fresh meat

fresh meat welcome cartoon drawing by nakedpastor david hayward

Purchase the original drawing or a print of this cartoon!

This poor guy. I wonder how long he will last.

I was actually inspired to draw this because someone bought another one of my original knife-in-the-back cartoons yesterday. This picture popped into my mind. So I drew it.

Backbiting and stabbing is so normalized that people expect it now. What about a community that actually tries to be free of this? That’s what we’re building over at If you say, “Impossible, because there are people involved!”, then you’ve simply proved my point.

The community that is gathering there is actually a dream come true for me. There is a vast diversity of belief and non-belief, but there is a unity of purpose to love and support one another in our own unique and individual paths toward spiritual independence.

At least come check it out. I really do welcome you.

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  • Eddy Hooper

    (From my best friend years and years ago)


  • Pat B

    Today’s cartoon “fresh meat” (is this your experience?)

    Yes 🙁

  • Justin Hatt

    I was the “fresh meat” at a couple of churches in the past, including more recently here in the UK at a church in West London that had hidden beliefs targeting other denominations & faiths, as well as many different lifestyles, etc. When I learned of this (2 years later… it was very well hidden), I began questioning prominent members of the church, but when the church minister could not give appropriate responses to my questions, I knew it was time to leave permanently. Thankfully, I am now in a church that makes a lot more sense.

  • Beth

    I worked for a church that had a culture of gossip and backstabbing. Because I was the administrator, people thought part of my job was to be their sounding board. I ended up quitting for various reasons, but mostly because the work environment was so hostile.

  • Beth

    Jesus shed his blood so we don’t have to… At least not in church! He sacrificed himself so we wouldn’t bear the price he bore – but ministers and congregations don’t get that. because Jesus took whatever we’re being stabbed for to the cross, they’re not at liberty to go after us!

  • Tony

    Interesting. That’s not the image I had when I first read the title “Fresh Meat”, although your imagery is certainly apt. My mind immediately jumped to the disgusting proselytizing that so often occurs right after a natural disaster or human tragedy – whether in a family, or on a larger scale. That theme might require it’s own cartoon.

  • Great cartoon!

  • It’s lucky for you, then, to have such a fantastic community as an asset to sell to others.

  • Gary

    “It’s lucky for you, then, to have such a fantastic community as an asset to sell to others.”

    Can’t help but be curious as to how you meant this Christine.

    I think you would make an outstanding addition to our “community”.

  • ya i’m not sure what you mean by that christine. it sounds like a dig. but that might just be my own insecurities talking.

  • You know exactly what I mean, David, or should, given our recent conversation.

    I do hold very strong objections to you selling a community, which is the only reason why I’m not a part of it, as you know.

  • Christine: Then I’m clear. I want to make something clear: I am not selling a community. And if it sounds like I am then I need to sharpen my speech. What I AM selling is a safe place for a certain kind of community to form. I am spending lots of hours and money building a container, a nest… a place where a certain kind of person can feel safe to share, explore, discover and walk their own unique spiritual path. I have created a barrier of access. Yes! Why? Because I don’t want any Tom Dick or Harry on there. There is a membership fee to join and it is a barrier of access intentionally to help keep the container I’m creating a serious, intentional and safe place. Plus the folks there have more direct access to me and the resources I’m providing. So my reasoning is, and I stand by this, I am not selling community but the place for it to happen. It was a risk, but the community that is forming there is far better than I ever imagined or dreamed. That is not something I’ve done, but that the people gathering there are doing. I do suspect, however, that the container I’m providing for it to happen has something to do with the quality of the community.

  • You’re not selling community, just access to the community?

    That is pure semantics.

  • Okay Christine. We disagree. I am creating the space. The nest. It is my full time job. The subscription is my remuneration. Plain and simple. The amount of time and effort and care and money I put into it increases the quality of the space. This hopefully enriches the quality of safety of space for the community to form. You aren’t the only one who has issues with the monthly fee. I get mail every day. But I’m convinced it is a good thing I am providing for very little cost.

