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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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44 Responses to 1074

  1. revbobuk says:

    I sort of like the images on this site. But the whole thing just leaves a relentlessly miserable taste in the mouth. I’m a little sad that all ASBO Jesus seems to do is poke holes in other followers of Jesus who see things differently – which is so unlike the real Jesus, who seemed to love life, love fun and laughter. Too heavy on the judgementalism – which is what so many of the cartoons on this site criticise others for. I guess I may get shot down in flames for this – but for goodness sake, lighten up a bit.

  2. jonbirch says:

    what sort of cartoons should i be doing?

  3. si smith says:

    not trying to shoot you down rev bob – you’re entitled to your opinions. but jon often pokes fun at himself on here. and much of the good stuff that goes on on this site is here in the comments section, where folk debate the issues raised in the cartoons, and are free to disagree and differ in their response. i have to say that i don’t find them judgemental, even when they’re turning the spotlight on something that i may be guilty of… they’re provocative, for sure, and often very funny. ..

  4. Laura says:

    Love it!!

  5. Omi says:

    This is exacty what i’ve been thinking about recently, i couldn’t quite put my thoughts into words, and this has captured my emotions perfectly and clarified my general thinkingness. The Bible of immense inportance, it tells us about the God we serve, how to live our lives, God speaks to us through it and so on – It’s the Word of God. But that’s it, it’s ONLY the WORD of God, not God Himself. It points us to the living God, but it in itself is still just a book. It’s still ink and paper and glue and nothing more. And i think sometimes i’m guilty of not taking the Bible seriously enough, and i try and twist what it says to suit me, or i ignore the difficult bits or the bits i don’t like, but i also know some people who i do think worship the book more than they do the author.
    So thank you for this cartoon, because it says it perfectly. The Bible itself cannot save us, it can only direct us to the one who Saves.

  6. Forrest says:

    Reminds me of the father in law’s “If you use the NIV instead of the King James you are not going to heaven.”
    Grow up and get a life dude.

  7. jonbirch says:

    thank you ladies and gents for so swiftly reminding me why i do this. you lot are so worth it. i certainly ain’t in it for the money. :-)

  8. jonbirch says:

    revbobuk… i’d hate to think my cartoons made someone miserable. although i can’t really control how someone might respond. these cartoons, though not me, are an honest expression of something of me. my default mode is to try and be loved by everybody, but i’ve learned it’s not possible if i’m to really be me. i only hope that the images i make empathise with those who need empathy, give cheer to those who need cheering, challenge those (including me) who need challenging. my attempts i realise are lumpy at best, but what human pursuit was ever completely smooth. i learn as i go, i make mistakes, i enjoy debate, but mostly i enjoy the company of many who i’ve come to know and love on this tiny piece of the web. i promise you i’m not a misery… well, not often. :-)

  9. jonbirch says:

    omi… i’m glad. something i’ve had in my head for ages, but for some reason never thought, until now, to put it into a cartoon. :-)

  10. Brilliant, jon. I’ve lost count of how many times have I said, ‘The Word of God is a person, not a book!’ The cartoon says it so much better..

  11. Jeremy Myers says:

    Hmmm. Guess I better take down my Bible shrine….

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  13. Will Rochow says:

    Love the cartoon. Keep up the good work. Oh, I almost forgot. Like Jeremy, I’m also taking down my Bible shrine … I think. Though I read a portion virtually every day, I do tend to look at the Bible a little differently than I once did. In the end, I suspect that is the message you’re trying to convey in this cartoon. Blessings :)

  14. shelly says:

    Love the cartoon. *nods*

    Can’t stand Bibolatry. Seriously. It may’ve been divinely-inspired but all the books in it were written by fallible men, and the canon was put together by fallible men.

  15. Simon says:

    Absolutely brilliant!! I can’t stand it how people treat the Bible like it was God’s salvific act, Jesus is God’s salvific act. The Church did reasonably well for almost 400 years without a formalised Bible.

