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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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30 Responses to 556

  1. LOL.

    Wait a minute. You seem to post these around 11:29 EDT (Eastern time USA), so I find myself an early commenter. But what the heck time is that in the UK? Do you get up at 5 or 6 am to post these?

  2. Gavz says:

    2.21am by my watch! :)

    Anyway… it reminds me that sinful thoughts (sin being that which separates us from God – including such things as apathy) seen fully through to completion lead to death and destruction of self and/or others. Must keep those thoughts in check!

    On another tangent, it was when doing a course of CBT that I became aware that thoughts/feelings/actions are connected. I know this is obvious to many of you – but how come I had gone over 30 years without every realising the fact!?

  3. subo says:

    I love that idea of a blend of CBT and Confession, thats wild!

  4. Pete Rehn says:

    What people see is never as bad as the truth that God knows…

  5. Stumpy says:

    Its why i wear my sliver tin foil cap, to stop any stray thought transmissions so no one can read my sinful thoughts.
    CBT and confession? Sounds like another form of brainwashing to me! Would that allow for free will?

  6. Hayley says:

    This verse could be incredibly difficult for someone struggling with OCD, and when having this discussion it might be kind to make sure that you clarify the kind of thoughts you mean before talking about this. Young mothers, for instance, can struggle with the obsessive thought that they might intentionally harm their child, but this in no way indicates that they could ever so. People with OCD struggle a lot with ruminating on these ‘brain spikes’, taking too much responsibility for the weird thoughts they have (which everyone has) and worrying that they reveal something about themselves. In fact it is often the case that people with OCD are extremely sensitive to those around them and have a heightened responsibility for actions. The OCDer who worries about harming someone is almost the least likely to do so. Obsessing about these thoughts can remain obsessions or can lead to compulsions.

    I just wanted to say that for Christians struggling with mental health problems discussions like this could be difficult.

    The slogan of OCD UK is ‘Just a thought?’, and it ‘helps remind sufferers that their obsessive thoughts are just that, thoughts.’

    People with OCD often panic when they have a horrible thought, making that thought more ingrained and a bigger source of stress and worry. Someone without OCD would generally disregard such a thought.

    As some people aren’t aware of OCD I just thought I’d mention some of this stuff to make people aware of the complexity of our thought-lives when mentally ill.

    For more info:


    Apologies for the long post!

    God bless xxxx

  7. Hayley says:

    Sorry for the mistakes in that! It was so supposed to read ‘could ever or would ever do so’ and ‘heightened responsibility for their actions.’

    Jon we need an edit option!

    love to all xxxx

  8. Robb says:

    This is putting Jesus words into motion in the opposite direction to his intending and it will lead to coming unstuck. I have to go but I will return and if someone else hasn’t expanded, I will… sorry, lecture calling….

  9. jonbirch says:

    hi hayley. as an anxiety and depression sufferer i know what you’re saying first hand. thank you for the comment… my own thoughts were what inspired the cartoon. i never quite understood this passage… i’m looking forward to robb’s post lecture thoughts. :-)

  10. Caroline Too says:

    I guess that the ‘thoughts’ damage me even if they don’t damage the other who I planned to ‘kill’.

    But that’s the wonder of God’s love for us

    for, (s)He’s so 100% concerned for our well being that (s)He doesn’t ‘notice’ the detail that the other hasn’t been killed. It’s our well being that’s His (sorry stuck in English gendered language there) concern.

    Now you respond in shock… God not concerned about whether the other lives or dies?

    If we assume that God is not bound by time, then yes, (s)He can be 100% focused on us AND 100% concerned for the other.

    Our God weeps in agony on the cross of our self damage done in thoughts…

    oh dear, this comment started out so well and then got stuck in arithmatic… sorry… I’ll go away now

  11. Heidi says:

    Amusing! It is as bad, and yet not as bad. :-)

  12. marcus says:

    In God’s eyes it is just as bad as the actual act, but in our eyes the actual act is worse than the thought, but to wish someone dead and to think about killing someone is an horrendous thing and brings us to the edge of playing God…not good!

  13. andy amoss says:

    It would be interesting to hold this passage up against the parable of the two sons asked to care for the vinyard. One says ‘yes’ but doesn’t do it, the other says ‘no’ but then does it. This second son is hailed as the one who ‘did the father’s will’ despite a seperation of thought, intention and action.

  14. Robb says:

    Turns out that I was not required…

    When Jesus said that thinking about committing sin was as bad as acting upon the desire he was using it to liberate a sinner rather than to condemn. He was effectively saying that the sinner was no different to the others gathered. All are sinners. The sinner became liberated from difference and shame and able to experience guilt, repentance and absolution.

    There is a huge difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is being convicted of your wrongdoing and leads to repentance. Guilt is opened out to be dealt with. Shame is something which paralyses and debilitates people. Shame is linked with the desire to hide. People with low self esteem find it difficult to experience guilt as they identify more closely with shame.

    It is perhaps easiest to identify through the use of language. When I am guilty “I have sinned”. When I am shameful “I am a sinner”. It is the difference between a past act and an ongoing act.

    To use another (biblical) analogy, when sin is opened up so that the light shines upon it, it is dispelled and the guilty is freed. When the shame hides the sin in the darkness it fosters and develops. It is my precious, my own.

    Where I have struggled was when the teaching of the christian union when I was 18 played into my low self esteem. Not only was sinning sinful (and shameful), also thinking was sinning (and shameful). Not only was God there…

    …sorry, was called away several hours ago. I’ll finish that thought…

    Not only was God there in what you do but the thought police were there in what you chose not to do as well. It is hugely distructive.

