Wednesday, December 06, 2006

God With Us

Coincidentally, our return to the Bible Series features the Christmas story. Hm... coincidentally? Or by divine design??? Only God knows for sure, so join us in His blessed plan as we take a look at God With Us.

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wurwolf: I do believe this is Fang's first appearance on a cover. Granted, he's part of a supporting cast and not the starring role, but still.... a cover. That's big time.

Lita: Fang is moving up in the world

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Lita: Hey, it's the return of @!!!**! AND the Mountie that helped frame Joey!

wurwolf: Sadly, the Mountie still hasn't changed his clothes. Does anyone ever change their clothes in these tracts? It's disgusting.

wurwolf: Psst, Mountie! The skateboard wheels go on the bottom!

Lita: Badcat wants the mouse in Mountie's hand.

wurwolf: Why on earth is Mountie holding a mouse?

Lita: Maybe he and Badcat have joined forces.

wurwolf: I like to think that Badcat can do better than that.

Lita: I agree. I think Badcat is just stringing Mountie along.

Lita: Oh, wow. The Mountie's friend has turned his head around 180 degrees in the second panel! He's possessed!

wurwolf: Frightening! But not nearly as frightening as the booger hanging out of his nose.

Lita: Look at those kids answering Bob's request for them to watch their mouths with a swear. I'm thrilled to report that I get better reactions from kids when I ask them to can the potty talk.

Lita: Of course, I usually have the power to get them in trouble.

wurwolf: Bob's just that old grouch who lives down the block. They should have yelled, "Go to bed, old man!" and run away.

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Lita: Are these kids hanging out on his front porch?

wurwolf: I would think so, because it looks like Helen's slapping some dogs on the grill. Unless that's not Helen and they're all trespassing on some other neighbor's property.

wurwolf: Frankly, I'm glad to see Helen's adequately covered up. Good to know she's not a hussy with her boobs hanging out.

Lita: Where are they saying the name of the Lord in vain?

Lita: Because unless @!!!**! is standing in for "Christ," I don't see it.

wurwolf: Hm... I'm going to say it's not, because then they would be saying, "That's none of your Jesus Christ business!" and "What's your Jesus Christ problem?"

wurwolf: Because we all know that Bob has got a serious Jesus Christ problem.

Lita: Bob wants us to believe that the kids said "Jesus Christ." Show, don't tell, Bob.

Lita: Helen is just keeping her mouth shut and doing the cooking, like a good woman. And as soon as the cooking is done, it's time for her to go back home where she belongs.

wurwolf: I think she's the kind of woman who chooses her battles wisely, though. Looks like she gave Bob quite a shiner there.

Lita: Something tells me he asked for it. I mean really asked for it.

wurwolf: Oh.... are you saying Bob's a masochist in the bedroom?

Lita: He's been a bad bad sinner.

wurwolf: If I'm ever in Bob's house I'm going to poke around for a ball gag.

Lita: If I'm ever in Bob's house I'm going to poke around for an escape route. But you have fun looking for the torture dungeon in his basement.

Lita: Badcat recognizes that this is a bad scene and is making an escape.

wurwolf: I don't blame him one bit.

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Lita: So who do you think will get that bird first? Fang, the skateboarder, or Badcat?

wurwolf: It's hard to tell, but it's clearly going to be Fang or the skateboarder. I love how out of perspective that scene is. It's like the artist just pasted stickers on a background.

wurwolf: Clearly, multiple piercings = unrepentant sinner.

Lita: I've never even had my ears pierced. What does that make me?

Lita: Other than a wuss.

wurwolf: Pretty much just a wuss.

Lita: Doh.

wurwolf: Bob and his wife are saying goodbye, but the kids are taking up the conversation about Jesus and running with it. Yeah. That's realistic.

Lita: As realistic as the notion that one of them has never even heard Jesus's name, but still uses it in vain regularly.

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Lita: I guess we're at a skate park. What the hell is Bob doing at a skate park? And why is he so surprised to find bad language there?

wurwolf: He's one of those annoying people who, when they're out in public, insist that everyone around them conform to their standards.

Lita: Check the Statue of Liberty working on her moves down in the corner there.

wurwolf: I think the Statue of Liberty is just dancing. I don't think she's skateboarding.

