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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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29 Responses to 822

  1. Miriworm says:

    Christmas spirit abounds I see! :-)

  2. Miriworm says:

    Just wondering if her name is Joy? :-)

  3. subo says:

    cheers Jon, these cartoons are so accurate. I let myself feel judged and dismissed by the standards of my evangelical family. It’s good to remember reality is sometimes a little different

  4. themethatisme says:

    This time of year is particularly difficult I find in this respect. Constantly battling other peoples hypocrisy at Christmas. Dealing with the realities of those for whom there is little joy in this world…and they want me to smile!!!

  5. Caroline Too says:

    I’m meeting up with Joy and Peter for dinner tomorrow. Will that help?

  6. beatthedrum says:

    Joy comes from the Holy Spirit, it is not worked on….

  7. chris says:

    when ever anyone starts a sentence telling me “what you need is…” i generally shut off.

  8. Pat says:

    How’s that then beatthedrum? Do we have no responsibility for/active part in generating, exploring and maintainig that particular emotional experience :?: :???:

  9. Forrest says:

    Ahh, but Pat, the joy as referred to here is not emotional experience, it is a state of being.

  10. Forrest says:

    Went to Google looking for references and came across this from the Pope, by my understanding he’s got a pretty fair handle on Joy.
    “By Carol Glatz
    Catholic News Service

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The secret to experiencing true joy is not found in accumulating lots of things, but from feeling loved by the Lord and being generous to others, Pope Benedict XVI said.

    Real joy is feeling that one’s personal and social life “is touched and filled by a great mystery, the mystery of God’s love,” he said Dec. 13 before his midday recitation of the Angelus with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.”

    A Dictionary of the Bible | 1997 | W. R. F. BROWNING | © A Dictionary of the Bible 1997, originally published by Oxford University Press 1997. (Hide copyright information) Copyright

    joy In the Bible, more than an emotion. It combines a sense of happiness with a state of blessedness. ”

    hmm, these are interesting


  11. L.O.L I remember a minister friend of ours who used to “Hi how are you today” the answer would be a usual “Fine thanks” he would then say “Tell your face about it then” “Come on your a Christian and you should be telling the world how wonderful life is” I used to feel so guilty.

  12. Pat says:

    Forrest – what exactly is a ‘state of being’ then? And does it not have any emotional content? We are human – people of flesh, emotions are a significant part of who we are and how we operate.

    A quick trawl through some of the background history and other writings of Pastor John W. Ritenbaugh would make me examine what he writes very carefully before taking it as the last word on a subject.

    Sorry if I sound grumpy – clearly not enough existential joy over the breakfast cereal in this part of the world :-D . The questions and comments are serious ones though :-?

  13. Sophie says:

    I think that joy is a gift, but it’s also something we can help ourselves towards by practising (or is that with a c?) thankfulness.

  14. rockingRev says:

    I remember singing “You shall go out with Joy,” at the close of worship one evening and as I shook hands with the congregation afterwards Joy’s husband just said to me, “Not if I have my way you don’t.” A wonderful moment in my ministerial career!

  15. jonbirch says:

    i agree with pat, and would ask the exact same questions. :-?

  16. Kayte says:

    There’s a bit in Acts (16v 22, if you’re curious) that I really like. Paul and Silas are in prison, have been flogged and beaten; in the next paragragh we find them singing praises to God. I think that for me this helps me to understand ‘joy,’ its not a state of being that is wholly determind by events going on around us, its that whatever situation you are in, crappy or otherwise, you are willing to praise God; (yes, that can be hard!)and the ‘joy’ comes out of that.

    On a personal level, when I was ill with depression, the turning point for me was for the first time in ages starting to praise and thank God, even though I didn’t feel like it!At first I wasn’t sure I meant it, but I felt clear it was what I should do, and the more I tried the more i realised there were things in the mess that was my life that i could praise God for… and it was the start and part of a long healing process.

    I’m not saying its easy tho… its something that requires an act of will that can seem impossible; after my dad died last year, it took me a good 8 months to even be able to pray at all, and the first few months of that involved a lot of anger and tears. But i do think that ‘joy’ is a more multi dimensional thing, more than just ecstacty, happiness, or a vauge warm fuzzy contentment? Any other thoughts on what we’re actually talking about when we say ‘joy?’

  17. subo says:

    thanks for sharing so openly Kayte, it was good for me to read your experiences

    I think one thing that contributed to Paul and Silas’s desire to praise God, was their knowledge of his love towards them

    I often let the condemnation from my family, or a snub from someone who feels superior to me, or just not earning enough cash, affect how I think about myself

    I also think it was really special the way Paul and Silas were able to support and encourage one another, to stand side by side

    so thanks for the reminder to notice the good stuff

  18. Forrest says:

    I was trying to quickly find something linkable which more or less gave an example of the idea.
    Don’t know anything else about the writers other than those pages.

