This post kind of metastasized. I’m frustrated about the lack of other progressive Christians in comics which lead me to ask: what the hell do I believe, anyway?
1.) I believe in a single God, composed of three persons. I just totally mangled the idea of the Trinity, which I completely do not understand, but I want to convey that I believe in it. After decades of wrestling with doubt about things that don’t really make much difference in real life, I’ve decided that I’m just going to believe all the standard Christian Supernatural stuff unless there’s a compelling scientific, political or moral reason to question it.
2.) I believe that God became a human being, in order to help us. He taught some very important things, and was executed for being a political agitator. He rose from the dead, like, 48 hours later. Tradition is 3 days, but that seems to mean “over the course of three days”, since he went down Friday Night and was back up by Sunday Morning.
I’ve had weekends like that.
3.) I believe that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection helps humans be closer to God. There are lots of theories about how this works. Some I hate — like, all forms of substitutionary atonement, especially penal substitution. Some, like moral influence theory, I like a bit better. I certainly couldn’t tell you which, if any of them, was actually true.
4.) I don’t really care about the afterlife. Getting to go to Heaven when you die seems to be the main point for most Christians. Myself, I find the idea of dying and waking up in another universe where stuff like this goes on utterly pants shittingly terrifying and I’d rather do anything else. Except go to Hell, which I imagine must be even worse.
Conversely, while I have what I consider an ordinate and rational fear of dying (which sounds scary and painful), the prospect of simply not existing any more doesn’t sound so bad. It’s not like I’m going to miss me when I’m gone.
And, of course, I would never dream of telling anybody what’s going to happen to them in the afterlife. You can’t know that stuff.
5.) I do, however, deeply crave the presence of God. Like, agonizingly. And I’m learning to listen for it, too. A couple of times I’ve had the presence of something vast and loving and definitely not me enter my head from outside, with lasting, even lifelong, repercussions. A lot of times I feel things that might be God, and might be my own intuition. It’s really hard to tell, and frankly I think I’m crazy, but my therapist and psychiatrist refuse to diagnose me as schizophrenic, so there you go.
I mean, perspective, too. If we take Philip K. Dick’s VALIS incident as, say, a 10, my strongest experience was maybe a 1. Certainly I’ve never written a word of Koine Greek. I can barely write English. But it’s still the kind of thing where I’d have to be really dismissive of some pretty profound experiences if I wanted to not believe in God.
6.) I believe the fundamental law of life and human behavior is compassion. I favor anything that promotes compassion, and oppose anything that promotes callousness and selfishness. I do consider the teachings of Christ especially, but not uniquely, effective in learning to live compassionately.
That’s it, I think. I might write more about how that relates to my art later, but maybe not. Words (at least the ones written outside of dialogue bubbles) are hard.
I tend to have movies on while I draw. Usually terrible horror movies. But not always. Some highlights:
The Barricade (2012) — Asshole psychiatrist and terrible dad hits a wolf with his car, and leaves it to die cold and alone in the woods. No one cares. There’s something about a haunted house in there, too, but I couldn’t stop thinking about that poor wolf. They’re an endangered species, you know!
American Psycho (2000) — A sexy, refined Christian Bale welcomes a variety of guests into his home and shares his love of 80s pop music with them. A cat is almost, but not actually, inserted into an ATM.
Movies that Didn’t Suck
The Machinist (2004) — A dark, brutal meditation on guilt, featuring scary power tools and a wicked haunted house sequence. Christian Bale is less sexy than usual, but still really good.
The Babadook (2014) — Children’s books are creepy, parenting is hard, and depression has big sharp claws and won’t leave your basement. Brilliant.
Actually honestly American Psycho didn’t suck either, but it was pretty ridiculous, especially when it gets all mind-fucky at the end.
That’s all. You can go, now.
I have a new interview up on Sacred and Sequential. Go over and read it, if you want to learn about my train wreck of a faith, and how it influences my comics.
I only have the Road story chunk and associated materials left to repost — there’s a lot of it; 80 or so pages of road trip, plus some filler and associated stories. I might draw it out a little, though — it’s be nice to have a whole new storyline ready to post right after the old stuff is all up, and I’m not ready for that yet.
When I do start doing new stuff, I’m not going to do weekly updates — I’m going to post in large chunks. Maybe 4 or more pages a month; maybe a chapter at a time; maybe I’ll just post a whole story chunk all at once when it’s done. I’m not sure yet. Whatever makes me most happy, honestly. Hopefully whatever I choose will make you happy, too.
This is going to take a little while.