions be tested against to be found true or false?


On Christian Hypocrisy

I’ve been part of conversations that have included a statement that is something to the effect of, “I don’t go to church because it is full of hypocrites.

Why you do or don’t go to church is something we can talk about if you like. I am not going to sit here and type out why you’re right or wrong, even if it’s not hard to believe that you experienced hypocrisy. By the very nature of what the Church is, there are bound to be confused and messed up people inside her walls.

What I do want to explore here is my own tension with hypocrisy. I don’t know the depths of any other person as I know the depths of myself, and even then, assuming I’m fully aware of my depths is a stretch. Let’s not allow that to keep us from going diving, though.

What’s the problem?

The Bible is full of laws, and Christians have been called people of the book. In the Old Testament, God very specifically had laws which allowed his people to relate to him in light of his holiness. Failure to relate to God on his terms resulted in judgment, which God is not in the wrong for as Creator over his creation.

Fast forward to the New Testament. God fully becomes a man, while remaining fully God, which boggles the mind in full mystery. Jesus is not a new loving and kind version of God, but actually elevates the expectations of the Old Testament law.

The great evils we commit – that I commit – are forsaking the source of all satisfaction and life, and seeking satisfaction and life in things that can never provide them (Jeremiah 2:12-13). All of the judgment that we deserve for not loving God or loving our neighbors was poured out on Jesus. He took that, so that I don’t have to.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus fulfilled the debt of sinners. This is the gospel.

Jesus was resurrected to life after being dead for three days, and then ascended to heaven some time after that. This is the Christians hope.

Because of Jesus, men and women can be reconciled to God. God, the offended party, becomes the solution to the offense and bridges the gap. He becomes the rescuer.

What does all of this have to do with hypocrisy?

Wrapping your head around the gospel will go a long ways in helping you understand the inconsistency of hypocrisy. A reading of Luke, Acts, and Romans in the Bible will give you a far more robust knowledge of the gospel then the brief snippet I just condensed.

A lack of understanding the gospel is what leads to hypocrisy for the Christian. It is not even a matter of we don’t practice what we don’t preach, unless we are still preaching salvation by the law apart from Jesus.

Meditating on a mind-bending verse from the New Testament is where these kinds of things began to unravel for me: For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. – Galatians 2:19-21

The question I have to ask is who or what is my faith in? In what do I place my trust to save and satisfy and justify me? This is not something that, upon becoming a Christian with saving faith in Christ, becomes fully realized. The late theologian R.C. Sproul said, “The doctrine of justification by faith alone is easy to get from an intellectual standpoint, but to get it in the bloodstream takes a lifetime.”

It is not natural to rest in the good news that I am fully reconciled to God by faith in Jesus alone. It is natural for me to forget who I am in Christ. When Christians forget, when I forget, there you will likely find the hypocrite. We forget who we are. This is true of many Christians, not just myself.

The Two-Faced Christian

And now here we are. How can I look in the mirror when I am, as Martin Luther phrased, simul justus et peccator? Simultaneously righteous and sinner? This is more mystery that I must be comfortable with as a Christian.

I am righteous in Christ. By faith alone am I righteous in Christ. “Yes, yes, but don’t you have to do something?!” Yes, I do. I have to trust that Jesus is all of the righteousness I have.

I am also a sinner. I still experience anger that is out of love for myself, not love for God or my neighbor. I still look to be satisfied in things that can never satisfy. I forget which Kingdom is satisfying, and fall back to my old ways of thinking that the self-focused kingdom of Josh will make me whole.

Ted Dekker explores this idea in his stylized fiction novel The 49th Mystic. A group of people called the Elyonites have been made justified, rescued from their disease, yet remain in fear. Eternally, they are secure. In the here and now, they submit themselves to their fears, try to justify themselves by their own laws and do not live in the good of their eternal hope. I wonder if this is a scathing commentary on the contemporary Church, but that rabbit trail is for another time.

