Beliefnet

Coexist.
— vb
1. to exist together at the same time or in the same place
2. to exist together in peace

Exist. Together.

Pretty simple. So why all the chatter?

Many posts define the individual symbols. I immediately knew all but one of the symbols. Even the one I didn't know wasn't a complete mystery – I think I know what it is. I just didn't bother to check. Why? Because I think that picking through the symbols misses the point.

After identifying the symbols, many bloggers write about which of these faiths seek elimination of other faiths vs coexisting with them. The bloggers also discuss what coexistence means to them. Let's just say that many of them apparently do not own a dictionary.

This detailed analysis of a one-word bumper sticker took me back to college and a button I had on my back pack. "I'm pink, therefore I'm spam." No, I wasn't claiming to be spiced, canned ham, although I am fairly pink especially in the summer. The button was simply an absurd statement displayed in a place where people often over-analyzed things. One of my professors proceeded to prove my point, analyzing the button until I offered to give it to her so that she would stop and I could escape.

I feel the same way about the analysis of this bumper sticker. Don't over think it. The order of the symbols? Dictated by the spelling of the word, coexist. The selection of symbols? An attempt to reflect diversity. The hidden meaning? Maybe it is simply that all of us could try just a bit harder to coexist with as little muss and fuss as possible.

In addition to cutting the muss and fuss, it probably wouldn't hurt to smile, maybe even poke a little fun at yourself. It just might convince someone that you aren't taking your own place in this symbolic line up too seriously, that you aren't analyzing everything that they do, and that maybe, just maybe, you're ok with who they are.

Keep It Simple

Treat your neighbors as yourself.
Don't lie or steal.
Honor your parents.
They seem pretty straightforward
right up until I seek clarification,
that will help me find
loopholes and exceptions.
Just who are my neighbors?
Do white lies count?
Help me simplify my obedience
instead of complicating it
with qualifications and quantifications.
You can help me do this if only
I will meet Your gaze,
releasing my focus from the minutiae
I use as a distraction
from what I know You want.

-Sue Bradford Edwards


courtesy of

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