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Sven Jacobs's Posts (6)

On Dung Beetles and Jesus

I made this little blog post when I was drawing a comic about a surreal world where people wash with poop, eat it as a topping on pizza, and swim in it for recreation. My initial desire was to create an allegorical series that shows how shallow and superficial our philanthropy and affections are. Given that I am a horribly lazy individual, I never brought that series out to fruition (perhaps someday!), but nevertheless thought that this preface to it would be of some passing interest and edification to someone here wondering about the doctrine of regeneration:

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The dung beetle is a special breed of beetle, an amazing creature that feasts on feces like fillet mignon. What many people do not know about dung beetles - if they should condescend to know anything about these creatures at all - is that even the different types of dung beetle have different ways that they showcase their scatological love. Some graft themselves to dung, sucking everything they need in life from it like a tick. While others roll the refuse into a ball and bury it like some pirate's treasure. Still others find themselves so ingratiated by dung that they opt to live in it like a celebrity in his mansion. Whatever type of dung beetle it is though, their entire way of life centers on dung. And there is something strange and almost exhilarating about an animal that's whole life involves lifting up what others have laid to waste. Their very nature is focused on everything we would have flushed away.

 

Despite the reservations we might have rolling around refuse balls or sucking up nutrients from the droppings of animals ourselves, the dung beetle thinks nothing of it.  He goes on his work as casually as we might shop for purses or watch television while choking down Cheetos. While his very being impels him to the poop, most of us find his actions and affections revolting. And it is this relative sense of perspective that leads me wondering how we must be viewed according to the sight and standards of Heaven. If there is indeed a perfect God who wraps Himself in light and holiness, I suspect there would be very little within us He wouldn't be disgusted by and even less in us worth praising. We are, in our own way, bumbling around with our own balls of waste, infatuated by the smells and textures of things that would leave better beings hurling and heaving. I suspect we have underestimated how far we've fallen, and so miscalculated how much we have missed the mark - not only within our lifetime, but daily. Nevertheless, many individuals suppose that they can naturally love more than the excrement - so to speak - that they have been accustomed to love. They suppose that the dung beetle could with enough effort come to enjoy a nice steak paired with an aged wine. But it is not within the dung beetle's nature to love more than the dung, anymore than it is in our nature to love more than the World has to offer. In both instances, the higher things are not only abandoned carelessly; they're rejected outright.

 

In order for the dung beetle to enjoy steak and wine, his very nature must change. And for the last two thousand years, it has been the Christian church maintaining the same about humanity and its love for God. For a man to love the higher things, to love God and the holiness attributed to Him, the man's nature must also change. Unfortunately, a great number of Christian men and women today believe that for an individual to become a Christian, he or she must merely testify his or her allegiance to Christ and try to live an upstanding life. But this is not enough! It has never been. A dung beetle that pretends to hate dung is still a dung beetle. And a man that reforms his outer actions is no better off than when he started. Because the real problem is within. And it is a problem that Jesus maintains can only solved by being born again. Now, to be born again is not merely to make a choice to accept Christ into your heart, perhaps after some theological debate or emotional altar call. It is not a mere position you hold, like whether to vote Republican or Democrat. To be born again is to have your very nature miraculously altered, to have your direction and drive reoriented, to have everything you loved and everything you hated flipped about and addled like eggs. It is to become something new - like a dung beetle that has morphed into a fruit fly. Or a zombie who suddenly prefers broccoli to brains. To misunderstand this is to misunderstand a principal fact about the Gospel. Many who claim to have been saved by Christ have not been saved, because they have not been changed internally, which is the only way an individual can come to love and follow Him.

 

But how can a man change his nature? How can a "man who is accustomed to evil do good," anymore than an "Ethiopian can change his skin or a lion his spots?" How can the tares become wheat? How can the goats become sheep? How can the rocky ground become fertile? How can the blind see? Or the deaf hear? Or the lame walk? How can a bad tree team with good fruit? A million and one metaphors are presented in Scripture of things that have no capacity in themselves to change. And the truth is that nothing can change, that we will not accept Christ - for there is nothing desirable about Him to us - unless we are transformed by a miraculous work of God. Jesus says as much when many of His early disciples first left Him. These former followers supposed they came to Jesus and that they were ready to serve Him, but as they listened to Christ preach, they began instead to reject Him. And as they abandoned Him in droves, Christ concluded that "No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father" (John 6:65). Their rejection merely illuminated the fact that God had not prepared their hearts to hear Him. For the saved are not changed because they choose God, but because God chooses to change them. And in that change, when He gives His followers a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26), they can finally accept and love the Son who died for them. It is all very much a mystery though - this change. Christ likens it to the wind in that "the wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8). God's method for initiating this change is beyond us. It is as if we could one day be walking idly along a city sidewalk, minding our own business, and without notice, begin to think thoughts that are not our own or feel an affection for things we've never loved. This change comes from God, and it is only through this change that one can be saved.

