Christian Church / Christianity / Evangelism / Faith / Religion

Bible bumper stickers and bazookas.

They both represent and are a product of something that our society has come to hinge on. Something that makes our society the wreck that it is. Impersonality. Though on one side, they represent a lowering of a sacred text and the other a heightening of lethal range both represent the loss of a relationship between us. Whether good or bad, relationship is being lost in our society and I see it every day with the gun murders and war and in the biblical bumper stickers. Strange comparison I’m sure, that’s just me I suppose.

In yesteryear, we didn’t deny that not every human being is built and equipped for war. We had warrior class of individual. Those who specialized in the defense of the people. We wouldn’t have seen the present commercial for the Guard about the other current occupations of the Samurai or the Spartans say. Their occupations were, as in the movie 300, soldier. That’s what they did; that’s who they were. War was a dirty business, still is in my opinion. But before we had guns one had to get right up face to face with an enemy and battle them as equals. You could see their eyes and have a very active part of watching them die. Shooting a gun took the personal relationship aspect out of the equation; in short it’s quite passive. The range of a gun allows a person to be out of eye contact range with a foe-man.  You aren’t forced to recognize a person’s full humanity when you keep at gun range. That’s why point blank range is still considered a more vicious kill than a shot from far away. Every kill used to have to be at point bank range and therefore required a different type of killer.

A bible bumper sticker takes the personal relationship out of sharing Jesus with people. It’s one hundred percent passive. It takes no study to put a sticker on your car. You don’t have to put the effort into a conversation. You aren’t faced with getting to know someone and their personal situation. You aren’t forced to lean how the gospel affects different people different ways and face for faith for a necessary change. You get to sit in your high tower, or now thanks to Duck Dynasty obsession, your lifted truck and throw out verses with no context pretending it’s a witness. Is that what christ’s example has taught us? To remove the personal relationship from the gospel? To take a step back and let God’s Word speak for itself? I don’t think so. Christ was the advent of the personal relationship. Christ was the one clarifying when God’s Word seemed unbearably cold.

Everything suffers when we do it this way. Christians have no idea how to discuss their faith with people. They don’t know how certain situations would affect their faith or if they should. They don’t have biblical context for situations but can definitely give you a cute catch phrase. And Christ is gone. Christ’s example dies with every bumper sticker bought. There goes the way He met people where they were and personalized the Gospel for them. There goes flexibility and the drive to study when we don’t know how a situation would be handled. There goes the relationship. There goes that scary, terrifying, relationship-showing moment when we make ourselves vulnerable to another human being who we can see is very like ourselves. And just like with guns, if we had to face that moment, it would change the way we have a relationship with the Other.

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6 thoughts on “Bible bumper stickers and bazookas.

  1. And bumper stickers are corny and stupid. Never did I read one that I thought was intelligent. Mostly the promote road rage. Nothing like getting cut off by a “jesus fish” to make your day…

    As for war now, even thought it is not up close all the time I think it is still mentally brutal. I mean consider the choice of the solider who sees the child, woman or handicapped person with a bomb strapped to themselves in a market place. Do you take out that person or let them blow themselves and a bunch of others out? Either way it is going to mess with you. It is still highly personal.

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    • I think you’ve hit on a very crucial point that we deal with today in war. With the popularization of suicide bombing we see a shift in how modern warfare is conducted. And while I definitely don’t want to romanticize it, it forces us to realize that those who go to war are not always guilty looking and remarkably un-involved. We like to demonize our enemies by painting them in a dehumanizing light. Suicide bombing is forcing us to really deal with who will actually suffer for war- everyone. It’s sons and daughters. It’s innocent people who work in tylenol factories and live in Dresden. Americans haven’t not historically had to deal with that while nearly every other country in the world lives with it all the time. When we had 9/11 that was our tiny window into a war that, in my opinion, was one we had been carrying out and supplying for many many years. The war finally came to our land instead of us taking it to theirs. Was it atrocious? Undeniably! War is atrocious. When we say goodbye to our loved ones who want to pay for college or simply want a retirement package, so do people in other countries. But most of the time today, we don’t deal with that to emotionally distance ourselves from the Other. We think of them as animals, as bloodthirsty enemies. A faceless mass that most soldiers never come face to face with until the damage is done.

      Sorry if that’s an insanely long rant that had little to do with your comment. It’s an area of great interest to me. Obviously.

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      • It’s ok, I agree with a lot of what you had to say. It makes me wonder, when we reach the age of drone warfare if that will make war better or worse. Will we be more willing to make war because less of our own guys are on the line?

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  2. On a Google-image search, one of the top stickers was “I’ll keep my guns and bible. You keep your change” which ain’t goan convert anybody. “Archaeology proves the bible’s truth”- well, no, actually, or the bits intended to be actually historical, perhaps. A particularly irritating one said Isaiah 41:10, which makes you look it up:

    do not fear, for I am with you,
    do not be afraid, for I am your God;
    I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

    I did like “Keep your Bible off my body”.

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