“The Miraculous Multiplying Pie” vs. “Spiritual Food”

Today’s post graphic is what I’m calling “A Classic Moment.” It’s basically a look back at something previously posted, but perhaps with a new perspective.

One of the big differences between “The Lloyd Servant Show” and the other comic strips is that I’ve tried to make it a “stand alone” comic strip without any Christ-centered commentary. Part of that is because you’ll probably read it and say to yourself, “These people are seriously messed up!” (So there is no commentary necessary!) Part of that is because some people just don’t want to read a lot of “Be a good Christian” material. Some people even find “Bible-y Stuff” to be…boring. (Gulp!) I do understand that. I really do.

But there’s a lot of “Bible-y Stuff” hidden away in this comic series, and it’s there if you want to find it. And if not, that’s okay too.

It’s probably easy to spot that “The Miraculous Multiplying Pie” is a scam. Buy a pie for a few dollars, slice it into pieces. Sell each piece for $1000 and claim that another piece of pie miraculously appearing it’s place…and that eating can bring a miracle into your life. Pies are cheap. Nobody needs to know you’re getting them from the grocery store just lie to everybody about everything! If just a few people are gullible enough to believe you, well…

It’s probably easy to see that it’s a copy of “The Miracle Of The Loaves And Fishes” which is a miracle of Jesus that is recorded in each of the four Gospels. That makes it immensely important, I think.

Perhaps that is why I have heard and read different explanations to pass off “The Miracle Of The Loaves And Fishes” as a stunt and a scam. Maybe you have as well?

So let’s go down that road.

What if when the little boy gave all that he had to Jesus, the people were ashamed and brought out what they had been selfishly hiding for themselves? (“The Lesson In Giving Theory”) What if Jesus had it all worked out ahead of time with plenty of bread and fish kept out of sight until the right moment? (“The Magic Act Theory”) What if the Gospel speakers and writers decided to tell this as a symbolic story, not that it really happened, just what it meant? (“The Creative License Theory”)

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I ask a lot of “what if” questions, so I can’t fault anyone else for doing the same with this miracle recorded in the Gospels.

So here is a “what if” question…What if I said that I accepted all of those doubters questions as being valid, that Jesus really didn’t perform that miracle? What if I said that I agree it was just a story made up for some reason later on? People started telling it, it caught on, and when it was time to write down the story of Jesus, well, it just made the story that much better.

(I want to point out that this “what if” question of mine is similar to the classic Perry Mason question, “What if I told you…?” which always led to a confession of the truth! I also want to point out that I can’t accept that Jesus tricked and scammed people with the loaves and fishes. That is contrary to His character. But people could “potentially maybe possibly but I still doubt it” create a story with symbolic meaning later.)

Here’s my next thought…

Which will more easily fool people: feeding with miraculous multiplying food or feeding with spiritual food?

To me (and to the main character “Lloyd Servant, Your Servant Of The Lloyd”), the answer has to be “fool people with miraculous multiplying food…like barley loaves and fish…or apple pie.”

You simply cannot fool people with spiritual food, at least not for any period of time. It is possible to make people think that they have received spiritual food with the right music and theatrics which can encourage a type of emotional response mistaken for a spiritual response. But that’s sort of like “spiritual junk food.” (I’ve experienced that. Maybe you have too?)

And if you know Jesus, you know He feeds you with real spiritual food whenever you hunger and thirst and ask and seek. This may be through reading His Word, prayer and meditation, Christian fellowship, and of course, the bread and the cup.

As part of the Eucharist (Communion), we say, “You have fed us with spiritual food.” That is real. It can’t be faked, not when you know it and experience it for yourself.

Then we say, “Send us out into the world…to love and serve You.” That is truly putting the real spiritual food to the test, wouldn’t you agree? That is real. It can’t be faked, not when the world knows it and experiences it for themselves. (And the world is watching.)