Lita: I enjoy the accurate portrayal of skaters here. Looks like half of them are falling off their boards at any given time. That pretty much matches what I've observed when I see skaters around.

wurwolf: I like the one flying through the air. Did he just jump from an airplane?

Lita: I think he's the one Fang was barking at in the other panel. He's getting some serious hangtime!

wurwolf: Dude!

Lita: I'm vaguely surprised Bob isn't flipping out over that kid calling the Baby Jesus a little dude.

wurwolf: It's just the kind of thing that would send Bob off on a tangent.

Lita: I'm torn about these kids having nothing better to do than listen to Bob witness. On the one hand, they probably don't. On the other hand, they'd probably still find something more interesting than talking to Bob. On the other hand, teens have a high tolerance for listening to people spew religion at them. On the other hand, these are usually teens who are kind of religious already anyway.

Lita: I'm assuming you're lending me a couple of hands here.

wurwolf: Do all kids talk like gangsters from the Prohibition era?

Lita: I think if they were going to accept his request to talk to them about Jesus, they'd be more likely to lean back in their seat, kind of half shrug, and say, "Whatever." They might add a "dude" to the end for effect.

wurwolf: I have to agree with you. Teens of this caliber would have no interest in someone who is clearly as square as Bob telling them about Jesus. If they didn't have anything better to do, they'd sit there until he was done and then wander off.

Lita: There's a chance they'd put up with it if they really didn't have anything else to do with their time, but they wouldn't act interested. And these kids are at a skate park. They have skateboards and everything. OF COURSE they have more interesting things to do!

wurwolf: Hell, there's a kid flying through the air over there! That's a billion times more interesting than Bob and his story about Jesus!

Lita: The writers should have had Bob hiring them to rake his leaves or something. Then again, we know that Bob likes to rake his own leaves.

wurwolf: They just wanted to make Bob look like he hangs out with the hip crowd.

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wurwolf: "What I am about to tell you will blow you away." Bob better be careful. That sounds like drug talk to me.

wurwolf: God looks like one of those cool fiber optic lamps they sell in Spencer's Gifts.

Lita: He looks like a birds-eye-view of Sailor Moon's head.

wurwolf: Or maybe a chrysanthemum.

Lita: Or a water molecule.

wurwolf: Or the inside of a feather duster.

Lita: These kids have undoubtedly been taught about the big bang and evolution their whole lives, yet they accept the 6 days thing without question.

Lita: Then again, they probably weren't paying tons of attention in school.

Lita: "God the son is really awesome. He's totally tubular and radical, dudes. He's the bomb."

wurwolf: These kids are really dumb. Can they not see where Bob is going with all of this?

Lita: How do they not know Jesus' name? Bob started this whole conversation because of their alleged incorrect usage of His name.

Lita: They don't even get names. They're just The Mountie and The Mountie's Friend.

wurwolf: Come on, you know as well as I do that their names are Timmy and Tommy.

Lita: Which one's Tommy? Aw, never mind. It's not like it matters.

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Lita: They're so mortified that they accidentally might have said "Jesus Christ."

wurwolf: If the author had any balls he would have had them say @!!!**! instead of OOPS!

wurwolf: I don't blame Jesus for hating it when people mess with His name. I know I get annoyed when I hear about famous people with my name.

Lita: It bugs me when people misspell my name. Or if they have the same name as me, but it's spelled differently.

Lita: The Mountie has gone from 45 to 12, all the sudden.

wurwolf: Mountie looks like he got caught playing dress-up in his mommy's clothes.

Lita: Bob will talk to him about that later.

wurwolf: We'll be addressing that in Bible Series #316, entitled "Your Granny's a Tranny".

Lita: Maybe if he has time he'll be able to shoehorn in a warning that it's not nice to plant guns on elderly idiots, but he is a busy man.

wurwolf: Mountie had his chance to receive that warning in Framed.

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Lita: "What's the Old Testament?" Ha ha! Kids are morons!

Lita: Hey, look! Badcat is playing on the slide! How fun!

wurwolf: Wheee! Good times, Badcat!

Lita: And the bird gets to ride a triceratops! Just like in our Noah's Ark tract!

wurwolf: Wow, a blast from the past!

