Jesus didn’t worry much about stepping on political toes, and the Bible insists that governments be just toward the least of these (the books of the prophets alone make this point very clear).
In response to my last article, “10 Things You Can’t Do While Following Jesus,” I was accused multiple times of being political. All I was trying to do was follow Jesus. So, I thought it’d be interesting (and generate tons more hate mail) to show what a list would actually look like if I were being political intentionally. Like the first list, this is not a complete list but it’s a pretty good place to start.
There will be those who comment and send me messages berating me for “making Jesus political.” It’s okay. Fire away. Jesus didn’t worry much about stepping on political toes, and the Bible insists that governments be just toward the least of these (the books of the prophets alone make this point very clear). Frequently, people who are the most vocal about not making Jesus political are the same people who want prayer in school and laws based on their own religious perspectives. By a happy little circumstance that brings us to my list:
10) Force your religious beliefs and practices on others.
One of the strengths of the faith Jesus taught was in its meekness. The faith he taught valued free will over compulsion – because that’s how love works. Compelling people to follow any religion, more or less your personal religion, stands over and against the way Jesus practiced his faith. If you are using the government to compel people to practice your spiritual beliefs, you might be the reason baby Jesus is crying. This does get tricky. There is a difference in letting your beliefs inform your political choices and letting your politics enforce your religion. This article is about the first part.
9) Advocate for war.
There’s a reason why he was called the Prince of Peace. Sure, you can quote, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword,” and even two or three other verses, but they don’t hold a candle to the more than fifty-some verses where Jesus speaks about peace and peacemaking. It’s funny how things keep coming back to love but it needs to be said, it is way far away from loving a person to kill them. I guess there’s a reason why we say, “God is love.” In the end, love wins.
8) Favor the rich over the poor.
This is actually related to #4. Favoring the rich over the poor is a slap in the face of Jesus, his life, and his teachings. In terms of the teachings of Jesus, it is bad enough when we allow the rich to take advantage of the poor, but when we create laws that not only encourage the behavior but also protect it? Well, let’s just say it becomes crystal clear how ironic it is that we print, “In God We Trust,” on our money.
7) Cut funding that hurts the least of these.
To some degree, this is the inverse of #8. Favoring the rich is despicable. We Jesus minions should avoid it. Hurting the poor? Well, that’s just … just … um, something a whole lot worse than despicable. Despicabler? Über-despicable? When Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do it to me,” he meant it. When you cut funding and it hurts people, according to Jesus, you are hurting him.
6) Let people go hungry.
Well, well, well. What have we here? Is this an item from the original top ten list which I claimed was not politically motivated? Looks like I’ve stepped into my own clever trap! Muh wah ha ha! Seriously though, of course it’s on both lists. It is a spiritual issue and it is a political issue. Spiritually, Gandhi said, “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” Politically, hunger causes problems with education, production, and civil behavior that are all necessary for a successful nation. More importantly for Christians, Jesus said when we feed the hungry, we are feeding him. So, yes, this item is on both lists – and I’m going to do it again.
5) Withhold healthcare from people.
This time I’m not only repeating an item, I’m repeating a lot of what I said. Did you ever play the game “Follow the Leader?” If you don’t do what the leader does, you are out. Following means you should imitate as closely as possible. When people who were sick needed care, Jesus gave it to them. If we are following Jesus, we will imitate him as closely as possible. No, the government can’t repeat the miracles he did but I’ve seen modern medicine do things that are about as close to a miracle as I expect to get. While the government can’t do miracles, it can supply modern medicine. Every year, 45,000 people die in the U.S. because of the lack of healthcare. We Christians like to talk about “saving” people. Well, I know of about 45,000 people who’d love for us to do it and we should – because that’s how love works.
4) Limit the rights of a select group of people.
Jesus loves everybody – but he loves me best. Kind of sits the wrong way with you, doesn’t it? Well, it should and with good reason. If you spend any time reading the Bible you know that we all were made in God’s image. Exactly which part of us is in God’s image is less clear, but what is clear is that we were equally made in the image of God. Any law that doesn’t treat people equally is as good as thumbing your nose at God. Even worse? Doing it in the name of God or based on religious beliefs (see #10).
3) Turn away immigrants.
Christian heritage runs through Judaism. We are an immigrant people. Even our religion began somewhere else. Our spiritual ancestors, Abraham and Sarah, were told by God to pick up what they had and start traveling. Moses, Miriam, and Aaron led a nation out of Egypt, into the desert and ultimately to new lands. Even Jesus spent part of his childhood as a foreigner in a foreign land. As Exodus says, we know how it feels to be foreigners in a foreign land. If you don’t think being foreigners in a foreign land is still our story, ask the Native Americans. At best, turning away immigrants makes us hypocrites; at worst, it makes us betrayers of our ancestors and our God.
