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Letters to the Editor

Nov. 6, 1997

Christianity misrepresented

When I first came to Baylor from Indianapolis, I soon realized that it's not good enough to simply to be a Christian down here -- you also have to have the gold cross necklace and earrings, the dc Talk concert T-shirt, the beads and the ability to work in your testimony about Jesus into a discussion of cold fusion. I have none of the above, nor do I desire to. Having been here for a while, I take note of all the crosses I see as I walk across campus -- hanging from ears, around necks, painted on shirts, patched on coats, etc. None of them mean a thing to me. I am dying to share my faith, experiences and sins with another. It has been a long time since I've had a meaningful conversation about my faith with anyone, male or female. But I refuse to degrade myself by becoming a walking billboard for Christ so I can go to bed at night 'feeling' more Christian. My heart is smarter than that, and so is God. By saying this, I do not mean to imply that it is wrong for one to carry a special symbol on their person that reminds them of their faith, or perhaps of a special time. Who would rightfully disparage that? What concerns me is the general message sent to non-believers or those unsure of their faith when a group of people transform themselves into a body so homogeneous that it becomes easily ignorable. At this point, Christianity is in trouble. The message is two-fold: 1) 'Wanna be in our club? Gotta get the goods. If you don't, well, you're one more that we'll have to straighten out later.' When we decorate ourselves, we inevitably exclude others and, in many cases, frustrate the purpose of our mission by injecting distaste of our faith into the hearts of those with whom we share. 2) When Christians ornament themselves like Christmas trees, an important epiphenomenon of the fashion show is that we shift other peoples' attention from our faith and the fruits of our faith to some easily acquired symbol of what we would like our faith to be. It's deceptive and we cheat ourselves in the process.

What does it mean something to me is harder to come by: the willingness of one person to share the pain of their sins and the imperfections of their heart and soul with another human being with the knowledge that he will be loved, regardless, and the ability to learn of oneself through the sins and triumphs of another. In this context Christ lives. We are breathing, growing -- living -- symbols of His love and life. WE are the ultimate advertisement -- our eyes, our thoughts, our attitudes. We should never look to see who is watching before we execute our faith, and when we need constant material prompts to remind us of who we are and who we serve we are surely in trouble. The spirit of Christ is dead when that happens. The only other things left to explain are vanity and shallowness, each deadly characteristics for a Christian to possess.

Christ is in our pores when we sweat from fear or hard work. He is in our fingertips when we hold a baby or touch a dying person. He is on the tip of our tongues when we give a compliment or kiss that special man or woman. When we fall in love. When we break up. He is not in metal or dye. Not in the exclusion of those who don't think exactly as we do. Not on my car bumper. Not under my bed on laundry day.

Remember the verse where Jesus walks into the market wearing the shirt that said 'Son of God?' Or how about the time when He went into the woods with his bracelet that said 'What Would Dad Do?' Neither do I.

Kenneth 'Shane' Service

School of Law '99

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