Lita: The skate part is completely deserted. All the other skaters saw Bob and, wisely, fled.

wurwolf: It's telling that the only two to stick around are far below average intelligence.

wurwolf: Mountie suddenly looks like he was drawn by Mary Englebreit.

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Lita: Apparently even before Jesus... There were Raider fans.

wurwolf: It's like an amalgamation of all of the evil-doers from previous tracts.

wurwolf: I had no idea the evil-doers of Noah's time were death metal rockers.

wurwolf: Oh, and Mr. T.

Lita: And God drowns Godzilla. He was angry that Godzilla was taking His name in vain.

wurwolf: God wasn't just angry, Lita. He was boiling mad!

wurwolf: Between flying and being a turtle, Gamera totally sailed through the flood.

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wurwolf: Badcat's peering around the wall, as if he's wondering if they're still listening to Bob yammer on.

Lita: God created Adam and Eve! Not Adam and STEVE!!!! Oh, wurwolf! That Bob! He's such a card! My side! My side!

wurwolf: Wow, did Bob just make that up?! He's so quick on his feet!

Lita: Sorry, all you Steves out there. It would appear that God did not create you. I don't know where you bastards came from.

wurwolf: That's why everyone's named Timmy and Tommy in these tracts. No Steves here.

Lita: I'm looking up the list of verses Bob just cited.

Lita: Jude 7 tells us not to go after strange flesh like they did in Sodom and Gomorrah. That could be a reference to homosexuality. But let us remember that Sodom and Gomorrah was full of rapists, too.

Lita: Let us skip Leviticus. I don't doubt that the verses are anti-homosexuality, but anybody who cares to look at it will know that it's FULL of rules that nobody pays attention to anymore, including hardcore Christians.

Lita: Deuteronomy 23:17 does forbid sodomites in the original King James. The New American Standard says "cult prostitute." I should also note that this one verse is out of context. The entire passage is just telling us who is excluded from the assembly of the Lord. Among those excluded: eunuchs, illegitimate children, Ammonites and Moabites, and men suffering from nocturnal emissions. This chapter also includes instructions on how to poop in a hole outside of camp instead of just spreading your crap around where people have to smell it in camp.

Lita: Romans 1:27 I'll give him.

Lita: 1 Corinthians 6:8-10 I'll give him too, though I should point out that homosexuality appears as part of a list of sins. You'd be hard pressed to find anybody who has never committed any of the acts on the list, which includes covetousness and drunkenness.

Lita: Colossians 3:5,6 refers to not setting too much focus on sexual immorality in general. It doesn't focus on homosexuality in particular.

Lita: 1 Timothy, weirdly, doesn't mention homosexuality (at least not in a way that I could identify it) in the King James, but does in the New American Standard. But that, too, comes as part of a list of evil deeds where most people have committed something on the list. Maybe not killing your parents so much (unless you're a Menendez), but who has never lied or rebelled or sinned or done something "contrary to sound teaching"?

Lita: In short, yes there are a couple of verses in the bible that say homosexuality is a sin. But not to the point where it seems rational for people to go on the huge anti-gay crusades we see going on. The bible doesn't focus on homosexuality near as much as it focuses on other more terrible sins like, say, making life difficult for other people just because you think they're sinners.

wurwolf: Whoa.

wurwolf: No wonder you took so long.

Lita: Lots of verses.

wurwolf: Hm. Good point, though. Why not just go on an anti-liar crusade? Or an anti-adultery crusade?

Lita: Let's start refusing to hire people because they're Moabites or on their periods.

wurwolf: That also leaves out every teenage boy who's had a wet dream

Lita: Sorry, boys!

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wurwolf: And here we have a shot of Steve with a meteor blasting through his chest.

Lita: Poor Steve even has a gay little goatee.

wurwolf: Man, I know Chick tracts loves the gore, but this just seems so wrong: "Jesus sent fire bombs from heaven and fried their bodies." It's almost like they can barely contain their glee.

Lita: How does Bob know what gay sex smells like?

wurwolf: Evidently Bob has spent some time in gay clubs.

wurwolf: For crying out loud: "Then our teachers were lying to us, right? " "Oh yes..." Is Bob not going to take responsibility for his actions? He should be locked up. If my kids were being witnessed to in this manner by some middle-aged dude in the park? I'd be calling the cops.

