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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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41 Responses to 517

  1. becky says:

    Is it just me or do the pig look like boobs?

  2. Carole says:

    That’s as maybe, Becky, but it’s an odd number – a sure sign that satan is in there somewhere! ;)

    Could be a witch doing the backstroke?

  3. Mimou says:

    Only “dark” from human perspective where Jesus and His followers are always meek and mild..

  4. Robb says:

    Or are those things (well at least the pigs and the tables) a good thing that He did?

  5. NonCharon says:

    I think that sometimes we mistake pleasantness for goodness. Sometimes compassionate action can have the appearance of brutality and be ugly to see. Aesthetics is not morality.

    I remember how in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Aslan is said to be good, but not safe.

    And to be fair, he didn’t drown the pigs, Legion did. If we want to blame God/Jesus for that one we get into all sorts of entanglements with the cause of evil in the world.

  6. Mark says:

    I have wondered if the pig episode is indicative of Jesus perspective on people … he didn’t care about the economics involved (i.e. people lose their livelihood), just that people had whole lives. The same can be asked in relation to the tossing tables in the temple episode and the fig tree … However the point remains Jesus cared more about people and their wholeness than economic sustainability, the environment (pigs in the water can’t be that sanitary) and food (pigs and the figs).

  7. Lori says:

    I agree that Jesus didn’t have a “dark side”… He just wasn’t the girly-man some have made him out to be.

  8. Forrest says:

    Hey there Mark;

    Regarding “he didn’t care about the economics involved (i.e. people lose their livelihood), just that people had whole lives.”

    You have a point there.
    Economics and livelihood are only in this short life – that “whole lives” thing is about people becoming whole for their eternal life.

    I can’t define all the implications of it and am not the best at employing it; but an “eternal perspective” can create some really odd-seeming attitudes to things here.

    It may also be mis-applied and create flawed attitudes: here we’re speaking of correctly applied eternal attitudes.

    We need to remember that our spiritual lives are a bit of a war.
    We also need to remember to keep from going too far the opposite pole from the “Jesus is my boyfriend” gang: Jesus ain’t Rambo either.

    He is Holy and He is kind and he is loving and he is powerful and he is tender and he is terrible.
    He is very much beyond a one-dimensional personality.
    He is a deep and complex person.
    He is God.

  9. dennis says:

    Gentle Jesus meek & mild?, Jesus aint no baby anymore!!

  10. Chris F says:

    We believe Jesus was fully human, so yes, he has a dark side. All humans come with a light side and dark side; we are designed that way, we are supposed to fail. Jesus was utterly awake about his human condition in a way that none of us can ever be, though we can gradually move towards it. So he was able to avoid all the pitfalls of selfishness, and showed us what a perfect life is like – and the consequences, which are rejection, suffering and the cross.

    Jesus understands MY dark side and sympathises with my helplessness in the face of it, because he has been here. The good news is – he’s on my side

    And – insofar as I choose to follow – the job of transforming MY darkness happens when I get out of the way and stop trying to lighten it myself

  11. Lurch Kimded says:

    But Jesus never threw jedi lightning? :)

  12. Ros says:

    NonCharon –

    Do we really want a God who is safe? Isn’t dangerous and offensive (and ASBO!) better?

    A lot like The Doctor in Doctor Who. Basically a good guy, but get on the wrong side of him and he will be mad and dangerous!

  13. janetp says:

    I’ve always had a problem with the fig tree story. To me, it looks as if Jesus was just really p****d off (maybe he was having a bad day) and was letting off steam. If I was one of the disciples, I’d be thinking “What the … ?! OK, let’s keep Very Quiet for a bit til he cools off ….. in fact, now might be a good time to go and … um … pray …”.

    But the ‘received wisdom’ of the majority of church teaching seems to be that Jesus couldn’t possibly have had a ‘dark side’, therefore we must perform all sorts of mental (and theological) gymnastics to ensure Jesus remains somehow ‘above all that’. A triumph of ‘Jesus the Christ’ over ‘Jesus the Man’ perhaps?

    To me, this tendency to fit the theology to the desire to retain a perfect image of Jesus, rather than grapple with the challenge of seeing the perfect God THROUGH the man Jesus is very human, but also very limited. It seems to me that in doing this, Jesus loses both his power as God (and becomes a hollow idol, an image of perfection of the sort that we humans are very good at creating) AND his power as Saviour (because that power to save is intrinsically tied to his ability to relate fully to our humanity). I feel short-changed by such a simplistic, tidy view.

