Saturday, February 12, 2011

Locke and Key - Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez

Today was just a regular old Saturday, enjoying my usual routine of sipping coffee at Rogue Coffee Roasters and wondering aloud how to spend the rest of my day.  That is until I read a comment on Facebook from my friend Jeff saying, "I'm trying to get everyone to start collecting at least one monthly (comic) book."  Ok, I thought, I'll bite.  After a quick trip to Iguana Comics and an enjoyable afternoon of reading, I can confidently say that I have found a reason to read a comic every month.  That reason is "Locke and Key".

Locke and Key follows the lives of three kids who are trying to cope with the recent murder of their father.  Along with their mother they move across the country to live with their uncle in an old mansion named "Keyhouse".  The youngest child, Bode, soon discovers a hidden key that opens a door into the spirit world.  Shortly after his discovery, Bode meets a mysterious woman who apparently lives in the bottom of the well at Keyhouse.  The woman tells him that there are other keys to other doors, and even one key that can open a door to anywhere.  She needs Bode's help in finding the keys, so that she can escape the well and be free from her prison.  While the search begins, we discover that the man who killed their father has escaped from prison and is making his way across the country to find the family once again.

While I am certainly not a comic junkie, this book brought me one step closer to that level.  From the very first page I was sucked in to the story and beautifully done artwork.  The subject matter is dark and gritty, and it is hard to not feel the underlying evil that is seemingly always just around the corner.  There are disturbing moments, where the evil does make its ugly face known, adding to the fear and suspense of what is coming next.  Because of these moments, these comics are definitely not for young readers.  At the same time, if you are able to look past some of the gruesome moments, you will find a deep story that expertly draws from the best aspects of mystery, horror, and fantasy.  I only finished it a mere hour ago, and already I am counting the hours till Monday morning when I can go pick up the next volume.  Congratulations Jeff, you are one person closer to your goal.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

George Müller: Delighted in God - Roger Steer

I love to read biographies.  There is something extremely exciting and inspiring about a person who rises above the generally accepted mediocrity of human life to do something exceptional.  It can also be very exciting to see (or read about) someone who lived as an example of principles we value.  We find comfort in the realization that the goals and beliefs we hold dear, and may or may not have obtained in our own lives, have come to fruition somewhere else.  We can look at their life and say, "Wow, now there's someone who really did it!" Maybe we take comfort in knowing that it is possible despite our own failings.  Maybe we are inspired to push ourselves to new levels because of their story.  Whatever the reasoning, I continue to love a good biography.

George Müller was a German man who lived during the 19th century.  He started out as a bit of a lost cause, but ended up as one of the most well known examples of the power of prayer and complete surrender to God's will.  As a young man, Müller was constantly in trouble.  Chased by the law and his debtors, he was on a self destructive path.  One day he was invited to a Bible study where he heard the word of God, and was so convicted that he decided to accept Christ on the spot.  From that day he was a changed man.  He felt called to become a pastor, and soon found himself leading a church.  As the church grew he began to have a passion for the abandoned children of England.  Many kids were orphaned when their parents died, or simply left to fend for themselves on the streets or in the work houses.  Müller felt God calling him to minister to these outcast children, and so he started to pray that God would allow him to open an orphanage.  For over 60 years Müller worked with orphaned children, opening multiple orphanages and ministering to thousands.  The miracle of his life is that he never once asked anyone for money, never did any fund raising, and never relied on anyone besides God to see him through.  He would simply pray earnestly that God would meet their needs, and through prayer his ministry flourished! 

George Müller's story is one that took me a little bit by surprise.  In one sense it is the story of a great man who's accomplishments far exceed most other humans.  Looking back on his life no one could argue that he failed to accomplish much.  On the other hand, it is a story about an average Joe, someone who's own merits and actions do not impress or go outside of the scope of what we would consider normal human behavior.  In fact, Müller is most well known for praying, something that the majority of people attest to doing in their own lives.  Müller's biography is less about Müller, and more about the power behind our prayers.  It is a testament to how God honors the prayers of his children, and opens doors for those who are faithful.  George Müller was faithful in the small things, and because of that God opened huge doors and allowed him to impact thousands upon thousands of young men and women.  Although his humanitarian accomplishments are great, the lasting impact of Müller's life is that his testimony continues to proclaim that God can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, as long as we are willing to honor Him.