I had really planned to “retire” Ashley Jennifer Smith as a letter writer, but this week I came across something on WordPress that I found very disturbing. It was a series of posts made by a church that proclaimed they didn’t allow atheists, homosexuals, whores, or people with autism into their church building.
After I got over my shock, I remembered one of Laura’s Lists several weeks ago titled “People We Don’t Like, Don’t Want In Our Church, And Don’t Want To Spend Eternity With.” I had no idea that there were actually churches with the word “Christian” in their name that believed like this so publicly. In that comic strip, I was thinking more along the lines of “That person is so irritating! How am I ever going to spend all eternity in heaven with them?!”
So this letter from Ashley today is based on seeing that on WordPress and to make sure that you realize these posts are never intended to make anyone feel alienated and bad about themselves. If I am to represent Christ properly in this world, I can’t shut anyone out, not even those who would seek to shut me out.
With that explained…
I do think that I may be giving Laura a hard time. To tell you the truth, I do see some of my own un-Christlike ways in this character. I’m just dragging that “stuff” out into the light of day to deal with it.
I did try switching it up where Rob had the list idea rather than Laura, but it still ends up with Laura potentially looking “not nice.” When she says she didn’t need to give up anything to become a Christian, we don’t know if (1) that’s because she believes God’s gifts are free or (2) because she thought that she was already practically perfect without God. How you look at it is important.
So potentially, Laura could be relying on her own righteousness but maybe not. Could this ambiguity causes self-reflection in readers…maybe, maybe not? I do hope so though. Know what you believe and why, even if we don’t agree.
As far as drawing comic strips that make you feel good about yourself…? All I can really say is that too often I’ve seen “feeling good about ourselves” caused by “group membership loyalty.” I don’t want to come across as being aligned with any one particular denomination or group. I want to avoid any resemblance to “our group is right, and your group is wrong” because Jesus prayed for our unity.