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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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89 Responses to 684

  1. Sophie says:

    Brilliant! but i have to say that singing songs is a lot easier than everyday work and life as worship.

  2. jonbirch says:

    it certainly is, sophie. unless, like me, you don’t much like singing the songs… then it’s a right chore. :-)

  3. Neil P. says:

    Reminds me of a certain BBC-tv-programme on late Sunday afternoons…

  4. jonbirch says:

    you mean ‘bulls-eye’, neil p?.. but that’s not been on for years! :lol:

  5. jonbirch says:

    sorry, that was itv, wasn’t it? serves me right for trying to be clever! :-)

  6. Caroline Too says:

    oh do come on Jon…

    don’t you realise that singing icky yet intense songs is ‘real’ worship! that’s what it’s all about, giving your all to the intense flowing meander of more-or-less interesting sequences of chords…

    real worship is about giving yourself to 3mins 33secs of G9, C2, D6dim chords (and possibly a further 3 mins of repeats of the last chorus), huh Jon don’t you realise that?!

    real worship is all about really believing that intense, momentarily harmonius singing about things that Jesus did, and how He still does everything that’s necessary…

    and of course, that absolves me from having to do anything!

    I just sing those songs

    and, wondrously, I’ll be transformed into a perfect Christian

    so less of your cynical irony, Jon!

    you leave less room for me do mine :-)

    (great cartoon by the way!)

  7. Neil P. says:

    In the programme I alluded to there are lots of people inbetween the hymns and the hapy-clappy things, who say “Of course I am a Christian.”
    Of course.
    Most of them give me the feeling: “Alright, Of Course you are, so I must conclude I am not. Thank G(o)od(ness) for that…”

  8. Stefan says:

    When will the day come, that we will understand, that sinnging songs is just ONE bridge to worship god – and that we have to do more, then just to sing a song? Thnak you for that cartoon. Greetings from Germany!

  9. Pingback: Exiles » Worship

  10. beatthedrum says:

    Personally I like to sing to God, who He is and what He has done for us.

    The vision we have of worship in the bible is often about singing, and dancing, and clapping, and playing of drums (OF COURSE LOUDLY) and shouting.

    These are the ways that people in the OT worshiped God together. That is corporate worship

    However our lives need to show our worship of him as well. Our actions, deeds, thoughts, relationships, speach etc.

    Its a two strand thing, to do one and not the other, which ever way around is lopsided and will mean people vear away from God.


  11. youthworkerpete says:

    This one made me smile (as do most asbos :) )

    Of course, many people do worship genuinely and passionately through song, and that leaves me feeling a little guilty for smirking at this cartoon. As mentioned above at least twice, the issue is with the imbalance of some traditions seeing sung worship as the only authentic experience because it gives us warm fluffies, not actually with people singing choruses to God.

  12. jonbirch says:

    caroline too… hahahahahaha! :lol:

    greetings, stefan! :-)

    beatthedrum… i was with you all the way up until the last sentence. singing could be considered pretty minor compared to all the other things we can do to show love, surely. do justice, paint a picture, share your stuff, make a cake… and what if you can’t sing? you don’t have to, surely. :-)

  13. jonbirch says:

    yes youthworkerpete… you correctly identify the imbalance i believe.
    i’m not anti-singing… just don’t like singing stuff i don’t like… it’s pointless. :-)

  14. JF says:

    Do I get a prize for spotting this is a re-hash of ASBO 163? x

    Your graphics have really come on, though! :-)

  15. jonbirch says:

    ooh, er, jf… it is a bit similar… oh well, if neither of us mention it, no one’ll know. :lol:

  16. beatthedrum says:

    Jon I think you might have misread me, maybe maybe not.

    the ‘two’ things i was saying are corporate worship (which includes singing, fellowship, showling love etc) and personal worship through our lives


  17. JF says:

    I agree that neither of us needs to draw any further attention to the similarity between this ASBO and #163 from October 2007.

    Just shows how much of a fan I am though!

  18. jonbirch says:

    jf… i really appreciate your delicacy in this matter. in not drawing attention to the similarity between this cartoon and the one at no.163 from october 2007 you have demonstrated beyond question that you truly are an asbo fan. :-)

    beatthedrum… i think i’d say everything we do should be an act of worship and one needn’t necessarily sing at all. i don’t altogether understand the singing focus, except i know some people like it. :-)

  19. Aideen says:

    Lol, you’re so snarky!

