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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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34 Responses to 493

  1. Dave says:

    Hey Jon – sorry been away for a few days on the FYT road so not commented much – and am now packing for stint at Glastonbury so may not be back for a while… but just had to say – loved these last 3 ASBO toons in terms of style as well as message!! Father Austin Smith (christian legend in Liverpool 8/Toxteth) used to rant against the ‘ark mentality’ of many christians – he said (and I agree) that the best nautical image of our faith was Paul’s ship wreck experience – works for me!! must go… now where did I put those wellies! dave :)

  2. zefi says:

    I guess it’ll transform like the Transformers after this?

  3. MMM says:

    I thought it was “Land Ho….”

  4. Forrest says:

    It is except in Australia where you can’t say “Ho Ho Ho!” anymore.
    Something about derogatory gender discrimination.
    Now, what are they going to do about HO scale model trains?
    (actually pronounced “aitch-oh”)

    Are those UFOs disguised as clouds? ;-)

    That illustration is attractive.

  5. Laura says:

    Ahoy matey (The last 3 images have got me talkin’ like a pirate) ;-)

    Funny…I thought this little ship had just pushed off for it’s journey until I read the caption.


  6. subo says:

    just reflecting on the ‘island outlook’, where we only read books or listen to music from checked out sources.

  7. Carole says:

    Lovely. I have Grieg’s ‘Morning’ playing in my head as I view this.

    Dave – you are just TOO cool aren’t you? Hope the weather brightens up for you. You’ve whetted my appetite to find out about this Fr Austin Smith. I’m working just on the edge of Toxteth at the moment so I shall do a bit of digging.

    Forrest – Ho-Ho-Ho? That is so sad. Santa will never be the same again! :( Yet another example of the PC machine gone mad!

  8. Caroline Too says:

    Dave’s comment has really got me thinking…

    my vicar recently offered a vision of church as a glove turned inside out…

    I found that challenging and exciting…

    by the way, Jon, have you ever heard of the journey of Brendan? Fantastic adventures and a wonderful prayer

    “Christ of thy mysteries, can I trust you on the sea?”

    or if I’m turned out into the world from inside my cosy glove…

  9. Carole says:

    Caroline, see 21 @ 491. Nice to meet a fellow Brendan fan. I read the poem in Anglo-Norman some years back and it has been an enduring image for me since. I would love to return to it some day for further study. Tim Severin set out to see if it was, indeed, possible to cross the Atlantic in a leather boat in the 70s. He managed to film a documentary about the journey and has also written a book about it. His, too, is an amazing tale though not spiritual.

    I’ll shut up now – I’m sounding like a real Brendan geek!

  10. marcus says:

    Jon I love these last three images they are so thought provoking as to the nature of the church in many ways…

    Now the question is, as I look at this picture; if this new land isn’t the ultimate promised land should the church set down roots and get native or simply unpack and prepare for the trek across the land towards the next leg of the journey inviting people along the way?

  11. gilly says:

    this should be a lovely image
    for me…it’s not
    maybe because of the settled-ness of it all?

    (maybe i just don’t know if this is a boat or a building…..?!)

  12. jonbirch says:

    thanks robb! brain fade! :-)

  13. jonbirch says:

    have a great time at glastonbury dave… you old hippie! :-)

  14. sarah says:

    …For some people.

    Good for them.

  15. steve lancaster says:

    Especially in response to 7 and 12…

    Please, please, please, everyone trying to shake the island mentality: go out to your nearest (dis)reputable bookshop and buy a copy of “Wild” by Jay Griffiths! New out, travel section, Penguin, £8.99.

    It’s a celebration of the cosmos and a rant against (tame) Christianity and I swear it’s the most Asbo Jesus book I’ve ever read.

    Why flag it up on this post? Because she writes about the colonialist explorers (that’s us, guys): the sheer arrogance of the way we’ve trashed the world and its cultures in the name of civilisation (and yes, asbolutely, Christianity). There’s a beautiful analysis of the sea, and our inability to map its beauty. Our destruction of whales and whale-song in the name of sonar and “national security”. The cultural blinding we perform in the way we name the landscapes of the new worlds we discover, despite the multi-thousand-year-old aboriginal presences we find when we get there.

    Dear God, when the Church lands on the far shores of Heaven, to find You there, an Aboriginal Being if ever there was one, pray we don’t do to you what we do to our fellow men and women here on our one and only and increasingly f*****-up jewel of a planet.

    Rant over. Revolution beginning.

