Flip It Like This!

Broadleaf. Jul. 2022. 144p. ISBN 9781506484723. $19.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
Comedy dances across the border of the shocking, the taboo, and the things we are not courageous enough to say openly. It takes special finesse to do that dance in a single-panel comic that takes on the topic of religion, and to provoke laughter repeatedly. Hayward, a former pastor who draws and writes as @NakedPastor, has created a laugh-out-loud collection of raucous and poignant comics on the experience of American Christianity. He has the amazing ability to incisively strike at the hypocritical, ugly, and dangerous parts of American Christianity while still displaying care for people and portraying a winsome, mischievous Jesus. Through this collection, Hayward builds a symbolic shorthand: the LGBTQ+ rainbow sheep, the anthropomorphic church, the complexly drawn woman, and the oblivious, round-headed man. He also lances into topics of inclusion, feminism, spiritual abuse, and unthinking Christian jargon.
VERDICT Some conservative churchgoers might protest that they are being misrepresented by Hayward’s comics. However, pastors, readers sympathetic to a broader Christianity, and many people who have been hurt or excluded by conservative Christianity will recognize the ring of truth and find a hilarious, brutally honest ally in Hayward and his work.
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