Saturday, April 26, 2008

Romans, Ramones, whatever...

My younger daughter, the gymnast, had a private lesson with her coach this morning. I believe his bank account is lacking far more than her gymnastics skills, but there I go judging again!

Anyway, today I am wearing one of my favorite t-shirts. It's brown with a big pink heart in the center. There's a cross in the middle of the heart, a 10 to the left of the heart and a 9 to the right. Above the heart in large letters, it says "Romans." Under the heart, it says, "confess" on one side and "believe" on the other. OK, Bible scholars, surely by now you know that the shirt is about Romans 10:9 -- "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (One of the few verses I actually know by heart!)

So when we walk into the gym, I make my way toward Allec, the coach. He says, "I thought you were wearing a Ramones shirt, I was impressed!" I laugh. No, not Ramones, Romans. I point out the chief message to him ... confess, believe. He smiles politely.

Interestingly, the kiosk that I bought this shirt from at a certain mall doesn't exist anymore. Apparently there is very little mall traffic generated by Christian t-shirts. In fact, it's hard to find Christian t-shirts, and I can't understand why. I like to wear them to put it out there a little. I don't buy shirts that say things like, "Jesus Christ is my personal Lord and savior" or "Get saved now, ask me howl." I'm a little more subtle, like another shirt that says "FBI" in big letters and then "Firm Believer in Christ" in much smaller letters under that. I've had the same reaction from people -- thinking the shirt says and/or means one thing, then upon closer inspection, discovering that it means another. The confusion, disappointment or nonplussed wonder that registers on their face is nearly comical.

Back when I was a working girl, I had a small "fold over" plaque on my desk that said, "Seek first the Kingdom of God." There was this guy that worked in another department who had a habit of lounging in my office. He asked me once, "What's it say on the other side?" I guess he thought it said something like, "Seek second whatever the hell you want." To his surprise, I said, "It says the same thing." Similar reaction registered on his face -- "Why would you have that on your desk?"

I've always been intrigued by shock value. Before I was a believer, I probably earned a reputation as someone who said shocking things for effect that others might not have the nerve to say. I don't consider that this is/was a particularly endearing quality. I've calmed down a little in my old age, but now the shock value statements make people even more uncomfortable because they're about my faith.

I suppose I'll continue buying and wearing my so-called religious t-shirts. And bracelets that say things like, "God keeps his promises." I'll keep putting that small onyx black cross in the "extra" hole on my right ear lobe, or the long dangling silver cross earring. And I'll wait to see if anyone cares enough to inquire.

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