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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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51 Responses to 1079

  1. Graham says:

    Thank you- you made me laugh out loud. Your site keeps me sane: it’s not just me that thinks like that!

  2. same as above. thank you!!

  3. Lindyb says:

    Love this so much! I have heard so much twaddle about healing from Christians and none of it matches the experience of living with a long term illness, unless I’m willing to accept that I’m not believing hard enough or praying hard enough or that I’m failing as a Christian in some other way.

  4. Sabio Lantz says:

    Fantastic ! I work in medicine and have seen that guy several times. There are also folks like him who secretly pray over FreeThinkers for the same silly reason.

  5. stcoomk says:

    So what’s going on with divine healing then folks? Does it happen or not?

  6. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ stcoomk: Well, do you think there any way to trustfully test if “divine healing” is happening that would work for the claims of Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Shamans or anyone else claiming it happened?

    I think answering that question would be the necessary starting point for a meaningful exploration of your question. Otherwise, we’d just be cheering for our favorite team — usually one we are born into and don’t really chose.

  7. jonbirch says:

    isn’t there just ‘healing’? however you are healed, you are either healed or you’re not, surely? i suppose the phrase ‘divine’ healing is about where you attribute the gratitude for said healing. whether someone prays for you and you get better, or whether you took pills, or you had an op?

    back to the cartoon though… i’ve seen this a fair few times in different ways, and although i’ve never been in a wheelchair i’ve had a right bunch of numpty responses to my own struggles. if you’re too lazy to empathise, if you’re too impatient and want me to be how you want me to be, if me, warts and all isn’t good enough for you, if my life makes yours uncomfortable and you want to judge me for it… well go ahead… by which i mean ‘naff off!’ :-)

    by the way… that rant was aimed at no one… just catharsis, that’s all. :-)

  8. jonbirch says:

    graham and churchnetinfo… thank you… it keeps me sane too!.. although now and again it drives me mad. :-)

  9. C says:

    If there was a “like” button, I would like Jon’s comment :)

  10. Sabio Lantz says:

    Very nice Jon — I just clicked the invisible “like” button on your comment too !

    Hey, maybe you should build a glossary tab. For example, for other non-Brit readers like me to help us with words like: “naff off” (see Urban Dictionary) :-)

  11. Laura says:

    I think the vicar is quite right to want the bloke healed. Seems he has quite a bit of an anger problem than might get him in a bit of trouble. Being healed of whatever emotional trauma or grief he’s got might well help him live life more victoriously.
    Not all wounds are visible. Not all disabilities are physical.

  12. SingingCow says:

    Agree agree agree… And am noting the rise of ‘numpty’… Praying for healing for all those who suffer from Numptiness

  13. goodfield says:

    I’ll pray that you ALL be healed from your afflicitions both visible and invisible! :-)

  14. It is quite right that the vicar wants healing, but what isn’t right is the assertion the wheelchair bound person cannot live their live in victory and abundance without it. (I feel explaining the cartoon might get me ostracised ;) but I’m newish here )

  15. jonbirch says:

    i’m not sure he’s a real vicar. can you wear a white suit and be a real vicar?.. i don’t think you can. i think he might me one of those entertainment ministry type guys. you know the ones… fill up stadiums and spend the proceeds on luxury items. :-)

    laura… his anger is (or was in my head when i drew it) due to an horrible assumption… one that i think he may have heard more than one too many times. therefore i believe his anger to be justified. your last two little sentences are an important point, pithily said too. :-)

  16. jonbirch says:

    heathermaystanley… you explain away… i draw them and sometimes even i don’t get them. :-)

  17. James says:

    I have a friend who had to start using a wheel-chair. They lost their identity as a person and gained it as a wheel-chair user. Whenever they travelled back and attended the church that they had done whilst living in the area, they are often greeted with “I know he will heal you” and such phrases, not “oh hi, how are things going, what have you been up to?” etc. And whilst I know that these people are well meaning they just seem to miss the point. My friend on the other had says that they find God giving them strength to get up in the morning and to do things that no one would have thought someone with the condition would be able to do. They live their life more fully then most people that I know. Whilst I am sure they would love to be healed it isn’t what they center their life on and therefore it isn’t what they want their church experience to be centered on. They focus on living life and doing amazing things and perhaps, sometimes, it would be far more appropriate for the church to automatically offer prayer for these activities rather then the wheel-chair use.

  18. markk says:

    i don’t want to judge anyone, especially an imaginary cartoon person, but i wonder how much actual abundance there is in the life of the guy in the white suit, or what he thinks it looks like?

  19. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ Laura

    I just saw the African movie “Yesterday” (I wrote about here). In it, the local superstitious witchdoctor accused the sick womanthat pent up anger was the cause her illness. The woman declared a dozen times in the movie “But I am not angry”. Finally, the Christian school teacher offered love, support and encouraged the pt to go to the doctor where she was diagnosed with AIDS and given medicine.