    I used to HATE worship music. Thought it was cheesy crud, was in total agreement with Cartman in the Christian rock episode of south park. Now, despite my music-snobby self, I love it.

  20. Sophie says:

    Aideen, that’s interesting! What do you think has changed?

  21. Tony says:

    This cartoon reminded me of a Sunday evening TV programme too! Were you thinking of the Antiques Roadshow?

  22. beatthedrum says:

    I guess its a tradition and we know it happens in heaven as well Jon…. so you had better get used to it ;-)

  23. beatthedrum says:

    Surely its some mini series set in some village somewhere like irleland, scotland, northumberland, yorkshire……

  24. jonbirch says:

    beatthedrum…i’m hoping that if there is singing in the new creation, which i see no reason to believe there won’t be, i can only hope that i won’t be required to sing awful dross in a church service setting. also, the idea that the future holds anything resembling a church service gives me absolutely no hope whatsoever… in fact i’d feel more than just a little let down. :-)

    aideen… as someone who used to be a worship leader (whatever that is), i too have changed. :-)

  25. jonbirch says:

    btw beatthedrum… house of elliot i reckon. :-)

  26. andy t says:

    Yes but who or what do they really worship it one thing to be in Church in body and to be seen to be doing the right thing (hands in the air and all that)! but what is your true God!!

    btw was it Howard Way for the oldies amongest us…….

  27. beatthedrum says:

    Maybe it is in fact “last of the summer wine”

  28. beatthedrum says:

    That can only be seen day to day week by week AndyT #26

  29. milepost13 says:

    Great stuff…I’ve just linked you.

  30. Excellent point Jon!!

    (she says thinking…um…yeah….cos when I “lead worship” I’m singing these songs….and then it gets much tougher trying to (or not trying to) live that one out)

  31. beatthedrum says:

    Is it me or are the people doing Nazi salutes?

  32. Gumbo says:

    I totally agree. Church would be so great if it wasn’t for the singing.

    But then again, in my case it might just be the old “the grapes are too sour anyway” reflex ;-)

  33. dennis says:

    Ah Jon evry week that I “lead” the worship in church now I see your face smiling down on me and I think God I hope there are no ASBO people here this week they might catch me singing awful christian songs and they will see how uncool I am.

    Ive had it with most songs but some do really catch me and enable me to connect with the maker, trouble is its difficult to keep everyone happy let alone God.

  34. Debbie says:

    I may be crucified for this one, but I believe that worshipping thru music is crucial. Of course, it can’t be your only form of worship, but nonetheless it is a very vital part of the corporate worship experience and is a big part of my private worship experience as well. I know this is coming from a person whose life revolves around music, and you non-singers might not agree with me, but we are instructed in God’s Word to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord”. He didn’t say it had to be perfectly on key, or we had to sing a solo! Music has been used since the beginning of time as an expression of emotion. Nothing evokes emotions easier than music. False emotions and emotions without substance are not a good thing, but true emotions are vital to all our relationships, including those with God. The awakening of emotions is the beginning of action. (or should be.) I personally cannot imagine going to a church who services did not include musical worship. Just my honest opinion. Flame away!

  35. Caroline Too says:


    welcome and thanks for your positive vibes on worship singing! As you can see from my earlier comment, I think that jon is just a bit too caustic on this point :-)

    I love singing (and even love some of the songs I hate ~ :roll:) I guess that I just worry about the monochrome nature of most of the songs we sing …

  36. jonbirch says:

    debbie… there will be no crucifixions at asbo here today. it’s a fine point you make. i don’t completely agree, although i appreciate where you’re coming from. :-)

    dennis… for me, i don’t really care whether or not it’s cool, i just don’t like it. cool is never cool. “trouble is its difficult to keep everyone happy” too right… in our culture ain’t nothing more divisive and controversial than music. there are a million subgenres which people associate with and little else… not good for unity and not good for bringing new young folk in, if that’s the plan, which it probably isn’t. :-)

    thanks milepost… very kind. :-)

    andy t… more likely ‘lark rise to candleford. :-)

    i love the way this subject gets the comments. it’s so much fun reading them… even more fun than singing daft choruses in church. :lol:

  37. jonbirch says:

    me? caustic? never! i’m very measured! ;-) :lol: ;-)

  38. Caroline Too says:

    oh, Jon, just checked out, but don’t worry I won’t mention about #163 being the same either

    but when I think of the number of times that I repeat a good illustration or story… I think that you’re allowed to repeat yourself once in 18 months! :-)

  39. jonbirch says:

    given that on asbo the 2 subjects which seem to get the most comments are sex and worship, maybe we have found a solution to the problem of ever decreasing church membership. maybe, if at 11am on a sunday morning the minister announced to the congregation “there will now follow a time of sex and singing” we’d see church attendance increase. :lol:

  40. jonbirch says:

    thanks for not mentioning it, caroline too… i’m pretty sure i’ve gotten away with it. :-)

  41. Sophie says:

    Jon (39) that’d be a whole other kettle of fish! Not sure I’d be comfortable with that kind of service, I’d much rather repetitve choruses, or hymns! (actually I find both really helpful on occasion)

  42. rebecca says:

    Jon (#39): far from increasing church attendance, the prospect makes me want to run a mile (and not because of the singing — I like singing).

    Just in case you think I’m simply being prudish, I recently heard about a plan for a service which involved pouring oil over people’s heads, and that made me want to run a mile as well.

    Debbie (#34): you don’t need to worry about Jon crucifying you, even in the most symbolic sense — that’s something he doesn’t do.

  43. dennis says:

    im up for some sex and worship!! Ill mention it to the bishop on sunday.

    Incidentally I have been asked to sing a song that would make him (the bishop) feel comfortable in the service, what the….

    Has anyone any suggestions?

  44. Sophie says:

    Interestingly, there are some pretty interesting double-entendres to be found in some worship songs that have caused much hilarity.

  45. Bo says:

    Dennis – how about a lullaby?

  46. kls says:

    exactly!! brilliant one.

  47. Sonrisa says:

    This may be a recurring theme on ASBO…but it is a funny one!

    And as I always say on these occasions I quite enjoy singing in church. A lot of the songs are crud, but there are a fair few that I like. It’s probably as much as anything about me, filling my lungs to capacity with oxygen-rich air for once…but I like to think that God gets something out of it, too! :)

  48. Carole says:

    Er…sorry, post 47 was actually me! :oops: Daughter home from uni and using my computer…

  49. dennis says:

    @45 you mean like “rock a bye baby” Oh yes I am soooooo tempted. ha ha.

  50. subo says:

    lets rock

  51. Carole says:

    Seen this? WordPress may block it, but anyway

  52. Timbo says:

    The shitty music and dull lyrics tend to get in the way from time to time.
    That and the cares of the world which grow up around like weeds.

    (Sorry, haven’t had time to read through al the comments and contribute to the proper flow of discussion.)

  53. Maple says:

    Got to side with the singers on this one – I love singing (good) modern worship songs in a church service, though you’ve got me thinking now about whether it’s all for me or actually does connect me to God someway.

    Jon, I’m starting to wonder whether you’ve ever been to the right church before!

    At my local (St Paul’s Oadby), we’ve just had a bring-yer-mum service, where at the end, sons and daughters of all ages went up to the front to collect a primrose to give to their mother – a rather nice idea or mothers day I thought.

  54. Maple says:

    Ohhh soo funny Carole! (51)

  55. theseoldshades says:

    Carole- Haha, that’s brilliant! :D

  56. jonbirch says:

    carole 51… hahahahahahahahaha! :lol: so very funny… methinks those boys have been there and seen it. :-)

    i’ve no idea how many churches i’ve experienced maple… but i can’t have missed many denominations out. there haven’t been many places where i haven’t been dying for the music to end. the only thing that keeps me standing throughout is that i know the worship holds off the sermon for that bit longer. :-)

  57. Pingback: tasmission » Blog Archive » We just want to worship you….

  58. Pingback: two cartoons you should see today « bamboosong

  59. dennis says:

    Carole @51 thanks for that!! its set me up for my few days off. Im gonna do that song on Sunday just for the bish!!

