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. 

Even 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!!






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who grew up watching the Famous Studios films have found that the films grew up with them because these cartoons were originally made to entertain adult movie-going audiences, before they were sold to TV and broadcast as kiddie fare.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!


Published by:



Available at


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”


     “great pictures!”

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: (by Ken Tucker) (by Adam Gabbatt) (by Chris Gaylord)










Your favorite entertainment choices may be good for your soul!





As a pastor, I also Soul Trek following more "regular" channels and I help others do the same.

Click on the links below to find out more:

Books and Articles written by Steve


Studying With Steve


Studies in The Book Of Job - Why is everybody always pickin' on me?


What I Believe

Easy-to-read Questions and Answers about the Christian Faith


Pastor's Corner

Seed Thoughts - some short devotionals on various subjects


Book Reviews 

My Comments on 



Pastor's Corner



Thoughts and questions about God based on Bible verses.

I hope and pray that God will use these in your life.


Submitting Our Work


Read Genesis 1:24-28 - Even before man fell, Adam and Eve still had work to do.  What was this work according to today's scripture?


Read Genesis 2:1-15 - What kind of work does Adam do in today's scripture reading?


Read Genesis 4:1-5 - Why do you think the Lord looked with disfavor on Cain's offering?  How can we bring the fruits of our labors to the Lord?  What makes our offerings acceptable or unacceptable to the Lord today?


Read 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 - Working for a living is seen as a good thing in the Bible.  But we have a culture that lives for leisure time.  Are we wrong?  What happened to change our attitude toward "work?"


Read Revelation 9:20-21 - The "work of our hands" will either be something we can present to God or something we need to repent of!


Read Psalm 90


To The Victor Goes The Prize


Read Acts 2:14-23 - Peter linked the coming of the Holy Spirit to a time when everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  What name did he mean?  Who was he talking about?  The next scripture reading will make the answer clear.


Read Acts 2:37-41 - It is the name of Jesus Christ that brings us salvation.  Jesus is Lord!


Read Matthew 7:16-20 - When was all authority given to Jesus and why?  What does Jesus mean when he says that all authority in heaven and earth is given to him?


Read Colossians 2:13-15 - How did Jesus triumph over the "powers and authorities" at the cross?


Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 - Jesus here is pictured as a victorious king coming back to a city and his people go out to meet him.


Read Acts 2:22-36


Submitting Our Bodies


Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 - What does Paul mean when he talks about surrendering his body to the flames?  Why would Christians do that?


Read Revelation 5:1-6 - Why do you think Jesus, the Lion of Judah, the Great King, appears in Heaven as a Lamb that looks as though it has been slain?


Read John 13:1-5 - How did Jesus washing the feet of the disciples show them "the full extent of His love?"


Read John 13:6-17 - Why doesn't Peter want Jesus to wash his feet?  How would you apply Jesus' words today?  Are we supposed to literally wash each other's feet?  What are we supposed to do?


Read Mark 8:31-38 - How do we lose our lives for Jesus and the gospel?  How do we "take up our cross" and follow Jesus?


Read Mark 12:28-34 and Romans 12:1-2


Submitting Our Joy


Read Mark 16:1-8 - Mark tells us that the women were afraid and bewildered.  Matthew tells us that they were filled with joy.  Is it possible to be joyful while being afraid and bewildered?


Read Luke 24:36-48 - Notice that the disciples reacted as if the resurrection was too good to be true.  They weren't gullible fishermen and tax collectors.  They knew people didn't come back from the dead.  Yet, Jesus did!


Read John 20:19-20 - Mary Magdalene goes from being blinded by grief to being surprised by joy in today's scripture reading.  In a sense, her story is our story too.  Sin, death and the world can blind us with grief.  But Jesus surprises us with joy!


Read John 20:19-20 - The disciples were overjoyed when they saw Jesus.  What a marvelous word, "overjoyed."  The disciples had more than their quota of joy!  They had an abundance of it!  Almost like they had too much of it!  They were in a heightened state of joy!  Has this ever happened to you?


Read John 20:21-23 - Why did the resurrected Jesus tell the disciples, "Peace be with you?"


Read Matthew 28:1-10


Christian Living


Read Matthew 28:16-18 - I find it comforting and reassuring that some of the disciples doubted the resurrection.  Their doubt tells me that the story is real.  Jesus claimed all authority in verse 18.  What do you think He meant by saying that?


