the Jesus Fish

I was cut off in traffic by someone recently who had “Jesus Christ” painted on his rear bumper. Ethan and I debated whether or not it was his general expletive when frustrated or if it was for people to be aware that he is a follower of the god-man named Jesus. Was that a “hey lady, just wanted you to see that I love Jesus and hear that you probably should too!” Or was it something more like “Hey! When you scream and curse that I’ve just cut you off, I want you to know I’m empathizing with you!” Honestly, I’m just not really sure.

Recently I was in a coffee shop visiting a friend at work and after an overwhelming day my friend and I decided to help him close down. He was sort of dismissive about our help with closing tasks. Those ladies upstairs, he said, they’ll be here until 920, and they wont move the tables back to where they go. So it’s not like I can be out of here any earlier than at least 930. I asked if it would help if I told them “we” were closing. He shook his head. It was a bad idea, he insisted, because they attend the church which owns the coffee shop and they might report back. But, I tried to protest, you aren’t supposed to have to be here that late. Especially not when you open tomorrow! I finally took matters in my own hands and wiped down tables in the back room at which point one of them said in a shrill voice to her friends “oh, do you think they’re like, trying to hint that they’re closing in like five minutes? Maybe?” Yeah. I’m sure Jesus was passive aggressive too, I thought when I shoved those tables back into order and rearranged the chairs. Mhm, he was like “oh, do you think that maybe the Pharisees are kind of like terrible people? But we wouldn’t want to say it to their face…even though I’m the Son of God and I have the authority and the right to say something. Wouldn’t want to say it directly. That might hurt their feelings. And I’m all about not hurting their feeeeeelings.”

At another coffee shop I recently watched a Christian owner lecture one of her employees for trying to give a homeless man a cup of coffee. I found this almost impossible to believe. I was once offered a job at this shop and the reason was because I seemed to “align” with their ideas that the purpose of a Christian coffee house is to provide a safe environment for people to connect and hopefully someday hear about God by building relationships with the baristas and owners. But you refuse a man a cup of coffee, though he has no home and it will only cost you ten 0r fifteen cents of profit? Yeah. Because Jesus is like the American Capitalist Dream that says the more you squeeze out of the man who is out of work the more you’ll be successful monetarily! And that’s what really matters! Yeah!

I”m not always sure what it means to be a Christian. But based on these people, I don’t want to be one. I don’t want to be the woman who stares blankly at me when I ask her what it means to submit to her husband. I don’t want to be the homeschool type who are afraid of their parents experiencing the world. And I don’t want to be the people who look at me with eyes wide as saucers when I tell them where I’m living. After all, I’m stubborn. But mostly I just don’t like people looking at me like I’m crazy.

Though, maybe…maybe I’m the one out of line. After all, it’s not like Jesus promised to protect us or to go into dark places with us. And it’s not like the blood of the saints hasn’t been the fodder and ground for the growth of the church. And it’s not like he calls us to go to hard spots and unsafe regions.

Naw. Let’s not be silly!

He just wants you to slap a Jesus fish on the back of your car so when you cut off the stranger in the next lane, at least he knows you did it with the best of intentions.


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