2) Devalue education.
We learn in Proverbs that wisdom is something in which God delights daily. As a matter of fact, according to Proverbs, wisdom is better than gold. When you look at the percentage of our budget that goes to education and at what Congress is trying to do to student loans, it’s pretty clear that delighting in wisdom is something our government no longer does.
1) Support capital punishment — execution.
Jesus died by execution. He was an innocent man. Every year, innocent people die by execution in our nation. It’s time to be a shining city on a hill. It’s time to express the fullness of love, to express the value of life. It’s time to stop the government-sanctioned killing.
Mark Sandlin currently serves as the minister at Vandalia Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, N.C. He received his M. Div. from Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity and has undergraduate degrees in Business Administration and English with a minor in Computer Science. He’s an ordained minister in the PC(USA) and a self-described progressive.
A gem I found while doing some research. Here’s a documentary about Lotte Reiniger and her animation technique.
Everyone should watch this! Lotte Reiniger was among the first to make feature lenght animation movies with her papercut stop motion technique, mostly inspired by fairytales and opera; they’re beautiful and still very watchable today. A lot of her movies are up on youtube and if you ever happen to be in Tübingen, Germany there’s an entire museum dedicated to her work. I’m sad that she isn’t more well known (even in Germany hardly anyone has heard of her), she was an amazing woman.
Cathy Brennan, radical “feminist” terrorist, has set her sights on a young black activist in Baltimore County, MD. Phylicia Sampson is being taken to court by Brennan, a notorious harasser of trans women and their supporters. Sampson is a recent college grad with few resources, no car and no way to fight back without your help.
As a community, we’ve suffered Brennan’s assaults for a long time—her blog is the best known for outing trans women’s personal information. She believes trans women are men who are infiltrating the feminist community and expends her resources fighting them. The idea that she is now taking her harassment to a legal venue is horrifying. That she has selected a young black woman with few resources to fight back is repugnant.
We can’t let Cathy Brennan get away with this! Share Phylicia’s campaign on Facebook, twitter, tumblr and instagram. Here are some things you can do TODAY to help:
- Tell your friends why it is important that they donate to this campaign.
- Donate what you can.
- Write to your favorite feminist blog and ask them to cover this campaign
This is downright appalling.
Benedict Cumberbatch ABC Book!
I’ve really wanted to do this for awhile, so after Fanime I suddenly decided I needed to sit down and do it. So it took me about three weeks, but I finished it.
It’s literally an alphabet book, although I had to get creative with some of the letters lol. I drew him so many times I kind of forgot how to draw him at some points haha so some of these look really weird @-@
I’ve already sent it to print so hopefully this book will be available at AX! It’ll also be a pretty short run book, I don’t want to make a lot or reprint it. I’ll post all the pages pretty rapidly, so it will all be available for free online eventually :))
I love Kickstarter. I think that’s clear to people who know me by now? I love it. There’s a dude named Brad Muir and he works at Double Fine and I love the games they make, so much. But before Kickstarter, every time a Double Fine game came out I was a little worried it would be their last, and I’d have to worry that if people didn’t buy it, who knows what would happen to that studio. Then they found KIckstarter and now they make games and people like me can front load the development cost for them and it is the absolute best arrangement for creative people who want a tool in the exhausting struggle of art + commerce. A friend of mine is taking a month off her job to write a children’s book because of this platform. It’s GREAT. I love it.
The outcome of this is that I spend a lot of time just browsing Kickstarter looking for something cool to either back or crow about online. I don’t really back much - I don’t have a ton of capitol to toss around, and I’m sure the fact that I have a lot of ideas and no money factors into my love of a platform that gives money to people with ideas - but I like to check it out. So tonight, I found THIS fucking thing.
This is a nightmare.
Watching the video, reading the description, it sounds fairly innocent but a little eye-roll inducing. It’s another book where some nerd, desperate to be liked by women (this is not an insult, we are ALL desperate to be liked by someone we want to have sex with) thinks he’s figured out some cheat code or check-list like routine they can run in a bar to make women sleep with them, as if women aren’t people but a series of subroutines or an obstacle course that they can optimize to get their dick wet as fast as possible. And he’s written that advice down! And he’s selling it! To you! You could learn his cheat codes. This is nothing new for the internet. In fact, a large swath of this book was published already on Reddit. What’s new is that he’s crowdfunding it.
And sure, you might think this is sad or dumb or that this guy is just another lonely dude talking to other lonely dudes who’ll head out into the night with their fedoras to failure, right? Not a big deal? Oops, turns out we’re wrong, because here are some excerpts from what he’s already put on Reddit -
”5) Get CLOSE to her, damn it!