  15. Kayte says:

    Hayley – thanks for that input about OCD, really informative and helpful.

    Musing 1: Does this tie in with Jesus saying that it’s not what goes in to you but what comes out that’s the problem?

    Musing 2: Jesus was tempted in the desert, yet was said to be without sin. So is it universally the case that thinking about doing something bad is as bad as doing something bad?

    Musing 3:Sometimes I can have a thought, and dismiss it. Sometimes I can take a thought and internalise it where i allow it to shape who I am and how I interact with the world.

    Musing 4: Right now I’m thinking about going to the pub.

  16. Carole says:

    Ahem…confession time. I fantasise about committing all manner of foul deeds on people who wind me up. Fortunately I am a very easy going person and can only think a couple of people in my life who have really gotten my back up. I enjoy the fantasy…then I feel guilty and do the whole ‘but I must love as Christ first loved’ thing. I’m such a hypocrite. I’ve never carried out any of these things in reality…but I’m sure I must have punched the odd wall to avoid having to punch a person.

  17. subo says:

    Thank you folk for your powerful discussion, I think both ocd and shame are very human.

    I still struggle with the huge weight of shame from the world I grew up in, though can let myself have a little peace sometimes, also some people I value highly in my family have ocd, and true, they are the people who I realise are most sensitive towards me

    It was interesting to me to read that the Catholic Church realised ‘religion’ was contributing to the suffering of people with a condition relating to ocd, ‘scrupulosity’, and felt the need to bring changes in the practice of the Catholic faith in response to this recognition

  18. Hayley says:

    I think scrupulosity is a form of OCD. OCD is itself an anxiety disorder which affects people in different ways (some people have contamination fears, for example).

    Subo, I’m interested to know what changes the Catholic Church were thinking of bringing about?

  19. Carole says:

    Was it intentional that the bloke in the grey bears a striking resemblance to a certain twentieth century dictator?

  20. jonbirch says:

    thanks all… good discussion… and thanks for the enlightenment robb, hayley, subo, kayte et al :-)

    carole… no it wasn’t intentional… it’s that swoop across hairstyle isn’t it!? a great look! :-)

    i must say, robb’s take on the context of jesus’ words is fascinating and smacks of true. makes a lot of sense of a passage that (without context) makes little sense other than to make us all feel bad about ourselves… and we all know that jesus came to set us free from all that! good one. :-)

  21. JF says:

    Made me think of this; it’s a favourite among football players…
    “Oi Ref, if I called you a W****r, would you send me off?”
    “Yes of course”
    “What if I was only thinking it?”
    “Well, you can think what you like!”
    “All right… I think you’re a W****r”

    [I shouldn’t be on here]

  22. jonbirch says:

    … but you’re right… you really shouldn’t be here today! :-)

  23. becky says:

    As it so happens, I picked up this tidbit from a book I am using in my research …

    “To act as a human being is to honor feelings, even the thirst for revenge, but it is also to follow moral requirements stitched by God into the fabric of our humanity.” – Miroslav Volv, the End of Memory

    I’ve learned with my Adult Children of Alcoholic and improv training to accept my feelings as valid – feelings just are. (e.g., I’ve had male actors tell me they were doing a love scene with a woman they can’t stand and got an erection despite themselves.)

    Where I “try” to apply this scripture to my life is not to continue actions that will escalate my negative feelings. For example, if someone’s misguided moves are driving me nutso, don’t visit their website – and for goddsakes don’t send out any emails noting what a jerk this dude is even if his actions are indeed jerky (says the one who just did this). That’s a very small example but it’s a matter of seeking out the good and not the bad – e.g., I now have on a bunch of chill music from Proost that’s helping me to stay centered (for now). I bought a rosary and uploaded some chill tracks on my Ipod because I need these daily reminders not to let me do me in.

  24. subo says:

    “I’m interested to know what changes the Catholic Church were thinking of bringing about?”

    sorry Hayley, am a bit vague on the facts, but remember reading an article where it explained something was decided in a past Vatican counsel about how they shouldn’t impose too much guilt on people, and that Catholic Priests should have knowledge and awareness of scrupulosity

    In my own experience I’ve badly needed opportunities outside of the dominant church culture, to nurture a sense of freedom and connecting with a spiritual realm, for a while I met with a spiritual director, as felt my secular college training laked a spiritual dimension, this proved a very special experience for me, as this woman showed herself to be so thoughtful, affirming able to validate my feelings. I met her through the Bristol Spirituality network – http://www.bristolspiritualitynetwork.org.uk

  25. doctor ruth says:

    I work with a lot of people with OCD, and know there’s plenty of research that shows that strange or troubling intrusive thoughts are very common amongst the general population as well. I don’t believe that such fleeting thoughts are sinful in themselves – it’s sinful when we choose to dwell on and enjoy thoughts that are sinful, for example, getting pleasure from thinking about doing someone else harm.

  26. subo says:

    I sometimes look at sin as not living the sparkling life God hoped I would, in that I often don’t get round to making things happen, to catching up with people I love and eating enough chocolate

    obviously to carry out murder would be sinful, I think the way I’ve not noticed the needs of the people God gave me to care about is just loads less obvious, I don’t want to get into some over responsibility thing here, I just think we are human, and don’t do the amazing things we could do, our lack of faith is just how we are

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