 

Nevertheless, everyday we hear individuals pledge some nominal allegiance to Christ, where no change of heart exists. There are individuals who attend church regularly, and give to charities, and pray every night, who can recite whole pages of the Bible, and who are kind to the worst of us. But no change of heart has occurred. There are men and women who sit sullen and somber in church pews crying out to the Lord, despite having no true desire for Him. They want comfort, or tradition, or the fellowship of good people, status, or proof of their righteousness. But they do not and will not desire Him. They do not hunger for Him. They do not thirst after Him. They do not treasure Him above all things. They may consider themselves Christians, but the actions of those who have been brought to life by God befuddle and betray what they know of themselves. They cannot relate with the figures of men and women that number the pages of the Gospel. What, after all, in the woman made her wash the Lord with her tears and brush His feet with her hair? What in the tax collector provoked him to cry to the Heavens lamenting his own unworthiness and depravity? Who is this man who would sell everything he owns to gain Christ, as if Christ were an invaluable pearl or treasure? Who were these disciples who left their homes, and jobs, and reputations to follow this Man? Who can say why those who are His blessed are the ones who are weeping, and are meek, and are poor in Spirit? How is it that many individuals today who adopt the label of Christian can find that self-deprecation so alien in their own lives? How is it that those same individuals can have so little desire for Him, when it is clear that the pages of Scripture indicate that the saints wanted nothing else? Who can explain this indifference and self-indulgence except that the follower is really no true follower at all, that the insect crawling in a bowl of fresh fruit only has an affinity for the rotten and repugnant?

 

And what of the reader? Do you thirst after Him like a fine wine? Can you even stomach Him? Do you have any love for Him at all? And if so, how does that love manifest itself? Do you search the Scriptures daily to discover more about this Man who died nailed to a tree? Do you yearn for the fellowship of others who yearn for Him as well? Do you speak to Him and about Him like you would one you adore? That is to say, do you do what everyone does when it comes to people and things they love? Or is your love for Him dry like a crusty lawn sausage left by your neighbor's beagle? Is your so-called love for Him merely superficial and shallow? Does He mean anything to you at all?

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Pilgrim's Digress Script

Hey all, I was hoping someone who really has a talent for stories and such wouldn't mind reviewing a 20 page script I made for my Pilgrim's Digress story. It is the story of floating islands, and zombies, and all that silliness that I posted back a few years ago but never finished:

3448611354?profile=original

If you are pretty good at the art of storytelling, and if you would be kind enough to review the DOCX file, and give me some input, I would be ever so grateful! Just message me, and I'll send you the DOCX! :->

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NEW Christian Comic E-Zine

Friends, I have decided to take a stab at creating a monthly Christian Comic E-Zine. I have noticed that CCAS frequently has wonderful submissions - from comics and reviews, to interviews and opinion pieces - all of which stay on the main page for a period of a few days (or less...) before disappearing into oblivion. That is not a criticism, of course, of this site; it is simply not the site's purpose to do what an E-zine does do, that being archive and pull together the happenings of the Christian Comic Community. As such, I intend to create a free HTML based e-zine, whose livelihood depends exclusively on submissions and the prayers of all invested. 

I think that one of the most positive and edifying things about previous Christian comic zines (like Megazeen and such) is that they really did help to unify a group of people, give an outlet for individuals interested in Christian comics, and provide a medium, particularly for those new to Christian comics, to get a handle of the genre. It helped to make a community of individuals interested in a particular subject more than just a disjointed group of members working alone. That is my hope in creating a zine. 

