Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fasting from Facebook

A reading from the letter of Joe to the Facebookers

And so, Joe was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted by the devil. And when he fasted for 7 days and 7 nights (from Facebook) he was afterward hungered.

And when the tempter came to him, he said unto Joe, check thine homepage, for witty piths doth emerge there, and thy friends have taken many quizzes and offered you many virtual drinks to imbibe. Surely thou art curious.

But Joe answered and said, It is written, "For the fool will speak folly, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice profaneness, and to utter error against Yahweh, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and to cause the drink of the thirsty to fail." (Isaiah 32:6)

So then the devil taketh him to his flatscreen monitor and sayeth unto him, if thou art a Jesus Freak, at least change thy update on Facebook and share thy inner thoughts with some witty banter, for surely they will benefit from your wisdom.

And Joe said unto him, It is written, "Don't be wise in your own eyes. Fear Yahweh, and depart from evil." (Proverbs 3:7)

Again, the devil took Joe before his monitor and showeth him all the games as far as the eye could see, from Mafia Wars to Pirates, from Vampires to Superhero City, and he said unto him, all these dollars and pesos and plunder and blood I can make real, and you must check in anyway before you lose your Energy Boosts and some scab comes and taketh away your health and money.

And Joe said, Get thee behind me Satan, for it is written, "The love of money (or points or whatever) is the root of all kinds of evil." (1 Tim 6:10)

Then the devil left him, to wait for a more opportune time to tempt him. And the angels came
and ministered unto him.

And he had a very satisfying week, enjoying the company of his wife and children, praying, and accomplishing projects at work.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Once again, will be at New Moon Comics in Little Falls NJ on Saturday, May 2, doing sketches with Jesus Marquez and Inkboy. This year we're raising cash for Team Lemonade to help in the fight against MS.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Years Go By

The long gap between blogging has been largely due to my beng in a place in life where I know I need to listen more and talk less. I think it's far healthier than yapping about increasingly irrelevant stuff and pretending I'm more important than I am. There's plenty of bloggers like that. Feel free to visit them if that's your cup o' tea.

A couple months ago I discovered Facebook, which has (1) sucked away many hours of my life by assessing things like "The Top 5 Cartoons You Grew Up On" and (2) enabled me to touch base with many friends from high school and college that I'd not heard from in as much as 15-20 years. The latter of the two has been surprisingly rewarding and a lot of fun. It's helped me in refocusing on the importance of friendships.

I am stunned and saddened, however, at the number of friends I've reunited with that once had the Christian walk as the center of their lives, but now have allowed it to dwindle.

The times we spent attending Christian concerts is now referred to as "lame" and the zeal of their youth "naive." They place blame on the busy pace of life, or disenchantment with friends and family, as reasons they don't go to church. Sometims they say that they haven't found a church that "feels right" - and yet haven't tried to attend a church service in years. Sometimes they say the church, or organized religion, is "corrupt."

The bottom line is that church life, the Christian walk, no longer fit in as a convenient part of their life, and they cut it out.

I guess the part that has me confused is how you can love Jesus, and understand the sacrifice He made, and then not give it the all-consuming attention that that belief demands in your life.

Being a Christian is not convenient. It is not easy. To the world it appears foolish, and makes us out to look life freaks. It does not protect us from cancer or heartbreak, it does not promise happiness and success. Following Jesus requires bold, unwavering faith. It requires us to take risks, and sacrifice personal, material and physical comforts. It requires us to love those who are difficult to love, and to spend time with imperfect people just like us.

That's not a sales pitch by any stretch. In fact, it would appear as something that should be avoided at all costs. I think that's just what my friends have bumped into over the years. When things got tougher, it was easier to take the broad road. When people didn't act right it was easier to blame them than to make personal adjustments to accomodate. When life got busy it was easier to bump church down on the priority list. When choices had to be made, rather than take a stand it was easier to listen to the secular catch phrases, like
"I don't believe in organized religion"
"shove it down our throats"
"seperation of church and state"
"I'm a spritiual person"
"there are many paths to truth"
"I can be a Christian without going to church"

All lies, slapped on a dusty bible like a bumper sticker, that might look noble and wise, but in fact is a justification for laziness and lack of commitment. It's akin to a New Year's resolution to work out at a gym. It's easy to know what's right. It's easy to make that decision. It's hard to get up a month later at 5AM to hit the gym for an hour when it's snowy and cold out.

