Friday, September 19, 2008

4 Minute Devotions: Creeds and Cartoons

CNN are showcasing my political cartoons this weekend - why can't we stop demonizing each other during this campaigning crazy season?

Podcast version here

1 Peter 3: 8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

As we head into the last month of political campaigning, we get into the silly season of the whole election. This is the time when each side demonizes the other and voters are left wondering who to support because all the candidates are imperfect. Most of the population buys into partisan politics and this creates an almighty social divide, never mind a political one.

After the last presidential election, I wondered how I could survive the insanity of this next one. We campaign so long in America that it appears to be a way of life over here. There is no rest from political campaigns; there is no escape from lobbyists, pollsters, and polls.

Last year, I decided to start drawing simple cartoons about the election. It started off as therapy for me, late at night – my wife Evelyn will tell you that I suffer from acute insomnia. I also used it as a political barometer, so that I wouldn’t get too serious about the process. I lampooned the politicians on both sides and quickly discovered that they all make gaffes, which can be turned into humorous drawings. I set up a cartoon blog called “Pushing the Envelope,” which now gets about 200 hits a day from all over the world.

My cartoons are going to be showcased on CNN this weekend as part of their CNN international programs. What began as a joke for me, has turned out to be an interesting story for CNN. I guess it’s the whole Presbyterian pastor and partisan politics thing: I’m cutting through the wall of Separation between Church and State.

I wish that we could all live according to Peter’s creed, especially during the political crazy season. Harmony, sympathy, compassion, and humility would be so refreshing to see, instead of the usual dirty, demonizing campaigning that will blast over our TV sets and radios in the coming weeks. When I think about it, I wish that our churches would also adhere to that creed. Think of how much more healthy our denominations would be, if we would seek harmony in the midst of our conflicts; show sympathy to our ‘opponents;’ share compassion in times of schism; and act humbly when we theologically disagree.

One day, I would love to draw a cartoon, depicting the diversity of the whole church, with Christ at the center celebrating Communion. I might even add a few politicians to the crowd!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, as we head towards that momentous time of choosing a leader for this nation, we pray Your blessing upon our people. In the midst of our differences keep us free from division. After the time of our voting, keep us free from conflict. Bless whoever is chosen to lead us with wisdom, discernment, and strength for the unknown days, times, and events that lie before us. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

PS CNN will be showcasing my cartoons at the following times this weekend:


After Saturday, the program will also be available on the internet at

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to


John Shuck said...

Hey Stushie!

Really cool! Congratulations!

Stushie said...

Thanks John. they bumped me due to the economic crisis...the cartoons may be shown tomorrow on CNN International which is channel 154 on Charter here, about 3pm.

Ah well, that's show business...