Beliefnet
God's Comic

I
have been a Christian all of my adult life and yet, to date, I have never
placed a fish symbol on my car. I guess I never really understood the underlying
“witness” to displaying the symbol. I think of all the things I can’t do, or
shouldn’t, based on the fact that I am trumpeting to the world every time I get
in my car that I “AM A CHRISTIAN!!!YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW I CAN PROVE IT? CHECK
OUT MY FISH!!!”…. “You’ll have to look quick though cause I’m speeding.” Not
that there is anything wrong with wanting to display your allegiance to your
faith I suppose, but does it have to come with the cheese factor? Anytime a
religious symbol becomes an adornment for a car in the same vein as a bumper
sticker I believe it loses some of the numinous in the translation. It’s too
easy. It is as though this establishes that I am a follower, not of Jesus so
much, but of trends. The fish has become de rigueur for the American Christian.
But how often do we see it demonstrated in a way that sets you apart? Many sporters
of car fish still speed like everybody else, I see them flip the bird, cross
lanes without signaling and tailgate. If being a witness is our calling, then
non-believers “witnessing” our lack of ethical uniqueness in driving, all the
while being “set apart” without demonstrating it other than we have conformed
to our subculture that teaches us witnessing isn’t who you are or how you live,
it’s wearing an “Eat at Joes” placard that somehow brings people to their knees
when our shadow passes over them. The original Icthus fish symbol used by the
early church was actually a symbol to disguise the fact you were a follower of
the Way. Only other Christians knew what it meant. This way they could safely
signal each other without fear of reprisal from the culture that wanted them
eliminated. It brought comfort to the believer in that they were able to
discover who it was that was journeying with them. Their obligation was to God
first and the tribe thereafter. It was a way to find your own and seek shelter
, companionship and comfort from those who would quite possibly be dead if they
were discovered. In other words it was honorable. Often times the fish is used
on a business card or yellow pages add. This way it is supposed to convince us
that the service comes with the addition that the business is holy. I can’t
tell you how many stories I have heard of people getting crappy service from
the Christian business, and then when confronted they pulled the ” can’t we all
get along ,brother” excuse for their incompetence. Listen my brethern, there
are enough believers out there, me at the forefront, that fail miserably at our
witness. Is it too much to ask that we make less of a display of our faith
through symbols, and more of an introspection of our need for outward proof of
our piety through actually living it? The fish just adds too much pressure and
too easily “outs” us as the pathetic sinners we actually are. Maybe, just maybe
if we made it a point to drive the speed limit, signal everytime we change
lanes and always let others merge w/o speeding up they might actually scratch
their heads and wonder “what kind of an unusual lad is this that treats a
stranger with respect, courtesy and dignity? Heck…we aren’t even neighbors?”

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