To quote Rob Judge, “Personal space is for pussies.” I already told you that the most successful seducers are those who can’t keep their hands off of women. Well you’re not gonna be able to do that if you aren’t in close! ”
“All the greatest seducers in history could not keep their hands off of women. They aggressively escalated physically with every woman they were flirting with. They began touching them immediately, kept great body language and eye contact, and were shameless in their physicality. Even when a girl rejects your advances, she KNOWS that you desire her. That’s hot. It arouses her physically and psychologically.”
“Decide that you’re going to sit in a position where you can rub her leg and back. Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances.”
Pull out your cock and put her hand on it. Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don’t ask for permission, GRAB HER HAND, and put it right on your dick.”
SO. Now I am no longer rolling my eyes.
This guy is no longer just being weird and creepy on the internet. Now he’s writing a book about how to sexually assault women, and he is using something I believe in (Kickstarter) to ask YOU for money to do it. I am offended as someone who believes in the platform, and more importantly I am offended as someone who believes women shouldn’t be treated this way, and that people who say otherwise CERTAINLY should not profit off saying they should.
This isn’t harmless. People come to these boards because they are scared of being humiliated, and they are saying to the world, “Tell me what to do, because I don’t know what to do.” And this guy has chosen to tell them, “You should be a rapist.”
There’s largely nothing we can do about people saying this shit on a place like Reddit - Reddit’s a mess for another time - but let’s get it off of Kickstarter. The project is funded in 10 hours - and unfortunately a lot of those are sleeping hours - but PLEASE report it to Kickstarter, please tweet @Kickstarter asking them to take it down, and PLEASE do not let something cool be used for the UGLIEST thing imaginable.
The Kickstarter - Report Button is on the bottom of the page
Please Tweet at @Kickstarter
The Irritating Gentleman - Berthold Woltze
I know that feel, Painting Lady.
My bus ride to and from work every day.
They never published the second picture, which was the one where she backhanded him in the fucking face for getting all up in her shit.
Oh great, good to know this has been a problem for HUNDREDS OF YEARS CAN WE PLEASE STOP DOING THIS ALREADY JUST FUCK OFF AND LEAVE ME ALONE
Everyone is overlooking something very significant in this picture, that I saw in two seconds, that adds a layer of super slime to his whole awful attitude. “The Irritating Gentleman” is a politeness.
She’s wearing all black in 1874. Black gloves, hat, cloak, and dress. In public. The whole nine yards. That’s not a fashion choice or a gothic thing. Back then when people wore all black like that, they were in mourning for someone who died. No one did mourning like the Victorians, that shit was an art form to them.
Someone in her family has died—she could even be a young widow. No one’s accompanying her either. With the carpet bag? She’s traveling alone while still in deep mourning. Look at the closeup. She’s got tears in her eyes. She is upset, devastated in a way that one is only when someone has died. And the guy’s still bothering her, like her problems are flippant bullshit and she needs to just smile or pay attention to him because ladies are supposed to be pleasing for men no matter what shit they’re going through. That’s not a look of “what an ass.” That’s a look of devastation that even in her pain, she’s expected to give people like him focus. She’s not mad. She’s hurt. And to add insult to injury? Everyone would be able to tell. It was a clear sign and still is in ways that someone is mourning, to dress in black crepe like that. He would know why she’s wearing all black, and he’s still demanding her attention.
What an insufferable dick.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I love the acting in gay porn.
There is a really problematic culture of artists underpricing their commissions online - though I’m sure this practice extends towards the ‘real world’. A fun fact before we start: the internet is actually part of the ‘real world’. If you don’t think that industry artists are also underpaid and undervalued, then I’m not sure what to say to you and you should probably quit reading while you’re ahead.
Pricing low in and of itself, isolated from the context of the kind of expectations that accompany low pricing for artwork, is not really problematic. What IS problematic, what MAKES it problematic is the fact that (as far as my experiences and the experiences of artists I know have made clear to me):
- People expect cheaply priced artwork to be the norm.
This raises all kinds of issues:
Because of this belief, it is then only reasonable that people tend to strongly believe that appropriately priced work - and I am talking about when an artist decides to price themselves according to a standard minimum wage, while also accounting for their time, effort & level of skill - is actually overpriced.
This lends credence to the very popular (and unfortunate) mindset that art is not a ‘real’ job. It is a real job. But you, as a client or a consumer, probably find it difficult to even entertain the notion it is a real job. Why? Because if you have ever bought artwork online or otherwise, you will have never paid for a piece as if it was the product of a ‘real’ job or service.