What God does in us with His Spiritual Food and then what we in turn do in the world as a result are perhaps the greatest continuing miracle!

Here is a PDF of “The Miraculous Multiplying Pie!” as single pages in the “Old Newspaper Edition” style, just like the regular “Monthly Digests.” (I also may just stick with the “Old Newspaper Edition” for this one. I think you’ll find that it really has a kind of nice “film noir” look, particularly near the end!)

“The Miraculous Multiplying Pie!” (Just A “Half-Baked” Idea?)

While I’m working out a few technical issues, here is a PDF of “The Miraculous Multiplying Pie!” as single pages in the “Old Newspaper Edition” style, just like the regular “Monthly Digests.” (I also may just stick with the “Old Newspaper Edition” for this one. I think you’ll find that it really has a kind of nice “film noir” look, particularly near the end!)

I really hope that this doesn’t turn out to be a “half-baked” idea! (Grown!)

Thanks so much everyone for your patience and support! You fans really are THE BEST! (I mean I got “Likes” even when yesterday’s work didn’t turn out the way I had wanted to! That just really touched my heart. So I sent yesterday’s work to “trash” and have started all over again, hopefully better focused and with something even better!)

Oops! Slight Delay In Today’s Comic Strip Posting!

Due to a few snags with today’s post, I’m offering my apologies and a “Classic Moment” from “The Lloyd Servant Show.”

If you’re a regular reader, you will remember this, I’m sure!

If you’re not, this may not make much sense, but the compilation of all 20 comic strips will be available soon! Then “Please come smell my miracle feet!” may give you a chuckle. (And really it is sort of funny even if you don’t know the context!)

I’ve got a few snags to work out before sharing the “Chapter 1” compilation with you. It just don’t look right to me yet, and I don’t want to share for downloading until I feel like they are right.

Thanks everyone for your patience! Be on the lookout for “The Miraculous Multiplying Pie!”

“Can I Tell Just You Two Kids Something?”

There was a poll here recently to get an idea about your favorite comic strip from Nickel Boy Graphics, and Laser Eyes Jesus received more votes than any of the others. (Though I have to say the more serious comic strips received the most comments!) If I had to make a guess at “Why?” I’d say it’s because even though he occasionally blasts little kids (harmlessly) with his laser eyes to keep them on the right path, he really is just a “regular guy” trying to make it as best he can. (Oh, yeah, and what’s not to like about somebody who loves pudding cups and Godzilla movies?)

So what do you think? Have you ever criticized yourself for “not being enough”? Have you ever said, “I don’t want to be like this?” Have you ever asked, “Why can’t I be normal just like everybody else?” Don’t those kinds of thoughts hurt and frustrate? Seriously.

I’m wondering if there really might be just two main ways of looking at ourselves or judging ourselves: according to the standards of the world and according to the standards of God.

The world says, “Here is what success looks like. You’re on your own to make it happen.”

God says, “Here is what success looks like. I’m going to help make it happen.”

You know, I’m wondering why the world’s standards have been my default way of looking at myself. Part of it is definitely that there is an allure to what the world offers. But what if the bigger part of it is that in my mind it seems easier to be successful according to the world’s standards rather than God’s standards? Those actually seem unattainable to me, and maybe to you too, so let’s take a closer look.

“Here is what success looks like.”

…to be conformed to the image of his Son… Romans 8:29 (NRSV)

Success looks like Jesus. Now before you begin to get overwhelmed by that thought (because that really is overwhelming), remember the other part of God’s standards: “I’m going to help make it happen.”

Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand. Romans 14:4 (NRSV)

Can I take a moment to say how thankful I am that God’s Word does not say “You’re on your own to make it happen”?!?

Sometimes I think in our desperation to “be enough,” “be different from this,” and “be normal,” we may become too fixed on what we think we need to change or improve when really those things may be inconsequential to God, for the present time, and maybe for the future time as well.

