Christian Optimism?

christian, artwork, optimism,

Happy New Year! As we head into a new year full of promise and hope, I wanted to try to come up with a cartoon that conveyed the optimism towards the future that Christians have – but also makes a point that sometimes Christians can be a little too pessimistic as well. This isn’t to say that Christians shouldn’t be engaged and aware of what’s going on, or shy away from sharing the Truth of Christ within our community. But we also have to be careful not to get sucked into thinking the world is only getting worse. Because with Christ, our world has been getting better! Countless Christians before us have already labored in the Lord in the arts and sciences to help people in need, and billions have been saved from an eternity of darkness! Wow! Check out this great article from Christian Research Institute on The Perils of Newspaper Eschatology.

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Remembering Christmas of 1987

christmas, illustration, 1987, christian, christianity, art, illustration, calendarMerry Christmas! I thought it would be fun to share the above picture, which I created back in 1987 at a pretty young age. I guess my parents must have really liked it, because it became a decoration that came out every year – and once again made an appearance this year at their home. You know what they say about time flying.

This Christmas I’ve thought a lot about how I looked at Christmas as a kid. Sure, like most kids, I was really excited about the presents and various traditions we did each year. Like putting up the Christmas decorations, Christmas school programs and parties, Christmas specials on TV (like the Claymation Christmas), local community events, and that feeling of excitement on Christmas Eve, and feeling like I would NEVER fall asleep. But I also really remember how excited I was for spending time with family (many of whom have now passed on), and how I loved that people genuinely seemed happy – and that for a little while at least, it really did seem like things were a little more peaceful in our world.

Hope for the future, hopeful, peace on earth, goodwill toward men, christian, christianityAs an adult, sometimes I think I’ve lost that child-like wonder. I’m also sad to say that at times, I’ve become unfortunately a little more hardened by reality – and even to the hope and power of Christ in changing our lives and our world for the better. Sometimes I think as christians, we become so distracted by newspaper headlines or the “crisis of the week”, that we forget that Christ ALONE has already powerfully changed billions of lives, and changed our world for the better in countless ways. And He will continue to do so now and in the days and years to come! Wow, such great hope for the future! How exciting, encouraging and motivating should that be for christians to get out there and be an unashamed and unapologetic light in the darkness? As I illustrated in the picture above years ago, Jesus truly is the Reason for the Season!

And in despair I bowed my head; “There is no peace on earth,” I said; “For hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men.” – I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Luke 2:14)

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Christian Star Trek?

christian, creativity, christianity, star trek, hope for the future, artwork, creativesWhat if Gene Roddenberry (the creator of Star Trek) or Isaac Asimov (scientist and sci-fi author) had been Christians? It might be easy to think, as I once did, that if these two brilliant and extremely creative men had been followers of God, then they surely wouldn’t have developed the amazing works they are known for. However, I think this couldn’t be more wrong!

As followers of Christ, we sometimes not only buy into the world’s cartoonish portrayal of Christians as uninspired Bible-reading robots trudging to church each sunday, but we also sometimes come under the false assumption that whatever the world offers up in the arts is the golden standard for creativity. This isn’t to say that there are some fantastic works that I’ve come across in my life. There are a lot of secular books, music, movies and games that I find extremely creative and even artistically inspiring – but don’t necessarily have a christian worldview. What I mean by this is that although we might be able to have political or philosophical discussions about these secular creative works, they’re all based around a very fleeting and even limited view of how humans view their “world”. It’s all ultimately passing away. Whether 100 years from now, or 20,000, a lot of the time we spend on artwork, politics, science, philosophy and business ultimately will either be seen as a mere curiosity down the road or will fade from memory all together.

An Awesome Future! This is why I’m suggesting the need for Christians to become ever more involved in creative pursuits like writing amazing science fiction novels, creating fantastic game worlds, illustrating graphic novels and developing thrilling and inspiring movies. If we truly believe in a hopeful and exciting future where people are saved from destruction and the individual finds purpose and love in life, then why wouldn’t we be motivated to share this message with a broken world? For example, could you imagine a Star Trek type of show that wasn’t just good TV, but actually inspired people to look to the eternal, and offered people the only way to live with purpose and peace?

Now I’m certainly not suggesting that everything Christians create be full of Bible verses and Bible commentary. But sometimes maybe it should. We know our audiences, and are certainly capable in utilizing good wisdom and judgement to know how to best deliver God’s truth! If unsure, pray about it, check your Bible, and talk it over with other Christians. Also, consider checking out fellow Christians who have a positive view of Christian Reconstructionism (and not the cartoonish view that leftists or secularists attempt to assign to this view of Biblical Christianity).

Great Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy: As for some of my favorite christian authors who have written what I consider to be some especially noteworthy science-fiction or fantasy works, check out The Chronicles of Narnia or the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis, Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and the excellent Lamb Amongst the Stars trilogy by Chris Walley. I’ve also really enjoyed Robot Wars by Sigmund Brouwer (for younger readers), Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul, Arena by Karen Hancock, The Personifid Project by R.E. Bartlett, Winterflight by Joseph Bayly, Lilith and Phantasies by George MacDonald, The Search for Fierra by Stephen R. Lawhead, and Nate Wilson’s 100 Cupboards series.

What do you think? How does your worldview or the things that interest you impact the way you look at the world? How does this impact your view of the future? What are some effective ways you think christian artists and writers could better engage their audiences? What are some of your favorite books, movies or games that you believe have a powerful christian message? Let us know! Also, be sure to check out our Artwork tab for awesome christian illustrations and more!

The Confusion of Humanity

Matthew 5:11, Christian, christianity, cartoon, illustration, intolerance, bigotry, self-identity, society(Click illustration for larger view of cartoon!) Matthew 5:11-12 – Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven...I titled this cartoon “The confusion of humanity” as self-identity has unfortunately become a confusing concept for some in society today. And while Christians find Truth and identity in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17 and 1 Peter 2), the rest of the world struggles in finding meaning and purpose for life. The cartoon also attempts to make a humorous point regarding those who claim to value tolerance and diversity – but end up exhibiting hostility, intolerance and outright bigotry of those who might share different views. Granted, this is no excuse for Christians to also behave rudely towards those who believe differently – but we should never shy away from being friendly ambassadors of His truth!  (Also see our cartoon: The Arrogance of Humanity)

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The Arrogance of Humanity

Christianity, cartoon, comic strip, Psalm 14:1, atheist, God(Click illustration for larger view of cartoon!) Psalm 14: 1 – The fool has said in his heart there is no God. This comic strip came about after reading and listening to angry people rant about christianity, and how foolish it is for anyone to have a belief in God. This has always struck me as a little humorous, as humans have a fairly short life span, have very little in life they can control, and are confined to a planet (or two) stuck in just a tiny corner of the universe. How could anyone be so arrogant (or intolerant) as to self-righteously proclaim that a christian who believes in God and absolute truth is delusional?

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“Spiritual Truth”

christianity, progressive christianity, cartoon, illustration, christian, spiritual truth, Bible, modern christianityA picture of modern Christianity? This cartoon attempts to illustrate how some “christian” leaders attempt to overlook what the Bible says in order to more easily conform to societal or governmental influence. Thoughts on progressive christianity? Are people really able to define spiritual truth on their own? Let us know!