  • It’s also interesting that your criteria for who is “serious, intentional and safe” is who pays you monthly.

  • These people are glad to pay the cost for me to create, improve and maintain a site that provides exactly what they’ve wanted. It costs me a lot of money and time. It is a job. That’s the deal. And there are already plenty there who can’t pay and I’ve given memberships to. And there are some there who can’t pay because they don’t want their partners knowing they are on such a site because of the theological differences, etc… so not all pay. some do, but they are happy to.

  • Right. This is about you making money by selling what other people contribute to site. Because you lost your job. Period.

    First off, there are others ways for you to be paid for the time it takes to administer the site. But eveif their weren’t, it doesn’t justify what can’t be justified otherwise.

    And as long as you advertise a community and then charge a fee – and somehow claim you aren’t doing that – I feel the need to say something. This post was you advertising a community for sale.

  • I’d be happy to pay you, too.

    I am NOT ok with contributing to a site where other people are barred from my contribution and the collective community unless they pay you.

  • Last night Lisa and I joined the Tao Tai Chi community. It costs us $10 per night. Each. That’s what it costs to be a part of that community. I’m willing to pay it because I’m receiving something I want from it: Tai Chi lessons, meeting new people (because we’ve left the church and lost friends and need new ones), and to learn how to relax and live centered lives, etc… I could go on and on. It’s not for you Christine. You have an issue with it, as do many others. But those who “get” it “get” it and join. There’s no problem charging for admission to a site, a resource center, or a community, in my mind. But it is in yours. I respect that. But we disagree. No problem there either.

  • I’m also not ok with the lack of honesty and transperency that is wildly uncharacteristic of you. You tell me it isn’t a community first, but you advertise it as such. You say you aren’t selling community, but practically speaking, that’s exactly what it is.

  • Then don’t join. No problem. If you want to let your contribution be seen and responded to by absolutely anybody, then continue doing so on nakedpastor. But if you want to give and receive from others that you know are somewhat on the same page and you can presume are going to treat you with respect and lend you support, as well as have access to a lot more resources, etc. to help you on your journey, then join that’s what happens on … they are very different spaces.

  • That’s paying for lessons. There’s a big difference and I think that’s clear. If you are paying that just to be allowed to talk to other enthusiasts, then I think that’s wrong, too. But even more so when you’re trying to put a price tag on spirituality generally. Your additional materials could be charged for without charging for what you are advertising as essentially a support group. Pay $10 to get into an AA meeting and then we’ll talk.

    And see, now you say there’s nothing wrong with charging for a community. You do believe in community – spiritual community – for sale. I get the site, but yes, I do not get that.

  • Ok Christine, I’m not used to be accused of a lack of honesty. But I’m trying to respond to your challenge as clearly as possible. I do see a distinction between selling a community and renting the space for it to happen. I had no idea what the community was going to look like. But I’m pleased with what’s shaping up. The space costs me money and time. It is a full time job for me to create, develop and maintain it. And yes, I want a barrier to access and charging a subscription fee is one of the ways. To me, there’s a distinction. It is clear in my mind. You can say I’m lying but I believe I am being honest.

  • you “get the site”… so it should be free? that’s your opinion? if it is, we simply disagree.

  • Right, the other site is different. So, just continuing on here is not the same. The difference between the two isn’t just paid and unpaid. And unfortunately. there will be those who financially don’t have the choice (and they won’t all contact you). Obviously, I won’t join, but unfortunately, it’s not just me being affected.

    I do think there is something very wrong about it, and about the way you’ve presented it.

  • plus saying i did this just because i lost my job… cutting, but okay. i’ll respond to that: i did lose my job, but it gave me the push i needed to start the site that i’d been dreaming of starting for a couple of years now. so it wasn’t initiated by me needing money. but i would like it to be what i do full time, along with nakedpastor, which means remuneration.

    90% of what I do is free. i’ve been doing free stuff for years on nakedpastor, giving people free cartoons and writing and creating a space for debate, etc… but this other little project i’ve initiated does require a membership fee.

  • That was not the only misrepresentation that I’ve seen – including about even the purpose of the site. And even if it isn’t directly lying, there is some lack of transperency it seems.

    I think the site should be free to access, yes. Screening may be needed, but not based on who shells out the money. You can be paid and should if feasible, but not by charging admission to the community portion. Yes, that is my view.

  • The fact that it costs to join and be a member is the problem, so I won’t even ask you how I should present it.

  • I see, but don’t agree.

  • Yes, it’s been clear you’ve wanted to do this full time. Definitely. And you’re doing it now because you are no longer employed in your previous job. You don’t want another salaried one – and I’m not saying there’s inherently wrong with that, as long as the way you are making money is appropriate.

    I appreciate you’ve been doing much of this for free. But so are a lot of people – for whose efforts you are now also making money off of. And lots of people make money of it in many other ways than exclusion.

  • and if i’ve ever misrepresented, i feel badly about that and would correct it. i want to be honest and transparent. i’m rather known for that and don’t want to ruin that reputation.

  • I know your view Christine and we don’t agree. I don’t feel paying a subscription fee for the site is inappropriate. We just don’t agree.

  • Yes, we don’t agree. But, as I think there is a genuine wrong being done, I’m going to be less comfortable with “agreeing to disagree” than you would be.

    If this site is about afflicting the comfortable, shouldn’t that include you if someone feels it necessary?

    But I’ve made my point. Though you have been making rather hard to ignore here on this site with the constant plugs for the other one.

  • You see, your problem with my other site colors everything about it, even me inviting others to it. And come on! Seriously? You think you are the first one to challenge me on something? You should know better than to make that remark. I’m up for challenge and correction. I’ve already started coming through how i promote the other site to make sure I’m honest and transparent.

  • in fact, i’m having a long discussion right now with someone on facebook saying that it’s comparable to “tithing”.

  • So i thank you for your challenge and questions. I’m exhausted. But I do appreciate it. I do need and desire people around me who challenge me to be the best and to be perfect in everything i do. I do want the other site to be presented honestly and transparently. And open. I will try to figure out how to do that.

  • Gary

    This conversation really strikes me as very odd.

    I am a member of your other site David. Of course you know this…I say it for the benefit of observers. I gladly pay the $7 monthly fee with no reservations whatsoever. (BTW – I have NEVER paid for membership to any other website…this is how much I support what you are doing there) I understand how some have had a negative reaction to such a fee and not understand that you genuinely want to help people. However…I totally disagree with those who would question your motives. (Even worse…to accuse you of dishonesty is VERY disappointing to me) Never mind the obvious truth that a workman is worthy of his pay, there are simple economics in play here. I totally get WHY you charge a fee. Perhaps even more importantly in the context of this conversation…I totally support your RIGHT to do so.

    I just don’t know what else to say but…just wow. Hold your head up high David and keep on doing what you have started. We get it!!

  • Gary

    And Christine…I hate to disagree with you as I have great respect for your comments and point of view most of the time. But really…how the hell can you call charging a membership fee to a private site a “genuine wrong being done”? You have a far clearer understanding of the wrongs committed against others than most. This comment makes absolutely no sense to me.

  • David, I am in no way trying to imply I’m the first to challenge you here. I think, though, we’re all more used to it being done by people who generally disagree with you and most everyone here on most everything. That is more easily set aside. I only meant to say that I believe the challenge function equally applies to you. That is all.

    The fact that you do charge of course affects how I view the site has a whole and taints every mention of it. How could it not, since I believe that charging for it taints the entire site?

    I think it’s worse than tithing, actually – that’s only a flat tax, this is a head tax.

    But like I said before privately, I do greatly appreciate that your are taking all this into consideration.

  • Gary – Thanks for responding as well. I expect I would find the site worth my $7 as well – but it’s not my $7 that concerns me. If I were the only one paying, that would be very different. It isn’t about the personal cost to me, but a principled stance on whether the collection of such fees is appropriate and good. Having the right to do something is not the same as doing the right thing.

    I do believe David sincerely wants to – an absolutely does – help people. I also believe this means in this case is about money, yes. I don’t even think David is contending now, even if the original launch presented it otherwise.

    Nor do I think David is being – or has ever been – intentionally deceptive about everything… but we all have our blind spots and rationalizations at times. That’s why we do all need the challenge function. I don’t know that that’s what’s happening in this case, but I’m certainly convinced that it isn’t that.

    Finally, as I said, there are other – and in my view – much better (in the sense of equitable, not efficient) ways to make money off such a site. We can treat our spiritual connections as just another commodity in a free market, but should we want to? What does that mean for any community that forms there? I think the wrong being done is also about betraying the spirit and potential of what has existing here already, on this site, for quite some time, and what our spiritualities really need. If David’s other site goes nowhere, little harm done, but I say this genuinely believing it has may very well be something significant.

  • A few typos, it is late. One I want to ensure I correct:

    “Nor do I think David is being – or has ever been – intentionally deceptive about ANYthing…”

  • If indeed a worker is worthy of pay, shall we not charge for prayer? I am an experienced prayer and I will prayer for your loved one – $1/minute. Shall a start a 1-900 prayer line? Credit card number up front, please.

    I could, of course. I have the right to, no doubt. But should I? And should you pay me to?

    At what point do we draw the line on commodification of spirituality? Up to what point are even our spiritual communities – not even goods or services and of a group and not just the payee – up for sale?

  • Gary

    No sorry Christine but I must reject your prayer analogy. (It seems totally disingenuous to me) There are many things I have rejected in the typical church setting and as such have left completely. But the fact that those who are committed to the ministry in a leadership capacity draw a salary for their efforts was never one of them.

    I sincerely hope David can continue to support his new website in a real and substantive way. This will require income sources for him…so be it. We can argue all day about whether the means he has chosen with a clean heart are the best. But surely the right for him to choose what is right for his website (literally to choose what is the best path for him) is an important principle worthy of defending.

  • Gary

    Going to bed. Please reflect on our discussion as I assure you I will.

    Christine, Stay strong my friend.

  • I’m not saying the prayer anology is a perfect correlation – it isn’t. But I think it does demonstrate that there are certain things we would be unwilling to treat as goods and services for sale – and that valuable effort should not always come with a price tag. I think it definitely indicates that simply saying “Never mind the obvious truth that a workman is worthy of his pay” completely out of context doesn’t automatically justify charging for whatever we want or however we want. That’s nothing more than proof-texting, and I’m used to more substantive, less knee-jerk arguments from you.

    By further comparison, most of us would be comfortable with someone being paid to prayer (among other things) in certain contexts – no one would bat an eye at a salaried pastor having “pray for the congregants” within their job description. It’s not being paid as it is *charging* for the service that would be cause for concern. In this case, my concern is similar – I’m not objecting to David veing paid (e.g. through donation, advertisements), I’m objecting to him *charging* a flat rate for membership in a community. There is a difference.

    I don’t want to dispute whether David has a clean heart – that a broad assessment indeed, and I’m confident he passes. But I also don’t think that precludes us fram rationalizing in a way that tries to disguise true motives, even to ourselves, or to allow our deep desires to override a sen of unease we might otherwise have. I can’t know if this is happening in ths case, as I said, but it seems possible, given the circumstances. And if that is the case, then there is certainly something to speak up about.

    And I disagree that Davidshould simply chose what’s best for him in this case. In selling goods and services, yes, but when you cross over into selling access to a community – including selling other people’s contributions to that community – you become the gatekeeper of a communal property, and I think it is proper that decisions then be made with the interests of the community itself, the collective, in mind. David is no longer just selling his own efforts, so it’s no longer just about what’s best for him.

    I’ll be thinking about all this a lot, I’m sure, as I have been since the launch and as many others likely are. I’m open to being convinced. Part of me really wants to be.

    I want you – and David – to know that this in no way changes the deep love I have for you both.


  • So, I’ve been avoiding this conversation (not just this particular one but the topic of the new paid site as a whole) because let’s just say that I can be less that diplomatic about certain matters and am not generally out to offend people. This is not to suggest that I am not intentionally offensive to some people when I feel it is necessary to make a point, but generally I am much more careful with people that I consider to be friends and/or people that I hold in high regard. So, not wanting to offend you (David) and honestly not feeling that what I have to say would be likely to have any positive outcome, I have held my tongue (or fingers if you will). But I feel I have reached the point where I must say something, however it might be taken.

    The connection between money and spiritual things has long been a particular sticking point for me. The TV preacher who insists that if you send him enough money God will answer your every prayer; the guilt trips that go out over many pulpits to squeeze a little extra money out of the parishioners; the massive waste of the offerings that do come in to most churches with little regard for the important matters of outreach into the community that could be done with those funds; the many sickening and extremely unbiblical teachings around the subject of tithing; the preferential treatment shown in many churches towards those with more money to give; the list is very long so I’ll cut it short and move on with my point. Your cartoons have been helpful to me in dealing with these issues (as well as others) and I very much appreciated the way you have tackled things head on. When I first heard about the concept of your new safe space website, I was thrilled, not so much for myself to be honest as I love the uncensored environment of nakedpastor and have developed a rather tough skin over the years after numerous attempts at attending churches that billed themselves as safe spaces and eventually turned out to be anything but once you pulled the wrong thread and it all started to unravel. And let’s face it, I have a way of pulling the wrong thread and I am frankly unapologetic for such. In any event, when I learned that you had put a subscription fee on your safe space I was completely and utterly shocked. After a moment of complete disbelief, my first reaction was how could it possibly be a safe space if it starts out by attaching a price tag? I can’t tell you how many of my experiences of people who have been hurt by churches and turned off by churches can trace their experiences in one way or another back to issues regarding money. Once the shock wore off though, I realized that money abuses and issues, while endemic within churches, still only account for a portion of the many ways in which churches have wounded people and thus there is undoubtedly plenty of people in search of a safe place who do not have any of the same issues that I have with linking money and spirituality, so really you were only excluding a certain portion of people from safety by attaching a price tag to it, those for whom money issues are a sticking point and of course those who simply don’t have the extra funds to commit. I’m sure there are plenty of people you can reach who have both the means and the comfort level with paying for spiritual community. I am not one of these people, though certainly not for lack of means.

    So, my next step was to simply accept that this was not something I had any desire to be a part of but I thought I would just attempt to ignore it while continuing to enjoy nakedpastor. Try as I might though, it has in fact tainted my ability to view this community the same way. Recently, when you posted the cartoon “offerings down”, I had to walk away to refrain myself from leaving a very snarky comment to the tune that maybe those churches should just start charging a monthly access fee to attend their services. It was only then that I began to fully realize that nakedpastor had become in some ways like a church to me and that is precisely why I found this to be so ridiculously offensive. As bad as things get with churches and money, I have not yet come across a single church that would stoop so low as to have the audacity to charge an entrance fee before you can attend. They may go overboard in begging for your money while you are there, but they’ll always let you in free of charge. It hasn’t (at least not yet) become so commercialized as to require an access fee. And I thought to myself, if a church was to go to that next level, David would be the first one to draw a cartoon depicting the absurdity of it. But to me, what you are doing is essentially the equivalent of such. Now of course, your site is not really a church, but it is offering a spiritual community which to many would be a sort of replacement for a church to those who can no longer stomach the institutionalized church, just as it has become to me. As I think about it more, to me, it’s not like a church charging an access fee as you are still keeping nakedpastor free (at least for now) but charging only for those who want something more intimate. So it’s perhaps a little more like a church (of which there are many) that lets anybody attend for free but requires that you must say tithe if you wish to be a full-fledged member. I long ago passed the point where I had any desire to officially join a church, but that didn’t stop me from finding it too distasteful to regularly attend a church that requires people to tithe in order to obtain membership. And so I guess, in much the same vein, that is why I am finding it hard to ignore your paid membership while trying to continue to enjoy the free site.

    I have completely given up on the idea of finding a church that I can feel safe in and find true community in. I have had many failed attempts and had pretty much given up on it before Christine and I got together. But then she convinced me that she had found the real deal in a small home church and it didn’t take long for me feel like I truly belonged there and that it was in fact everything I had ever wanted in a church. That went on for some time with only minor hiccups such as happens whenever humans gather until at some point, unbeknownst to me, we seemed to have slipped into this point where we were expected to have an affinity for the denomination and thus automatically hold its leadership in high regard and limit our criticism of such. Of course, nobody told us that we had slipped into this place and I was blissfully unaware until we had offended people within the community just by criticising the book of a denominational leader and it was made very clear that we weren’t supposed to do that because we were denominational insiders apparently. For my part, I really thought that I had been clear from the start that I had no affinity for the denomination this group was a part of (or for any denomination for that matter as I had given up on that many years before). I say all this to say that it is likely that that group was the final attempt that I would ever make to honestly try to fit into a church. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak. I have gone a few times to other churches since, but really only because Christine wanted to and not out of any desire of my own. And I am 99.9% certain that I will never “belong” to a church again. But I do still have a great desire for fellowship with other believers. So, I guess for me, internet communities such as nakedpastor are the only hope I have left for any significant spiritual community. To be entirely honest, a part of me really wants your new endeavour to fail if for no other reason than my fear that if it succeeds it might start a trend that infects other spiritual online communities with this idea that such communities can be treated as commodities to be bought and sold. In the end, I will likely move away from participation in nakedpastor as a result of this, but I have other spiritual online communities that have not yet been commercialized, nakedpastor was the first for me, but I have since branched out. So I’ll be ok, I just sincerely hope that this remains an anomaly and never becomes the norm and even then it will probably always make me a little sad for what it could have been. A little like losing your first love but now I’m getting a little too melodramatic.

    I did feel it necessary to address the idea of honesty and transparency with regard to the new site or current lack thereof as this is some ways got to me even more than the fee itself. While I will never agree that it is ok to charge for access to a spiritual community, I would personally appreciate it if you would at least own what you are doing. In the email conversation that you had with Christine, you were very clear that you did not see the new site as primarily a community but rather that you were selling access to a number of resources and the community portion was more of a side benefit. Never mind that if this were true you could easily separate the two and charge for one and not the other, but the thing is that quite consistently before and since you wrote that email you promote the new site as a community first with only a casual mention from time to time of other resources. Now you took great offense at any suggestion that you might not have been entirely honest or transparent about the new site, but what do you propose we call that if not dishonesty? Even in this thread, being confronted publically, you have basically waffled about whether or not you are actually selling a community. You know what I think? And I could of course be completely off base, but I think the reason that you are reluctant to simply admit that you are in fact selling a spiritual community (even though that is how you consistently promote it) is because you yourself are not entirely comfortable with the idea of turning spiritual community into a commodity. Am I right, or am I totally off base? Either way, you have to decide what you’re doing and own it because frankly the hypocrisy is really not becoming you. You’re better than that.

  • I do make a clear distinction between selling the community and renting a space where I can work to provide special resources, develop materials, and create a safe place for people to make transitions and to find their own spiritual independence. The distinction is very clear in my mind. And I’m glad, because I would not do this if it went against my conscience. I am making every effort to receive your criticisms and be transparent and honest and to build the site on integrity.