Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I Think God Wants Us To Run

Lucy: Uh, guys -- maybe we should pray, you know. Like, ask God what we should do?
Jake: I know you're out there! Throw out the nerd and you girls can go!
Mouse: I think God wants us to run.
- Welcome To Holsom #1
by Craig W. Schutt and Steven Butler

Be warned, this is from a "Christian" comic book. I know, I'm shocked as well. Anyone that has read my thesis (no one) or listened to a presentation about my thesis (actually quite a few people) is aware of my disdain for such things. I'll get into this in a later post, but the gist is that the concept of my thesis gave my mother the idea to use comic books in her Sunday school class and she passed the issues on to me. I indulged her and gave them a read.

You guys, I didn't hate them!

That may seem mean spirited, but coming from me it's a rounding endorsement. While talk about God and faith in these books does get cheesy and feel a tad forced, it's rounded out with humor, quips, and focus on an actual story.

This excerpt offers a quick example of this. Lucy, "Mouse," and Shelby are on the run from some bullies. Lucy suggests they should stop and pray. Mouse suggests they run. And forgive me, but I actually find it rather funny. I especially like the execution with the last two identical, decompressed panels. It's the unique use of panels and the gutter that allows graphic literature to provide such comedic timing.

Okay, I'm being too positive here. I'm usually much more sarcastic. Maybe my previous experience with "Christian" entertainment has brought my expectations so low that I'm incredibly impressed by a decent product.

Anyway, this also brings up the issue of prayer and practicality. Sure, we're always urged by the dude behind the pulpit to pray more. But who stops when they're being chased and prays? Can't one run and pray at the same time? Or would the running impair the belief that God will actually save you?

This reminds me of that old story that was wonderfully recounted once on an episode of The West Wing. A flood comes, and instead of evacuating his house, a man stays and prays for God to save him. Shortly after, a large truck drives by through the rising water. The driver calls out to the man, "Come on, I'll take you to safety!" But the man refuses, saying God will save him.

The water continues to rise and soon a boat approaches the man's house. The person in the boat calls out, "Get in the boat, I'll take you to safety!" But again the man refuses, insisting that God will save him.

The water still rises and the man finds himself on the roof of his house. A helicopter nears and a rope ladder is thrown down to the man. The pilot calls out, "Climb aboard, I'll take you to safety!" But once more the man refuses and says that God will surely save him.

The water continues to rise and the man is swept away and drowns. He goes to Heaven and the first thing he does is approach God. "Why didn't you save me?" the man asks, quite upset that he was allowed to die. "I prayed for you to save me! Why didn't you?"

God looks at the man and replies, "I sent you a truck, a boat, and a helicopter. What more did you want?"

When we ask God to help us, do we expect a grand display of the supernatural? Will we only be satisfied if we get such a display? That would be unfortunate. It seems that, quite often, God works in the most mundane ways.

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