Jesus often gets a bad rap. He is portrayed as too nice. Call it a sentimental view of Jesus aided by paintings and artwork that seem to domesticate the revolutionary message he heralded.
Sometimes delicacy proves helpful to disabuse some of their too pasty view of Jesus. Other times sarcasm, even snark, provides the only means to shock us out of our comfort with Jesus. Enter David Wilkie.
Recently I received a review copy of David’s follow up to the first edition, Radio Free Babylon Presents . . . Coffee with Jesus. The new one is titled, A Second Shot of Coffee with Jesus. It does not disappoint.
In A Second Shot, Wilkie does not place his cartoon strips into categories. He does not offer an introduction to each section. Instead you simply get a book of cartoon strips. I like it. It is not that the format of the first edition was problematic. Rather, the sequel creates the occasion for the possibility of a mic drop. That is, rather than give the context from which the reader is influenced to locate each strip, the reader must now feel the lingering effect of the punch-line.
For instance, today much is made about persecution in the West. We post about the horrific beheadings of Christians, and rightly so. But, we also attempt to equate our own discomfort with criticism with losing one’s head. Jesus helps Ann with her false comparisons.
Or, consider the way Christians tend to consider questions about our faith. Rather than explore the question, we are immediately looking for an apologetic. Oftentimes we then talk right past the question and create an adversary of what may be a helpful conversation partner. Consider how Jesus responds to Carl and how we might consider Christian kitsch as an atrocity.
Then there is the reality that in our current celebrity culture, even more celebrity Christian culture, the pressure to perform is exhausting and often leaves a person thinking the good they do is just not enough. Pastor Joe thinks he might be more effective sounding like someone else. Indeed that is often the case. I often refer back to Philip Brooks who suggested preaching is truth conveyed through personality. Here Wilkie makes the same point.
You may read each of these strips and find something different. If so, that would make these strips something like short parables.
What Was On David Wilkie’s Mind?
IVP provided a brief Q&A with David Wilkie. Here are a couple of questions that give some background to what prompted Coffee with Jesus and Wilkie’s aim with the strips.
What sparked the idea for the Coffee with Jesus comic strips?
Dave: It was the run up to the 2012 election here in the United States and things were getting very weird politically. God and politics were getting mixed up like I hadn’t seen them in years. It didn’t matter if you were a far left Democrat or a far right Republican, you could find someone speaking about how God was on your side and that if you didn’t vote a particular way, the country was doomed. I decided it would be fun to have Jesus address those people.
What do you hope to accomplish through the comic strips?
Dave: I hope to show people that Jesus is all the things we Christians say he is: Lord, God, Son of God, Son of Man, brother, resurrected Savior, Teacher, Master – and of course, friend. Some people struggle with the notion that he is anything more than a wise and easy-going teacher, while others have a hard time imagining him ever laughing and being fun. I also want to encourage people to just be honest with God. He knows it all anyway, so maybe instead of hiding from him and wearing our various masks, we should just bring it all to him. One of my favorite comments to see online when I publish these strips is, “I needed this one today.” I could not ask for more than that awesome gift – to have reached someone. That makes it all worth it.
Grab A Cup and Get A Copy
I heartily recommend A Second Shot of Coffee with Jesus. Click over and get your copy. Once it arrives, grab your favorite cup of Joe and be scandalized by Dave’s creations.
*Taken from A Second Shot of Coffee with Jesus by David Wilkie. Copyright (c) 2015 by Radio Free Babylon. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426. www.ivpress.com
*** In accordance with FTC guidelines, I received a free copy of this book for review from IVP.