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2009 Conversations

2008 Conversations

2007 Conversations

2006 Conversations

2005 Conversations

2004 Conversations

2003 Conversations

Joy Williams: Rooted in Grace (December 29, 2002)

Judy Rachels: Christmas gifts (December 22, 2002)

Ralph Carmichael: New music for a timeless message (December 15, 2002)

Roger and Greg Flessing: Media, ministry and society's ungodly messages (December 8, 2002)

Rick Salvato: Meeting medical and spiritual needs around the world (November 24, 2002)

Asa Hutchinson: Drug Enforcement's top officer (November 17, 2002)

Bill Bright: 'Not I, but Christ' (November 10, 2002)

Ray Berryhill: Living by faith (October 20, 2002)

Owen C. Carr: Reading through the Bible 92 times (October 13, 2002)

Curtis Harlow: Combating campus drinking (September 29, 2002)

Wes Bartel: Making Sunday count (September 22, 2002)

M. Wayne Benson: The Holy Spirit knocks (September 15, 2002)

Dr. Richard Dobbins: Understanding Suffering (September 8, 2002)

K.R. Mele: Halloween evangelism (August 25, 2002)

Roland Blount: God makes a way for blind missionary (August 18, 2002)

Cal Thomas: Finding a mission field (August 11, 2002)

Lisa Ryan: For such a time as this (July 28, 2002)

Dallas Holm: Faith and prayer in life’s toughest times (July 21, 2002)

Paul Drost: Intentional church planting (July 14, 2002)

James M. Inhofe: Serving Christ in the Senate (June 30, 2002)

Karen Kingsbury: The Write stuff (June 23, 2002)

Michael W. Smith: Worship is how you live each day (June 16, 2002)

Wayne Stayskal: On the drawing board (June 9, 2002)

Fory VandenEinde: Anyone can minister (May 26, 2002)

Thomas E. Trask: Pentecost Sunday (May 19, 2002)

Stormie Omartian: Recovering from an abusive childhood (May 12, 2002)

Luis Carrera: Beyond the Shame (April 28, 2002)

Tom Greene: The church of today (April 21, 2002)

Philip Bongiorno: Wisdom for a younger generation (April 14, 2002)

Deborah M. Gill: Christian education and discipleship (March 24, 2002)

Norma Champion: Becoming involved in politics (February 24, 2002)

Steve Pike: A candid discussion about Mormonism (February 10, 2002)

Raymond Berry: More to life than football (January 27, 2002)

Sanctity of Human Life roundtable: Doctors speak out (January 20, 2002)

Chaplain Charles Marvin: Ministering in the military (January 13, 2002)

2001 Conversations

On the drawing board

(June 9, 2002)

Wayne Stayskal, nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist for the Tampa Tribune, is known for his unique cartooning style and ability to drive home his point on some of the nation’s most hotly contested topics with his disarming humor. Stayskal, who attends Victory Church (Assemblies of God) in Lakeland, Fla., (Wayne Blackburn, pastor) spoke with Kirk Noonan, associate editor, about life as an editorial cartoonist.

EVANGEL: How did your upbringing influence your decision to accept Christ as your Savior?

STAYSKAL: My parents were Christians and made sure I went to church. I had a good foundation to build on and some good Sunday school teachers too. When I was 8 years old I was baptized. Looking back now, I think I got baptized because my older cousin was getting baptized and I wanted to do what he did even though I had not yet accepted Christ as my Savior. After that, whenever a pastor would give a call for salvation, I would feel a tugging in my spirit to go forward, but then I would think to myself, I don’t need to go forward; I’ve been baptized. While in the Air Force I met a Christian lieutenant who was training navigators for the Korean War. He held Bible studies and I attended them. One night during the study, it dawned on me that I was not saved. In my bunk that night, I asked the Lord to come into my heart. What a feeling that was; it was great. There was no mistake about it.

EVANGEL: Has cartooning been a pursuit of yours your entire life?

STAYSKAL: As a child I couldn’t get by without a pencil in my hand all the time. Every Sunday I copied the comics from the newspaper — those cartoons were my inspiration. I tried to do my own cartoons, but I did better copying them at the time. My folks caught on to my interest in art and sent me to a neighbor who taught oil painting. In high school, I took all of the art classes I could. After serving in the Air Force I went to the Chicago Academy of Fine Art. After I graduated, I was leaning toward cartooning, yet my cartooning career did not pan out as I had planned. For a year I worked in commercial art studios. After that I took a job at the Chicago American newspaper, where I did layouts for their Sunday magazine along with some cartoon illustrations.

EVANGEL: How long until you started doing cartoons full time?

STAYSKAL: It all started about two years later. I was now the art director for the Sunday magazine. I heard about a big publishing company looking for an art director for their encyclopedia’s yearbook. Down deep I just knew that job was mine, but when I applied I was turned down. I couldn’t find out why I did not get it. God seemed to remind me that I never talked to Him about it. So I started talking to God about my career, and I told Him that I wouldn’t try to control it anymore — I would just follow wherever He would lead me.

Soon after that, Vaughn Shoemaker, an editorial cartoonist and a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, started working at our paper. He was also a Christian. He wanted an assistant and I got that job. I did it along with my art director duties. I also started a small editorial cartoon three times a week for the bottom of the editorial page. Vaughn gave me many good pointers along the way. When he retired 10 years later, I took his position as chief cartoonist. When the paper ceased publishing, I took a job at the Chicago Tribune.

EVANGEL: Your career and notoriety were starting to soar at the Chicago Tribune. Why did you leave?

STAYSKAL: I left there in 1984 when newspapers across the nation, including the Tribune, were having financial problems. We had three editorial cartoonists; the other two were Pulitzer Prize winners, so I had to go. They gave me a year to find another job. Just when I needed it, God worked it out so I could come to the Tampa Tribune.

EVANGEL: What are the main ingredients of a cogent editorial cartoon?

STAYSKAL: For me, number one is humor. It’s the old "a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down" theory. Number two is to decide the right thing to say. Three is to get my idea across as simply as possible.

EVANGEL: How do you keep from coming across as angry or spiteful in your cartoons?

STAYSKAL: I try to avoid it, but sometimes it’s in me and comes out. I admit I got a bit heavy-handed during the Clinton years. All cartoonists get too close to the issue at times.

EVANGEL: Do people ever get angry with you for the cartoons you do?

STAYSKAL: People have protested against me in front of our offices. Some write letters or call. Sometimes when people call they yell, but after they stop yelling we talk and it generally ends up being quite friendly.

EVANGEL: Have you ever been threatened with the loss of your job over a cartoon?

STAYSKAL: No, but they have not used a cartoon from time to time. My boss always explains the reasons why he would rather not use it. When this happens, I just do another one. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often.

EVANGEL: Do you have a sense that you are defending something?

STAYSKAL: No, I wouldn’t use the word defending. I think it is more pointing out what is right in a world full of so much wrong. The bottom line is, I’m just like everybody else voicing his or her opinions. Although I may seem to yell a little louder because I have the privilege of being amplified through syndication and Web sites.

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