That was the title of the featured article by Russ Breimeier, Christianity Today, I received via email this week. I tried to link it here…but can’t figure out how to do that with an email (as opposed to something I see on a website). I’m learning. Be nice….be patient.
He expressed well the reason I won’t put a “Jesus fish” on my car.
Probably woulda been something I blogged about, he saved me the trouble. Since I can’t link it (grrrrrrrr >:( ), I’ve copied the gist of it. The point that mattered to me was the last sentence…if you wanna skip everything else, jump down to there.
I was driving in downtown Chicago last week, where traffic seems to be our No. 1 pastime—even ahead of baseball (go Sox!). In my mind-numbed auto stupor, I noticed that the car ahead of me had that little fish on the back (you know, the ichthus?) Really, I couldn’t help but notice, not because I’m automatically drawn to Christian symbolism, but because the driver rudely cut me off in traffic without using a turn signal.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure my driving habits have offended others at some point too. None of us are perfect. But the car fish is one of those everyday cultural items that stir mixed feelings in me. At time I’m filled with good cheer when I see it—”Ah, there goes a brother or sister in Christ. God bless!” And admit it: When a driver with a fish on his car is courteous in traffic, you conclude that they were nice because they were a Christian, as “proven” by the fish, right?
If that’s true, then we need to accept the downside of the fish. It brands us as a Christian, and that means when we pull a fast one in traffic, another driver may think, There goes another rude and arrogant Christian. There’s great responsibility in wearing the fish, and from my driving experiences, not enough Christians take it seriously.
Should that be any different from wearing the name “Christian” in our everyday living? This directly relates to the whole secular vs. sacred debate. I think some Christian artists are reluctant to be called “Christian artists” because they’re afraid that in the spotlight, they will occasionally slip up and misrepresent Christ. It’s easy to think, Yes, but we’re all family in Christian music—we show grace to each other when we make mistakes—whether in traffic or in the mainstream. Right? Tell that to artists like Amy Grant, P.O.D., Sixpence None the Richer, and Switchfoot.
It’s something to consider, the responsibility of being labeled for Christ. As it pertains to music, I can see it either way. Whether or not artists are publicly identified as “Christian artists,” I can’t stress enough that the emphasis be on their conduct, and not on their label. Personally, I’m not the type who calls much attention to myself with symbols and such. I’d rather be labeled a Christian by my words and actions—that people know me as a Christian by my love, not my shortcomings or my advertising.