Thinking Out Loud

October 29, 2016

This Was Jack Chick’s Life

chick-tracts

The name somewhat registered in the trending sidebar of my Twitter feed. Sometimes that means that someone has died, but I didn’t really think that Jack Chick needed my attention. I guess you could say I didn’t take the Chick-bait.

But hours later it was still there. So I decided to see what was going on. His death at age 92 was not what struck me, but rather the outpouring of emotion — albeit under 140 characters — from both supporters and detractors. Jack Chick’s impact on the mainstream American culture was more significant than I might have guessed, and it was producing at its peak at least a dozen posts per minute…

frame-from-this-was-your-lifeI first became aware of “Chick tracts” when  my high school newspaper Abacus (motto: The Paper You Can Count On) cut and pasted most, if not all, of one of the tracts into the paper. As a sometimes public, sometimes private Christian I could clearly see that the content was on our side, but by its inclusion, the Abacus editors, who I knew well, were running it for public mockery.

Still, I felt that even in this context, what was being said possibly had the potential to change the lives of my pagan high school cohorts. It was a strange collision of the two very different worlds I inhabited. (My unwavering, passionate, public faith would not materialize until the second semester of university.) Thus made aware of the format, I began to see the little booklets turn up at church and later in other locations…

One of the comments on Twitter had something to do with how Chick inspired other Christians to adopt the power of the graphic novel. I can see that. There is a sense in which today’s The Action Bible and The Manga Bible follow in Chick’s wake.

But I had misgivings, too. It seemed that some common enemy whether it be Masons, or Roman Catholics, or abortion providers were always caught in Chick’s cross-hairs. Although we didn’t have the phrase back then, it was as though we were known for what we were against instead of what we were for

The approach of This Was Your Life, Chick’s bestseller, would haunt me later. As I studied Christian communication at a deeper level, I learned that while guilt and especially fear were good vehicles for making decisions, the decisions often didn’t last when the guilt or fear wore off. Again, we didn’t use the phrase back then, but the tracts resulted in people making decisions instead of making people disciples.

Nonetheless, there were a few comments on Twitter from people who marked the reading of one of the little booklets as the beginning of their journey with Christ…

Our bookstore never stocked Chick tracts. There were a couple of the titles that concerned me, especially when Canada introduced its hate literature law. I wish the same energy had been poured into beautiful portrayals of the love of God instead of the hatred of those who disagree. I don’t know if Chick’s later works spoke to the issues raised in the U.S. by Islam, but I can see how such a title could be incendiary. (In fairness, there are some Bible narrative titles.)

Of course, it was partly because hardly anyone ever asked. Canadian Christians take a different course in sharing our faith, and while you’ll see some fish on the back of some vehicles, Christianity isn’t as mainstream as you find it south of The 49th Parallel…

…This was Chick’s legacy. Wikipedia describes his motivation for using comic art because he “was too shy to talk to people directly about religion.”  If you missed out on this particular aspect of Americana — difficult because the tracts were translated into over 100 languages — you can catch up with the full editions on the Chick Publications website.

 

May 8, 2015

Missing the Point

Social Media version of Phil 4 8

Church History

great-commission-revisted

Rescued

 

April 10, 2014

Reconnecting With Cartoonist Kevin Frank

Kevin Frank - Wrong Abraham

Early in 2009, we introduced some of you to veteran Christian cartoonist Kevin Frank as he launched the book Balaam’s Chicken. Then last year, we showed you just a portion of larger illustration of the Cornerstone Festival. (In an earlier lifetime, Kevin appeared regularly in Cornerstone Magazine.)

But this week, we heard from Kevin, and on the occasion of his website makeover, he allowed us to splash some new panels on the wall here at Thinking Out Loud.  So we’ll definitely do one on next Wednesday’s link list, but I thought we’d also do something today.

When you arrive at the site you have eight choices, but my favorites are True North (a somewhat autobiographical story about an American transplanted in Canada that appears in Canadian newspapers) and Heaven’s Love Thrift Shop, a story about a… well, you get it. That’s where the one below is from, but honestly, there were so many to choose from.  (If you’re in children’s ministry, this one was my runner up.)

Kevin Frank - Thrift Shop - Price Rip-off

 

March 14, 2014

Lent Guilt

Filed under: cartoons — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:28 am

So which dies faster, New Year’s resolutions or Lent promises? If you’ve failed to give up something you can take some consolation in the fact that nowhere in scripture is this particular ritual sacrifice taught.

Which brings us to today’s infographic. The people at Twentyonehundred Productions — a division of InterVaristy — come up with these on a regular basis on their Facebook page. We thought we’d borrow this one in exchange for telling you to that, if there’s an IV chapter in your city or town, be sure to support them. If not, buy an IVP book or two!

