Category Archives: Cartoon Comments

Santa in cartoon upsets some readers

My cartoon “God’s Gift”, which was posted to my website back in December of 2009, was upsetting to some. I received several emails from people who did not like that I had used Santa Claus in the cartoon. One person even wrote that the cartoon was sinful.


I have to admit, I was not surprised. I expected that I might get that reaction. Santa Claus is a very distressing character to many Christians. I remember an incident years ago, in my hometown of Jacksonville, where a pastor hung Santa Claus in effigy outside his church. It caused a bit of a stir back then.

I can certainly understand why Santa is so upsetting to some Christians. The true meaning of Christmas is, of course, the birth of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. What gets Christians angry about Santa Claus is that he has pretty much replaced Jesus as the meaning of the season in a lot of people’s minds. It’s ironic, since the Santa Claus myth is based on a real person, St. Nicholas, who was a Christian priest back in the fourth century.

In spite of all that, I have to say that I don’t really consider Santa Claus to be very threatening. In my mind, he’s just a fictional character, one that has been overused in television commercials, television shows, and movies. I know some people are horrified when parents pretend to their children that Santa is coming to their house on Christmas Eve. I see it as an elaborate prank that parents get to play on their children. My parents played the Santa gag on me. I remember my Dad taking me outside on a chilly morning to show me the reindeer hoofprints in the yard. Even though I was very young and gullible, I somehow wasn’t buying it. But, I was certainly willing to accept Santa’s gifts on Christmas morning.

The idea for the cartoon came to me while I was reading Romans chapter 5. There the Apostle Paul uses the word “gift” several times in referring to God’s grace to us in sacrificing His son Jesus on the cross, to redeem us from our sins. That word “gift” made me think of that famous gift-giving character, Santa Claus. I thought I could use him to picture the gift of grace that God gave us through His son Jesus. Rather than using Santa to obscure the meaning of Christmas, as so much of our modern American society does, I thought I could use Santa to point to the true “reason for the season”.

I apologize to all who were offended at my cartoon. It was certainly not my intention to upset anyone. Incidentally, not all of the email reaction to this cartoon was negative. I actually received more positive than negative comments. One person even told me that it was my best cartoon.

UPDATE December 8, 2013

Looking at this cartoon again after some time, I decided to make a few minor alterations to the cartoon. By removing the hat, the mittens, and the fur lining on the coat, the character no longer has the classic appearance of Santa, and could simply be a man with a white beard. I never set out to make controversial or offensive cartoons, and I certainly do not want the identity of the character to detract from the essence of the cartoon, which is God’s indescribable gift of Jesus.

God's Gift - 2 Corinthians 9:15

Revised version of “God’s Gift”


My cartoon for June 1, 2009 has received more than the usual response from readers. I received a nice vote of confidence from many readers, while others were not so sure. They were a bit skeptical of the cartoon, while also being thoughtful, considerate, complimentary, and in some cases, quite informative. I think that, perhaps, some of those who took issue with the cartoon didn’t quite get what I was trying to say. Hopefully, this blog post will provide some clarification.


The point I am trying to make with the cartoon is simply this: that we should try to remember that those who have a relationship with the Father through Jesus are your brothers and sisters in the Lord. The guy who is following Jesus along with you is your brother, even though he may be in a different group with a different label. The cars on the train represent the different denominations within Christianity. Though separated by their disagreements, the characters in the cars recognize that they are still united together on one train, because they are both connected to the engine (Jesus) and the coal tender (the Holy Spirit), and they are both running on the same track (the Word of God). Both of the characters are heading to the same destination. Salvation is not found in denominations, but in Jesus. Without the engine (Jesus), the cars aren’t going anywhere. The theme of the cartoon is the unity of the church in Jesus Christ.

Of course, I understand that there are those groups which are not a part of the true church. That is why I included the car that is labeled “false religion”. It may look like the other cars, but it is not connected to the engine (Jesus), it is off on the wrong track of false teaching, and it is not going anywhere. In Romans 16:17, the Apostle Paul warns us about them.

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.

These people are not serving our Lord Christ. They lack a relationship with Him.

I have been involved in various church denominations and Christian groups in my life. One thing I hate is to hear someone in one denomination belittling or ridiculing their brothers and sisters who are in a different denomination. Certainly, there are disagreements among the brethren on various issues. I, of course, have my own views on such matters, based on my own understanding of the Bible. But we should not allow such disagreements to cause us to lose sight of the fact that we are still brothers and sisters in Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote about this in Romans 14:1-4:

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

If we are serving Jesus, even if we disagree about some things, He is able to make us stand.

There is, however, one thing that we absolutely must agree upon: the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, this is the issue of first importance.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

I believe sound doctrine is important, but I do not believe that doctrine alone can ever unite the Body of Christ. Unity will not be achieved by a creed or a list of principles. Unity is found in a person, Jesus Christ. When we are all rightly related to Jesus, then we will begin to be rightly related to each other.  I chose 1 John 4:2-3 to go along with the cartoon because I think those verses point to the one central thing that brings us together as Christians: our relationship with Jesus. It is also the main thing that separates us from the rest of the world.

In the book of John, chapter 17, Jesus prays to the Father on behalf of the future church. Here is a portion of that prayer, from verses 21-23:

I pray also for those who will believe in me through their (the apostles’) message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

What will bring us to complete unity? Jesus in us, and we in Jesus. I believe that God is in the process of answering Jesus’ prayer.

Another cartoon of mine tries to make the same point about the unity of the church in Jesus Christ.


Strike It Rich

My cartoon for May 17, 2009, titled “Strike It Rich”, is one that I have had on my computer hard drive for a couple of years, at least. I don’t know if I still have the original sketch on paper or not. Fortunately, I had scanned it and saved it on my computer. It depicted a prospector from the American old west who is dancing with joy over a gold nugget he has found while digging in his mine.



I guess I have heard several Bible teachers and preachers use the metaphor of mining to refer to Bible study. Phrases such as “digging for nuggets of truth in the Word of God” were the inspiration for the original sketch. But when I finally got around to finishing the cartoon, I looked for some verse in the Bible that used this particular metaphor, but couldn’t find one. The only passage I could find that spoke about mining was in the book of Job, chapter 28.

Even though I couldn’t find a specific verse that referred to the Word of God as a mine, I still think it is a valid illustration. The verse I did use, from Proverbs, Chapter 2, verses 4 & 5, speaks of searching for wisdom and understanding as you would look for silver or search for hidden treasure.

This idea of searching for the truth, of seeking for God, is found throughout the Bible. Deuteronomy 4:29 says But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul; Proverbs 25:2 says It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings; and Act 17:27 says God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. There are many other verses that speak about seeking the Lord.


I think it is an interesting idea that God wants us to look for Him. He is, in a way, hiding from us – not because he doesn’t want to be found, but because he wants us to seek him. One way that we can search for God is to read and study His Word, the Bible.

In the finished cartoon I changed the pick into a shovel, to make it easier to write the word “study” on it. And I added the other two old west characters to provide a commentary on the prospector. I hope the cartoon will be a reminder and an inspiration to Christians to spend time reading and studying the Bible. And maybe it can be an inspiration to those who don’t know the Lord to seek Him.