Lita: Teachers are in big trouble with God for wanting kids to put a lid on the gay bashing. You know who I think is in big trouble with God? I think some day there are going to be quite a lot of Christians who are going to have to answer to God and explain why they felt like it would be a good idea to push 1 in every 10 men away from Jesus. To spit on them and say, "God doesn't want your kind."

wurwolf: I agree. And those kind of Christians should not only be accountable for their treatment of those individuals, but to every impressionable person around them who, because of their actions, believes that this is how you should treat other people.

Lita: "Your sins are worse than my sins, and Jesus hates you." You know why teachers teach kids that being gay is ok? Because we're tired of kids making other kids' lives a living hell because that kid is (or is suspected of being) gay.

Lita: It's not a good thing when gays are abused, tortured, and murdered by so-called Christians in Jesus's name. THAT is taking the Lord's name in vain. And those crimes actually happen, unlike that bullshit homo-on-Christian beating that was portrayed in Sin City.

wurwolf: Amen.

wurwolf: Now Bob's going to give us the Ten Commandments so the youth of today will understand it. He's so street!

Lita: He's also so boring!

Lita skips ahead a little

wurwolf: Same here.

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Lita: Wow. I don't want strange men who hang around the skate park asking my kids if they know what a virgin is.

wurwolf: I really don't either. This is really skeeving me out.

wurwolf: Ew. Really. I'm feeling like I'm about to puke when I read Bob's definition of a virgin.

wurwolf: I mean, look at his face.... and look at his words.... Excuse me.

wurwolf: **BLURGH!**

wurwolf: Oh god.... I have to move on....

Lita skips ahead some more

wurwolf: As does wurwolf.

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wurwolf: I like the Star of Bethlehem here. It looks like they left the grail beacon on.

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wurwolf: Jesus was a really tall two-year old.

wurwolf: The wise men did not worship Mary! Catholics, take note!

Lita: Bob: Remember, kids, Catholics suxxors!

wurwolf: Because Bob's street like that.

wurwolf: I don't like how the Christmas story is getting the short end of the stick in this tract so they can get in more digs at homosexuals and Catholics. And evolutionists.

Lita: Bashing people who are different than you: That's the true meaning of Christmas!

wurwolf: Even in silhouette, they show Jesus' blood dripping off the cross.

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Lita: Mountie still has that mouse in his pocket!

wurwolf: I'm having a really hard time figuring this picture out. It's like they pulled the camera in too close.

Lita: They zoomed the camera in between the two boys so we can get a good shot of... empty space?

wurwolf: Exactly. It doesn't make any sense.

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Lita: I guess we should be thankful that we don't have to look at the lumpy butts of these children.

Lita: Aww! I want a mouse to hug me!

wurwolf: Mouse hearts Mountie!

Lita: Actually, I guess technically that thing is a rat. It's big and has a long tail. I still want a hug, though.

wurwolf: Now that Mountie has accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior, he looks like a woman.

Lita: Don't be silly. One of those verses Bob gave us back there said it was a sin to be effeminate.

wurwolf: Then Bob might want to warn him about the perils of wearing lipstick.

(All the comic panels are copyright Chick Publications 2002 and the images were used according to Fair Use laws in the US.)


PM said...

I gotta say, reading through this tract gives me the impression that it was kind of slapped together. Bob wasn't up to his usual level of condescending rhetoric. He even trotted out the old "God didn't make Adam and Steve" line! Plus, this tract was missing a lot of classic Chick Tract staples: no lumpy butt shots (not that I'm complaining about that, mind you), they didn't pad the tract with an extra two or four stock footage panels about Judgement Day, heck, they didn't even bother to name the kids! It simply fails on every significant level. It's like Jack totally phoned in this tract!

You'd think they would put at least a miniscule amount of effort in the tract about the birth of Christ. After all, the birth of Christ is all about the joy, wonder, and promise of God incarnating. Eternal God made flesh, in order to redeem humanity! But I guess that doesn't fit the usual Chick Tract mold of bashing gays, Catholics, or people who read bibles other than the King James Version. Not enough doom in it! Oh yeah, and there wasn't any witchcraft or rock music, either. That means that they couldn't use a lot of their usual material in this tract, and when they forced some of the usual in it seemed just that: forced.

no springs said...