  19. beckyw says:

    The comments by the Pope have made me think @10…I like that definition of joy. Maybe we sometimes don’t experience joy because we don’t realise how much God loves us and values us and so we’re never quie happy with ourselves. And then His love doesn’t quite overflow in us to others because it’s not freely flowing in us (not sure that makes any sense and sounds a bit weird now I’ve read it back but think it’s what I mean). :-)

  20. youthworkerpete says:

    like others above have said, I don’t think Joy = happiness, as this cartoon seems to imply.

    I think you can be profoundly joyful and unhappy at the same time. To me, it’s the difference between like and love.

    I always love my son. Screaming at 2am over nothing, I struggle to like him or enjoy his presence.

    I think Joy is a spiritual gift that needs to be exercised, but should always be present. But in the Christian walk happiness is not gaurenteed!

    I find the current western ‘everyone’s a victim, we all have issues’ mentality to be the ultimate antidote to joyfulness.

  21. Caroline Too says:

    yes, I remember the days when we used to speak about ‘deep joy’

    so deep that we couldn’t see it…

    I remember two difficult times in my working life

    in one things were just grim, in the other, depsite being desperately unhappy in a
    particular workplace, I still had a joy in the work (teaching) that I was doing.

    Now, I can look back and ascribe reasons for and differences between those two
    experiences… I could (and BTD would like this, I suspect) put it down to work that God was doing in
    me at each time through His Holy Spirit or I could, just as truthfully, give you very
    different human reasons for the difference in experience.

    I would just want to say that a bald statement that “Joy comes from the Holy Spirit” is too
    simplistic (to an extent that it makes me feel strangely irritated – sorry BTD)

    Jesus, through His Spirit, was there in both experiences… both now play a role in my story of

    but they were far too messy to fit in a trivial statement such as “Joy comes from the Holy Spirit”

    so, if I don’t have joy (deep joy?) do I not have the Spirit? dangerous territory to wander down carelessly….

  22. jonbirch says:

    i share the same concerns expressed by both caroline and pat. does anyone know what the word ‘joy’ was translated from and what the original meaning might have been?
    did jesus go through gethsemane and to the cross with joy? abandonment and joy – sounds like an oxymoron to me.

  23. AnneDroid says:

    It is amazing how many times, all through the Bible, we find the command to rejoice. I looked in a concordance once. Well, it amazes me anyway, because I tend to think of rejoicing as something we would do spontaneously if something good happens, but that otherwise could not be done to order.

    I find all the comments here very interesting, and will be re-reading them. They are pertinent since I have a touch of SAD, like many, and am looking forward to the shortest day being past this week. :)

    Joy, in the sense we mean in Christianworld, seems intriguing – Paul and Silas already given above as examples of joy in spite of circumstances.

    I find Philippians to be the happiest letter in the NT but it was written by a guy in jail.

    Perhaps it is the case that God knows best (shockerooney, eh?) and, at least to some extent, we CAN be commanded to rejoice….?

    The song says love is not an act of the feeling, it’s an act of the will. Maybe joy, also, is not a feeling it’s an act of the will.

  24. Caroline Too says:

    though your heart is breaking
    though your soul is aching

    (with apologies to Charlie Chaplin)

    suspect that AnneDroid is onto something as she points us to the ACT of rejoicing rather than the feeling of joy.

    the one is a command, the other is a moment amongst other moments of our lives, no better no than others

    but I do believe that there will come a moment, in the New Jerusalem, when tears will be wiped away, and when the goodness of God invades our lives… when Joy will be the order of the day…

  25. AnneDroid says:

    Yes, I believe that too Caroline Too. Thanks for expressing it so clearly – “joy will be the order of the day”. A wonderful hope.

  26. Pat says:

    CarolineToo and AnneDroid – what does ‘the act of rejoicing’ involve then? In real, practical terms rather than as an abstract metaphysic :-)

  27. Caroline Too says:


    I do wish that you didn’t ask such tricky questions, Pat! :-?

    but I think an act of rejoicing might include:

    Celebrating what God has done for us, remembering His actions that have made a difference,
    accrediting to Him the passages of life (including the horrid ones) where we’ve grown and matured. I
    think rejoicing is saying (sometimes through gritted teeth) thank you to God for those moments
    of life that are health and life giving…

    am I glad that I didn’t get that promotion last year? at one level, no! But can I see my
    heavenly Father doing some good work in me through that experience? Yes… will I say
    thank you to him, praise him for his kindness, rejoice in His loving grace?

    not bloody likely

    well, I’m trying very hard to be grateful, but finding it a tad difficult at the moment :rol:

    by the way, Merry Christmas everyone, if I don’t get a chance to ‘say’ to you again this week. :-)

  28. Pat says:

    Sorry Caroline Too, I’ll will try not to do it again :-) . Although having said that…..I would like to press you further here :lol:

    I’m not knocking what you say above in any way, but there are undertones here which make me a little uneasy: a slight feeling of gritted teeth and of an element of …don’t quite know what’s the best word here, but may be …reification?

    And, to reiterate my earlier question to you and AnneDroid, are you saying that ‘Christian Joy’ has no emotional content, but only a cognitive one? I’d have all sorts of problems with that, both neurobiological and theological!!

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