For Christians Missions Cartoon Posted May 11, 2023

Don't you know that you are a shooting star?

One of my biggest inspirations growing up was a guy named Adam Ford and his "curiously Christian" webcomics. I was floored by his artistic talents and his ability to make any controversial topic simple to understand from a Biblical sense. I still re-read his stuff on occasion, and his insight has definitely helped me get through seminary.

He's long since moved on to other things, like creating the Christian satire news site -- The Babylon Bee. It's a great site, not only because it exposes those who only read the headlines at face value ( arches eyebrow toward the elderly ) but it openly mocks the outlandishly biased mainstream news outlets and often does them one better.

But I started noticing a shift in "soul" in Ford's approach when he formed The Christian Daily Reporter, a news aggregator website that featured articles that Christians should care about. It was still a neat idea and it saved me loads of time by getting straight to the good stuff. Then he found Disrn, a site that basically took the news and put some kind of Christian-ese spin on it. That was fine, I suppose. But that in turn was folded into the site Not The Bee, a site that exists to point out how unhinged this sick reality has become.

I'm not alone on missing the old Adam Ford. Lots of people miss Adam Ford. It's become such a meme that even Adam Ford misses Adam Ford. And I hope for the day when he does return to creating inspirational content. It would set a precedent for many other Christians who have fallen into the outrage porn trap... where it's sole purpose is benefitting from getting the user to click full stop.

For the longest time, Christians have known for being original -- even if it meant taking previously used ideas, slapping Jesus on it, and trying to sell it to other Christians ( especially within the music scene ). But now we have largely fallen into this YouTube drama cycle circa 2016 where every piece of content they produce is "my response to [X]" or "the real truth about [Y]." We have largely gone from producing wholesome fruit and planting seeds for change, to pointing out and poking fun at repulsive things, to cashing in on having those repulsive things pointing out and poking fun at us. I wouldn't have even known about the latest Grammy Awards happening, much less the controversies surrounding it, if all these conservative news outlets hadn't overreacted the way they did. You have guys like Tucker Carlson pretending to be mad about M&M mascots and whatnot, and all these of brands end up getting coverage beyond their wildest dreams. Many of us are being played here and we need to stop falling for these obvious provocations. More importantly, we need to destroy this ever-growing clickbait beast.

How do we do that? By creating. Creating anything that is sustenance for the soul. Creating anything that helps makes important truths connect with people's minds. Creating anything that conveys all sorts of emotion, history, and purpose that makes the audience look upon the artist's work with wonder. Complaining does nothing for those who aren't already enrolled in the reaction-based pyramid scheme. Creating requires work, but it's more than worth it to see your audience spending time with what you have produced... especially if they become challenged or excited from their experience. Creating builds better culture. Creating is one of the most rhetorical tools there is.

"But I'm not an artist!"

You don't have to be; It can be as simple as taking something that already exists and adding your own talent or twist to it, like Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham as narrated by Dustin "The Rain Man" Hoffman. Winnie The Pooh is a public domain character now, and somebody has already made a horror film adaptation about him. My point is... we ought to consume the art of this world so that we can produce art of our own. It's very much possible to be influenced by the things of this world while still setting ourselves apart from it.

"But music and movies and games are all childish!"

There's a reason we are losing the culture war: Many of us are outright refusing to participate in it. I'm still hearing these stubborn stegosauruses out there dismissing rock as the devil's music while failing to recognize Christian rock as being a great alternative. Same thing applies to video games are how they're apparently all violent. Also, children apparently shouldn't use the internet. You see, dismissing anything that can lead to Kingdom growth is in itself childish and points to deep-seeded insecurities that should be far more embarrassing to oneself than a grown man watching Star Wars. In the words of C.S. Lewis, "When I became a man, I put away childish things... including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."

"But it doesn't matter... the end of the world is here!"

No, it's not. A quick glance of the Bible reveals that a specific sequence of events needs to happen, including the Temple being rebuilt in Jerusalem ( currently it is rubble ). There's tons of verses about how God is control, and that nothing can accelerate or decelerate His design. We should stop worrying about what we can't change and focus on what we can. We're clearly meant to be doers of the Word. We're clearly meant to show a little faith here. What you create could very well set the whole world ablaze. Or it may only impact your next door neighbor. In any case, any results that happen from God are good results.

Or, as my boy Adam would say...

"Results are God's business. Obedience is ours."