Monday, November 10, 2008

never a doubt in my mind...


my dear, dear friend, walt, 'e'd me the other day to let me know where i could find--and steal--the series of church sign photos i was talking about the other day.
and so here they are.

...along with my little diatribe on a little of what i believe.
i wrote this last week--in the moment--and, as i read it over today i realize that there may be one or two of you out there who might take some small offense in what i say here. if so, please, my apologies. all i'm saying here is that there are a few matters where my own personal beliefs deviate a bit from the traditional dogma (no pun intended.)


there was never a doubt in my mind...

as a kid, i was a happy little sunday school/church goer. i had lots of friends there--alison being one of my closest--and we would sing and play and sit through the sermon together, writing notes to each other and sharing whatever candy we got between sunday school and church up the block at the corner store. it was a fun time and a wonderful time.

but i had learned at a very early age, maybe when i was about 9 or 10, that i didn't believe all of it and that i could still be right with God believing the things that I wanted to believe that might actually go against the tenets that all these older people were so sternly whipping around. when i was about 9, as i said, our family dog, sniffy, passed away and my mom told me that i'd see her again in heaven. at church the following sunday, i was abruptly corrected by one of the respected elders of the church telling me that animals do not possess souls and so they do not go to heaven. i told him, rather sharply i guess, that he could go straight to hell, and decided that these guys really couldn't be trusted interpreting the word of God. (i was usually a rather shy and well-behaved kid, so you can imagine how this went over.) that was the first day i realized that, when it comes to all of that, i was pretty much on my own.

(just as an addendum: my next go-to with these nay-sayers was a few years later when my enthusiasm for bigfoot had me dropping the term "missing link" in just about all of my conversations. here, i was smartly corrected and told that there could be no "missing link" as God created man from the clay in his image. humbled and defeated, i slunk away...but was surreptitiously grabbed and pulled into a nearby doorway by yet another one of the consistory and told that HE believed in both--that if you widened your mind a little, evolution and creationism can really be the same story! i was set free!)

anyway, i never had any doubt. i KNOW that i'll be chillin' with jake--and my other two 'kids', hank and gretchen--in the afterlife. and mike. and my mom. and that we're gonna be able to fly.


trying to plan ahead this year (and this never works for me...), i started thinking about ideas for this year's christmas card. not that i am any kind of artist, but i did promise that, now that i have a cool scanner, i would share my homemade cards from the past, like, 15 years or so as the holidays approach. this weekend i went up and dug out my old portfolio, dusted off the pile of junk that was in there and got the cards in order.
i also found this, done way back in 1994, when i was still working on my first ever professional comic book for marvel, x-factor. i was a huge x-factor--and especially, strong guy--fan way before i got the gig and was ecstatic when i learned that I would be the one chronicling their adventures!! actually, ecstatic doesn't cover it.
i had fast become friends with my editor, the lovely and talented, kelly corvese, and remember doing this up as a birthday card. i think he liked it.


and here are the
answers to the
"five for friday"

1. which kellogg's character wears a baker's hat?


2. what was the name of the captain of the mayflower?

christopher jones

3. what famous horror magazine, abbreviated FM, was published by forrest j ackerman from 1957 to 1983?

famous monsters (of filmland)

4. who played the bizarre method actor, max schreck, in the 2000 film, shadow of the vampire?

willem dafoe

5. some classic rock trivia--

a. who was "born in a cross-fire hurricane?"

jumping jack flash

b. "woke last night to the sound of thunder,
how far off i sat and wondered,
started hummin' a song from 1962..."

night moves by bob segar

c. the band lynyrd skynyrd was named after who?

the boys' high school gym teacher, leonard skinnerd

d. "with this very unpleasing sneezing and wheezing the calliope crashed to the ground."

blinded by the light by manfred mann's earth band
written by bruce springsteen

e. "And I'll lie too and say I don't mind
And as we seek so shall we find
And when you're feeling open I'll still be here
But not without a certain degree of fear
Of what will be with you and me
I still can see things hopefully"

run-around by blues traveler

smell ya later!


Brian said...

I like the exchange, but tend to think that it is the product of photoshop more than a priest with a sense of humor and a minister without one.

Personally, I believe and anyone who had ever really looked into the eyes of one of our furry little friends would believe too.

Warren said...

As far as faith goes, I've come to the conclusion that the inner dialogue you have with whoever you believe (even if it's a belief in yourself) in is more important than all the sermons/teachings you'll every hear.

Loved the church signs. That was indeed the awesome.

renecarol said...

I love the signs Todd.. I had NOT gotten the email. So thanks for sharing.

~ Wendy ~ said...

Love the signs!! I love it when I hear about churches with a sense of humour!! That might even be a church I would check out...

if I still checked out churches. - I tend to go out early in the morning or late at night and sit on my deck and *talk* ...

~ Wendy ~ said...

PS and.. dog spelled backwards is GOD!

Matt Wieringo said...

I thought they were hysterical as did many of my co-workers. In a fit of Kramer-like inspiration, I once thought it would be a great idea to do a coffee table book with photos of actual church signs because I've seen some truly great ones. It's like an Internet meme. But then I thought it would be a little hypocritical of me and dropped it. Plus I'm lazy.

Randy said...

About the signs, funny yes, but judging by the unchanging background, cars on the street, etc., it would have to be the product of a whimsical mind and photoshop... and not that of a couple of preachers having a go at one another. Good humor though!

As I was typing this just now it came to my mind that the above, about the church signs, is an interesting allusion to the fact that things are not always as they seem. It's easy to be mislead if we except things at face value and don't "look closely" at the cars in the background. ha.

Anyway, I took more joy from reading your post at the part about sunday school and how much you enjoyed it. In Luke 18: 17 Jesus says, "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein." I see the young children at my church and their innocence and faith, non-judging, it's really cool and I try to be like them. I'm sorry that some people ruined that fellowship for you. Keep looking!

~ Wendy ~ said...

Matt ~ I remembered seeing a book about Church signs and I did a search on Amazon - there are quite a few now out there.. see it WAS a good idea!!

Heywood Jablomie said...

I thought these were hilarious, even if they were photoshopped. Keeping things short I tend to believe along the same lines as yourself. I was a wee lad when I had my own epiphany on things.

I love the Strong Guy! Can't wait to see more of these!!

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M.O.R said...

I'm a bit late to the game, but I believe similar things as you. That said, if you are in anyway a pet or animal lover, do not watch 'All Dogs Go to Heaven'. Not only is the film, by itself, very sad, but the story behind, and the making of it, makes it all the more tragic.