I agree that the law is good, yet I fail to fully submit to it. I agree all the approval I will ever need is found in God, who I am reconciled to, yet I crave that approval from others. I am justified and righteous before God, but still struggle to live in every way that reflects that.

How can I live in the tension but not be a hypocrite?

This past week, a memory showed up on my Facebook. It is a quote by Matt Chandler. “We want to be known as these kind of fake mirages instead of who we really are, and when we enter into who we really are then all of a sudden the group has a shot at genuine empathy and compassion because there’s no reason to have empathy and compassion when everyone’s awesome. In no way does being awesome lead you to prayer and the word of God.”

I can come to grips with that I am not obeying every jot and tittle in the Bible, even if they are good and worth obeying. In no way is that a dismissal. It’s an admission of where I’m really at. I struggle with identity, an impulsive lack of self control, fear of what people think, and running to things that can never satisfy. The law is good and I am not. This is why I need Jesus to begin with. If the law was good and I could fulfill it, then Jesus died for no purpose. Remember Galatians?

I think I fall into hypocrisy when I put up some fake front of actually fulfilling the law apart from Jesus, when I claim awesomeness in a state of not-awesomeness. When I fake peace but am wrestling with doubt.

Hypocrisy is God gives the law, and I can fulfill that law. I live like I don’t need the mercy of God because I am good. Except I can’t, and everyone will see that gap except me. Fear. If you think about it, this kind of thinking extends even beyond Christians.

The Christian life is that God gives the law, I admit of falling short of it, and cast myself on the mercy of God. I don’t have everything in a polished state of awesomeness, free from doubts and struggles, but I am reconciled to God in perfect love. Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

Free of fear, I am free to live.

Free of fear, I am free to love.

I submit to you that there is only one source that can love you so perfectly as to free you from fear. If you are in Christ, remember who you are. This, I believe, is a primary function of gathering in a local church, because we forget who we are so easily and submit ourselves to old chains and fears.

In Christ alone can we live and love free, even if we are a mess ourselves. My hope is in Jesus, not in me. This is how I believe a Christian can live in tension without being a hypocrite.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. – Galatians 5:1


Thoughts on Judas 3:4

The last time we left the scene, Judas and Satan were beholding Jesus who had just joined them in the barren wasteland of darkness.

If you missed my thoughts on prior issues of Judas, you can read 1 here and 2 here.

Judas is wrestling in his mind with what is before him. He’s seen Jesus in a spectrum of human emotion and experience, but he’s never seen him like this. This is a side of Jesus that Judas is unfamiliar with, which is a wind that begins to toss Judas himself.

Satan continues the momentum of twisted words and accusations, stirring up strife in Judas heart while trying to divide the Son from the love of his Father. Jesus is now on trial in hell while taking on the sins of the world, and according to his accuser, now he knows what it’s like to be faithful and hear nothing in response. As these sins are being taken upon him, Jakub Rebelka lays more vivid art on the pulp for the reader.

Thus far, the Judas mini-series has been an imaginative exploration of events. What it feels like to me at this point is that Satan is telling Jesus that his works have not made him righteous, just like the rest of us. The fear, the guilt, the separation; it’s all because Jesus has believed the lie that the rest of us do. Judas is as unfamiliar with this side of Jesus as Scripture is. This is a Jesus that lost his identity and broken the over and over commandment of Do not fear. Perhaps it is also because the whole “Jesus went to hell for three days” event is a questionable discussion, as well, but that is the machine to make this story move forward. God is infinite and therefore not under any threat from a comic book any more than he is threatened by the accusations of Satan.

As the trial continues, the other thief on the cross comes forward. This is the thief who did not ask to be remembered in paradise, bringing to Jesus his own self-righteous comparison. Judas has seemingly been wrestling with God’s absolute sovereignty in the extremes of being a manipulative puppet master, but then the story turns to seeing Jesus as weak in his own rescue mission. “I tried.” He is accused for his sovereignty and then made not sovereign.

