Truths about God and life can be found everywhere, even in non-traditional places.
Check out my Pop Culture Soul Trekking Pages to see what truths you can learn from movies, comic books, golden oldies, and TV shows.
if you have little interest in spiritual things, but are a FAN of any of the
above, I think you'll have fun checking out the pages.
Truths about God and life can also be found in Traditional sources. And they are not as boring as you might think they are.
My Traditional Soul Trekking Pages have Bible Studies, book listings, pastor's columns, and an explanation of my Christian beliefs using easy to understand language.
Page last updated on 11-08-2011.
Remember to come back to MY site!
NEW in 2011 - My book, “How To Thrive As A Small Church Pastor,” is now available in Chinese!!
STRONGER THAN SPINACH: THE SECRET APPEAL
OF THE FAMOUS STUDIOS POPEYE CARTOONS
By Steve R. Bierly
Until now, the Famous Studios Popeye cartoons have never really been given a fair treatment by animation writers and historians. Authors have concentrated on the earliest Popeye cartoons from Fleischer Studios because those films broke new ground in technique and humor, and on the made-for-TV cartoons of the 1960s because many of them are so awful. The Famous Studios cartoons are often just mentioned in passing.
But from 1942-1957, Famous Studios, a division of Paramount Pictures, produced Popeye cartoons that have a fan-following to this day. These cartoons were shown on TV during the Baby Boomers' formative years and continue to be shown on cable and satellite channels today. In fact, they are the longest running cartoons in television syndication.
Many of the kids through the years who grew up watching the Famous Studios films have found that the films grew up with them because these cartoons were originally made to entertain adult movie-going audiences, before they were sold to TV and broadcast as kiddie fare. So, they contain adult themes, humor that uses verbal and visual double entendres, and mature sensibilities. They also, of course, are full of slapstick and are just plain fun. So, unlike some childhood joys that are left behind, the pleasure of the Famous Studios Popeye cartoons gets even stronger the older one gets.
The Secret Appeal of the Famous Studios Popeye Cartoons explores the reasons for that. It sets Famous Studios in historical context and explains why the creators working there made the films they did. Then the changes the creators made to the three main characters - Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Bluto are examined, along with Famous Studios' emphasis on sex and romance, tension and suspense and violence, and moral confusion - it's often hard to know who to root for in the cartoons, Popeye or Bluto! Amid the puns and the slapstick, there was a lot more going on. And it's the "more" which makes the films endlessly fascinating.
Eleven cartoons are explained in depth, and then all the Famous Studios cartoons are scanned to uncover the magic elements they each contain. The The Secret Appeal of the Famous Studios Popeye Cartoons ends by exploring the ways the films could have influenced other cartoons, comic books, and even feature length movies.
The Secret Appeal of the Famous Studios Popeye Cartoons is a must read for anyone who has ever enjoyed Popeye cartoons and/or is interested in the character's history. And, perhaps even more importantly, it's a lot of fun, too!
Available at amazon.com
Pre-release comments include:
“an interesting read”
“lots of fun”
“sexy, nostalgic, funny, and even shocking at times”
“reminds me of the days when Popeye cartoons were beamed
into our living rooms as we were growing up and the ways they
used to make us feel”
Dec. 8, 2009 - Happy 115th Birthday, Elzie!
See the following sites for more birthday wishes and interesting short articles about Popeye and E.C. Segar, his creator:
ew.com (by Ken Tucker)
guardian.co.uk (by Adam Gabbatt)
csmonitor.com (by Chris Gaylord)
On Being Alone
In his classic book, "Life Together," Dietrich Bonhoeffer says that Christians must learn how to be alone and also how to live in a community of faith.
If we can't be alone - that is, if we can't live and think as believers when we are by ourselves and can't find fellowship with God to help us ward off loneliness - then those times when we are with other believers are only distractions to make us forget our essential aloneness. Bonhoeffer says that we cover up our problems when we are with other believers with feelings that are crowd generated and with high-sounding words. Were Bonhoeffer writing today, he might include lively music as one of the vehicles we sometimes use for our cover-ups. Not that these things are wrong or are unspiritual in and of themselves, but the person who has never learned to stand before God alone is tempted to use them in wrong ways.
But Bonhoeffer also says that if we can't live in community and believe that we can serve and love God totally on our own, and find being with other Christians a drain and a bore, then we run risks of becoming vain, self-absorbed, infatuated with our thoughts while believing we are hearing from God, and filled with despair during those inevitable times when we are unable to lift ourselves up by our own spiritual bootstraps.
He sums things up this way, "Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. Let him who is in community beware of being alone."
I have no studies or surveys to back up this next thought, but it seems to me that most Christians, myself included, continually have to struggle to avoid two errors. We err in either being too willing to be alone or in being always too anxious to meet with others. There are believers who ignore the assembling together of other Christians because they say they can serve and love God on their own without "church." But there are also believers who are fine Christians when they are with likeminded people, but their faith disappears when they go out into the world. There are believers who are so busy working for the church that they never have time to contemplate God in their hearts. And there are believers who would paraphrase Linus from the old Peanuts comic strip, "I love God, it's people I can't stand!"
St. Augustine used to get so discouraged when members of his parish in need would interrupt what he considered to be his ministry - praying, writing, wrestling with his sins, meeting God. It took him a while to realize that other people were part of his ministry.
Are you currently balancing being a Christian alone and also being a Christian along with others in a community of faith? If so, then be careful to maintain that balance.
If you lean more toward practicing your faith alone or toward having to be with groups to find meaning as a Christian, then ask God to help you get balanced again. And move toward the other side of the scales.
- Pastor Steve -
This page was created using Corel Word Perfect Suite 8 and Netscape Navigator Composer and Microsoft Word. All characters and images are legal properties of their respective companies and are used here without permission for entertainment, review, and informational purposes only. All other material is copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 by Steve R. Bierly.