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Letters to the Editor

Nov. 12, 1997

Symbols important to faith

I would like to register my dissent to Mr. Service's recent letter titled 'Christianity Misrepresented.' In his letter, he expressed dismay and concern over what he considers to be an over-exposure of Christianity through the wearing of Christian symbols on necklaces, earrings, bracelets and T-shirts. I believe his almost wholesale dismissal of Christian symbolism is unwarranted and fails to recognize the true value underlying these symbols.

Mr. Service's concern seems to be centered around the possibility that uncertain Christians and non-believers might question their faith, or lack thereof, by observing someone wearing a cross around her neck or on a T-shirt. I can't seriously see how this can be cause for concern. Everyone, even Christians, should be constantly questioning the strength of their faith, and if a passerby's bracelet with the word 'Jesus' on it causes me to momentarily reflect upon my own faith where I probably wouldn't otherwise, then I am personally thankful for the favor they've done me.

Christianity is real and is based on real, historical events: it's not just some feeling that comes and goes when we are in the mood. The cross, of course, is our most indelible symbol of the Christian faith, and well it should be. Christ carried this cross on the way to his great sacrifice (John 19:17), where he gave his life for us. Certainly, we as Christians can have no justification for feeling that we need to scuttle away all the evidence of our faith or in any way be ashamed of a symbol as meaningful as this.

I will agree that at a school like Baylor, the Christian symbolism can seem overwhelming at times; but again, this is as it should be. Baylor is a private university founded on the Christian faith; and as such, the school and its students should be different.

I have only one fear about the wearing of Christian symbols, and that is the great responsibility that goes along with taking a symbol and displaying it to the world. These symbols are sacred to the Christian faith and portray a powerful image. When a Christian exhibits the traits of the Beatitudes, (Matthew 5:1-16), and attributes his conduct to his Christian faith by wearing a Christian symbol, a potent and positive message is sent to the unsaved. The risk, however, is that we desecrate these symbols if we prominently display them to the world at the same time we act un-Christianlike to others.

Wearing a Christian symbol as an attestation of our faith is one simple way that all Christians can have an impact for Christ. This goal can only be accomplished if every Christian plays an open and fearless role in its fulfillment, and wearing a cross around your neck or a bracelet with a special phrase on it is a small and important step towards this great commission.

Richard Stanley

Law '99

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