This flip flop of Jesus’s role in the biggest story of all history is confusing. Maybe the author, Jeff Loveness, is going this direction because of the fear that Jesus is caving into and the accusations of the devil are finally causing him to doubt the love of his Father, and therefore his mission? Even suffering and weakness he experienced during his crucifixion did not drain him of his power and authority that this story seems to.

With his final breath before he enters this story, even after he asks, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus boldly proclaims that It is finished. In the juxtaposition that has become common here, Satan echoes his words, and we see a change in Judas that sets him up to be the savior of the Savior.

I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt that I am not reading this clearly, as there’s one more issue to be published. As it stands, it feels like Jesus is being stripped of all that makes him compelling, like his power in weakness. Here, he is even more confused and conflicted than Judas is.

A final thought. In their song called As The World Bleeds, the band Theocracy has a line that I was thinking about while writing this post. “Why do we call for free will and reject all consequence?” It’s that feeling of a thing negating itself leaving a meaning of nothing. Maybe, though, this story is meant to leave the reader feeling that way. Maybe, we are meant to see that robbed of a story with meaning, a barren wasteland paradise is all we have.

Regardless of who Jeff Loveness and Jakub Rebelka portray Jesus as in this story, we would do well to follow Jesus’s words and make that judgment for ourselves.

Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.”Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” – Luke 9:18-20

“Who do you say that I am?” How will we know without the accounts of Scripture?

I am conflicted yet anticipating the final issue. We will see how this story concludes.

Adventure relationships

If We’re Going To Be Intentional…

Intentional. Purposeful. Pick your synonym, but those are big buzz words right now. For whatever reason, we as a culture have chosen to condense very large concepts down into a quick way of communicating those concepts with one word: intentional.

Short nuance: This is going to be a post that can be taken for more than what I intend it to be. For the sake of clarity, let me bluntly say that my goal is that what I am trying to process through is the use of words. Now, back to intentional.

The weakness of being intentional

How can I communicate in a way that packs the most meaning into the shortest amount of time, but also in a concise way? I honestly believe there are good intentions behind the use of words like this, but it personally makes me feel as if I’m a project or a focus plan. That is a tension I don’t always resolve well. It can make a more intimate relationship feel corporate, cold and love-less. Whether real or perceived, those feelings exist. I realize that we are not to be driven by our feelings. I get that. However, when that notion drives aside all feelings for how I should be intentionally acting (and it starts to actually be acting the longer it isn’t healthfully dealt with), it takes on further the corporate and cold aspect. People are thirsty and hurting because none of us escape a world in which sin in or around us exists. Approaching that with tools that behave like a Gallup poll engagement survey are not going bring deliverance from the thirst or hurt that is likely the root of the behavior.

Being intentional can even have the opposite affect not by what is motivating our intentionality, but by the condensing of those motivations to the point where they’ve become buzzwords and lost meaning. It was in jest, but I was meeting with a friend last year and he said to me, “Are you being intentional with me right now?” This is a relationship I want to grow, but like a bad seed in a bag of otherwise good ones, the cultural use of being intentional can introduce a lack of trust like weeds. It can even make someone feel like you’ve been assigned to them. Whether that is real or perceived, if you’re wanting to build a relationship, I don’t see that as fruitful in a positive way. We’ll get back to perception in a minute.

Jesus, please help me.

A conversation Jesus has with one of the religious leaders, recorded in the Gospel of Mark, fuels what I believe is the way to address being intentional.

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.
33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
– Mark 12:28-34

“But, but, I am loving my neighbor!”

It takes two to communicate. If you’ve been alive for any length of time, it’s not an uncommon occurrence that the message that’s been received is not the one you intended to send out. It has been said that perceptions are reality, and while that’s note entirely true, it feels like it. There is a responsibility of love on the hearer, on those who receive your intentionality, to believe the best about you. 1 Corinthians 13:7 says that Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. This is a characteristic of what love does.

But what of the one who is is trying to love? Or… are you trying to be intentional? 1 Corinthians 13 starts with If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. You may as well say that if I am being intentional but have no love, it’s worthless.

