Books & resources
ASBO Jesus £10.00
Available at: www.lulu.com
This is a great book of cartoons by Jon Birch and 10% of sales go to FYT...! Dave Wiles writes in the forward..... ASBO Jesus is … defiant, disturbing, radical, contemporary, irreverent and offensive … Just like Jesus so often was and is! I think it was William Temple that said of the church that it should be the place that "comforted the disturbed and disturbed the comfortable". ASBO Jesus has that effect! You won’t agree with the sentiment of Jon’s ASBO Jesus all the time … but iron sharpens iron and you will find your assumptions, stereotypes and theology stretched and challenged. Like the story of “The Emperors New Clothes” ASBO Jesus cuts to the chase to show us the fallacy of our sacred cows and our fondly held prejudices, it reveals the simplicity of a belief system that might just as well be summed up as love.
The ASBO Jesus cartoons are a work of contemporary art in themselves; simple, stark and attention grabbing and I believe that what they convey is of serious importance. In an age when it seems that God is being overlaid with the cultural veneers of consumption, emotionalism, celebrity obsession, entertainment, individualism and prosperity ASBO Jesus appears like a ragged prophet questioning the moral landscape, undermining complacency and reminding that faith is a red blooded call to service and not an institutional call to services!
I have known Jon for some thirty years and I know that his work and art are borne of a journey rooted in an authentic desire to understand and pursue a ‘Kingdom’ perspective at the expense of ‘Christendom’. Jon doesn’t shy away from the themes and issues that we might rather ignore or avoid; he digs in the dirt of personal, social, political, institutional and religious pain and hypocrisy. He underlines the duplicity of complacent religion and is a voice in the wilderness declaring that comfortable Christianity is an oxymoron! Perhaps the truest act of his loyalty to the Kingdom of God is that his unbridled satire and cynicism allows us space to ask ourselves what we really believe… provided we can move beyond the occasional moments of defensiveness that he provokes!
The origins of ASBO Jesus are connected to a campaign that Frontier Youth Trust (FYT) established six years ago. FYT wanted to undermine the negative stereotyping that continues to blight marginalised young people in our society to this day. One of the ways that the campaign developed was that young people were awarded ASBO certificates that affirmed them as Alright, Sensational, Beautiful and Original. With this forward I am presenting one of these certificates to Jon (who remains eternally young!) for this book! I make this award not because he is donating a percentage of the price of the book to FYT (!) but for his honesty, humour, candour, integrity, insight and for sharing ASBO Jesus with us … reminding us that Jesus is NOT a tame lion!
FYT: mission with young people at risk
Frontier Youth Trust (FYT) is working with young people at risk towards justice, equality and community; we are a Christian network dedicated to helping young people and communities experience life in all its it fullness. We work directly with young people at risk, resource youth workers through training and publications, and give a voice to those on the margins. We do all this so that young people on the margins can feel and experience God.