“Tiptoeing Through The Flame Tulips!”

With Mother’s Day come and gone, we can only imagine what that day may have been like for this cartoon family. (Remember, last Sunday’s comic strip was pulled to make way for the “Spokeschick“!) I imagine that the fancy award and title were just as artificial as the oversized bouquet. These were appeasements for Margie, “Flamethrower Mommy.”

So what do you think about fancy titles, awards, gifts, and being in the spotlight? I must admit that they are kind of nice at times, but they really do fade quickly.

When you think of a title like “The BEST Christian Mother Of The Year,” how do you feel about that? At first I’m thinking that’s fine, and there is sort of an understanding that most people believe their mother is “The BEST,” but I have to say I wonder about putting the word “Christian” in there. Does that imply that Hindu mothers and Buddhist mothers and Muslim mothers and Jewish mothers are somehow not quite as good? That their loving actions are somehow inferior in some way? I’m just asking. Sometimes little things like this make a difference in how we are perceived.

But this comic strip really isn’t about the question, “What makes a good mother?” or even “What does motherly love look like?” It’s more like “What does love look like?”

Does God even look at any of our love the way that people do? What if God perceives love somewhat like the way you and I perceive color? We see bright bold rich colors and we see dull drab poor colors. Could love be like that? Through God’s eyes?

What if Jesus has the ability to see love the way that we see light and color? It would be an astounding thing, wouldn’t you agree? Wouldn’t He see His own divine love radiating out from Himself, being reflected and dispersed through the lives of His followers just like each of us was a small prismatic mirror reflecting His divine love throughout the world?!?

What would Jesus call these people, these prismatic mirrors who have received and shared all that He has to give? What would be the greatest and BEST name or title He could give them? Surely it would be the longest most elaborate one ever, right?!?

No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:15 (NASB)

He would call them “Friend.” Can you really imagine a better title for yourself? “His Friend.”

Now back to the comic strip before closing! Amazing, isn’t it, that I waited until the end to point out how that the big yellow flame tulip looks remarkably like a blast from “Flamethrower Mommy” at her most unloving?!? If you don’t see the similarity, just browse back through a few “Flamethrower Mommy and Ghost Dad” comic strips! But tiptoe carefully!

“Yeah! It’s Clobberin’ Time!”

So what do you think about sharing God’s Word and sharing The Gospel? Is either of these supposed to be “Clobberin’ Time?” I should probably explain that currently I’m looking at “Sharing God’s Word” and “Sharing The Gospel” as not always being the same thing. Here’s why.

When I think of “Sharing The Gospel,” I think of one message that is central to almost all Christian denominations in one form or another: “Christ died for my sins. Christ rose from the dead. Christ commands me to follow His example and to love as He loved. Christ will come again for me.”

When I think of “Sharing God’s Word,” I think of The Gospel, however I also think of how this phrase has been used with other portions of the Bible outside of the Gospel books for “Clobberin’ Time!” To me, this is when other legalistic-sounding things are added to The Gospel. It took me many years to understand “Jesus Plus Nothing.”

I want so much to believe and demonstrate that the Gospel is so strong and pure and direct from God that it is life-changing, whatever that change in a person’s life may look like to God, not necessarily to me.

I want so much to believe and demonstrate that The Gospel is strong enough on its own to make “Clobberin’ Time!” completely obsolete, especially includes the mental “Clobberin’ Time!” we occasionally give to ourselves!

I want so much to believe and demonstrate that The Gospel and God’s Word are The Person Of Jesus, not printed words on a page.

“8-Track Tapes and Death (Suicide)”

Once again there really isn’t a “So what do you think?” for the day’s post…at least not in the sense of “Do you agree or disagree?” This seems to happen more often with “Flamethrower Mommy and Ghost Dad.”

If you’ve followed Nickel Boy Graphics for a while now, you know that there are some serious things going on in the young life of Caleb Joseph. Not only is there the almost constant criticism from Flamethrower Mommy but there is also something going on with his Not Real Daddy that makes him ashamed to shake the hand of his pastor.