If we’re going to be intentional…

Lets shift focus. Intentionality focused on where I spend my time and what I feed myself on is self-driven. Unless I’m trying to work for the approval of someone else, It’s unlikely I’m going to make myself feel like a project. When I act out of intentionality instead of an outpouring of what I am loving, the conviction is lost. People feel like projects. This may be a crude way of saying that, but I don’t know how to refine it better.

What did Jesus say? Everything is summed up by love God, and secondly love others. The order I believe is incredibly important. If we are going to be intentional, let us be intentional about loving God. If you are a Christian, I hope you know that the separation between you and God has been reconciled by Jesus. You aren’t reading the Bible and praying to gain anyone favor. Haven’t we heard it said that Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship? (That’s not to say Christianity is NOT true religion, but that is another discussion.) You are trying to grow your relationship with the God who has rescued you. Who IS this God that would leave heaven to become a man, take on our sufferings, die for the ways his creation has dismissed and shunned him, and raise again so that we could be set free from the curse that enslaves us all? All out of love, amazing love. This love is worth the intentional effort to understand. Even more, it is worth fanning the flame of your affections. Yes, Jesus came and lived and suffered and died and rose again to glorify and love his Father, but he he also fulfilled the second greatest commandment, to love his neighbor. To love his people. His affection was set on his Father, and his Bride.

Affection, I believe, is what feels lacking from a saturated use of being intentional. If we’re going to be intentional, let it be to the stirring up of our affections for God and one another. If whatever way we are behaving is quenching those affections, that’s worth starving.

How can I fan the flames of my affection towards God and the people around me? How can I pour gasoline on that fire? How can I increase that intensity? Is what I’m doing genuinely stirring up those affections or having the opposite effect?


I’m not one who gets this right all the time. I quench my affections for God, my family, my friends, those who aren’t my friends, all the time. My faith cannot be in how well I respond, though, because my response will be inconsistent at best this side of eternity. My faith has to be in the One who died to reconcile me God, because I sure can’t close that gap on my own. Still, with the Valley of Vision, we pray: Grant that I may never trust my heart, depend upon any past experiences, magnify any present resolutions, but be strong in the grace of Jesus: that I may know how to obtain relief from a guilty conscience without feeling reconciled to my imperfections.

A final thought inspired by Treebeard

If we are wanting to love God and love others, and I’m proposing that our use of words is getting in the way of that, I also believe JRR Tolkien gives us some wisdom worth considering. In the spirit of the age of 2018, we are into quick fixes and hacks. We want to say hello, maybe go so far as to drop an encouraging word on someone, and move on. It’s like we live our lives out of the office the same way we do in the office, acknowledging the people we constantly pass in the hallway but don’t stop because we have other things we need to be busy with. Slowing down may be culturally celebrated, but I am suspect of it being culturally practiced. Before I digress into some other tangent about that, I mentioned Treebeard from Lord of the Rings. In The Two Towers, he is having a conversation with two hobbits in regards to his name.

I am not going to tell you my name, not yet at any rate.’ A queer half-knowing, half-humorous look came with a green flicker into his eyes. ‘For one thing it would take a long while: my name is growing all the time, and I’ve lived a very long, long time; so my name is like a story. Real names tell you the story of things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time saying anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.

What is the relevance? If we are loving God and loving others, I believe we can do better than trying to capture big affections with shorthand buzzwords. God and people are valuable. We can can intentionally think about which words we use, we can give each other the best of our words, and we can love each other enough to take a long time to say that.

This is far from completely fleshed out here in a blog post, but I hope it inspires some thought and consideration. I need that myself.


Thoughts on Judas 2:4

The second installment of Judas from BOOM! Comics had this cover and a variant cover with art that felt like a nod to Dante’s Inferno or Paradise Lost. Though the variant cover was well done, I wanted my collection to all be the same style covers.

If you missed my post on the first issue, you can read that here before you read this post.

What is Judas up to in these pages? We find the unnamed being who I can only assume is Satan (or Lucifer, or the devil) welcoming Judas into a bleak wasteland of darkness. The accusations from the last issue carry through into this issue, though they transition from Judas to Satan. “YOU WERE IN MY HEAD!” Judas screams.