    Ironically, you, as a Christian, seem to be playing witchdoctor here.

    This is a new common ploy of Christians in talking with non-believers: “You must have pent up anger. You must have a bad relationship with your father.”

    Such simple world views and that of the movie’s shaman are destructive and brave people need to stand up and say so.

    Let’s say a woman has Muscular Dystrophy. Then, if a Hindu told a woman that the cause of their Muscular Dystrophy was a bad past life and this is how she will burn off the Karma, you may say, “Bull Shit.” Or if a Muslim Imam told the woman that this is Allah’s way to treat her lack of faith, you’d probably call that a lie too since you don’t believe in their god.

    Sometimes it takes seeing our same actions taken by those we disrespect in order to see ourselves more clearly.

  20. Catriona says:

    Now what’s really funny/spooky/scary is I have both of those people in my church (neither being the ‘vicar’) and I’m sure that conversation takes place regularly! The real beauty, though, is that in my real world version, the two people genuinely love and care about one another even with this occuring.

    Jon’s on form again. Huzzah.

  21. Ben says:

    I want to see the “After” frame!

  22. jonbirch says:

    ben… see an ‘after frame’ i prepared earlier, here… :-) http://asbojesus.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/802/ … seems i’m not averse to repeating myself. :-)

    cheers catriona… i always enjoy a catriona ‘huzzah!’ it lifts the spirits. :-)

    markk… are you judging an imaginary cartoon person?! are you mad?! ;-)

  23. TreeHouseBooks says:

    i guess I’ve found a degree of gratitude for the pain I’ve been through, because it’s led me to understand so much about what it is to be human, and that i can’t be what someone else wanted me to be. i’m also glad to be well & independant (now)

  24. shelly says:

    i think he might me one of those entertainment ministry type guys. you know the ones… fill up stadiums and spend the proceeds on luxury items. (Jon)

    And hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of people leave either without having been prayed for at all; or they were prayed for but they weren’t healed; or they got prayed for, were “healed”, but then their illness or whatnot came back after the adrenaline or endorphins wore off. And let’s not forget the heretical BS that often comes out of their mouths. *nods*

    Sometimes it takes seeing our same actions taken by those we disrespect in order to see ourselves more clearly. (Sabio)

    Indeed. *nods* (Interesting how, throughout scripture, God always provides opposition to what he says in order to make himself known.)

  25. markk says:

    jon – i’m not very happy – who does he think he is? twerp! : )

  26. TreeHouseBooks says:

    man sits on stairs, put’s his bike wheel to one side, during theological discussion, – well, the other bloke was going on & on

  27. TreeHouseBooks says:

    oh by the way, the Iona Community run a prayer circle, where anyone can request prayer for any kind of healing, as long as your happy to send up dates, no fuss, just get prayed for. loads of different kinds of things get prayed for

    they also hold healing services around a circle, so everyone who wants to can get prayer + hands laid on yr head (not sure why, just tradition), it’s a very beautiful & moving service. sometimes you’ll hear about an answered prayer, but only from the person themselves. Iona’s a great place to go to anyway

  28. I laughed out loud, too, but then I sobered up and realized how true the cartoon is. I’ve seen it done where the healing ‘minister’ puts the onus on the person for not having enough faith when no healing happens. That is despicable.

  29. rithompson says:

    Very true.

    Reminds me of when a certain former England manager said that disabled people are paying for “their sins in a previous life”. Anyone remember that one?

  30. Laura says:

    Although I appreciate you put a lot of effort into your post to me, I must say you completely misrepresented what I meant by my comment and your accusation I am a bit like a witch doctor is way out of line and not accurate at all.

  31. Laura says:

    For the record, I knew what Jon meant by this drawing. I just decided to post an alternative view of the situation based on some thoughts I’ve been having recently about what healing really means.
    People also need emotional and spiritual healing.
    I just chose a scenario in my head where the guy in the chair was a wanker and the guy in white was an honest, sincere person who happened to want the best for the guy
    Just because my translation wax different is no reason to accuse me of being like a witch doctor or any of the other ridiculous things in that post. I’m actually quite offended.

  32. Sabio Lantz says:

    Welcome back, Laura. The web is a scary place where we address each others’ ideas and expressions without actually knowing each other. We automatically take chances by putting up short sayings and expressions that we may be misunderstood. Thus knowing these limitations, it may be useful not to be personally offended at comments because people are talking to your words, not to who you are (necessarily) — they don’t know you personally.

    Now, as to the issue:

    When someone holds the view that it is essentially our thoughts that make us sick, they are holding the view of that witchdoctor in the movie I referred to — it is a good film by the way (don’t know if you looked at my site). People within all sorts of different groups hold this sort of view: Christians, animistic shamans, Buddhists, Hindus …… And when they feel they have some special privileged position to understand exactly what thoughts are causing illness, they are very similar to the witchdoctor. Yet also in those groups, many people don’t hold that view — I am addressing the view, not the groups.

    Mind you, I think mental habits can cause illness and I probably agree with you that certainly many poor mental dispositions can cause far worse suffering than physical suffering. I work with many sick people — many of those with spinal cord injuries. Many live happy lives even though severely handicapped, and others live very unhappy lives. But heck, I see that in similar split among those who supposedly have no handicaps.

    Your comment was short and thus easy to take wrong in two important ways (whether you meant them or not):

    (1) In the picture, the vicar is obviously being an ass, but you said “the vicar is quite right to want the bloke healed.” Here is why the victor is wrong:

    (1a) The vicar wants him healed BECAUSE he feels a person can’t have an abundant life being handicapped. [obviously wrong -- and I am sure you agree]

    (1b) Viewing someone as “needing healing” can be a very cocky position. Many Christians view non-Christians as needing saving in a similar way. Sure, they talk to the non-Christians but they pray privately in prayer groups and at home that God may change them so they can have an abundant, ‘victorious’ life. For obviously, anyone not believing as they do are clearly lacking. For certainly, being a non-Christian is like being this guy in a wheelchair. –> Or so their mistaken thoughts go.

    (2) You said, “Seems he has quite a bit of an anger problem ..”

    This implies a judgmental perspective that expressing anger shows “anger issues”. Heck, your comment here shows you are angry, but I am not going to jump to the conclusion that you are a Christian who needs Jesus to clean the hurt and anger out of your heart. And that because you are angry, you need healing. Many times anger is the totally correct response — as in this cartoon.

    Of course I agree with you that being healed of emotional pain can help improve one’s life. But then, sometimes emotional pain or trauma can’t be ‘healed’, nor should it be (like, loss of a child or such). We can live wonderful lives with horrible pains which may not show outwardly for the most part, but when asked to talk about them, they can bring us back into pain and tears. Sometimes this too is part of a full, abundant life.

    So, I am sorry if you took unnecessary offense, but if any of the concepts above offend you, I am not sorry. I hope you agree with that some of the above are naturally offensive and should be run over by a wheel chair, even if you personally identify with none of them. [oh, and thank you for recognizing that I actually did/do try to put effort and thought into my reply to your words.]

  33. jonbirch says:

    hey sabio… not read all your post yet, will later. promise. :-) i do think though, that a better way of opening your post to laura might be, “sorry laura, i didn’t mean to cause offence.” i don’t think you did mean to, but i can understand the offence taken. i think i’m going to probably agree with much of what you say, i will find it stimulating i’m sure, but calling someone a name never plays well… laura has posted tons of comments here and she, i can assure you is nothing like a with doctor :-) although she will occasionally play devil’s advocate and stimulate conversation, which she has done very well again here. so, i guess what i’m saying is, because we don’t know one another in person, let’s be extra careful with one another. cheers.

    btw… any real witch doctors out there with a point to make? love to hear from you! :-)

    and now, coffee, shower, then arsenal v chelsea… a very important game. :-)

  34. Sabio Lantz says:

    Hey Jon: perhaps I could have been a bit more tender, but please do realize I did not call her a “witchdoctor” but of “playing witchdoctor here”. OK, maybe they are similar enough. :-) Thanks for standing up for Laura.

    I use to be a witchdoctor in many ways: I practiced similar skills when I was an acupuncturist and a homeopath — I am a silly chap. I confess to bad thinking many times in my past. Heck, I sometimes accidentally slip into playing a witchdoctor even while doing ‘orthodox’ medicine.

    I am glad you agree with my points, and will try not to offend unnecessarily if possible, even though offense — like running over with a wheelchair– can be helpful. :-)

  35. Laura says:

    Being lectured by you about the internet and how blogs etc work is quite hilarious! Just a little insight on yet even more of your assumptions that are wrong.
    As jon says, I’ve been around this site for a long time. I think my first post here was before cartoon #100 even. I’m also a long time (8+ years) on other sites and use many forms of social media to communicate with people around the world on a regular basis. I do not need someone to lecture me on how the internet works, so you can step back from the soap box on that.
    I was typing on my iphone so yes, the response was short.
    This image, is a cartoon, and thus, a short snap shot in time. I’m fully aware of what Jon intended to convey with the image when he drew it, I’ve seen many of his cartoons throughout the years and know the characters. I also know his heart and who’s “side” he’d be on if he were standing in the frame.
    You should stop assuming that because someone chooses to see something different than you do in a drawing, that you somehow how to school them on the “proper” way to see it, or to express their thoughts/feelings about it. Everyone is entitled to their own take. That’s why God gave us all different brains and didn’t pre=program them with only one set of thinking.
    You assumed in your first response to me that I was a Christian and that, because I had a different opinion that the “allowable one (the way you saw the cartoon)” that gave you the right to call me a “witchdoctor”. You were right about your assumption of my being a christian. Anyone with any common sense would know that it’s highly likely that if you call someone who identifies themselves as a followeer of Jesus Christ a witchdoctor, there’s a pretty good chance that person will be offended.
    You really are clueless when it comes to me and you ought to try a technique of getting to know people by asking questions of them about what they think and how they’d act before you decide to chide, lecture and insult them on a website, especially one where they are long established in the community.
    Dial it back a notch or two if you expect any future engagement.

