I Gave Online t-shirt

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cartoon of a guy in church. An offering plate is being handed to him. The guy has a t-shirt that says,
© 2015 Kevin Spear

It’s fun when tradition collides with technology! For a few months, I’ve been using my bank’s web payment to pay my tithes and offerings. Why not? I’ve paid all my other bills that way for years. I didn’t expect the feeling of guilt when the offering plate came around even when I knew perfectly well I was giving.

So how do you combat that feeling when someone gives online? You can’t put your smart phone in the offering plate. Printing out a receipt seems tacky. If you wave it off and say, “I gave online,” you’re only calling attention to yourself and sound pretentious. Oh, the dilemmas!

A t-shirt would solve all the awkward exchanges. All the church has to do is pass them out in the back before the service. You can make them big enough to fit over any outfit. And if you decorate your church for the season, you can make them match colors for Lent and Advent!

I drew this cartoon for the July CHOGNews.


Why drawing a story can make a big difference in children’s ministry

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Yesterday, I got to do something that has scared me and gives me a bit of a thrill every time I do it. I told the story of David, Nabal and Abigail as I drew it. Now if you ask me to draw a cartoon, I can oblige with a quick doodle. And if you ask me to tell a story, I can be rather quick with some details and a few exaggerations for effect. But I discovered a few years ago, telling a story while I talk can make for some drama within my head.

When I draw as I tell a story, I have to make my left side of my brain and the right side play well together. As I’m drawing, I have to remind myself to say a few words about that mean Nabal, and David’s angry soldiers. It’s a bit of a stretch.

And that’s why I do it. I want the kids to engage both sides of their mind when they hear the story.  I want the logical, left brain kids to get the facts. I want the creative, right brain kids to see the story come to life with a marker and paper. It’s a little low-tech, but not quite flannel graph. It’s a sweet spot for me.

I do it because I remember when an artist came to my church when I was a teen. He drew these beautiful scenes in chalk and had lighting effects that made the water appear to be moving. He made a sunset come to life. It lit up my imagination and made me see creative through the church in a different way.

My doodles aren’t anywhere near the work of art of that guy, but if I can help a child remember the story and maybe inspire him or her to tell it in their creative way, then I’ve done my job.

Besides, It’s fun flying without a net. It brings a little adventure to one’s day!

Why no one likes standardized tests

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But Misses Kriegel! Why can't we have more standardized tests?

Teachers hate giving them. Students hate taking them. Parents hate seeing their kids endure them. Who likes standardized tests besides politicians and the makers of these tests?

You finally see some politicians take up the cause of less testing. But some fear the pressure has already done too much damage to students, parents and schools.

Whether standardized tests are good or not, there was never any good campaign to promote standardized tests with the public. The marketing was poor or nonexistent. It was merely seen as a measuring stick by which all schools should be measured. The problem is, if all a school has time to do is measure whether the kids are learning, there is never any time for teaching… or at least the kind of teaching that makes kids fall in love with lifetime learning.

Why should I let my light shine?

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cartoon of two men. One says, I would like to let my light shine, But I'm afraid I would be accused of arson.
This cartoon appeared in the January, 2015 CHOG News e-newsletter


Thanks to Jesus words in Matthew 5:16, Christians love to go around talking about letting our lights shine. As an introvert, that verse has sounded like a threat to me instead of a dose of encouragement. If I let my light shine, do I reveal something I may later regret? Will I look like a fool because what I shone light on was a nice, little skeleton in someone’s closet?

Then again, whenever I listen to the news and hear the latest doom and gloom about the latest crime, terrorist attack or miscellaneous dirty deed, I realize the world could use a little more brightening.

Should I let my light shine? What’s the alternative? Do I sit around and watch the world get darker and scarier? Or do I do something good with what I have? Should I be concerned someone will take my good deeds and turn them into something horrible like arson?

Dr. Martin Luther King went endured abuse and lost his life in the name of civil rights. If we do good, can we expect abuse? Yes, people who go against the status quo and reveal darkness can expect pushback. But light and love must prevail.

On this Martin Luther King day, I am reminded of one of his quotes:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. at brainyquote.com

Should I let my light shine? Yes, I’ll do the best I can. It’s the only way to drive out the darkness.

A New Year Means a New Focus

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Photo of a camera shutter representing a new focus

A lot has happened for me in 2014. This year, I graduated with my MBA from Anderson University. That is something I would have never thought of doing five years ago. If you would have asked me in early 2010 what my career goals were, I would have said I just want to continue being a designer and illustrator.

I don’t regret my career choice, and I consider design and illustration two great career choices. They allowed me to have a long career in publishing. They helped me feed two kids and for a time, allowed my wife to stay home with them. It was a great ride.

But about five years ago, I realized the world had changed dramatically, and it would do no good to ignore it. Technology has fundamentally changed the world of publishing and graphic design. Continue reading A New Year Means a New Focus