Satan calmly teases out the notion that he alone has the truth of the story. The only story. The story where God has compassion on all except those who He needs to be villains in His story. Pharaoh. Goliath. Jezebel. Lot’s wife, who wasn’t even given the dignity of being named. After several pages, this culminates in Judas returning to his original blameshift which feels just shy enough of a trite “The devil made me do it” to give it some gravity. Then comes an extremely interesting panel.

That old liar has spent pages telling Judas how the fall of villains in the only story were due to God’s sovereignty, and when Judas tries to turn the tables on him, Satan conveniently leans on man’s responsibility and spins that right back at Judas, shifting the blame again away from himself. Unbelievably clever, and so subtle I had to read it several times to catch it. It just didn’t sit right, and felt like I had read the panel too quickly. Wow, Jeff Loveness.

The story then continues with the war in heaven that Satan waged against God, and his fall like lightning to the wasteland the story now occupies. “There is no escaping your story,” he leads. There is an ace up his sleeve, from his perspective at least, as the issue comes to a close in a way that seems more supported by Christian culture than Scripture. I didn’t see it coming, but wasn’t surprised to see the cliff hanger of Jesus being in hell after his crucifixion. I’m anticipating which direction the next two issues will go, but I am looking forward to seeing if and how Judas 4:4 handles the resurrection. The resurrection is what we’re all waiting for anyway, whether we know it or not, isn’t it?

Reading this series is like reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. It is diabolical. However, unlike The Screwtape Letters, I do not know the authors intent with his medium. If he is trying to get the reader into the mindset of Judas and the devil, then I think he has succeeded brilliantly, even if some of the dialogue makes me wince. In all honesty, I don’t know his full intention, but that is how I’m going to interpret this unless I have further reason to believe otherwise.

As with the last issue, Jakub Rebelka illustrated the book in such an engaging way that every illustration begs you to linger over it for just a little while longer, taking in the richness of each line, each point of contrast, each use of color.

Halfway through the series, Judas is highlighting the strengths of graphic storytelling.

If you’re reading Judas, how has the series landed with you? Let me know in the comments. I’m interested to see what conversation it sparks.


A Strategy for Seeking After God?

I’m going to bring you into some “inner circle” communication I sent to a few of the guys in my small group, formatted and a little more fleshed out for a blog post.


It’s been on my mind over the last couple months to have a plan or strategy for being focused on seeking after God by Scripture and prayer the coming year. This is coming out of finishing up Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks, which I have been haphazardly reading since mid-2013. (You can read the post where I started that here —>

This was the last time I approached any devotional reading strategically enough to come up with a plan. None of this is overly complicated. The very simple skeleton is read a Psalm then read a section from the book, or vice versa. Leading out of the readings that went with my Precious Remedies plan, the framework of my focus for 2018 is two fold:

memorize Psalm145

pray through Valley of Vision using Joe Thorn’s prayer guide

Why Psalm 145? Originally, my plan was to memorize Isaiah 55, which is a marvelous passage of Scripture that captures a pillar of what this blog and my motivations stand under if you’re inclined to look it up. (It is also the content of the second half of Andrew Peterson’s amazing song The Sower’s Song). The picture Isaiah paints of the coming of Zion is a sweet balm to my soul when it is weary and distracted. However, while reading Psalm 145 in accompaniment with Precious Remedies, it seemed to be like an unusually timed wealthy mine, turning up a new jewel every time I turned to it. I then heard a sermon expositing the Psalm (Longing for Jesus @ EastNorth Church), and felt inclined to marinate in it over the coming year.

Please ask me about it, and pray for me that the Holy Spirit would help me push back against the darkness and distractions that keep me from seeking fellowship with God. Really, as moody and distracted and caught up in myself as I can get, if at any time you wish to pray for me, especially if you do not know how or what to pray for, please refer to Psalm145. Pray all or a section of that Psalm over me that God would make it true of me and my life.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. – James 4:8

Do y’all have any specific plans to focus your seeking after and drawing near to God in 2018? For all of us, whatever we plan to implement, we can’t forget to pray and ask God that he would make that work fruitful. We are dependent and can’t build this house on our own.


