Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Are You Good Enough For Heaven?

Short answer - NO.

Here's another tract from Ron Wheeler, the cartoonist behind Is Christianity Just A Crutch? and others. Usually, cartoon tracts guarantee at least some entertainment value, but not this one. Here, Ron is clearly slumming it.

Published by Good News Publishers, this entire tract is a conversation between the author (who appears simply as text) and a guy in a yellow shirt (who represents all of us lowly scumbag sinners). The floating text asks the yellow-shirted guy what he's done to deserve to go to Heaven, then points out that he's really not that great at all. The yellow-shirted guy lets the text questions walk all over him, then admits he's a sinner who doesn't obey God's laws. The text tells him to pray for Salvation, which he does on the last page.

Ron, what the fudge? Why didn't you have a character like God or an angel talk to the guy? That would have been a lot more interesting than simple text.

Plus, I have to take you to task for the bullying nature you demonstrate. You ask your yellow-shirted guy what good deeds he's done, then chastise him for not fighting hunger in 3rd world countries. You even have a go at him for not helping an old lady with her groceries. And yet, countless tracts have said that good works are meaningless (one even referred to them as 'filthy rags'). You even point that out to the yellow shirted dude when you tell him he needs to be born again.

So why all the talk about helping 3rd world countries? That won't help him get to Heaven, so why bring it up? That's like trying to tell someone they need a ticket to get on a train by criticizing the way they packed their luggage.

Next time, Ron, I hope you'll do a better job. It can't be easy being a poor man's Jack Chick, but that's no excuse for sloppy work. I may not be good enough for Heaven, but this tract ain't good enough for me.

Likely to Convert - 0
Artwork - 3
Ability to Hold Interest - 3
Unintentional Hilarity - 0
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 0

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The True Meaning of Christmas

In one of the South Park Christmas Specials, Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo tells viewers that "for some people, Christmas is about the birth of Jesus!" This tract shares that sentiment, and encourages readers to give a life in Christ a go.

Sadly, it's a quote tract. Four Biblical quotations seek to convince the reader that Jesus is the true reason for the season. What have I always said about quote tracts? They are boring, and no one will read them. I mean, if you picked up a piece of paper on which were written the words: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord," would you be all, like, "Woah! I never thought of life like that before. I'm converting immediately!" I mean, really?

And speaking of conversion, this tract has no instructions on how to go about it. It asks you to receive Jesus as your personal Saviour, but doesn't include the standard "I'm a sinner please Save me" prayer that practically every other tract has some version of. A very strange and unusual omission, indeed. Especially as Christians consider it the Gift of Life, and this tract is about Christmas.

This tract does, however, offer up a very nice painting of a church in winter. It is called Moonlit Village, and the artist is Thomas Kinkade. Very pretty. Too bad you can't judge a tract by its cover (although in all honesty, you usually can).

Christmas is a time of giving, but I have only contempt to offer up for this one.

Likely to Convert - 0
Artwork - 6
Ability to Hold Interest - 0
Unintentional Hilarity - 0
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 0

It's A Honey of a Deal!

Did humanity make a deal with God regarding the fate of our eternal souls? No, we did not. But the Fellowship Tract League thought that suggesting we had might make for a more interesting tract.

And boy, are they wrong.

The tract is divided into three parts: The Negative Aspects of the Deal, The Positive Aspects of the Deal, and The Terms of the Deal. This makes you think that there is in fact a deal involved. However, the Negative section merely states that you are a sinner destined for Hell, and the Positive part only tells you that Jesus paid the penalty for your sin. The Terms? "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be Saved."

Where, exactly, does the deal come in? It doesn't. But making it seem like a deal disguises the fact that this is another quote tract!

Don't get me started on the cover, or the title. What's a bear eating honey got to do with a supposed deal humanity did not make with God regarding Salvation?

Face it, League - your tracts suck. Deal with it.

Likely to Convert - -0
Artwork - 2
Ability to Hold Interest - 0
Unintentional Hilarity - 0
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 0

There Is Hope In This Troubled World: What You Need To Know

I hope you all enjoyed my examination of tracts that use their words creatively. Now, unfortunately, we're back to the boring ones.

The only interesting thing about this offering from Evangelical Tract Distributors is its overly long title. As long titles go, it gives Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl a run for its money.

Otherwise, this tract is dull as watching dry paint get dryer. You need to be Saved, you cannot Save yourself, God has made a way for you to be Saved, blah, blah, blah, heard it all before, guys. Nothing is less interesting and convincing than a quote tract, and this is the worst of the bunch.

Likely to Convert - 0
Artwork - 0
Ability to Hold Interest - 0
Unintentional Hilarity - 2
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 1