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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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37 Responses to 759

  1. Robb says:


    Erm…. week 2 and I dunt need this dude……….

  2. Mimosa says:

    hahaha :)

  3. Mimosa says:

    ohh thats maybe one ha too many.

  4. jonbirch says:

    yeh… hmmmmmm… sorry robb. :-?

  5. Forrest says:

    And the names of the congregation members who are not “broken” are . . .

  6. Miriworm says:

    Minister: Dear God can you send me a new congregation this one is ….. (perhaps) :-D

  7. dennis says:

    Well at least that’s an honest way of doing it, instead its usually some other excuse made to remove the offending article. Here’s to brokenness.

  8. Tony says:

    An alternative caption:

    “You know you said ‘Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back’? Well, we want our money back.”

  9. beatthedrum says:

    Isnt that the issue where the leader is not grown from inside the church?

    Surely that is time for the ‘vicar’ to have a sabatical.

    which elder / vicar / minister is not broken…

  10. Lewis says:

    Surely that could be a good “sales pitch”:

    Now you don’t have to break your minister; these come ready-broken.

    Terms and Conditions apply.

  11. Pat says:

    I don’t quite follow you BTD – do you mean that these problems don’t arise with leaders who come from within a congregation?

  12. I love this. This is the sort of thinking that those of us who take the more ‘organic’ approach have tried to remedy over the years. We much prefer the idea of us all being ‘ministers’, sharing the load. Those of us in the ‘house church movement’ – for want of a better word – do believe there can be a place for one person to take the lead but we would say that two or more is better. Of course it is even better when they come from the group themselves rather than being a professional ‘sent from outside’ who is required to perform. I think this cartoon illustrates that very well.

  13. Graham says:

    I’m thinking Leonard Cohen:

    ‘Ring out the bells that still can ring;
    forget the perfect offering,
    there is a crack, a crack in everything- that’s how the light gets in’

    Bring me more ministers that have cracks in!

  14. Tiggy says:

    I’m thinking of the ‘I Am Jen’ song,

    ‘Broken in all the right places.’

  15. Tiggy says:

    PS. Is his head on fire? Is he going to explode?

  16. rebecca says:

    When an item is broken, it is not always necessary to replace it — sometimes it is possible to repair it. And if said item is a human being, repairing them is generally the preferable alternative.

    This cartoon strikes rather close to home. Last week I attended a communion service led by a minister who was visibly distressed (but didn’t want to talk about it, so there wasn’t much I could do to help).

  17. Richard says:

    Have you tried turning it off and on again?

  18. Robb says:

    I postulate that the problem is that the guy with the phone thinks that this ‘ministry’ thing* is a one way relationship rather than a corporate activity in which all within a community are to do for each other.

    *whatever that means

  19. Tiggy says:

    And I think the problem is that we find it hard to handle people’s brokenness. I don’t really think healing is about ‘fixing’ someone – we aren’t machines. It has more to do with acceptance – self-acceptance and being accepted by others despite our brokenness and then feeling accepted by a God who knows what it is to be broken.

  20. Robb says:

    I don’t wish to speak for Dr Ruth but I will guess… she often says “It is normal to be upset/unhappy/anxious etc etc etc…”

    We as Xians tend to gloss. I have on occasion answered the Q “how are you” with “do you mean ‘hello’ or do you want me to answer the question?”.

  21. Tiggy says:

    Why do people keep referring to Dr. Ruth?? Isn’t she that elderly sexologist woman with the funny accent?

  22. Robb says:

    No – she’s my wife, regular reader/poster here. Psychologist.

  23. Tiggy says:

    Oh, really?? Sorry, the only Dr. Ruth I’d heard of was the one who used to be on tv a lot talking about sexual problems in a jolly sort of way.

    Unless that IS your wife…?

  24. Tiggy says:

    Dr. Ruth Westheimer – celebrity sex advisor.


    There, I wasn’t making it up.

  25. Robb says:

    Don’t worry about it. That was the joke. She was Ruth who became Dr Ruth – the psychologist. All she needs to do is tell us that we want to sleep with our mothers and it’s all complete :D

  26. Pat says:

    Tiggy/Robb @ 19 & 20: Maybe we also need to overhaul our vocabulary a little as well? ‘Brokenness’ and its cognates are pretty commonly used in Xian conversation (I’m as guilty as the next person here) – but now seem to cover everything from the truly pathological (spiritual, psychological or physical ..and yes, I know those are false distinctions!) to the ‘normal’ experiential data of everyday life.

    I’m human…so yes, as Dr Ruth says, I’ll feel anxious, upset etc as part of my normal everyday experiences. Does that qualify as ‘brokenness’….I’m not convinced. Ok, I know we could have a theological debate about the ideal state of humans and whether this comprehends anything negative, but that’s not really my point here. I just think that the word has become so much of an umbrella term as to be almost meaningless at times.

  27. Robb says:

    Pat – I just spent the last two weeks walking around saying “what do you mean” and “if I don’t know what you are talking about then how will anyone else?”

    A time of worship?

    A time for ministry?

    Moving into a time of nonsense

    In my broadest Yorkshire…..

    “So tha wants t’ sing n’ pray then?”

  28. Pat says:

    Robb :lol:

    I haven’t read Nick Page’s book but I can imagine the sort of things he might be saying.

    I think the drift towards both a certain vacuity of language and a generalisation/impoverishment of key concepts is one we should all take seriously.

    Trust you’re finding your feet (complete with pentecost boots)ok in your new role :-)

  29. Robb says:

    Pat – I’m sure that my boots will stop causing such a stir after the first few weeks.

    I am amazed at just what people will say to me. Yesterday in the supermarket the checkout attendant called me funky. My vicar usually calls me trendy. I’m not even slightly trendy. When did hairy bikers become trendy?

    I broke all of my own rules in the first week. No day off… no study time….. :lol: It was worth it as I got to lead a vision day for some churches in a rival diocese. They had real passion for where they live.

  30. jonbirch says:

    haha, robb… love the idea of a ‘rival diocese’. :-D

  31. Robb says:

    That was what I told them last week ;) I can’t help myself – life is too short to take it seriously. :lol:

  32. Tiggy says:

    Er..Pat I don’t particularly think in church or even religious terms. Until recently I’d not been to church for years and years. What I mean by brokenness is the human condition whereby we feel psychological pain that can debilitate us. I address it from my own experience. I don’t see it as something to be shyed away from or ultimately as a bad thing in terms of who we are.

  33. duttyo says:

    Robb @29

    A rival diocese and half of them were from an opposition denomination!

  34. Robb says:

    I know. I’ll be getting the sack!

  35. Tiggy says:

    Go in wearing a dress, Robb and then they’ll just pay you off quietly. Oh no, I forgot – the clergy wear dresses anyway.

  36. Robb says:

    I love the internet.

  37. Tiggy says:

    Sigh, I still fancy David Mitchell. I once dreamt I met him in Tesco – and I don’t even shop in Tesco. I prefer him on his own though when he’s being more intellectual and talking about history and stuff.

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