I was at a baseball game a few weeks ago and saw one of the most arrogant shirts I have ever seen. It evoked a sense of arrogance that I just can’t stand.
As a framework for this post, it is important to know that I always get upset whenever I see the bumper sticker Coexist because it conveys a sense of arrogance. I always found it funny to see this on (usually) a Prius or sedan in a nation that has historically been more open to different groups of people than any other on Earth. Now, of course there has been faults and evils, but by and large Jews, Protestants, and Catholics have learned to live by each other. Muslims might be harassed in a post-9/11 world, but it is not on the systemic levels of other nations. The sticker assumes that I as a Protestant Christian cannot coexist next to a Buddhist family. While we have our faults, this country is largely peaceful. Personally, it would be a fun experiment to have that bumper sticker in Saudi Arabia, but I digress.
While that sticker might be arrogant, I noticed a shirt that ran laps around the bumper sticker. It also made me weep inside.
A man walked around in the stands wearing a shirt that read I am the Christian Satan Warned You About. Have you seen this shirt? I hope you haven’t! It conveys the message that the individual wearing said shirt is the agent of change, the one who will flip your life upside down. He was the one who will do something to you that Satan warned you about. For the sake of argument, I assume it’s to hit you over the head with a Bible or hand you a tract!
Seriously though, I would have rather seen a shirt that read, Christ is who Satan warned you about. Or maybe, Christ, who has forgiven my sin and restored me, wants to redeem you as well and give you a new, restored life in the context of the cosmos put to right by the Kingdom of God being made manifest.
Alright, the second shirt might not be quite as catchy. While it might get closer to the heart of the matter, it might be better not to wear that shirt either. Yet, that un-catchy slogan implies that the person wearing the shirt is nothing. They are graciously restored and given new life by putting their hope in Jesus and they then point to that reality. It is not I who should be feared because of what I can do, instead it is Christ in me who transforms ugliness into beauty.
Arrogance removed and humility is put in the proper place, into the life of the Christ follower.
That is what I hope to see!