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We all have a spiritual journey. This is where I will talk about my own and what I am learning.

The Agenda of Storytelling.

The Agenda of Storytelling. published on 7 Comments on The Agenda of Storytelling.

In my last post I quoted a great comment from one of my readers and I’ll quote it again here:

I’m really interested in seeing where this comic goes, knowing that it’s so faith-based. I’m an atheist, I always have been and it’s always been really important to me, and I’ve been trying not to be afraid of letting that shine through in my stories as well. To me it’s not a matter of trying to persuade other people or work some agenda as much as express how I see the world, and it sounds like Sithrah is the same kind of thing? I really hope so. Either way, thanks for being brave enough to discuss your faith in a shameless way, I really look forward to seeing things from your perspective through the storytelling. Good luck!

Again, I think this is an excellent example of being able to have tough conversations in a super respectful way. It also really got me thinking about what I was doing with Sithrah and agendas in comics and stories as a whole. So I’m going to try to answer these questions as honestly as I can. Here they are:

  • Do I Have an Agenda with Sithrah?
  • Am I trying to persuade people somehow?
  • Or am I just trying to express how I see the world?

After thinking on this for a while I came to some conclusions which I’ll try to answer one at a time. So first of all–

Do I have an Agenda with Sithrah?

The simple answer is yes. My agenda is to write and draw a beautiful story that inspires people to think about God and the invisible spiritual battle that is happening all around us for our souls. My agenda is to expose the deceptions of the Devil in the form of a story. Jesus himself told many stories that we call parables. They were intended to be heard by the masses but only understood by those who searched for the answers. My agenda is to say, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.” – John 4:29 (Sorry, this will only make sense if you know the story) ;)

So, is this wrong to have an agenda in what we do? In my opinion, I think it’s clear that EVERYTHING we do has an agenda. Every movie, comic, tv show, Youtube video or whatever it is has an agenda whether we see it or not.

Am I trying to persuade people somehow?

Honestly, I don’t think I can change anyone’s mind for them but I believe I must share what I’ve learned. So I will try to present my case to anyone who wants to listen in the best way I know how. But at the end of the day, each individual has to make up their own mind. In the words of Ravi Zacharias, “Changing someone’s mind is a supernatural thing.”

Am I just trying to express how I see the world?

No. I have an agenda. :)

How to Feel Alone

How to Feel Alone published on 17 Comments on How to Feel Alone

Something strange happened when I was working on reMIND. I always had a smile and always talked about positive things to my audience but as I was getting millions of page views and loads of fan support, I personally felt…  alone.

The bigger reMIND got the more I was concerned that someone would find out something about me that they didn’t like and it would all come crashing down. So I subconsciously devised a plan (quite early in fact) to hide everything that people might not like about me. As an example, I knew I had many atheist fans of reMIND and I worried that if I said anything about God they would all run away and never come back.

This whole idea that one needs to hide things from people in order to feel loved by them is pretty mainstream from what I can tell. But the thing is, it’s totally false. In fact I now believe, to NOT feel alone, I need to let people know who I REALLY AM whether I’m afraid they will disown me or not. The more secrets I would hide from people, and loved ones, the more worried I got about being found out. If found out, I worried I wouldn’t be loved anymore which ended up making me feel even more isolated and alone. How pathetic! Am I the only one here?

On the other hand, if I am honest with people and they still choose to hang out with me then it’s not because of some mask I’m wearing to make them comfortable. They are hanging out with me because they choose to do so even after knowing the real me. I also experienced this with close friends and especially in my marriage. I have a loving wife who supported what I was doing but even so, I felt alone. This was my big lesson in 2013.

I don’t know the full extent of what my audience thinks about me talking about my faith on this blog but you know what? I don’t feel alone anymore. Even though I know many of my readers don’t agree with me, I have gotten wonderful emails from longtime fans who support and love what I’m doing. And remember me worrying about what my atheist fans would do if they knew I was a Christian? Well, let me just highlight a super encouraging comment by R:

I’m really interested in seeing where this comic goes, knowing that it’s so faith-based. I’m an atheist, I always have been and it’s always been really important to me, and I’ve been trying not to be afraid of letting that shine through in my stories as well. To me it’s not a matter of trying to persuade other people or work some agenda as much as express how I see the world, and it sounds like Sithrah is the same kind of thing? I really hope so. Either way, thanks for being brave enough to discuss your faith in a shameless way, I really look forward to seeing things from your perspective through the storytelling.

Good luck!

Whoever you are, R, Thank you!

I think R has brought up an interesting subject that I’d love to dive into in my next post. Until then, what are you hiding and is it making you feel alone even though you’re surrounded by people?

The Spiritual Journey: Just Go!

The Spiritual Journey: Just Go! published on 18 Comments on The Spiritual Journey: Just Go!

Where Do I Go Now?

This is the question I keep asking myself about this blog. Where do I go now? In the last post I said that I wanted to talk about God and the spiritual journey from now on because that was the subject that was interesting to me. Since then I’ve been wondering how to do this. I’ve gotten lots of emails from people encouraging me to keep going but I just don’t know where to start. Plus I usually like to avoid controversy. Then this morning, I was praying about it and I kept hearing this one short sentence in my mind saying, “Just go.” It kept repeating in my head and it made me think of all the times that Jesus said to just go.

“Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.” Luke 10:3

It became more and more clear that I didn’t need to know where I should go, just that I should start going. It’s funny but I used to give this same advice to people asking me how to start a graphic novel. My answer was always to just start it already.

It seems in life like I am always called to “step out on faith” and allow God to work. It’s only in hindsight that I can look back and say “Wow, that was a pretty good move!” but in the moment it always seemed like a big risk. Even stupid at times to everyone around me.

This has always been a great challenge for me as I have pursued a creative path in life. You see, there are lots of voices in our heads telling us what we want to hear. Almost all of these voices are completely selfish and destructive, leaving a wake of carnage behind anyone who listens. Oh, but they are so seductive aren’t they? Just look at television commercials and you will see an industry built around feeding these seductive voices in our heads telling us what we need and what we should be like and look like. “It’s okay to want EVERYTHING!” they say. “You deserve it.” But what these seductive voices fail to mention is if we listen to them, we are only being lead to want more. And soon we are in chains to their every command. All because we listened to these self-focused voices in our heads.

Okay, I’m getting off track here. My point is, I want to listen to the right voices with my art and life.

This may sound like a bunch of hocus pocus if you aren’t a Christian but we believe that the Spirit of God works in those who believe what Jesus said. This Holy Spirit, as we call it, leads us if we allow it. The thing is, it’s always about stepping out on faith. To just go. Honestly, I did the same thing when I started reMIND. I can plan all I want, but at the end of the day my secret weapon is that I just try to listen and follow where the Holy Spirit is leading me and I try to ignore all the other opinions.

So, I am just going. This blog post is me stepping out on faith. reMIND was me taking a step. Starting Sithrah was another step.

In other words, I understand what I’m getting into. I know talking about subjects like religion, faith, God and Jesus are going to cause controversy and a full range of emotions from people. I get that. And quite honestly, with all the hostility on the internet, I feel like I’m going to be one of those “lambs among wolves” that Jesus was talking about. But what’s the point of all this if we believe in something and can never talk about it?