  36. Laura says:

    One more thought…I’m quite identifying with the bloke in the wheelchair right about now!

  37. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ Laura !:
    I am so sorry to offend you Laura (did I get that right, Jon?). Maybe Jon could program his site to stamp each commentor’s comments with their faith and years of ASBO-community experience to ward off evil, “clueless” offenders: Yours could be something like:

    Laura, ©, +8 !

  38. Laura says:

    Or, you could just start talking to people in a way that wasn’t so obnoxious and without assuming you know everything.
    Either way will work.

  39. Sabio Lantz says:

    Or, you could ease up on so easily taking offense that don’t apply. Remember, if they do apply, (which you have not addressed) I am not worried about the offense. Also you could lighten up on the name calling and instead try to address the issues calmly. Both ways may help.

  40. Laura says:

    The issue was you calling me a witchdoctor and insisting that if I, or others, didn’t see the cartoon in the same light as you did we were wrong.
    I have been calm and clearly, I think, explained more than one time how your making assumptions and insisting that we all see things the way you do is the only proper way to do.it is in error factually and relationally. What more is there to explain or discuss?
    I see the cartoon in one way, and you in another. I’ll not be bullied into having to intrepret something differently than I did. I know the intended message behind the cartoon as I’ve already stated before. I just saw a different take on it.
    You’re free to not see, or to not agree with that take, I don’t really care one way or another. This is art and thus we are all entitled to process it in the way we best see fit. There’s no “right way” to see a cartoon and I’m done arguing about it and with engaging you on here.
    Have a nice day.

  41. Sabio Lantz says:

    Dear Laura,
    I never said others who see the cartoon different from me are wrong. You are being hypersensitive and overgeneralizing. You are doing nothing but screaming “foul”! Your “poor me” attitude and counter-attacks have tired me of any sense of regret for offense that I may have had at all. Grow up.

  42. jonbirch says:

    hey sabio. i have to remind you, this started because of you doing the name call… i really enjoy the difference of views on here, i learn a lot from it… so it’s always a disappointment to me when the conversation breaks down. i also do worry, because i’m responsible for creating this space, about how people are feeling after a harsh exchange. i think it’s right that i feel a responsibility, as very often people are making themselves vulnerable when commenting, including me. we could have save a few painful and angry paragraphs with a simple ‘sorry’ and leave it. i am interested in your thoughts as i’m interested in the thoughts of others too, but i’ll never get to hear them if i’m always worrying about the interaction. i hope that makes sense.

  43. Sabio Lantz says:

    sure, jon, the issue of your responsibility for the space makes sense. I will try to improve my role to not escalate reactive dialogue. Thanx

  44. TreeHouseBooks says:

    ah, a good humdinger – & I thought it might be about the controversial topic of healing. good point’s though Laura, there’s more to this cartoon than meets the eye. I guess I do feel praying for healing is an obligation as a Christian, because Jesus actively heals folks in all kinds of ways (as I guess people of different faiths to mine can share), so although I haven’t seen any amazing (or instant) results from my prayers, – occasionally I realise some kind of change has happened around something I was praying about.

    I suppose it might help if my prayer’s were less like Don Camilo’s

  45. what if the guy in white was a specialist doctor from the local hospital now that would put a whole different meaning to it.

    I have witnessed both scenarios where I see over zealous Christians trying to heal the world with no sensitivity whatsoever, some guy once said to me ‘have you ever asked someone to pray for you for healing and i was like derrrrrr!

    In fact its usually one of the thing people often ask me these days if I get into conversation about it, my answer these days is I have been healed its just that you and I can’t see it yet.

  46. Laura says:

    Hey Den,
    That’s a good take on it. Having the guy in white be a health care professional does indeed put a good spin on it!

  47. This comic made me literally laugh out loud! Sometimes I wonder where you come up with this stuff…and then I stop wondering because it doesn’t really matter, as long as you don’t stop sharing your hilarious comics with your readers! Thank you for making my Monday more bearable—I needed that laugh.

  48. jonbirch says:

    thank you, margo. what a nice thing to say. i hope tuesday is more than just bearable and is a really good day. cheers. :-)

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