by David Wilke
One of Library Journal's "Best Books 2013" (spirituality/religion) Thousands of people start each day with a shot of Coffee with Jesus, the enormously popular online comic strip. Irreverent at times, yet always insightful, this volume features classic entries and all new, exclusive material that was born out of artist David Wilkie's frustration with the polarized political climate in America. "Originally created as a one-off, single-panel comic on my blog, utilizing old advertising clip art for the main characters and Sunday school clip art for the person of Jesus, I simply enjoyed the notion of Jesus appearing at table with these people (dressed as they were and sharing coffee with them) to refute their claims of how he might vote on any particular issue, to convince them that they cannot confuse their flag with their God--to set them straight, as it were," explains Wilkie. But it didn't stop here. Soon the Jesus of Coffee with Jesus could be seen offering counsel to a recurring cast of characters on their personal and work lives. The characters--Carl, Lisa, Ann, Kevin and Joe--all honestly engage with Jesus about their successes and failures and wants and needs, effectively showing what conversation with God--or prayer--might look like. Poignant, pointed, and rife with good theology, Coffee with Jesus is organized around six themes: getting to know Jesus, spiritual disciplines, relationships, culture, church, and the challenges of life. With exclusive material like twelve-panel mega-strips and "behind the strip" reflections on life, faith and art, Wilkie inventively poses answers to the perpetual Christian speculation, "What would Jesus do?"