I do not often read comics, but this is one of those few exceptions. I saw one of my friends share a cartoon comic on facebook of a Christian and an Atheist debating the existence of God. It was well thought out and articulated to get the reader thinking about our existence. The link I clicked on led to a website with hundreds of these witty and cleverly drawn/written comics. Click by click I was immediately hooked reading each comic that explored various topics and conversations either between Christians and Secularists, Christians amongst themselves, or the author himself actually speaking directly to the reader. In 2 hours, I read almost all of these comics on this website for free, so I did not necessarily have to purchase its recently published book. After learning that this author recently quit his full-time job in November of 2014 to dedicate his career to making these comics, I was immediately supportive of the adventurous decision, and I wanted to financially support him through buying his first ever self-published book, Implications Abound.
The website is Adam4d.com which is actually the name of the author (Adam Ford). In his own words he describes his book as a "curiously Christian webcomic". On an earlier version of his website, he shared his own testimony on how he came to know God. He grew up in a home that was not Christian and viewed their own God in the sense of money, power, and triumph. He became a vocal atheist and at a young age got himself into all sorts of trouble while taking part in the worldly pleasures of alcohol, drugs, and sex. It wasn't until picking up a Bible at a wedding and reading it the very first time that got Ford's attention and was curious about God. It all led to meeting his friend's older brother that reached out to him and who was not afraid to talk about Jesus. He was the craziest person Adam had ever known, but on his 21st birthday, that crazy person gave Ford his first ever Bible. The authoritative words of the Bible stuck with Ford and led to an immense desire to know who Jesus is.
Having already read all of his work, I knew what I was getting from Implications Abound. It was a joy to actually read these comics from a physical book rather than a screen. The cover is very simple. It is a man (likely a Christian) wearing army gear, holding an AK gun while smiling and taking a selfie picture (I first thought he was spraying his hair with a can of hair spray, but after a second look, it is in fact a phone taking a selfie picture). I could be reading too much into the symbolism of the army clothes, gun, and selfie picture, but the interpretation I get out of the cover picture is a way of poking fun and showing the irony of the dualistic lifestyle some Christians live. They display their love, dedication, and service to the Lord, but still become lovers of themselves more than instead of God. That is my theory, but I could be totally off base.
There is no synopsis, story, message, or even a genre. This is a Christian webcomic in the form of a paperback that displays various characters of mainly Christianity, Secularism, and religions displaying practical thinking and thought provoking conversations and ideas about various topics that our culture faces.
He is not afraid to make fun of the differences of opinion and belief while still pointing them out bluntly. Ford achieves a rare balance of humor and seriousness while being able to laugh at the way both Christians and Secularists talk, think, and act towards Jesus and ourselves. It is all done in an innocent way. From his pointed disagreements with Oprah Winfrey, Creflo Dollar, and especially Joel Osteen; to his humorous stance against Christians taking selfies, scriptures out of context, and God's love for granted. There was so much truth which is a breath of fresh air. However, the most important underlying purpose of sharing Jesus is not ignored. He kindly shares what Jesus has done not only in his life, but also what He can do in our lives if we allow him. Ford also achieves this in a beautiful way without the feeling of it being shoved down the reader's throat.
Ford's work is not going to please everybody. It will most likely frustrate and anger some. That is obviously not Ford's objective. He wants people to know he was once an atheist and he wants to share his experiences and opinions to get people to think and to actually take an honest second look at their life and the way we view things. Not everyone is going to agree with his messages. This is evident as every new comic that gets posted on facebook, there is usually some amount of criticism or disagreement. Regardless, if Ford's drawings and writings can somehow get people to at least stop and think if they really believe what they believe in, then already his work has accomplished a purpose in the reader's life. Ford has no desire to debate his work. As he states in his own words, "My policy is to let my content speak for itself."
I appreciate Ford's work because for the first time, I have come across someone who is able to articulate so many of the same feelings I share about Christianity and the church. He boldly brings up these thoughts and conversations in which I always wanted to bring up, but never had the correct words to share them with others. I think I am not alone in having these feelings as Ford's comics are constantly being shared online around the world by others who also are like me that do not know how to articulate some of the things Christians rarely bring up.
Implications Abound suffers one minor flaw; its length. With such enjoyable content, it was a shame more could not have been added. It was very enjoyable to read, but to be finished in 45 minutes was disappointing. While I fully understand comics read much faster than actual books, it still would have been great to have at least 150 pages rather than 86, as it is a very thin book. It is like being on a roller coaster ride that I really enjoyed, but it ended far sooner than I wanted it to. I am sure that more of his works will be published as so many of his online cartoons have not made it to print yet.
With the ability to read all his work online for free, and how short his book is, on the surface it would be easy to say to just read everything online. While those could be reasons to not buy a copy, I feel Implications Abound is worth buying for other reasons. It would not only financially support this talented artist (who is certainly not doing this to be rich), but can also be passed around to others.
Ford is one of the countless examples of how people are never too far from God to be used in great ways. He guided a troubled atheist to become an obedient follower of Jesus, and is being used to glorify his name through the world of web comics which has never had a strong Christian presence or representation.
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