  60. Carole says:

    Dennis – I thought it might make you chuckle! Actually I thought the one in last night’s show was even funnier but it’s not on youtube yet – check it out when you can, or catch the repeats on bbc3 or iplayer. Jon – yes, I think there is too much truth in it to have been simply dreamt up!

  61. Caroline Too says:

    Jon, #56…

    now, about sermons…

  62. Caroline Too says:

    Ok, so most (many?) of us like singing

    at it’s best music – including singing – allows us to move in
    areas of life that is not dominated by so-called-rational

    so, it has a contribution…


    what are we doing as we sing? what are we singing about? why do so
    many songs sound the same… does the Lord lead us by musical

    Ok, guys, if we don’t want to endlessly repeat “ah jus wana
    worshi”; what do we want to sing about, what would make singing-worship
    richer for us?

  63. Miriworm says:

    Doesn’t God inhabit the praises of his people?

  64. jonbirch says:

    indeed miriworm… what’s your take on that? what do you think that means?

    caroline too… at a funeral i went to a couple of weeks ago we sand jerusalem. amazing poetry with a great tune. that certainly hoovered away my lack of interest in singing… i joined in with gusto! :-) much of the service was listening, to testimonials and to inspiring music. i never cry, i did then. i think it was because it was all just so real and the offerings of praise and worship and my own time properly meant something to me.

  65. Caroline Too says:

    what do you think that means, Miriworm?

  66. jonbirch says:

    haha! how funny caroline too… same question exact same time. don’t feel any pressure miriworm. :-)

  67. Aideen says:

    @sophie – what’s changed is I felt the holy spirit move and change me thru the music. Music has the power to touch deeper parts of your soul than you knew possible, so God can really do his work. Once I put my cynicism aside I felt it.

  68. Sophie says:

    Hi Aideen,
    that’s wonderful. I agree that music has power to touch the deeper parts of ones soul than are normally accessible. I find that God often meets me in music, and it’s not always in church. I went to a gig a while back and was expecting just to see some music but I was moved to tears (thankfully it was dark, so no-one noticed). I’ve also found myself dancing in worship at nightclubs. Much easier to do it there than in church!

  69. beatthedrum says:

    Loving that sketch Carole thanks for posting it

    Loves singing praises to his Jesus. But enjoys banging them out on his drum kit even better!


  70. émie says:

    is it just me or have we already had this one?

  71. Kim says:

    I’ve been away and catching up on these had made me roar with laughter :lol:

    Re the Sunday evening tv, don’t you mean Poldark, or the Onedin Line?

    I’m with Jon in hoping very much that heaven won’t be about church services?! Now we see through a glass darkly, but then…

  72. emmasarah88 says:

    I’ve been enjoying these wonderful and thought provoking cartoons for quite a while, and felt like actually commenting for once :)

    I was talking about this a while ago, surely singing songs is pointless unless your heart is glorifying God? I think that songs are good if they allow creativity and inspiration which help us worship God with our whole hearts we just have to walk out of that ‘worship space’ and keep that with us (which I think for some people is what happens) otherwise a song is just a song.

  73. Forrest says:

    Oooo – this one has an edge to it :-)

  74. jonbirch says:

    emie… you must be mistaken. :-)

    emmasarah88… thank you and welcome. i guess i’d say everything is pointless unless it glorifies god. yes, you’re right, songs can inspire us, gird our loins, remind us of things, all sorts. :-)

    forrest… you noticed. ;-)

    kim… too right re heaven.
    ‘mastermind’ perhaps? :-)

  75. Linus says:

    Hamish MacBeth, surely?

    Jon: As you are a musical person, i suspect there are some kinds of music, that doesn’t generally get used in church contexts, that you find helps you express your heart to God -some music that you find speaks to you of God’s glory or grace, or beautiful creation?

    Thanks for sharing about the funeral. It sounds like it was a very deep and genuine event. I think that when we meet together to honour and seek God corporately, the event should always have that sense of authenticity, reality and meaningful offering that you describe. But that doesn’t always (or even often?) happen. Is it the content of the words, or the style/quality of the music, or the routine of doing it once every week, or the context that leaves people cold? Is it the corporate heart attitude (underneath the surface emotion) of the participants? Is it that God isn’t really there? (Not necessarily cos He isn’t real – maybe cos it isn’t the sacrifice He requires of us?)

