Soul Food Archive: Guest Caterer Specials
Harlem Renaissance Party (detail)
Story Quilt, © Faith Ringgold 1987*
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Guest Caterer Specials are side dishes that complement our main courses. The experiences of many spiritual seekers are forming a "cookbook for a sacred life" (Ram Dass' phrase). Might some special delicacy from this potluck meal become a staple at your table?Please sample our current Main Courses menu, as well as our tasty Desserts & Snacks and earlier dishes in the Soul Food Archive. And, do send your personal comments to our busy kitchen staff. View others' comments here.
Does religion have to be stuffy? Somber? Super-serious? David Evans thinks not, and has created a book of Bible cartoons to make his point. David tells his story:
"My father was a Presbyterian minister in a small town in Kansas, so I grew up with the burden of being a ''preacher’s kid'—a P.K. This led to anger and rebellion, especially toward Christianity and the church.
"As an adult, my interests led me into the world of TV comedy, where I was a writer for The Monkees, Love American Style, and other shows. One time in the early '70s, between TV seasons, I was looking for an individual project to do, and decided to draw on my church background. The result: a book of cartoons about the bible—The Good Book...of Bible Cartoons. I planned to make the cartoons highly irreverent, even sacrilegious.
"I hired Sherman Labby, an excellent storyboard artist, to create the drawings—and before long began to get letters. Some were from offended readers, but many were from clergypersons thanking me for the insights in the cartoons. That was a surprise!
"What I discovered, to my amazement, was that the process of bringing all my anger and resentment into the light of laughter had a transformative effect. In writing the book, I experienced a tremendous grace through laughter, and was able to make peace with my background. The book is now in a new printing, with cartoons from the Hebrew Scriptures complementing the original cartoons based on the Christian gospel stories.
"I've learned that laughter can jostle our thinking and help us see things from a new perspective. And I believe laughter is a gift from God that can be a great resource in our life of faith."
Thank you, David, for reminding us of simple modes of joy, and of how important a
sense of humor is to the life of the soul. Surely, those of us enjoying your cartoons have had
some endorphins released, bringing us a measure of light-heartedness!
G.K.Chesterton, a man always good for a chuckle, wrote a century ago:
"Sow in our souls, like long grass,
The laughter of all lowly things." *
And a question for us all: How can I add a little more levity to my daily life—and could I see this as part of my spiritual practice?
With thanksgiving to all the comedians whose humor is kind and healing,
The Center Staff
Read Others' Comments...
David, you're onto a good thing...so much so that you've influenced others. Just saw a review of a new book (2011) titled "Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life," by Jesuit James Martin (San Francisco:HarperOne) (no mention of cartoons!). Thanks!
Here's to a very funny, yet deeply intellectual, and spiritual man who has kept me laughing for over 50 years. Thanks.
* Credits for this page:
~ The quilts of American fiber artist Faith Ringgold hang in museums around the world. Harlem Renaissance Party, #2 in her "Bitternest Series," is in the collection of the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C. Acryllic on canvas, 94"x82", it pictures eleven guests and their exuberant, mask-holding hostess, Cee Cee. From lower left around the table, the guests are Celia (or Ceclia), a doctor; Florence Mills, singer and comedienne; Aaron Douglass, painter; Meta Warick Fuller, sculptor; W.E.B. DuBois, organizer and writer; Cee Cee's husband, a dentist; Richard Wright, writer; Countee Cullen, poet, novelist and playwright; Zora Neal Hurston; novelist, folklorist and anthropologist; Alain Locke, philosopher and writer; Langston Hughes, poet and writer. Gratefully used with permission. See more of Faith's work at www.faithringgold.com.
~ Chesterton, A Hymn for the Church Militant (between 1904-1915).
~ David Evans' The Good Book...of Bible Cartoons, with drawings by Sherman Labby (revised version, 2002) can be ordered from The Jonah Press, Box 5473, Sherman Oaks, California 91413. Also available: David's One Good Idea (an Innovation Course, 2010), an Irwin Award Winner of the Book Publicists of Southern California.
David spent a number of years as a comedy writer for television. He has also been a business consultant (part of a team that developed the Captain Crunch cartoon character!), coach, and award-winning conflict resolution specialist for the Los Angeles County Courts. David can be reached at www.InnovationCenterBlog.com