  16. So what is the Bible for you guys?
    For me it is a wonderful series of stories written about, by and for folk who are trying their best to live life as God intends – and to which I can add and compare my own story in that same endeavour.
    I, like them, sometimes spectacularly fail to live as God intends; and sometimes, like them, I falsely believe the words in my head to be what God intends; but often, like them, I find the encouragement of seeing lives (my own life and the lives of others) changed and renewed in supernatural ways.
    The Bible is for me a guide and encouragement for the pilgrimage. Were the Canon not already fixed, I would hope that my own story of folly and stumbling forward might be added to it, so that others don’t make the same mistakes, and so get closer to Jesus by a more direct route.

  17. Bee says:

    Hi all, I look as Asbo all the time and most of you are familiar “faces” but I’ve never replied before..I’m loving this discussion so thought I would add my own tuppence worth.
    Andrew – Interesting point about the Bible being added to. I know that when the Bible was published, a line had to be drawn under the Word of God that said what was IN and what was OUT. I wonder if that hadn’t happened, the verbal record of the Bible (as it was) would be much greater. After all, Jesus’ story didn’t (doesn’t!) stop! A bit of brain toffee for the morning!

  18. youthworkerpete says:

    It reminds me of what Tom Wright wrote – something like: “the authority of scripture is actually short hand for the authority of God, mediated through scripture”.

  19. Goodfield says:

    OmI : ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ John 1:1 ie Source The BIBLE – Sorry couldn’t resist it! :-)

  20. Hugh says:

    Goodfield, Exactly, the Bible even say’s it ISN’T the Word of God and yet we, in western Protestantism, have elevated it to a position above the Holy Spirit. I personally did a series of blogs about the Bible ending each one with this paragraph:

    “I believe that God the Holy Spirit can speak to us through the Bible in ways we cannot understand or foretell, surprising us and pointing us to Jesus, God in human form, and guiding us to live our lives like His. It is the book God intended us to have telling the story of His relationship with the Jews leading up to the climatic moment of the crucifixion. In view of this I believe that reading and studying the Bible are an important part of the Christian life.”

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  22. Steve Martin says:

    The finite (paper and ink and leather and fallible human writers) contains the infinite (the Word of God- Christ Himself).

    Even our Lord Jesus was fully man…and yet fully God.

    We don’t worship the Bible. But the One to whom it testifies.

  23. revbobuk says:

    Jon – don’t want to knock what you’re doing; I admire your talent, and sometimes it’s very trenchant. But the line between satirising christian foibles and undervaluing other traditions is a really fine one; and it is easy to fall into the ‘I love Jesus but the Church is pants’ mindset which doesn’t really help if it’s our only perspective. But thanks for putting up with my moan!

  24. jonbirch says:

    revebobuk… “undervaluing other traditions…” i really hope i don’t do that. that’s not my intention at all. just want to throw a light on our golden calves. i don’t think i’ve ever said or ever even thought that church is pants… i have thought and said that aspects of it can be pants and that there may be things we do or don’t do which make something that should be great more pants than it ought to be.
    i was brought up baptist, went to brethren and a gospel hall, many years in the c of e, attended many a russian/greek orthodox liturgy and been to a few catholic services. i have no desire to dis any of them, because i see value in them all… but i do also see things which i believe need questioning or spotlighting for thought or conversation. i realise that the cartoon medium is limited and can be a bit punchy, which is why the discussion is so valuable here.
    btw… i love your smiley photo… you don’t look moany at all. ;-)

  25. Pingback: Bibliolatry « Persona

  26. Geordie Gilly says:

    found this on another blog this morning (derek theweathersheep):
    Elizabeth Sandlund, editor of the swedish Christian newspaper “Dagen”: I cannot find a single word in the Bible supporting the idea of same sex marriage”
    KG Hammar, former archbishop of the Lutheran Church of Sweden: “True, but at the same time you will find hundreds of passages supporting the idea that women shouldn’t express their opinions in public, so if I were you, I’d use quotes from the bible more cautiously.”
    Pertinent to the last three cartoons, I think!