The kids say "Hey you're over our heads, what's this Old Testament thing?", meanwhile they had no trouble grasping the concept of the holy trinity.

Also among Earth's first citizens: King Diamond and Aaliyah, Queen of the Damned!

I love the many examples of Bob "rapping" to the kids on their level, using their language. "God the son is really AWESOME!", "God puts it down BIG TIME". But I think the one I like best is the most subtle: "If you want to live long, God says you gotta honor your mother and father." Somehow, "gotta" doesn't sound like something Bob would say. He's too proper. So he not only uses youthful expressions to relate, but he dumbs down his grammer.

Now that they're saved, does that mean they'll lose the bad hat, pony tail, and piercings?

Another winner, ladies. God bless us, every one!

wurwolf said...

This tract bothered me as well. Before we started and after a brief perusal I saw that it featured the Christmas story, which is very appropriate for this time of year. I was really disappointed, after going over this tract with Lita, to see that (as you said, PM) the beauty of the Christmas story was glossed over in favor of more homophobic, creationistic and anti-Catholic propaganda. They had every opportunity to show people how wonderful this basic tentet of Christian faith is: that God the Son took the form of one of us, in a way we could understand, to redeem all mankind from ourselves and our sins, and to crush the head of death once and for all. He did so in a perfect and holy way, and in a way that requires you to accept it in complete faith. Virgin birth? Oh sure, like people of the time didn't think Mary was a complete slut for getting pregnant before she was married. Jesus as God? How many crackpots do you hear about claiming to be God? It's a story we lose all too easily in our commercialized version of Christmas, and you would think that an evangelical Christian publication, most of all, would bring the true story of Christmas to light. Nope. Let's go string up some gays!

I think this tract is a larger metaphor, or stand in, for the problem with Chick tracts and the fundamentalist world in general. Instead of concentrating of sharing the beauty, joy and faith of Christianity, they focus on the wrong things. Somehow, it's telling of the Chick philosophy that there are more tracts concentrating on Halloween than on Christmas and Easter combined. Jesus' teachings at their core are revolutionary, yet loving. I can't imagine Jesus flippantly saying, "Yeah, I sent some fire bombs from heaven and fried their bodies" the way they did here in this tract. Jesus had a lot of hard core sinners for friends, and they all seemed to be people He genuinely respected and liked. He sure didn't have a lot of time for judgmental people. I think that's the example I'd like to follow, rather than the skeevy man in the park who asks teenage boys if they know what a virgin is.

Tork_110 said...

I've leraned so much from this. Thank u!

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Lita said...

Tork, spammers go to hell. Don't make me trashcan you.

melissawilcox1 said...

Runs in EXTREMELY late to the party:

Regarding Jesus and fire bombing:

You know who was into the' burning people he didn't agree with to death' thing? Elijah. It was kind of his go-to. And while I acknowledge it was probably annoying to deal with a whole kingdom of fallen away heretical Baal worshippers (who keep trying to kill you) all by your lonesome...burning up 100 dudes seems excessive (2 Kings 1:9-16).

Anyway, moving on from Old Testament justice, in Luke Chapter 9 Jesus encounters a Samaritan village. Now the Samaritans at the time were not well-liked by Jews or vice-versa.

Samaritans were actually the closest you could get at that time to the Baal worshiping fall aways of the Northern Kingdom Israel (aka Samaria, as in "the golden calf of Samaria" Hosea 8:6) that Elijah hated so much. Around 720BC the northern kingdom got wiped out by the Neo-Assyrians and exiled (the Lost Tribes), thus ending the centuries-long competition between Israel and Judah about "whose holy cities and priests were actually the holiest". By the time of Jesus, what with the exile and being lost and all, Judah's holiest city Jerusalem had pretty much won top spot. So when Jesus told this village of Samaritans where he was headed they didn't want to let him in.

So James and John were like, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?”

Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village. (Luke 9: 54-56 NABRE)

Now Luke doesn't tell us what form the rebuke took, but I'd like to think it sounded like, "What's wrong with you? No, we will not fire bomb them for not wanting to talk to us. We're just gonna walk to the next town, geez."

Elijah demonstrated the justice and might of God when he called down divine fire. But Jesus demonstrated the mercy and compassion of God when he refused to let James and John do the same. Jesus is an awesome dude that way.