This post is mostly just a recognition of all the pain young people (and grown up people) have felt for whatever reason. Sometimes we can tell that there is something troubling someone, but many times we can’t. I think it is up to all of us to do what we can to be aware and to be watchful.

My heart truly grieves today for everyone who has contemplated suicide and for everyone who has dealt with the suicide of a friend or family member. I also don’t want to overlook the “little suicides” like driving a bit too recklessly and unhealthy things like starving ourselves and cutting ourselves, and drugging ourselves.

From my perspective, I don’t believe the answer is to be “The Best and Most Perfect Christian Family Ever” or even “Being Nice To People You Wish Were Dead.” Yet there are elements in what Jesus taught and showed us that have a great deal of value in helping to make the prevention of suicide something that we work on together.

Perhaps with today being Sunday, the time where we share bread and wine and remember Jesus and how we are His Body here on earth right now today (Communion, Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, whatever you may call it)…perhaps we can renew our commitment to support, love, care for, and attend to the other members of Christ’s body who are hurting and in pain? Particularly the youngest and at greatest risk? And everyone who is a “whosoever”?

My prayer is that suicide will be a forgotten thing of the past, just like 8-track tapes.

“Living Every Day Like It’s Easter (Or Else)”

So what do you think? Do you really need a book other than the Bible to tell you what God wants you to know? Should you really have to go to a person to find out about something that God can tell you if you will only listen to Him?

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.” John 16:13-14 (NASB)

At first, I was planning to say “Forget the how-to book. Go directly to God.” After all, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all the truth.

But as I write this, I’m thinking maybe there are barriers in a person’s life that prevent them from listening directly to what the Holy Spirit is wanting to say. Maybe some how-to books are needed sometimes to break down those barriers enough to let the Holy Spirit through? (Just make sure they aren’t part a money-making scheme of someone who wants to buy a new dishwashing machine!)

As far as “Living Every Day Like It’s Easter” goes, I really do believe that is best done by relying on the very same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. It is humbling to realize that without the Holy Spirit actively in my life, I’m just a walking dead man.

If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:10-11 (NASB)

As demonstrated in today’s serious comic strip, disconnecting from the Holy Spirit’s leading and getting carried away with a “human plan for spirituality” can cause us to say and do things that we shouldn’t.

“The One Right Way To Do Everything (Easter Sunday)

Hi, everyone! Great to be back after Holy Week! Picking back up again where we left off, but hopefully with a renewed perspective and purpose!)

So what do you think? Of all the Sundays in a year, Easter would be the one Sunday where everything should go “the one right way,” shouldn’t it? There should be one day when all of the words are right, when everyone sings all of the verses for all of the songs and gets all of the words right and all of the musical notes perfect!

That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Or is it maybe about none of those things at all? “Christ the Lord is risen today. Alleluia!” It’s the risen part that is so wonderful! (Even if you forget to add the “Alleluia!” or slip and put in “Yabba Dabba Doo!”)

And you know what? Sometimes your heart really can get lost in feeling the greatness of a physical and spiritual reality like the Resurrection of Jesus Christ…so much so that your heart really does forget the words, and maybe for more reason than just losing your place in the hymnal. Maybe because what your heart is feeling surpasses the words in the hymnal!

But consider this miracle!

He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Matthew 28:26 (NASB)

“He has risen, just as He said.” Those are wonderful words.

Now I would invite you to use your imagination a bit because if you have been baptized those words are about YOU too! Even though your name isn’t printed in that place in the Bible, just like “Yabba Dabba Doo” isn’t printed in the hymnal!

Here’s how it looks for me, so why not try it out with your name and make it personal?

“John is not here. John has risen, just as Jesus Christ said he would. Come, see the place where John was lying.”

having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. Colossians 2:12 (NASB)

Really a different way of looking at yourself, wouldn’t you agree?!? I’m going to think on that for a while!