  27. Omi says:

    Goodfield – indeed :P, but ‘the Word’ in John 1 is the person of the Trinity that became Jesus when God entered Earth, it’s not the same thing as saying the written configurations of letters and the semantics are God.

  28. Goodfield says:

    Steve like your films! :-)

  29. wondering aloud says:

    Been struggling with exactly this all week…..thank you

  30. jonbirch says:

    wondering aloud… love the name btw… you are most welcome and thank you for commenting. hopefully this blog is a space where ‘wondering’ is ‘allowed’ as well as ‘aloud’. bless you. :-)

  31. Steve Martin says:


    Thanks! I was a ‘jerk’ long before he ever thought of being one. :D

  32. jonbirch says:

    dear, oh dear goodfield… i’ve resisted that gag for months, thinking steve must get it all the time… i’m not going to ruin his life, i thought to myself. but fair play, you did the gag and it went down well with steve… so what do i know!? :-)

  33. Dawn says:

    What should the correct view of hte bible be? How shoudl it be used?

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  35. rithompson says:

    Indeed. It is Jesus who saves. The Bible is his words written down.

  36. TreeHouseBooks says:

    one of my favourite stories about the Bible is from Brother Andrew, who sneaked a ton of Bible’s into Russia at a time when the Gov. had serious objections to his antics. sometimes he’d turn up to find he hadn’t packed enough for the hopeful crowd, so the Bible’s got segmented & shared

    a little old lady turned up late, & to Brother Andrews disappointment, he only had a slim segment left, listing genealogies’, which she gratefully took. his sadness at not being able to share John 3:16 with her was relieved when he spotted her grinning later, – what’s making u smile? he kindly asked. well she says, you know the portion of scripture i received, – I found my name written on it! now I feel blessed

  37. TreeHouseBooks says:

    Hi Dawn, I use the bible in a number of ways, which I like to think are genuinely ‘Benedictine’, ‘Ignatian’, and so on… first I have to light a candle, then I may read a passage, reread letting the words pop out. or read something a couple of times and then try imagining the scene with myself taking a role in the drama (maybe the older brother in the story of the Prodigal Son), get in touch with some feelings & pray about stuff (for more info check out ‘God of Surprises’ by Gerard Hughes)

    occasionally a phrase will pop to mind when I’m being mean or selfish or something

    back as a teenager, it struck me hard, just how much the Bible is about Freedom, so am naturally a big fan of Naim Ateek’s work, (Justice and Only Justice by Naim Stifan Ateek)

    at times I’ll spot an ASBO cartoon that brings a Biblical theme to mind

    & I do find I can seek guidance about stuff, I wait, hold a question, read around it elsewhere, and then find I’m surprised by something I read in the Bible, I’ve come to use a water tight test – is what I’m hearing coming from the warm, loving voice of God? is this leading me to be more open & loving to others?, as have become aware that the ‘accuser’ likes to try to draw me in to some disturbing controversy & bury me under a pile of shame – but on a good day I recognise this false piety

    – maybe we could have an ASBO spin off, & share stuff?, or pool thoughts here?

  38. jonbirch says:

    dawn… if we’re of the judgmental, ‘let’s go to war in the name of god’ persuasion, i think we should read it with caution. :-)

  39. Dawn says:

    I agree the bible should not become an idol. However, how else do we know the gospel? How else do we know about Jesus?

  40. themadlolscientist says:

    Or, as Robert Price calls it, “This Paper Idol.”

  41. markk says:

    dawn – we can read the bible to see what jesus did, and then look around to see what he is doing. simples… i wish it were

  42. Dawn says:

    what do you mean see what he is doing?

  43. markk says:

    i suppose it is where people are loving their neighbour, especially when it is at a cost to themselves. they may even be doing it because they have a belief in god.

  44. Dawn says:

    So is that the only way to use the bible? I can look around and see people doing good, it doenst mean they have faith in Jesus. how do i learn about Jesus and then how to live my life?

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