    However, Jeffrey John in his book “The Meaning in the Miracles” suggests that the key issue is the symbolism behind the action, rather than the action itself (which may or may not have taken place historically), ie that if Israel doesn’t bear ‘fruit’ it will be destroyed. In this, Jesus is following the prophetic tradition.

    The challenge then becomes “Am I bearing fruit?”

    Sorry, I’ve gone on a bit, but it really winds me up when I feel the gospel is being sacrificed for the sake of ‘tidiness’ …. and those of you who know me know how much I like tidiness :)

  14. janetp says:

    Dennis (9): How many ‘meek and mild’ babies have you known?? In my experience, they’re loud, demanding, funny, responsive, angry, mischievous …. :)

  15. subo says:

    - ‘therefore we must perform all sorts of mental (and theological) gymnastics to ensure Jesus remains somehow ‘above all that’’, thats so true janetp.

    people seem to forget that Jesus had any feelings at all, even though he constantly found himself rejected by his own group!

    the other thing people do, is over play the ‘humanity’ of Peter, and make him out to be making mistakes all day long, when actually he comes across as an heroic, thoughtful and caring dude on a closer reading of the NIV

    the english thing seems to be that we don’t have feelings, but people are either amazing or stupid

  16. subo says:

    ‘We also need to remember to keep from going too far the opposite pole from the “Jesus is my boyfriend” gang: Jesus ain’t Rambo either.’, too right

  17. beatthedrum says:

    You forgot spitting on people and calling his best mate Satan…..

  18. beatthedrum says:

    If you get a chance read part of Mark Driscolls Vintage Jesus where he goes through Mark Chapter by chapter pulling out all the none ‘gentle Jesus meek and mild’ stuff.

    Its excellent

  19. zefi says:

    All humans come with a light side and dark side; we are designed that way, we are supposed to fail.

    We are meant to fail…? o_O

    You mean, humans are created to fail, that humans are created so that they could be saved?

  20. Happy says:

    mmm. zefi, i don’t think we were MEANT to fail – i know that we do, and i, for one, really wrestle with my failures. a lot. BUT i don’t think we were designed to fail. we were designed to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever” (as the Heidelberg catechism states it) – but part of how we do that is by loving and obeying God – and love isn’t love if it’s forced, so He gave us free will. When we choose to walk His way, we don’t fail (tho the world will at times try to tell us otherwise) – but when we choose our own ways, we do, all too often.

    I’m not sure God created us TO save us – but He DOES save us because He loves us… He loves us far too much to let us stay in the muck and the mire of our sin. SO He came and got us – the ultimate Knight in Shining Armor – come to rescue His bride. I love that. Him.

    even when I don’t 100% understand Him. (will we ever? He’s infinitely greater than we can even comprehend!)

    Jon – this cartoon made me laugh. Thanks. :) (and I do love that we all got so philosophical in response to something funny)

    thought of you yesterday as I was biking. :D

  21. TyTe says:

    13 – Jesus didn’t wither the fig tree because he was pissed off – it was a deeply significant sign.

    Jesus wasn’t Rambo, and he wasn’t a limp armed, blue-eyed Robert Powell either. He was a builder! We can forget all those nice images carpenters carefully honing chair legs in their workshops – and I doubt he would have been a beer-swilling, pot-bellied, bum-cracked, “ooh, it’s gonna cost you” type of builder either.

    Jesus would have been a strong dude – tough. Can you imagine some wishy-washy person saying to some rock-hard fishermen, “Hello fellath, would you wike to fowwow me?” And what about the guy who walked through a crowd who were going to stone him? What about the guy who didn’t crack under interrogation and torture?

    Dark side? No. Flipping tough side? Yes – with knobs on!

  22. becky says:

    17. I hear you re: spit – one bit that’s missing from the blind man story is that Jesus spat on the dude and rubbed mud on his face. How many of us would sit still while someone did that to us? Gross.

  23. Chris F says:

    “All humans come with a light side and dark side; we are designed that way, we are supposed to fail.”

    I mean, God deliberately gave the opportunity to eat the fruit and it was no surprise when we did. I do not believe that our messing up means God has been forced into a plan B. (Oh goodness me, I never thought that would happen, suppose I’ll have to change the plan)

    He is still on plan A! I don’t pretend Zefi to understand what God had in mind when he started it all off. I’m with janetp and subo on the dark side thing – If Jesus was human he had to deal with what I have to deal with, and the fact of his victory is what makes Jesus so majestic and “the Way”. To say he has a dark side is not to diminish him – the opposite is true, his carrying of all our humanity in his frail human body is what makes him the Saviour. His knowing his dark side but not expressing it, is what made him attractive to the “sinners” of his day. And still does if we allow him to be fully human as well as fully divine

  24. marcus says:

    Jesus had bangs.


