Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Symbols

There are so many symbols for the Christian faith, from the Jesus fish to WWJD and many others. Many people use these symbols to stand for their faith rather than allowing their character and the message of faith be their symbols to the world.

The following is a post from Study in Brown.

Zero Tolerance
Back when my kids were in public school, my oldest son - straight A student, with awards for citizenship and "peace-building" - was nearly suspended for having an "explosive device" at school.
"We have zero tolerance for such activity," the principal reminded me in an after school meeting.
The "explosive device" was a box of Pop-Its, being tossed onto the asphalt playground by a group of 5th grade boys.
Yes, indeed. In such a world as ours, schools must draw severe lines and hold to them - apparently at the expense of reason and common sense.
I couldn't help remembering that event as I've followed the story of Lydia Playfoot, the UK teenager who wanted to wear her chastity ring to school and was told to remove it. (Miss Playfoot's school has a uniform policy which does not allow for the wearing of jewelry unless it is a "genuine religious symbol." ) A UK court sided with the school, ruling that the girl "was under no obligation, by reason of her belief, to wear the ring."
Miss Playfoot and her family disagree. They believe Christians are being discriminated against, since Muslim girls are allowed to wear their head scarves at school. Several Christian bloggers I've read agree with their position.
It's a disturbing case for sure, a fair representation of life in a "zero-tolerance" state: common sense takes a vacation.
But it's not really the wearing or not wearing of the ring that bothers me.
What disturbs me is that somewhere along the way, these Christians decided to allow a symbol of good morals - a silver band indicating a desire to not have sex before marriage - to become a symbol of our faith.
Lest we forget, the Christian faith does not consist of a moral code and an outward symbolism of purity. (Islam has that covered fairly nicely, thank you.) The Christian faith is a shocking faith - built on the bloody death of God Himself and the scandalous outpouring of mercy on unwashed sinners. Our "symbol" is not the circumcision of the flesh, but the circumcision of the heart.
Fight over the right to wear the ring if you really want to, but don't fool yourself: the Body and Blood, the scandal of His sacrifice and the Good News of our ransom is not contained in a silver band promising sexual abstinence.

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