When worth and value in our society is tied so closely to money, how can you think art is a real job when what you pay does not even come close to approaching what you would pay others for a ‘real’ job, a ‘real’ skill, service, product (all of which art is?) You are even afforded a choice to continue to believe that art is not a real job. There might be one artist charging appropriately for their work, but hundreds of others aren’t. I doubt one in a sea of many is enough to convince you of the worth of art.
I feel artists charging so lowly for their work breeds an attitude of entitlement in clients. This manifests in the messages artists receive begging them to lower their prices, telling them their art isn’t worth x or y, showing shock at the extravagant amounts that artists ask for their work (‘extravagant’ often being ‘enough to buy one meal in return for six or seven hours of work’). It does not help that art is often marketed as ‘cheap’ therefore worth buying (‘you should commission this artist, their work is so cheap and affordable!’) versus the fact it is worth buying because it is beautiful, custom-made, one-of-a-kind, everything else that art is and can be.
It is absolutely demeaning and almost humiliating to be at the whims of clients who ask for a thousand changes to their commission, who are picky, fussy, disrespectful, and who are trying their utmost to get their money’s worth, when they have paid you $10. $10 for work that is already going to take you a good 3 or 4 hours, and then you have to spend MORE time on top of that dealing with their difficulties. The worst part is that most artists expect this. That this is the kind of client you must cater to when you’re working for $2 an hour (if you’re lucky). I know artists are terrified of raising prices because they fear they will lose clients, but are the literal scrooges of people the kind of client base you want to build?
“Finally, don’t work for cheap people. It is widely agreed among artists that the majority of the time, the less a client pays, the less they respect you and the more they will dick you around. If somebody thinks that image, which I’d guess to be at least an hour or two’s work, isn’t worth paying the measley sum of $7, which is like, what, the price of a bowl of soup and a coffee at a cafe? They don’t value your work and are not worth working for.”
Then there are absolute illogicalities that arise in pricing due to the pressure of keeping prices low. Why on Earth, for example, is it that almost every single artist will charge less than double the amount for a piece that involves more than one character? Almost every artist I know has confessed that it is more difficult to draw two characters interacting in the same image than it would be for them to draw two entirely separate, singular characters in different images. And yet everyone charges 50% of the base price for an added character. How does that make sense?! It doesn’t. Think about it. I think this example speaks a lot about how art is valued (the fact that it isn’t).
The lack of appropriate monetary value assigned to art also makes it broadly valueless in other areas. There is this uncomfortable attitude that art is not a real job, that anyone can do it, that it is wrong for artists to profit off their own work, that it is wrong for artists to own their own work. Do you think I am being melodramatic?
This kind of unsettling, depressing culture is played out on Tumblr almost every day - artwork that is reposted, edited, unsourced. The deletion of artist comments because what we say about our own work doesn’t matter. We don’t matter. Art is only of value when it is divorced from its creator.
I don’t think people think a lot, or much, or at all about the process of creating artwork. Maybe if they did they would understand that there was a PERSON who poured some of their time, effort, and skill into it. I think people have some kind of disconnect between artwork/artist, as if artwork is produced separately from the artist. This is just a theory, but since I struggle to understand why some people are so adamantly against paying more than $20 for a piece of quality work, this is the best explanation I can come up with. I can understand, because if people think that art is separate from the artist, why bother paying the artist or giving credit to them? If they exist as separate entities, why even care?
I’m not suggesting that there are any quick-fixes to these kinds of problems. There isn’t. I’m not encouraging artists to raise their prices or people to pay more. Though both those things would be very nice, I don’t feel it really addresses the underlying issues. What came first, underpriced art or undervaluing art? Who knows.
I think people are in need of an attitude adjustment, more than anything. I think I would be far more comfortable with artists charging lower prices if people actually acted in a way where they realise that it is a privilege and not a right. That it is a privilege to be able to buy art, which is a LUXURY - it is not a right afforded to you. You do not have permission to act like a spoilt child because you cannot afford someone’s work. You do not have any right to assign arbitrary values to someone’s art according to your own ludicrous attitudes to the worth of art.
I would also be much more comfortable if I knew that all artists were also acutely aware of the culture of underpricing, especially so that they know that they do not have to put up with the poor attitudes that often accompany clients that pursue cheaply-advertised artwork. If these two things worked in tandem, I am pretty sure that everyone would have an easier time in regards to commissions.
Lots of artists have talked about art pricing, and I suggest these for further reading (especially as they complement & provide further understanding about the issues I’ve raised here):
- Art, Mass Production, and You
- Why is Undercharging a Bad Idea?
- Commissions, Pricing and Why It’s Unfair
- Viivus explains why she charges what she does for her commissions
And since I feel a lot of my gripes with underpriced artwork (and what artists have to put up with as a result of that) can be alleviated by manners, here are some articles on commission etiquette: