“People We Don’t Like” (Reboot Version)

Several posts ago I had promised to share this with you since it’s referenced in “Raspberry Bombe vs. Miracle Pie.” This is the Reboot Version of one of the very first Laura comic strips titled “People We Don’t Like.” In a way, it’s what you might call “Classic Laura Wilson” because it shows a side of myself that is unpleasant to view. The commentary that follows has been updated only slightly from the original. Interestingly, Sunday’s homily was based on Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 and was about how we are not the ones who do the sorting!

So what do you think? Why not start your very own list of people you don’t like, don’t want to have in church, and don’t want to spend eternity with?

Well, for one thing, it doesn’t sound very much like something Jesus Himself would do, does it?

Yet I think that if we would be honest with ourselves, there have been times when we have thought, “I really don’t want to have to see that person in heaven. I’m not sure I could handle it if we lived next door to each other in heaven for all eternity.”

Crazy thoughts, right?

And yet the very same people that we might want to exclude from church now and heaven in the future may be the very same people who avoid anything related to Jesus because of how they perceive us. That is extremely concerning to me. The only group that Jesus ever called out specifically with a warning were religious hypocrites.

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Matthew 23:13 (KJV)

My list just has one item on it right now, and it’s a “thing,” not a person or group of people: any remnants of a self-righteous and exclusionary attitude in my own heart.

“If God Walked With People In The Cool Of The Evening…”

This comic strip is an extension of the questions “Who do you say Jesus is?” and “Do you believe Jesus is who He says He is?” These go together because how you answer the first question may not necessarily be the same as how you answer the second question. For example, you may say “Jesus was a great teacher teacher” (or Rabbi as in John 1:38, 49), but you may not believe what Jesus said about Himself, things like “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”

For a Bible passage to go with this comic strip, I was a bit lost. You see, I am at times a bit lost, and I feel that other people are a bit lost too. I think, “If I really believe that God became flesh and dwelt among us, if Jesus really is the Christ, the Son Of The Living God,” then my life should be radically different in some way. And likewise, if the church as a body across denominational and regional boundaries really does believe this, then the church should be radically different in some way. (Like without any teams or divisions…A church body where nobody is left out. Nobody.)

But I’m not always seeing that. 

The characters in the comic strip seem to be so sure that if only God would come and walk with them, everything would be different and better. Yet this is set in the same time period that Jesus Christ actually did just that. For a companion Bible passage,  I finally settled on this parable that Jesus told about a rich man and a poor man in Luke 16:19-31. It just seemed to best summarize what I’m feeling about all of this.

I had always considered the parable to be about believers (Lazarus, the poor man) and non-believers (the rich man). Now I’m wondering if maybe it’s not about me too as I think about how the parable ends.

“…He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:30-31 (NRSV)

If I really and truly do believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life, shouldn’t that radically change how I conduct my life? How I treat other people? How people who believe as I do build a community of faith?

The beginning of a radical change, I believe, just might be spending some time with just Real Life Jesus in the cool of the evening. 

“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!)

“Eat Your Chocolate Bunny And Get On With Your Life!”

Sorry for the delay! I woke up and did a total rewrite! And with no coffee or chocolate bunny! Hopefully I’ve got it right now!

This “Public vs. Private” is not really advice that I want to use to shape my life, but why is that?

Hypocrisy was probably the biggest criticism Jesus had for the religious leaders in Israel. Hypocrisy is probably the biggest reason Christianity is being rejected. People do see the difference between public life and private life.

How can the thing that Jesus criticized so strongly back then now be a major criticism of the religion based on His life and teachings? Where did we go wrong? I think perhaps the key lies in whether or not we embrace Jesus.

But what does “embrace Jesus” involve? Somehow I don’t think it’s about saying “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” and then eating your chocolate bunny and getting on with your life like nothing had happened.

We embrace Jesus because He never said “I’m here to start a new set of religious beliefs and practices called Christianity.” Instead, He said, “I’m here to establish God’s kingdom. Here’s what that looks like.” Then He sent the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead now allows us to embrace Jesus in all that He is and all that He taught and even in all the modern situations that no one had imagined centuries ago.

This is the real power of Easter, when we embrace Jesus with all of our weakness and inabilities through the Holy Spirit, He does in us what we cannot do in ourselves, and our beliefs and practices are good and right and pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

“The One Right Way To Do Everything (Palm Sunday)”

Sometimes I think there’s are so many things going on in this comic strip that I could spend all day writing about all of the disturbing and toxic things. This is one of those times! But there is one main point, I believe.

So what do you think? Is there really “One right way to do everything”? Particularly in worship? And on a special day like Palm Sunday? Should we hold back our excitement?

It’s obvious that Flamethrower Mommy has “one right way” in mind, and that is “my way only”! There is a list of things that she does and doesn’t want to see her son doing, and you just know there are many more! These are like religious rules in a way.

But should rules get in the way of what we are feeling? And honestly, we truly should be excited about Jesus being King!

When I imagine Jesus as King, the picture isn’t just a crown or a thrown. It’s more than that. It’s almost a “visual sound” like a tuning fork and a piano. It’s like seeing everything, I mean everything, coming into its proper alignment, the way it is supposed to be, in absolute total harmonious accord with Jesus Himself!

I can’t draw that! I can’t describe that! But I think that you may be able to get an idea of what I mean through God’s Word in this passage (usually read around Christmas because of the wording “a child is born,” but it’s also very appropriate for Palm Sunday).

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end… Isaiah 9:6-7 (KJV)

Imagine, if you would, an event like “The Big Bang,” only instead of creating matter, time, and space, it created righteousness, peace, and joy that are always increasing, always expanding, forever and ever and all vibrating in one accord with Jesus Our King!

Yet how easy it is to trust Him with being King of Kings where the whole universe is concerned, and yet so difficult to trust Him with being King of Kings in our own small world of religious rituals and respectable worship.

One of the “rules” in this comic strip today was “NO hand flapping.” This is something that can be seen in children with autism, though it can be a developmental stage for any child. April is autism awareness month, and it’s something that I’ve touched on in other posts. Some churches are doing wonderful things in meeting the Christian education and worship needs of their autistic children. It’s worth researching and supporting!