Psalm 145 , English Standard Version (ESV)

1 I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.

2 Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.

3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.

4 One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.

5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness.

7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

9 The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.

10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!

11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power,

12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. [The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.]

14 The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.

15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.

16 You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.

18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.

20 The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.

21 My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.


Thoughts on Judas 1:4

“Every story needs a villain.”

A couple months ago, I first saw the solicitations for a new mini-series from BOOM! Studios. Having read a few different mini-series that BOOM! has published (like Warlords of Appalachia and Bill & Ted Save the Universe), I was familiar with the quality and attention that goes into their art form. Seriously, a whole comic that isn’t half advertisements? Plus, this may seem a small thing, but the paper quality gives the book a tactile richness that most Marvel or D.C. books don’t have.

Immediately, Judas was a title that caught my interest. Especially that it was a mini-series, which tells me the author has a story to tell. Any story that had Judas front and center is bound to be controversial to someone. Going into it, I wanted to make room for any theological disagreements I might have to try (while also not picking those points apart) and understand the story Jeff Loveness and Jakub Rebelka are trying to tell.

The first panel immediately drew me in.

The gravity to that statement, Did you know it would be me?, lays out the premise for the story. Judas sets himself up as the lynchpin of Jesus’s plan to glorify Himself and rescue people. Judas is wrestling with his predestined path as the fall guy. It all depended on his sacrifice to make God’s plan go forward. Enter discomfort.

Within the first few pages, I found myself wondering what this book is trying to say? Judas begins with questioning, and the tone escalates to accusation. There is a part of that that makes me cringe, and then there’s a part I find as brilliant storytelling. Is this accusation a sentiment that Jeff Loveness shares, or are we only pulling back the curtain and getting into the mind of Judas Iscariot, the most famous traitor of all time?

As the mental movement of Judas dives deeper with each question, it culminates that there is a personal pain that makes each question twist like a knife in his back. We hear the classic thought of God, if you are good, then why is there suffering in the world? None of these questions are unexpected, or even unreasonable for any doubter or seeker among us.

There is one particular series of panels that have Judas evading demons in pursuit of him. What makes this page particularly the most uncomfortable for me is the overlay of Isaiah 53:3-4 across the panels: He was despised… and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” The juxtaposition of those words describing Judas and/or Jesus is heavy. Coming to a close that is to be continued, we find Judas at the feet of another in another parallel that sends me back to wondering what is going on.

One thing I wondered about that is not in the comic is Peter. He also betrayed Jesus, but instead of 30 pieces of silver, it was for his own skin and reputation. They were both traitors, yet one of them ran to Jesus for grace and forgiveness, and the other was self-condemned and hung himself. This is something I’d like to see explored more, if not in the series, then at least conversations.

As a graphic and visual medium, the art is wonderfully dark and feels representative of the reeling dizziness in Judas’s own head. Jakub Rebelka has done a masterful job here.

In the Bible, Jesus asks his disciple Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” I don’t think that this comic is telling us who Jesus is, though that Isaiah bit feels like it’s dancing on a boundary for me. I think Judas 1:4 is an imaginative and speculative exploration of Judas. In addition, it raises questions our culture is asking, and I think it would be detrimental to not look those questions straight in the face. Do I have all the answers to every question or doubt that could ever be raised? No. There are gaps in what I comprehend. However, I have every reason to believe, even in spite of those questions, in the goodness and trustworthiness of God. Questions and doubts are not a threat to Jesus. He can handle them. That being said, even if controversial, I feel this book is a good gift. Judas, as a comic book mini-series, is an overlapping of circles. The conversations that can come out of people reading it could be so beneficial.

Judas is a four part mini-series, and I’ve already asked my LCS (Local Comic Shop) to put it in my pull box. I’ll check back in every month as the story unfolds. If you’re reading it as well, let’s talk about it!