    Something that Dennis said about being asked to make the bishop feel comfortable really hit a nerve with me – If we’re genuinely in the presence of almighty God, why should the bishop or any of us feel comfortable? Awe inspired, greatly loved, utterly petrified, sure, but comfortable? nice? inoffensive? If that’s what we’re aiming for then are we really acknowledging the God we claim to follow? Or are we just looking for easy warm fuzzies every sunday that don’t lay any claims on our daily life or result in transformed lives or break down the comfortable distance we maintain between ourselves and God (I am totally guilty of this).

    Its all about me, Jesus.

    What would have to change in the way we do corporate worship for it to be all about Jesus?

  76. Will says:

    i generally hate music but love worshipping God. I made a decision about 7 years ago to not get stressed about the music i hear but to allow my heart to worship. So quite often i find myself not singing but worshipping. One of my best experiences of worship was at a church that Esther used to go to in London where there was a large deaf community in the church. There were signers at the front. They were singing without music but were expressing through sign the words. As a person who is not deaf i found this refreshing. I too could have just handled the words without the need for a 3 chord tune. When you are just left with the words with out the tune you are forced to think about the words more and not just let the “good tune” take over. The church thought about the songs that they did with this in mind.

  77. beckyG says:

    Jon – this is brilliant.

  78. It’s the words to some ‘worship’ songs like ‘Kissing the Son’ that make me distinctly uncomfortable. There’s a guy in my church who likes singing this song EVERY time he leads worship, and always mentions as a disclaimer ‘this isn’t about kissing on the mouth’ (which automatically makes everyone… well… me… think of kissing on the mouth.
    I know… totally gone off point here

  79. beckyG says:

    Kim I know – the Jesus is my boyfriend stuff where Christ is inside of me, etc. give me the creeps. And I am sooo tone deaf, that i know god would prefer it if I hummed.

  80. jonbirch says:

    quite right kim. i, as a bearded man, really don’t want to think about lip kissing another bearded man. i’m not a prude, it’s just not my thing. that sort of song makes me want to reach for the sick bucket. nice point, well made. :-)

    cheers becky. :-)

  81. Sophie says:

    I found the songs at Iona really moving. Hard stuff to sing about (social justice, peace, work), and harder to do, but the community really see work as worship and although that’s not easy, they have eachother for encouragement. It was a refreshing break from ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ stuff, but not necessarily comfortable!

  82. Pat says:

    Have you just been up on Iona Sophie?

  83. Sophie says:

    No unfortunately not! I was there in Autumn 2003 working in the shop. Had a great time.

  84. rebecca says:

    Jon (#80): I can identify with that. I’ve never heard the particular song, but it sounds utterly dreadful. (That’s “dreadful” as in bad, not as in “Lo he comes in clouds descending”). And I have a policy of not kissing men with beards.

    I’m reminded of a quotation from the American writer Jamie Buckingham, who grew a beard because he thought it would make him look like Jesus. He said to his wife, “It’s time I started looking like Jesus.” Her reply was, “It’s also time you started practising celibacy.”

  85. Sonrisa says:

    Rebecca (84) :lol:

  86. Carole says:

    Oops! forgot to check my default details at 85…again!

  87. beatthedrum says:

    I have uploaded the new Horne & Corden ypc sketch to my blog


  88. Tiggy says:

    Of course it’s about kissing on the mouth!

    I really like all the erotica that’s creeping into church services, though I do wonder how it feels for straight men – if there is such a thing.

    At my very charismatic church, the leader frequently says, ‘Let the Holy Spirit come all over you’, which I find extremely embarassing, yet at the same time higly amusing. No one else seems to bat an eyelid, so maybe it’s my mind. He also says, ‘Oil us up, Lord.’ which just sounds very cheesy to me and like something out of a porn film.

    Recently we had a women’s evening that was just one long fantasy someone had written about meeting a king in his private quarters (ooh, er, missus) and snogging him. Apparently there was more, but we didn’t get to hear the rest. It was very nice actually, all these women lying on the floor with cushions.

    God as the divine lover is in every religion in some form and very biblical. So there! Anyway, some of us are very frustrated…

  89. Pingback: The Problem With "Worship" » Eric Pazdziora

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