Read Matthew 5:19-20 - Because Jesus has all authority on Earth, He can send his disciples anywhere and everywhere.  They are not just supposed to evangelize, but also to teach people the commands of Jesus.  In other words, the disciples are supposed to make more disciples.  And Jesus will be with them through the Holy Spirit to help them.


Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-7 - God gave the Macedonian churches the grace to give generously, even though the congregations were poor.  Though grace is a gift from God, human responsibility comes into the picture, too.  Paul urges the Corinthians to excel in the grace of giving.


Read 2 Corinthians 8:8-9 - What is one test of how strong our Christian love is?


Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 - How is giving to the Lord a test of your faith?



A Marvelous Thing From A Tragedy


Read Matthew 22:1-14 - What is the meaning of this parable?  Who are the ones invited to the king’s banquet but wouldn’t come?  Who are the king’s servants?  Who are the ones who come to the wedding feast?  Why is the man not wearing wedding clothes excluded?  What are the wedding clothes?


Read Matthew 26:17-30 - What do you think the disciples made of Jesus’ talk about betrayal, his body, and his blood at the holiday “family” meal?


Read Acts 2:22-24 - In today’s scripture passage, we have both divine sovereignty and human responsibility.  It was God’s plan that Jesus would die, yet the Jews in Israel, with the help of wicked men, were responsible for killing him.  Later in the chapter, Peter would call on them to repent.


Read Acts 2:26-30 - From the tragedy of Jesus’ death, God brought forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and a promise to Jews and Gentiles and their children.


Read Romans 5:15-19 - What is the “obedience” that Jesus gave to the Father which makes us righteous?


Read Matthew 21:33-46


 Of Two Minds


Read James 1:1-4 - Is it possible to “consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds?”  How can you do what James is exhorting us to do?


Read James 1:5-8 - Here James gives one reason why prayers may not be answered.  How single-minded are you when you pray?  How can you increase your faith when you pray?


Read James 2:14-19 - Believing in God only qualifies you to be a demon!  What qualifies you to be a Christian?


Read Matthew 8:28-34 - Why do you think the townspeople pleaded with Jesus to leave their region?  Wouldn’t they want this great miracle worker around?


Read Matthew 11:11-19 - Jesus’ generation wouldn’t accept God’s message no matter what it was or in what form it was delivered.  Why were they so closed to the truth?


Read Matthew 21:23-32


God’s Ways are Different


Read Matthew 5:1-12 - In the Beatitudes, Jesus makes some incredible statements.  He essentially says, "Happy are you when you are sad, frustrated, marginalized, and picked on!"  Why?  Because God will take care of you as you live for him in spite of the sorrow.


Read Matthew 5:43-48 - Jesus wants us to be perfect, just as God is perfect?!?!?  How can we do this?  What does it mean?  Jesus wants us to act toward others with love, just as God does, even with his enemies.


Read Matthew 6:9-13 - When we pray the Lord's Prayer, we are affirming that we believe that we have a God who cares about us, provides for us and directs us.


Read Matthew 6:25-27 - Jesus gives us two good reasons not to worry in today's passage.  First, worrying accomplishes absolutely nothing.  Second, our Heavenly Father cares for his creatures, including you.


Read Matthew 6:28-34 - Here's another reason not to worry: Worrying is what pagans do who don't have a Heavenly Father they can trust.  Not worrying is one way you can witness to your faith in God.


Read Psalm 23 and 1 Peter 2:18-25.



Who are we? Why are we here?


Read Genesis 12:1-7 - God called Abraham, made a covenant with him, and blessed him so that he would be a blessing to the whole world.  These verses were fundamental for the Israelites’ identity, just as they are for ours.


Read Exodus 19:1-6 - The author of 1 Peter may very well have had these verses in mind as he was writing.  What did these words from God mean for the Israelites - and how is that similar/different to what they mean for us?


Read Deuteronomy 7:1-9 - On what basis did the LORD God choose the people of Israel?  It’s not because they were powerful or famous…in fact, “Israel” didn’t even exist until God called his children out of Egypt and formed them into a nation.


Read Hosea 11:1-11 - Note the strange and interesting way God talks about himself - because of Israel’s disobedience, his compassion (not his anger) is aroused.  He promises not to destroy his people precisely because he is God and not just a human being.


Read Isaiah 43:14-21 (and through 44:5 if you have time) - No matter what his people do, no matter what their enemies do, God is the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.  He acts - always - to save his people and enable them to serve him.


Read Acts 6:8 - 7:60 (the story of Stephen) and 1 Peter 2:9-12.

Click to see more SEED THOUGHTS


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.