  25. Robb says:

    “we are designed that way, we are supposed to fail”

    No we’re not. Salvation is about being saved from what we do. Atonement theory that makes God a petty guy who makes us fall short of salvation results in “God is a mean kid over an anthill with a magnifying glass, and I’m the ant”.

    God makes us to fail.
    We fail.
    We go to hell.
    If we believe in Jesus dying on the cross we are saved and go to heaven instead.

    That is cosmic child abuse.

    We are created in Gods image for good purposes. We may fail but we weren’t designed for it. That would make God a crap designer.

  26. Chris F says:

    Salvation is about being saved from who we ARE – not what we do

    I do not mean we should give up and go on failing. The main project of each of our lives is to be made more like Christ, in all his perfection. (note the passive voice – all we can do is to actively choose to let God do the transforming)

    But we are a paradox – a mixture of goodness, skills, compassion but also of selfishnes and crazy desires and compulsions.

    And it is clear to me that God chose to make me that way – for all of us humans are in fact like this!

  27. émie says:

    he did those things to make a point and becasue it was the lesser of the two evils but the only one that would make a good impact in the end.
    besides, through and through the bible it shows that God is angry. so if people are made in his image we have every right to be angry too.

  28. Chris F says:

    BTW sorry Jon maybe getting off the point; don’t know how this fits with your 3 examples!

    Maybe they show that Jesus was not afraid of what anyone thinks of him, if destroying something makes a point that has to be made, he does it. And if that disturbs our picture of what he’s like – well, the problem is ours and that picture needed to be disturbed

  29. jonbirch says:

    nicely put chris f. i agree. :-)

    hilarious rant, tyte! :-)

    i agree with robb on his theological take. it would indeed be child abuse on a cosmic scale! and it would indeed make him a crap designer… which i see from the universe around me, he isn’t! he’s a very good designer! :-)

  30. sarah says:

    Yes he did.

  31. subo says:

    “If we believe in Jesus dying on the cross we are saved and go to heaven instead. – That is cosmic child abuse.”

    am trying to read stuff on this one at the moment, one thing against the ‘cosmic child abuse’ theory, is the trinity, Jesus is God, so Jesus chose to come and live with us – knowing all along just how we usually treat saints and prophets.

    it’s not a straight forward problem, because we know God is love, and therefore accept he’s not ok with all the unloving stuff we get stuck into, – so we know there’s a problem

    mmm, my head hurts, i’ll keep reading

  32. JF says:

    Hmmm so is it OK to offend people if you know that what you’re doing is right? Most people would say ‘yes’. Jesus knew he was right. But do we ever have that certainty?

  33. sarah says:

    Yes, sometimes.

  34. David Keen says:

    Hi Jon

    Any chance you could come up with a cartoon in support of Dave Walker, fellow cartoonist, who’s currently under threat of libel for simply telling the story of the takeover of the SPCK bookshops? A picture paints a thousand words, and there are many of us trying to support Dave and keep the story in the public domain, rather than hushed up so that the new parent company don’t get embarrassed.

    You probably get requests for cartoons all the time, but if you could do one in support of Dave that would be brilliant.
    David Keen

  35. Forrest says:

    Where emie said in #27, “he did those things to make a point and becasue it was the lesser of the two evils”

    I’ve always wanted to have two guys named Lester and have:
    “The eviler of two Lesters”

    Okay, back to cooking rice for supper.

  36. becky says:

    32. Jesus was offended by anyone and anything that kept people from the love of God. I would argue that we need more of us to get offended by the very things that ticked Jesus off.

    Also, He was very careful to zone in on the sin without slamming the sinner – back to line crossing (that’s one I cross ALL too often).

  37. sarah says:

    Forrest – ever seen Master & Commander and the scene about the lesser of two…

    Don’t want to spoil it. Very funny.

  38. The force is strong in that one…

  39. Robb says:

    Sorry… we aren’t saved from what we are, we are saved from what we do…

    It is really a moot point. We are created in the image of God. We have free will and do things outside of that…


  40. Pingback: YOU cease and desist, Mr J Mark Brewer … Cartoon: Asbo Jesus | The Wardman Wire

  41. If he came to Earth in human form, would he not have that part of his humanity intact? (Though I wouldn’t go so far as calling him “Darth Jesus.”)

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