  16. Forrest says:

    Kind of tangental to the topic, but maybe not so much after all: would like to say that I am a fan of small wooden boats; of towboats/pushboats; and of submarines; of dolphins, porpoises, and whales; of rivers and wetlands; and a nature and animal lover in general. Even is my wife, who has volunteered with the Missouri Conservation Department in years past as a wildfowl census taker. And who has with her kids before they moved out and we got married, rescued many small animals and birds from less than diligent pet owners.
    Kathy also used to raise Great Danes.

    To some it may seem contradictory but I have a 2 foot long operating scratchbuilt submarine model I named “Vaquita Marina after an **Extremely** endangered little porpoise from the Gulf of California. And I have a 3 foot radio control submarine kit which will be names after as yet undecided endangered whale, dolphin or porpoise.

    Even if some have said it is, I do not see it contradictory being a fan of the rivers and seas and also of shipping and boating.
    Have spent many many hours in a 17 foot canoe of my Dad’s paddling and floating rivers and inlets of Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia.

    BTW, had a Fantastic Day with stepson, his girlfriend, my wife yesterday my birthday – took a 4 hour walk along the river and through our historic town with something like 415 buildings on National Register of Historic Places. :-D

  17. Forrest says:

    Will this thing let URL be posted?
    Will jon let this in?
    Here’s a website about the little bitty Vaquita Marina porpoise:

  18. Forrest says:

    If y’all would indulge me, one more expository monologue:
    With creation of Adam and Eve, God gave us nature and the world of which of which to be stewards and conservators.
    He also blessed with imagination and creativity in making us “in His image”. We can, with insight and foresight and right-mindedness use that creativity in the ways of good stewardship of our world. We can make safe and efficient ships and boats with application of God’s gift of creativity.
    We just have to have the desire and to exercise our will, the will of which God also gave us, to apply that blessing of creativity in conservatory ways.

    On another tack:
    (pun intended!)
    My Dad and Grandad were both in the Navy and I am proud of them.
    Dad was second-in-command of sevearl ships and shore offices and applied his Christian conservatory values toward those offices and personnel.

    A connected thought is that we wind up having to apply so much of that God given creativity to military vessels, with that troublesome sonar and also their oil, uranium, toxic anti-fouling bottom paint, and refuse, on account of manifestations of the evil within fallen, sinful man.

    Best way to end that is for a diligent determined church to go out seeking lost souls all over the lands and seas one by one by one by one by one . . . .

  19. Forrest says:

    Ahoy there! Steve Lancaster, may I quote your most recent post in it’s entirety on my blog?

  20. steve lancaster says:

    Forrest, yes, of course!

    Jay Griffith’s point re: culture is that Christians, by impressing a culturally specific expression of the revelation of God’s Love on other cultures, have demonstrated form in allowing the demise of indigenous cultures that they just haven’t bothered to understand.

    I would add that this is not just because they haven’t taken the time to appreciate the importance of these cultures to the survival of the people to whom they are preaching, but, as importantly, because they haven’t understood the nature of the Gospel they are preaching.

    Here’s to beautiful boats, wisely used, and whole navies directing their energies to the conservation of the planet!

  21. steve lancaster says:

    Demise of indigenous cultures – two examples from the book:

    One: Aborigines in Australia could track hundreds of miles by the songs they sang about their first ancestors. These stories expressed directions through landscapes: the hop of a kangaroo marking a valley with giant footprints, the slide of a snake scoring a riverbed where water might be found. Without the stories, no directions; without the directions, no food, water, accurate travel. Superstitious Christian missionaries crushed the storytelling because it didn’t match up with their version of events. Without the stories, people died.

    Two: Christian missionaries came, and still come, to South American tribes, in the name of their God. They bring diseases which decimate populations. They preach against the shamans that have healed and guided their tribes for thousands of years. The shamans have cures for the diseases they know, but not the new ones. Double whammy. Healers discredited twice over.

    I love the Gospel, I love Jesus, but I find Jesus with the conquered, not the conquerors.

  22. Forrest says:

    Steve, boy do you make some excellent points here!!!! :-D

    As it happens Kathy is a percentage Native American and is interested in the ways od Shamans and others connected to the land.
    She is also a studier of natural and alternative medicines – wonders that our thoughtful God has provided for our discovery and benefit.
    “Seek and Ye Shall Find; Knock and it Shall be Opened Unto You”!! applies to Waaaaaayyyyy more than we limit it to.
    And once that door to insight and understanding of the wonders of life and nature the onus is on US to step through that door. We WILL be held Accountable at the final judgement.

  23. Forrest says:

    I’m conflicted about whether to apologise for taking so much space here and whether to just stop posting.

    There is a drive and compulsion to say more. Is that what the spirit is giving em to do?
    Sould I apologise for saying what the spirit is giving me the compulsion to say?

    This track is deeply connecting with what is within my soul and heart and spirit.

    The sonar matter sparks a line of thought –>
    Christians need a “spiritual sonar” in both the passive mode, listening, discovering, and the active mode, pinging and ranging their targets.
    If the colonists had used the “passive sonar” with the native residents we would have a very different world. Perhaps, not just “better” but MUCH the better.

    And then a sonar story –>
    Way back about in the mid to late 1970s when I was in 6th grade or so, making me about 12 to 14 my dad was able to take on a short “Dependents’ Cruise” where a Navy crewman could take along a family member. Dad was second in command, the Executive Officer, or “XO” of a rehabbed WW2 destroyer, abbreviated “DD”, DD 840, the Glennon. One day I was invited to see the controls for the new “passive listening” sonar they were testing. We left charlestion and circled out into the Atlantic then into Norfolk.
    There were several places on the ship where I was not allowed but they did show me how to operate the sonar. I hung out for a couple days with the 2 sailors on watch and spent time listening to ocean sounds running the thing under their observation.

    WAY COOL! I have heard the whales singing.
    I have watched what were either dolphins or porpoises riding the bow wake.
    Beautiful animals – and they are colors, not just grey.

    Then, one day: “Hey Guys, I found something that sounds big and fast!” The sailors came over to see. Then they called the bridge officer on watch. He came in and looked. Then he called my Dad and the Captain. They came up and looked.

    Then they kicked me out!

    Several years later Dad told me that I had indeed found a submarine. Something about the way he said leaves me wondering if it was not the exercise target sub of ours but one of the ‘other side’s’ boats.
    Then again, that factor may just be my imagination.

  24. Laura says:

    what happened to the other cartoon???

  25. Laura says:

    ummmmmm Never mind :oops:

  26. Forrest says:

    This cartoon of the church at sea approaching land has sparked another thought – this imagery applies both to congregations and individuals.
    I’m going to brag on my Dad:
    After 28 years as a Navy officer he retired with medical disability then worked “ashore” at civillian businesses for a couple years before getting confirmed his bearings on a new course.
    Using his education benefits from the service he went to seminary.
    He’d been leading bible studies in various places for several years during his Navy years. Also a factor, I think, is that his father, who’d been in Navy only a few years had long been a Sunday School teacher and a Deacon and Elder. There’s something in this family.

    Anyway, Dad graduated with a Masters in Religious Education after a mixed curriculum attending both Baptist and Nazarene semanaries. He worked for several years as a supply pastor and then as an associate pastor before his health declined further and forced him to stop.

    He had been on one mission at sea and then with landfall was given bearings on an new mission.

    The church and the church members have missions both afloat and ashore.
    The church is amphibious.

  27. becky says:

    See I took the images as a metaphor for the Dark Night of the Soul – i get the colonial implications but found these images very applicable for what I’ve been going through – my world these past few years has been shaken – I’m now in a bit of the doldrums but there are moments when i can see Christ’s hand in my life (so for me that’s the land ahoy bit) … Becky

  28. jonbirch says:

    stimulating and thought-provoking conversations and thoughts. thanks. :-)

  29. Forrest says:

    In visiting with my stepson’s girlfriend we’ve learned she is a “PK” – Preacher’s Kid.

    Those who’ve had one or have been one are likely aware of the “reputation” PKs have ;-)
    Oh yes, Brenda fits the description, just fine!, but has mellowed out, a bit, now that she’s a 20-something.
    Rusty, though is not a PK, but his parents were Sunday School teachers, my wife Kathy especially: has also contributed to maintaining the PK reputation.
    He alternates between doing what God leads him to and impulsively running away.

    But then, again, don’t we all?

  30. Linus says:

    Forrest yep don’t we all =]

    It will be nice to get home eventually, won’t it. And i think its important that we are actually trying to go somewhere – not just float about aimlessly. Also isn’t it cool when you find those places that aren’t ultimately home, but feel like it, point towards it – that’s like a glimpse of land from the middle of the storm.

    Re the colonials, has anyone come across a book called the peace child? its mint! its about a guy who went to tell a bunch of cannibals in Papau New Guniea about Jesus. I won’t give away his story because its amazing and worth reading, but its a really good example of discovering that actually God was already there waiting to be revealed in the indigenous culture.

  31. Robb says:

    What the heck, I added sone cock rock to myspace…

    Cock rock on!!

  32. Robb says:

    BTW, it’s live – hence it’s fast…..

  33. subo says:

    loved reading all the comments, with the pic’s it makes a great blog. thanks

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