My prayer today is that my broken heart for these people will be healed, that they might rediscover the joy of their salvation and return to the cross. If you fall into the above camp I welcome the discussion.

I'm off to mow the lawn. Have a great day.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Comics Jam War

A little trip down Memory Lane for me, to the most FUN experience i've had in my comic-makin' career.

On April Fool's Day 2006 the Megazeen crew participated in a contest called the Comics Jam War. We were sponsored by New Moon Comics in Little Falls NJ, where we set up camp for the day. On hand were Tom Hall (writer), Jesus Marquez (penciler), Keith Betancourt (Inkboy) and me (co-writer, letterer and thumbnails/layouts).

The contest went like this: at noontime the theme of a comic story would be revealed by the contest director. Each team then had twelve hours to produce eight fully rendered black-and-white comic pages.

At noontime sharp, the image of the above comic appeared on the website. That's all we had to go on.

It took about five minutes to agree on what could be happeneing on the splash page, so we could get Jesus penciling away while we banged out the rest of the story. I remember it took him two and a half hours to pencil the first page, leaving Inkboy to do nothing but shop the store during that time, and then another two hours for page two. This is still a pretty respectable pace for anyone to keep - but it left us with a mere 8 hours to do the remaining 6 pages, which had to include all inks and lettering. Yikes.

By the time he finished the remaining page we had literally fifteen minutes to finish it - I grabbed an exacto knife, sliced it in half, and let Inkboy lay inks on the top panel while I fairly mangld the bottom. Then we quickly scanned the last composite page, and I lettered it while the other pages were being emailed one by one at the stroke of midnight.

Out of over 100 contestants, we came in Third and made the collected book. Happily, another Megazeen guy, Ben Avery, took First place, so we represented well.

If you're interested in seeing a VERY funny comic that still cracks me up to this day (if I DO say so myself), I managed to scoop up a small supply of the books and I've got 'em on sale here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pieces Parts

In a fit of insanity two weekends ago I purchased a Rubiks Cube 5x5x5 puzzle. As of Saturday morning, two weeks later, this is where I had gotten to.

It's funny, you know? They say there are like 10 million possible combinations on this puzzle. And out of 10 million combinations, I had brought the puzzle down to a place where, literally, only two pieces needed to be reversed and it would be done. So the puzzle was, let's say, 99.99998% complete.

Not good enough.

I guess this morning I saw that cube as symbolic of my life of late. I've really got it very, very good. A terrific wife, awesome kids, I'm well-fed and well-sheltered. I've got my health and a dog to roughhouse with. I've got a huge collection of Yodas. I'm employed. I've got friends and a brother that call me Sunday night just to see how I'm doing.

And yet... there seem to be pieces out of place right now. And it makes the puzzle of my life maddening, tantalizingly just this side of incorrect.

Maddening I say.

For the record - I solved the cube this afternoon. In yo face.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Dream of Fish

I had a dream last night that my mother and I were standing on a wooden dock. It was dusk and the canal below the dock was a little swampy, and full of fish.

I wished that we had something to feed the fish. Then I thought, hey, if they just think that I have something to feed them I bet they'll come over. So I tapped my foot on the water, and almost right away dozens of fish were gathering around the dock, swishing their tails. I was pleased and impressed with how many fish were there, and all their different colors.

Some even appeared to be jumping out of the water over each other, which I pointed out with delight to my mother. Then I realized the truth - they weren't fish jumping, but rather small alligators, rushing quickly to the surface to gobble up the fish. But the fish remained oblivious, and continued waiting expectantly for a few bread crumbs to be thrown, even as they were being eaten by the baby gators.

One of the fish lept out of the water and I caught it in my hands, but I had no place to put it, other than to throw it back in the water to fend for itself. I even managed to grab one of the gators by the snout to keep it from devouring more fish, but there were so many more gators that I could not control while my hands were full. And there was no advice my mother could give me that could fix the situation.

I suppose that, when people look up to you as their leader, there is a promise implied that you will take care of them. And if you break that promise, they will continue looking to you for help, even as the problems of the world arise to bring them down. And if, as a leader, you've allowed it to get to that point, you're going to have quite a job on your hands fixing things.