Tuesday, October 30, 2007

All Saints Day

One thing cool about Halloween, is the day after Halloween... "All Saints Day."

Historically, this was a time for the church to remember the lives of Christian martyrs who "gave what they could not keep to gain what they could not lose." This day need not be celebrated only in honor of martyrs, but could also celebrate those beloved saints who have "fallen asleep" in the Lord.

Enter Jamie Dodane.

I grew up and went to school with this freckled red-haired kid named Jamie. I actually went to school with him all the way from Kindergarten through twelfth grade. One of my earliest memories of Jamie was in Kindergarten. The teacher left the room and Jamie planted the biggest lip kiss on this girl "TV style."

I was in awe.

Jamie and I hung out in junior high a bit and then parted ways. I think it's safe to say that we also parted ways with the faith we were taught when we were young. But God in His grace and sovereignty brought us back in to His flock in our early twenties.

It was about four years ago that I had the privilege of talking to Jamie weeks before he and his wife and three children were moving to Australia as missionaries through his church...and Jamie was stoked about it. We caught up a bit and emailed a couple more times. He and his family moved to Australia in faith.

Sometime after their arrival, Jamie fell ill and was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia. Man, I can't think of a much darker and hopeless situation. Being thousands of miles from friends and family in a foreign land, trying to lead your wife and kids and a church, and trying to deal with the fact that you've just been diagnosed with leukemia.

Jamie fought the disease. Only a few months into Jamie's battle with Leukemia, he died. All the while his wife and kids were still stranded in Australia. A bunch of people citywide raised money, donated frequent flyer miles, etc., to help get everybody home.

My wife and I attended his memorial service a week or so later. I suppose one thing that really sticks out in my mind was something the pastor said in the message that day. He said that Jamie came up to him the Sunday before they left for Australia. He said Jamie was beaming, and said, "I'm the happiest man on earth."

During the memorial service, they played a slideshow of Jamie's life, and also a recorded message to all his friends and family back home, thanking them, and telling them they could feel their prayers. I get choked up just thinking about that.

I honestly don't know why stuff like this happens. It is the mysterious, apparent randomness of tragedy. The problem of pain and suffering is difficult. It's probably the most used argument against the existence of God. Events like this often cause people to turn their backs on God. Yet, I look at Jamie's life and circumstances and there he was, still trusting God's goodness despite having every external excuse not to.

And here he was in a recorded message, comforting his friends and family back home thousands of miles away. Shepherding from the cross.

So, this All Saints Day, I honor St. Jamie, who by God's grace, had the spiritual stones to travel across the world and remain steadfast in the faith once for all entrusted to the saints, even to the end. May God give His church more Jamies.

The answer to suffering cannot just be an abstract idea, because this isn't an abstract issue; it's a personal issue. It requires a personal response. The answer must be someone, not just something, because the issue involves someone—God, where are you?

Jesus is there, sitting beside us in the lowest places of our lives. Are we broken? He was broken, like bread for us. Are we despised? He was despised and rejected of men. Do we cry out that we can't take anymore? He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Do people betray us? He was sold out Himself. Are our tenderest relationships broken? He too loved and was rejected. Do people turn from us? they hid their faces from him as from a leper.

Does he descend into all our hells? Yes, he does. From the depths of a Nazi death camp, Corrie ten Boom wrote: "No matter how deep our darkness, he is deeper still."

—Peter Kreeft, The Case for Faith

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Christmas Card Design Sketches....

Here's a couple of potential Christmas (Yes, I said CHRISTMAS, not Holiday) card illustrations for a very cool company called New Reformation Press that puts out some very cool stuff. (You know you need a Martin Luther coffee mug, or a shirt that says Simul Iustus et Peccator.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Monster Fun Box is ALIIIIIIVE!!!!!!

My friend Brad over at ID-33 Design and I had a hankering to collaborate on a clothing/website project. In order to see what we came up with head on over to MonsterFunBox.com. I did a ton of monster drawings and Brad figured out ways to work them into designs, clothing and whatnot.

We have a whole store full of Monster Fun Box clothing which you can check out here.

After all, doesn't everyone need a "I shot me a Chupacabra" hooded sweatshirt?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Barrel of Monkeys...

Just finished this t-shirt design for a client last week. It really was a fun project to work on. The assignment was pretty straight-forward...

Draw a crazy looking monkey standing next to a surfboard in the sand.

I've posted the progression, from initial sketch, to tightened pencils, to final inks.