Friday, May 1, 2009

bumper sticker

Thanks so much for the input!  Hearing from you is so interesting to me because it helps me see who you are, what you believe, instead of just guessing at who might be out there.  Some of you who read this are more like me than others, but I'm especially grateful for those of you who don't agree down the line with me for sticking around and reading.  

As for the bumper sticker, I think at face value the message is simply "Let's get along,"  and with that, I absolutely agree.  I believe that no one should ever be forced to be a part of a religion or group.  It's been tried over, and over, and over again, and every time history details the disaster that followed.  We have been created as creatures with a free will, and any person or government that tries to force someone's hand by removing that free will is doing something that God himself has chosen not to do, and the consequences are disastrous.

But like several of you alluded to, there is an underlying message contained in the letters and symbols of this artwork, a message that I thought was very indicative of the time in which we live.  No one wants to believe that there is any one single truth.  Instead, truth takes on a different forms, it changes shape with the changing of culture, it expands and morphs to prevent exclusion, and at the end of the day, the truth that is the result isn't worth much of anything at all.

I don't believe in a truth like that.  I believe that Jesus is the source of our truth, and it is from Him that truth springs.  I don't believe that conforming to any particular religion is the answer.  Instead, I believe the answer is Jesus.  The answer to this life is found completely and solely in Him, and His death and resurrection.   Jesus died to take the punishment for our sins.  He died not for the people of one group, or culture, or religion, but for all.  He came and lived a perfect life, showing us exactly how we are to coexist together, by loving our neighbor as ourself, but He also showed us that the message He proclaimed brought division, not unity. And that's because a belief in one truth will always divide.  That doesn't mean we fight with those who disagree, but we also don't back down from our message: that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light.

Yes, I want to live side by side by those around me, loving them and living in harmony with them.  I will share my love for Jesus and my relationship with Him with anyone who is interested, but I will never try and manipulate or force anyone to believe as I do.  I believe by faith that Jesus' work on the cross is the bridge that allows me to have relationship with God, and I will continue to believe that all of my life.  That's what I believe.  Many people believe differently and I understand that.  

So as for the bumper sticker, this one's not for me.  But actually, not many are.  I'll just stick with my Memphis Tiger sticker and call it a day.

Yesterday as I stopped at one of the longest red lights in the city, I noticed this bumper sticker on the car in front of me. A big message in a compact space. I've never seen anything like it, and as it was designed to do, it definitely got my attention.  I'll share my thoughts, but first I'd like to hear from you.  What do you think? 


Southern jezeBelle said...

I hate them!

As Christians I don't think we are to coexist but to rock the boat and share the gospel.

This doesn't mean I look down on those who aren't Christians or who have another religion, but rather that my job is to plant seeds and share Christ rather than to sit back idly.

(I'm not saying I do this unfortunately, but that's just my opinion on those stickers!)

Rachel said...

I'd like to write a (short) novel about the thoughts that run through my mind about the 'coexist' bumper sticker. But, I'll summarize by saying that I both love it and hate it. I love the sentiment that we can live peaceably with those who are different than we are. We can be the good Samaritan. We can love the folks who worship Mohammad, Buddha, or nothing at all. We can even sacrifice for them. After all, Jesus sacrificed His life for all--even those who would choose to worship and believe in others. But, what bothers me about the bumper sticker is that--I can't put my finger on this exactly--but it seems to imply that all of the represented groups are inherently equal. Does that make sense? I think that the bumper sticker alludes to a 'new truth' (that all religions and ways of life are valid) although this is illogical. Truth, by definition, must exclude. So, I guess at the end of the day, I'd rather put another bumper sticker on top of that one that read: Love the Lord Your God; Love your neighbor as yourself.

On a completely side-note. I love your blog, Angie! I kept coming back for spiritual food and encouragement even after the ups and downs or your journeys with Poppy and Adrienne. I feel like if you lived near me we would be good friends--the kind who could have really great discussions (and the lighthearted not-so-important ones, too!). I love and respect you from afar!

AJU5's Mom said...

Taken at face value, I agree with it - we are to exist on this world with those of other faiths. But, the underlying message is wrong. I am pretty sure it is meant to say that we are all equal. They are trying to say that no religion is better than another. Many might take it to say that they can all lead to heaven. This is just wrong. A belief in and on Christ is the only way to heaven.

Jeff & Elizabeth said...

The Israelites decided to "Coexist" with the Philistines instead of obeying God's commands to them when they went into the Promise land... and look where that has gotten them today. Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

COEXIST - A quote from your grandfather come to mind on this one for me....."Stand for something or fall for anything". Yes, we are to love people regardless of whether they are "like us" or not. But so many times coexisting takes away right and wrong.

MandieGirl said...

I just saw it for the first time this week, too, and I'm with Rachel- I love it and hate it!

Anonymous said...

We have to coexist, we do not really have a choice.
I am Christian(Roman Catholic) and I truly believe in God but since there is no proof that Christianism is closer to the truth than say, Judaism (well, except for what I feel in my heart)there is no reason for me to act as if I know and the others don't. I went to a Catholic school and we were always taught about other religions, without our teachers being judgemental and I really enjoyed that.
Of course, I was raised in a country (Belgium) where religion isn't as big as it is in the US (not very many people go to Church) and the city where I live (Brussels) is very cosmopolitan so if we decided we couldn't coexist there would a war going on here.

Radar's Mom said...

I also have never seen it and I like it. I've seen so much goodness and morality in such a diversity of people who hold such diverse beliefs (and non-beliefs). The short and sweet of it is that I am happy to coexist.

mom2caden said...

I think we, as christians, should try our best to be like Jesus and love everyone with a Christ-like love. The Bible tells us to go out into the highways and hedges to share the gospel with anyone who will listen.
But, and this is a big but, we are told to separate ourselves from the world and worldly things. We are to be a light to the world and provide an example. You can't just blend in with everyone else who might have different "religions" or different "gods". This does not mean you should be rude or judgemental of them either. If you have the chance, you should plant the seed with love, and God will do the rest to help show others the way. It seems as though the world has adopted a "whatever makes you feel good" approach, and this is a very dangerous way to live.I believe the only way to get to Heaven is to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, and once you do that, God will convict each heart and guide them in the way they should live. Others believe differently than I do, which means someone is going to be wrong in the end. Therefore, we are not equal in that sense. This bumper sticker, to me, implies otherwise. If it were just the letters COEXIST, maybe it wouldn't offend me as much as the way they use the symbols intead. But, this is just my thoughts on the subject.
On a different note, I love your blog and how you have chosen to involve people. It kind of makes me feel like we could know each other, in a way.

Penny said...

I agree with most of these comments, but identify more, as a whole, with mom2caden.
I also love your blog!

asplashofsunshine said...

That bumper sticker reminds me of a hippie VW van going down the streets of San Francisco with a long haired and free lovin' group packed inside. Probably because I see that every day. :) I am not sure that the bumper sticker was designed for that image though. Who knows.

It also reminds me that although I may be a Catholic/Christian, not every one is. It reminds me that we all do "COEXIST" whether we like it or not. I have to be honest, religion is very confusing for me. I despise the thought that if I go to a Catholic mass that I am the right one, and the person going to the Mosque is wrong. I know that is what we are taught to believe, I just can't wrap my brain around that.

I am convinced that every person has faith in something or someone or some idea. Some may be a higher power, some may believe in pure science, or somewhere in between. To take away free will and choices from someone and deeming them wrong for their thoughts and beliefs seems very wrong to me.

Call me strange, but I often wonder if other species of creatures communicate about God or a higher power. Interesting thought for the human experience.

JoeHill said...

I am not a bumper sticker kind of gal. But should I decide to have one, this is one that I would have! For me it is about respect. I can have my own views that I hold to and believe deeply in. But I can respect the right for others to have that same freedom. Have any of you read "The Faith Club?" It's a fantastic book that follows three women of different faiths that come together to learn more about each other and about each other's faith. They are not trying to destroy one another or convert one another. In the end, they come away with a deeper understanding and respect for each other, but also they come away with a deeper appreciation for their own faith. How much better would this world be if we truly would Coexist.

beccad said...

Hey girl stop by my blog I'm giving you bloggy awards. About the bumper sticker my first thought was "no I don't like that at all" but with further thought I understand the point of everyone getting along. I hate though how tolerant everyone expects Christians to be but yet no one is tolerant of us. That is heartbreaking to me.

Stephanie said...

Okay so you have already given your thoughts, but I do have one more to throw in the bag- expanding on what the 1st person said- and what many other said about we as Christians being called to be "like Christ" which we surely are!! But let's not forget- Christ did not come to this world to "coexist" He came to teach people the truth- that He is the only way. His teaching did NOT bring peace and harmony- rather angered people- to the point that they crucified Him on the cross! So while I "love" people who may not believe that Christ is the only way- I am not doing what I am called to do as a Christian if I simply "coexist" with them.

I know it's a little late, but still just wanted to put in my two cents! =)

Who is naebyrd/ rna? said...

Funny you should notice said sticker now. It's been around for at least 5 years, there's even a whole clothing company that uses this as their logo. It's clever. I quite understand everyones views about it. I'm also sooo over seeing it, it's hard to have an honest opinion. Plus, whether we like it or not we do coexist...don't we? I for one interact with different folks all day and manage not to kill them. I guess this is COEXISTING right? We aren't called to