But who I am, I hear you saying. What qualifications does this Sven Jacobs/Corey Miller/etc. have? Who does he think he is? In order to encourage you and build your confidence in my abilities, I have uploaded a comic below that I think best showcases the quality of my work:

3448611655?profile=originalNo doubt you are gasping at the sheer brilliance of the lines and the realism writhing through every stroke. And I suspect it is clear to everyone that the humor above transcends linguistic expression. 

Sure, I can hear you saying, you are a master at the craft, but have you any experience with website design? Please let me relieve you of your concerns:

http://www.sdmcomics.com/showcase.html

As you can see I am an equally accomplished website designer, fully capable to make this e-zine a rousing success!

Anyhow, I will be publishing the first issue at the end of August. If you are interested in submitting movie reviews, comic reviews, tutorials, opinion pieces, comics, interviews, or even and ESPECIALLY news about you or your company's Christian comic updates, then send them my way at svenjacobs3@gmail.com by August 15th. Really, I am for the most part open to any and all submissions related to the topic. I look forward to any input or submissions I receive! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to e-mail me as well. 

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Christian Comics E-Zine?

Is there such a thing as a Christian Comic E-zine that CCAS or some other Christian comics organization does? It just seems strange that everyone seems to like posting tutorials here, and opinion pieces, and reviews, and drawings of their work for all of that work to transition out of the home page and into archive oblivion. I suspect there is such a thing, but outside of Megazeen, which I don't even think was online, I have heard of nothing. The comic world - even the Christian comic world - is fairly new to me...

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Hello my name is Sven Jacobs, CCAS regular and comic strip artist and writer. If you've been praying for a funky fresh and hip Christian comic strip competition, consider your prayers answered! Now, for the first time ever, you can be a part of Sven Jacob's Christian Comic Competition going on for the next three weeks.

BUT SVEN, WHAT COULD I WIN IF I PARTICIPATE?!?

No doubt you are saying to yourself, aside from the obvious spiritual and internal satisfaction and rewards for participating in such a prestigious venture, what else do I have to gain? Well, I am excited to announce that you could win a trophy... in a graphical JPEG format! Tangible gold trophies can break or be melted down during hard economic times, but a standard JPEG file can stand the test of time!

3448610361?profile=originalLook at those gradients and bold lines, which say to anyone you show your trophy to "HEY LOOK AT THIS GUY/GIRL, HE OR SHE IS A REAL WINNER!" Second and third place winners could receive a silver and copper trophy too (I KNOW IT IS JUST TOO MUCH!), with a plate that has their name! And hey, what better accomplishment to put on your resume or illustration portfolio than your winning this fine and impeccable award! You will be the bell of the ball!

OKAY THEN WHAT IS THE CONTEST?!?

Nothing can invoke the spirit of community and union than popculture references pointing back to some show or movie from one's youth. This is why television shows that parody such things, like Family Guy or Southpark, are so successful. It is why Chris Rice's otherwise horrible song "What if Cartoon Characters were Saved" was worthy of covers from teenaged girls. Who doesn't remember Doug Funny attempting to woo Patty Mayonnaise, or Bugs Bunny putting fertilizer on Elmer Fudd's head promptly before a flower sprouted from it, or a gaggle of adolescent mutant turtles fighting evil while eating pizza?

The competition requires you to create a Christian comic using characters from a cartoon that is not your own. What if the smurfs had a philosophical conversation about Jesus? What if Scrooge McDuck rejected the cross for the sake of his money. What if Garfield met a Jehovah's Witness? Whatever. Just an awesome fan strip... whether it be one panel or 60, colored or (if you are as lazy as I am) merely lineart... spotlighting a famous or infamous cartoon character.

SUBMISSION AND JUDGING CRITERIA

Post your submissions to this blog post so that nostalgia reigns while everyone comments on your awesome strip. Judging will be based on a meticulous and complex mathematical formula involving various painstaking criterion (I will pick what I like most), but should involve a cartoon character that is not your own and Christianity/Christ. Submissions will be due February 11th.

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CCAS Suggestion

Suggestion: What if CCAS were to have an individual's photos in descending order rather than ascending? What I mean is that for those who create a series of comics, over a period of time, like the gentleman who draws Modern Christians, hitting Previous will actually go to the next comic chronologically, and hitting NEXT will actually go to the previous comic chronologically, which is counter intuitive. I know there is an option for those with NING.

JUST A SUGGESTION

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