maybe it’s Jesus who gets Left Behind

"The Real Left Behind" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“The Real Left Behind” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

You can buy this cartoon HERE.

It’s a strange mixture out there. Here’s why:

  1. Most churches and believers would assert that they are following Jesus.
  2. Most churches and believers would assert that most people aren’t following Jesus well.

So I drew a cartoon illustrating that phenomenon.

When someone insists, “You must follow Jesus!”, what they mean is, “You must follow my version of Jesus!”

And there are as many versions of Jesus as there are followers of him.


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20 Responses

  1. Gary says:

    David, I saw this cartoon and immediately went and ordered a print. That’s how much it resonated with me. While it is true I have come from fundamental churches and have been hurt be both pastors and parishioners, none of that is why we left the church. I have always felt that I could ignore bad theology and where there are people there are assholes in their midst. Such is life and we either deal with it or fail. I accepted this truth and dealt with it for 15 years after my questions began. Many have characterized my views (even here in the past few days) as simply the product of “legalistic organizations” or abuse or whatever has happened to me personally. Usually it comes across as MY weakness, MY abuse, MY environment, rather than an acceptance of my beliefs as anything other than a perversion of the truth. I guess I understand the need to portray those of us with differing beliefs this way in order the maintain a sense of solidity in their own belief system. To each their own I guess.

    David this cartoon perfectly illustrates the core reason I left the institution of the church. I genuinely believe they have left the teaching of Christ for the pursuit of their religion. I have left A church for reasons of abuse and legalism, true enough. But the reason I left THE church cannot be stated any more clearly than your brilliant cartoon portrays.

    Feel free to pen a personal note on it if you feel so inspired.

  2. Thanks so much Gary. I’ll mail it out as soon as I return home in a few days.

  3. Gary says:

    Take your time David and have some quality time with your family.

  4. Caryn LeMur says:

    I had a conversation just a few weeks ago with a very good believing friend. I said, “How about visiting the Episcopal church?”

    The response, “What about their doctrine?”

    My reply, “What about their ability to help the wounded? In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, it was perfect doctrine that walked on the other side. It was ‘wrong doctrine’ that poured in oil and wine. ”

    The response, “But I cannot go somewhere that does not believe in the Bible (the way I believe in it).”

    The conversation went in circles, of course. We drifted off to other subjects. We are good friends.

    And, I know nothing of the Episcopal Church… it just happened to be nearby.

    We have sadly trained people in being ‘doctrine-centric’. We need to train them to be ‘wounded-centric’. When I read of the narrative about Jesus, it seems he was ‘healing’ people all the time.

    I think ‘doctrine’ was a distant second place in the priorities of Jesus…. maybe third place.

  5. Kris799 says:

    That’s good.

  6. Brigitte says:

    Gary and Caryn, I would recommend you look over the doctrine of the Episcopal church, for one, and see if its doctrine is possibly Christ-centered and wounded centered. It could be.

  7. Gary says:

    I have no interest in reviewing their doctrine Brigitte.

  8. Brigitte says:

    Gary, I would have thought that we can agree on the problem with legalistic churches. I am sorry about many things in relationship to that. In my growing up environment there was a strain of so-called “pietism”. In general it was quite good. They really looked after the youth, they had retreats and we went hiking, taught Bible, and so on. But there was also this decision theology, the “I have no idea whether I am good enough to call myself a Christian.” Some unbelievable stories about events on the mission field (far away), about what is appropriate this and that. It was quite mild, really, but my quite sensitive conscience was sorely afflicted. I really felt that I could never live up to whatever it took to really belong to Christ. It’s like the Reformed telling me that I was not “regenerate” because I think baptism does something.

    I did not catch onto the Gospel, fully, until I read Luther’s commentary on Romans. It was then for me, like it was for him, that the gates of Paradise seemed to swing open. I understood that I was right with God NOW, how I was, not after this or that got done right. This is the kind of thing that put the fire into Nadia Bolz-Weber, whom many are familiar with. So, I do feel sorry, but in a way of empathy, if you can believe me that, Gary.

    I am also sorry about the confusion of sects and Christian denominations in America. Lutherans and Episcopalians are next door to Catholicism and sought to reform the Roman Papal system. The multitude of preachers that have arisen since then, have not added much expect more rules or methods, and even doing away with the sacraments. This is not a way to support unity or bring things back to the center.

    Caryn, has rejoiced before at the decline of the “institutional” church. I don’t know if she means things like the big, old churches and that they are a problem just because they are big and old. Doctrine matters, as we all have some. We want to know if the doctrine is indeed Christ centered. This matters. And this is also why NP’s cartoon has merit. We can wander quite far from what it means to be repentant and look for our hope only in Christ.

  9. Brigitte says:

    And the play on the “Left Behind”, is ok, too, because of the silly interpretations found in North America.

    You might have seen this video:

  10. Tom says:

    Following Jesus by definition would mean valuing the people and things he valued. IMO religion is a departure from that. As I understand Jesus example and teaching he clearly taught and demonstrated that religion is at best a hindrance to living in relationship with Source and our neighbors.

  11. So good! Love this one!

  12. Brigitte says:

    Tom, I think we need to acknowledge that we all have some sort of religion, even if it is atheism. We also need to say that natural law or conscience requires us to want to be good to other people. Except if you are into Nietzsche’s Superman and he needs to assert himself and need not care, and Christianity is a slave religion for not asserting itself. There are some other systems that would have you wipe out all the people who disagree with you or who you manage to dehumanize in your mind. Outside of that, the question becomes how do we best love people.

  13. Gary says:


    When you say things like “I think we need to acknowledge”, and “We also need to say”, followed by one of your paradigms, you present as one with the belief you have the right or authority to dictate the rules others must follow. You seem to have a lot of opinions about what others must do. This is very much a part of the religious system I reject.

    I accept and promote the notion that you have identified beliefs and practices which work for you. I reject the notion that your beliefs and practices have any compelling authority and/or power over others.

  14. Brigitte says:

    Gary, why don’t you reject something specific so we can talk about it.

  15. Brigitte says:

    What opinion do I have about what others should do? What rule am I trying to impose?

  16. Gary says:

    I believe I made the point I set out to make Brigitte.

  17. Brigitte says:

    I think, Gary, usually the person (s) you are discussing with say that to you, not you to them.

  18. Gary says:

    LOL – Uh huh…sure. 😉

  19. Caryn LeMur says:

    Hi Brigitte: in my definitions, I use ‘church’, ‘body of Christ’, ‘universal church’ to mean all living believers that have called upon God for forgiveness.

    I then use ‘institutional church’ to designate the brick and mortar denominations.

    I believe the ‘institutional church’ should be wounded-centric, provide supportive community towards that goal, and allow a diversity of opinions and doctrines.

    I encountered this combination with a Chaplaincy in the local ‘detention center’ (short-term max security prison facility). I wanted to meet with the prisoners, volunteered, and they provided all the background checks, paper-work, etc. to make that happen.

    We were every denomination there, in that prison.

    I did not find community among the volunteers… but that was before the Internet communities really came into good use. So, our only time to chat was a few minutes before going into the prison.

    Since then, I have found nothing like the Chaplaincy in that prison.

  20. Brigitte says:

    Caryn, with this attempt at definitions, all I hear is, the church is what “I” have experienced and liked. The rest is brick and mortar (dehumanized, really).