I have been looking for something to inspire me to start blogging again, and I am fired up after an incident, or non-incident, that happened this morning. I rolled to the neighborhood hardware store and as I pulled into the parking lot I noticed a Prius whose rear was covered with about 10 or 12 bumper stickers and a Darwin fish with legs eating a Jesus fish (not just the Darwin fish with legs that you see sometimes). I am into the Prius because a friend has one and I love it, so I notice them, but what drew my attention here was the Darwin fish.
Now, if you know me, you know I am pretty easygoing and live and let live. I also see no conflict in believing in God as the Creator as well as believing in evolution or some other such scientific explanation for our development – Darwin himself believed God to be the origin of creation. My thing about the Darwin fish is that instead of coming up with some other symbol, the people who have them take a Christian symbol – the Jesus fish – and use it to mock Christians. The Darwin fish is not so much a statement of belief in science or whatever as it is a mocking of Christians. It also betrays appalling ignorance of the many, many Christians like me who are believers in God and believe science is another gift from God. I understand that the target of the Darwin fish is the Christian who believes in Intelligent Design and other such things (and can be guilty of intolerance or ignorance, as we all can be), but please…how about taking the high road, or at least coming up with a statement not so reliant on the Jesus fish, which is a cherished symbol to many of us?
In addition to the Darwin fish the car had a bunch of stickers. Most were political and were sneering and rude (whatever happened to the New Civility?) to those on the other side of the spectrum. Generally, when I see a car covered in political bumper stickers it throws up warning signs, but still…Some of the stickers said things like “Religion ruled the Dark Ages”. So clearly, the driver had a problem with religious people, or at least certain types. I will give him the benefit of the doubt – there are many people who have had bad experiences with churches, whether through abuse, unfriendliness, neglect, whatever. Based on his political stickers, though, there seemed to at least be some sort of consistency to his thinking.
The hardware store is not big, and I figured I would see everyone from the six or so cars in the parking lot when I went in. And I was in full priest-mode – black shirt, collar, everything. I put a big (and genuine) smile on my face, went in, got what I needed, and got in the line near the register. It was more a gathering than a line, so the handful of us there could all see each other. I then engaged in a bit of stereotyping myself – I tried to figure out who was the driver of the car. Everyone looked pretty much alike but the one whom I guessed to be the owner was indeed that person. We ended up in the parking lot at the same time but he moved just a bit too quickly to his car for me to talk to him. If I had had the chance I would have smiled and said “Most of us are decent people” or something like that, but whatever. I have no idea if he even noticed me, but I would hope that anyone who feels so strongly about such matters would be open to meeting someone from the other side, as it were, and having an honest and friendly encounter.