What I’m saying is that every person is extremely complex and only God can see the heart and know what is needed and when, and that’s where prayerful self-examination (when we listen more than speak) is so important.

What success looks like, I believe, is the image of Real Life Jesus, and I think that it’s really quite possible that we may already be more like the image of Our Heavenly Father’s Dear Son than we even imagine in His Eyes, if not our own!

Now you know I’m just on a journey here and appreciate having you along even though I don’t have a stack of answers to pass out, but I think we might be on to something here!

“God’s Transforming Love”

Yesterday was Ascension Day, and it was also the day that I was received into the Episcopal Church after participating in a program called “Pilgrims In Christ” for eight months.

Part of the program involved sharing our “Faith Stories.” I won’t share everything here now, though I may one day.

But I want you to know about St. John’s Church and why I do what I do here with these comic strips (some funny, some serious). If it wasn’t for the people of St. John’s, you wouldn’t be reading any of these comic strips.

Back when the “Pilgrims In Christ” program started last October, I began writing posts here at WordPress, and that led to creating comic strips because it just seemed like the thing to do. There is a great community here at WordPress that has helped and encouraged me, just like the people at St. John’s. In January, I moved all of the graphics over to this website, got more ideas, and have done a few posts in this series called “Voices From The Last Pew.” That’s because when I went to St. John’s for the first time last August, I was honestly set in my mind that it really would be the last church pew ever. So I sat in the back by the door.

You see, they had these amazing words on their website and even on their printed order of worship, words that really seemed too good to be true. A huge part of me wanted to believe that it was just a trick, just a phony promise. Then I could say, “I did it. I’m done. There really isn’t a place for me. They don’t want me and I don’t want them.” It wasn’t that I was planning to give up on Jesus, just church.

Here is the first part of those words. I can’t even read them silently without getting choked up. No lie.

Believe this simple truth: God loves you, no matter who you are. No matter how you have lived your life. No matter your age. No strings attached. At St. John’s, we believe in God’s transforming love…

In my “Faith Story,” I told how I have had a bumpy ride throughout my Christian life. Most of it has been because of a message I carried inside, “God hates you. You’re going to kill yourself. You are going to die and go to hell where you belong.”

As a Christian, I’ve wrecked and crashed and burned more times than I can count. I’ve been way too rigid and rules oriented, and then can’t live up to it. I’ve thrown Bibles against walls and into the trash. I’ve tried to escape from everything in a lot of different ways including alcohol and suicide attempts. I’ve cursed God and Jesus and tried my best to commit the unpardonable sin, whatever that might be. But Jesus never gave up on me.

That “God hates you” message can get planted in a person’s mind and heart in a lot of different ways. When I told my “Faith Story,” I explained how that had happened with me. But here is the thing. It doesn’t matter how it got there. Getting rid of that message is the important thing.

That’s done, I believe, primarily through God’s Transforming Love.

The active component to God’s Transforming Love is the Holy Spirit, and the best delivery method is Christian Community.

If you have sat there on “The Last Pew,” please know that there are a lot of people just like you. I know how difficult it is to say, “I’m going to give this one more try.” But there is a place out there where you can find God’s Transforming Love and the Holy Spirit, just like how I found them at St. John’s Church.

It will be a place where people really do care about you. They don’t want you to just quietly go away. They don’t want you to die and go to hell. They want to pour out God’s Transforming Love on you and receive it back from each other because that’s how God designed Christian Community to work.

Until you find that place, maybe you’ll only have someone at work or a neighbor who truly believes in God’s Transforming Love. But that is a start. Maybe you’ll only have a few people within your current church who truly believe in God’s Transforming Love, but that is a start too. And you have me who truly has experienced God’s Transforming Love.

In the meantime, if you don’t have that place of Christian Community, I really want to renew my commitment to you readers to do all that I can to share God’s Transforming Love to you through these graphics and words.

Thank you, both Readers and People Of St. John’s Church, for sharing God’s Transforming Love with me.