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Published:November 5th, 2006 05:14 EST
Chick Lit - This ain't your daughter's chick lit!

Chick Lit - This ain't your daughter's chick lit!

By S Renee Greene

Hellfire. Brimstone. Damnation. Judgment Day. If you just guessed we aren’t talking about the same kind of chick lit as you may have thought of, you’re probably right.

If you’ve ever just been going about your day and been handed a tract by a group of women proclaiming the God of the Kingdom Hall, you may have looked the other way, kept walking and ignored them, taken a magazine, thanked them and wished them a nice day, or even dropped a donation or two in their pockets. If you ever thumbed through a Watchtower out of curiosity, you may have noticed some enriching stories and a few photos, and some distinctive drawings depicting things like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, or a characterization of Jesus Christ standing in a cloud with His hand atop a follower’s head.

On the other hand, if you went to sit on a crowded bus or a park bench and saw something on the seat, or stooped to open the door of a news box, or even reached into your child’s candy bag after a night of trick or treating, you may have seen a small thumbnail size booklet with some cartoons on front and words in bubbles. Probably some characters with frightened looks on their faces with a depiction of voice booming overhead, something like “This day is your soul required of thee!” If it got your attention, the goal was met.

Intentionally hard-hitting in a way that doesn’t mince words, beat around the bush, tickle ears, or attempt to disguise the gospel of salvation by forcing it to wear a mask and look cute and innocent; it was that very type of sermonizing that changed Jack Chick’s life. Actually, it was something more like Ezekiel 3:18. In overly-simplistic terms, the scripture states that those who do not warn a man of his wicked ways and causes him to die in that evil will be held accountable for his death. It was the thought of spending eternity in hell that shined a light on his decision in the will of God to become an ambassador of salvation using the one talent he had: The gift of drawing.

The simple story is that Chick discovered millions of Chinese people had been won over to Communism through the use of story-telling cartoons, so the idea came to him that the same method could be used to win souls to Christ. One of his first gospel tracts, “This Was Your Life!,” got the attention of nine of eleven prison inmates, and started Chick on his way to spreading the gospel by depicting the consequences of living life without God in cartoon form. The small leaflet was the story of the life of a man who was living in the lap of luxury and thought he had it all, until he suddenly and unexpectedly died and ended up in a place very much like The Rich Man in the bible story of The Rich Man and Lazarus. Some other examples are “The Unwelcome Guest,” a story of the ill compatibilities between secret lodge memberships that claim to be God-oriented and the true God of all mankind; and “The Mad Machine,” the short story of how a world gone mad can only be redeemed by turning to the one and only true God of creation. 

Today, thousands of Chick tracts are produced by a small band of authors who have joined Chick in his crusade to save the world, one storyboard at a time. The tracts cover four languages and discuss every topic, from AIDS to Zeus that might turn feet that are running toward hell back to heaven.

Forty years ago, Jack Chick was angry at his best buddies from high school for not telling him about Jesus Christ because they thought he would be “the last man on the planet” to accept the terms of salvation. He turned that anger into a desire to make sure every man, even those who were considered to be beyond help, was at least given the chance. In the end, as many of his tracts will show, the end decision belongs to the soul of the individual who will sink or stand on that decision.

And for those who think that the Billy Graham of the carton world is dead, as of this printing, though he had lost his companion and wife of 50 years, he is still very much alive and still working. The latest Chick tracts feature very prominent African Americans and one of his most recent pieces of work, titled “Soul Sisters,” is the story of two young black women who talk about their own friendship in terms of the saving grace of Jesus Christ.