Lent Guilt

If you liked that one, check out the latest Worship Poses: Olympic Figure Skating Edition.

May 22, 2013

Internet Graphics in a Post-Biblical Literacy Environment

Filed under: cartoons — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:33 am

cake-or-death-noah-moses-daniel-mash-up-everything-thats-wrong-with-the-internet-by-alex-baker

This is oh so very realistic. Sourced at Cake or Death in case you want to contact Alex Baker about using it.  

Last week I was trying to explain the basics of grace to someone who is searching through a number of spiritual options. I alluded to the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery, and also the story of the lost (prodigal) son, and realized in both cases that the person I was speaking with was not conversant with either story, so I had to backtrack and fill in the details.

Honestly, it felt strange to have to go back and say, “So there was this woman who was caught in the very act of adultery;” or “A man had two sons and the younger wanted his share of the father’s estate without having to wait around for his father to die;” especially in the environment that I was in sharing the story. I was cutting directly to the punchline as it were, but the person on the other end of the discussion had no idea who these characters were.

May 7, 2013

Overcoming Writer’s Block: Opening Lines

Filed under: cartoons — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:48 am

Once upon a time

It was a dark and stormy night

It all started with

The first thing that happened was

To begin with

I’ll never forget that first week

On the first day

In the beginning

In the beginning!


This is adapted from the book, YHWH is Not a Radio Station in Minneapolis: And Other Things Everyone Should Know, by Craig McNair Wilson,published in 1983 by HarperCollins.

I’ve also seen this performed as a (very short) live skit. A man sits a typewriter and inserts a fresh piece of paper. That’s necessary to get across that it’s an opening sentence he’s typing. He says each phrase as he types. But today you could also have a word processing program displaying live on a screen as he types. In the live version, he types ‘In the beginning,’ and then he stops typing, repeats the phrase out loud with more enthusiasm and then with greater passion says, ‘This could be the start of something big.’ 

Of course, it was the start of something big. The cartoon below is from the same book.

Craig McNair Wilson cartoon002

February 8, 2013

Memories of Cornerstone Festival and Magazine

Oboe Jones Comic - Kevin Frank - Cornerstone MagazineIf you remember Cornerstone Magazine after which the festival was named, you might remember the Oboe Jones comic by Kevin Frank which appeared 27 times in the mag. In 2011, Kevin uploaded all the comics. You choose an edition and then click on the image, and then click the little magnifier thing to see it full size.

Now, I know Kevin doesn’t like it when bloggers embed his stuff — physically impossible with these anyway —  so you’re going to have to click through for this one, but the particular link here is a great memory of the Cornerstone Festival, in this case the one from 1994. (But somewhat representative of all of them, the last one I attended being 1986.) If your internet connection can handle something 5,000 pixels wide, click through for Postcards from the Web. (The teaser sample here is just a very small part of a much larger scene.)  You might even find Waldo, though I’m not sure if Waldo is there to be found.

You can also catch up with Kevin’s more recent work at KevinFrank.net

August 3, 2012

Illustrated Ray Comfort Text is a Labor of Love

2016 update: Sadly the website referenced here no longer exists.

So despite everything I wrote here yesterday about posting cartoons and comics on the blog, I’m forging ahead with this one, largely because illustrator Richard Gunther seems to actually want his material to be viewed by as many people as possible.

What you see above is actually page 16 (the middle page) of Why Trials written by Ray Comfort at the blog MightyMag.org .  You can see the panels in the correct order by following this link, or if you’d rather browse the whole blog click the first link and then scroll down to the posts for July 30thTake a few minutes to do this, you might find you want to send this to someone you know. (You can also click the image.) Or perhaps you yourself are facing trials, spiritual attacks, anxiety or simply find yourself in a ‘desert’ season in life. Click the image to read Why Trials.

Note: If a keyword search online brought you here and you’re not sure why, the post tags for today are all taken from the 32 cartoon pages. Click here to see it in its entirety.

About the artist: New Zealand writer and illustrator Richard Gunther is the author of dozens of children’s books.  He is perhaps best known for his provocative cartoons about God, the Bible and the Christian life. He provides daily cartoons for the blog site of evangelist Ray Comfort. Over the years Richard has produced a mountain of free Christian material for people to use. He has the desire to make Jesus Christ known in all the world because Jesus is the source of life.

January 24, 2012

How Dad Gets His Information

Filed under: blogging, cartoons, parenting — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:52 am

October 9, 2011

Father, Forgive Them

Filed under: cartoons — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:09 am

There’s never a dull moment at the blog, Naked Pastor

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