I was getting tired of reading the newspaper comic strips because nothing seemed fresh OR funny! In fact, I was only looking at the classics for quite sometime anyway (e.g. Peanuts, Doonesbury, etc.). And then there are those “lame” religious cartoons. You know the ones I’m talking about. They are the cartoons that usually are posted in religious magazines that feature some biblical character supposedly saying something witty. Usually, at least in my book, they are fillers of white space because they are neither funny nor insightful. It wasn’t until I met a guy who is now one of my good friends…Chris Yambar restored my hope that somebody would be out there soon with something to say in cartoon artistry. Little did I know or even expect that a casual look at my Facebook page or a "soon to be" phone conversation with a friend at IVP (Intervarsity Press) would lead me to a new “hero” in the cartoon world.
After a quick conversation with IVP, I jumped at the opportunity to get a copy of Coffee with Jesus. I had run into Radio Free Babylon’s work by accident one day while wasting time in my office. I soon became a regular on their page “liking” or sharing as many cartoons that struck my fancy. I always tried to keep my comments short as to not draw attention away from the cartoon panel. Usually my comments ranged from “I wish I had said that” to “great” to “give this some thought.” I have never been disappointed. David Wilkie, the author and artist behind Coffee with Jesus, engages in coffee talk with characters drawn out of our common experience in churchworld and Christian subculture. Jesus, who always ends the conversational panel, is without a doubt insightful, witty, satirical and direct. The characters comments and questions must have been reaped from a history of the author’s exposure to the same world I’ve been involved with as a professional for over 30 years. I’ve seen these “people” in the churches I’ve attended…I’ve had some of these conversations…unfortunately for me, I didn’t have the guts to say what Jesus oft remarks. I like David’s Jesus. I like the way he dresses, how respectful he is as well as the fearsomeness of his quips and rebuffs. Even the old wily devil shows up occasionally for some verbal sparing with the King of Kings. And the pastor who shares some coffee time…don't get me started. Young, ambitious, and "looking to be the next megachurch pastor" is a good sum of the type of leaders I run into all the time. This is a book for people who want to read something fresh. It is for those who are tired of reading books that are published only because the author has been a best seller in the past OR because it is the latest “how to” book that addresses the crisis de jour. David and IVP have drawn us out of our comfort zone in only the way art and cartooning can. What looks innocent carries a big stick because Coffee with Jesus is fearful of no one or no subject matter. Christian subculture needs to be exposed for what it is especially at its worst. I commend David, RFB and IVP for doing us all a favor and publishing something that is fun and funny while being forthright in its subtle challenges and sarcasm. Bravo to Coffee with Jesus! By the way, I would love hanging out with that Jesus anytime! Pour me a cup!
By the way, here are a couple of samplers. Call them, a "taste test" if you will: