bumper stickers

coexist

I wanted to re-post an old note I wrote several months back.  I’ve been noticing bumper stickers quite often lately and so it made me think of this post and just wanted to share it again.  I also found out that Bono, the lead singer from U2, has used a similar coexist symbol in his efforts to promote peace between Muslim, Jews, and Christians, and spoke about it in his book On the Move. By the way, another cool bumper sticker…Jesus is for losers. Think about that one for a while, true or not? I love the shock value of that one.  Here’s the re-post with a few additional thoughts…

I’ve noticed a bumper sticker on the back of people’s cars for a while now that has been really interesting to me. The bumper sticker says “coexist”, but it is spelled out using symbols of different faiths and beliefs. At first glance I didn’t find it very appealing. But over the course of a few months, it has become something that I really love. What changed my mind? I think it came while reading and listening to some people of faith lately. In both cases the people spoke about the way people treated people of other faiths. Specifically in John 4 when Jesus approaches the woman at the well. I see an amazing picture of how Jesus shows her respect even though she was a woman and of a different faith, both cultural reasons for a man like Jesus to not approach her at the time.

It really got me to thinking about how I treat people who don’t believe as I do. Do I begin to act pious and look down on them? Do I make jokes about their beliefs and get upset if they do the same to me? Do I distance myself so that I won’t have to interact with them? That’s not the way that Jesus did things. When looking at the interaction that he was with the woman, I believe I see someone who takes genuine interest in someone else’s story and offers his own story as well.  The transforming message of the gospel is the power of love and acceptance that is not of this world, not the power of exclusion and disrespect.

It’s very interesting to me that coexistence is such a scary thought to many people. Even though I know I’m one that would have found it scary in the past, I have a hard time understanding why it is that many people find loving others that aren’t like them so scary. I guess I have come to believe that God is constantly reaching out to all of us and active in all our lives. With this in mind we must with humility and grace, continue the dialogue with others and pray that we continue to seek truth. I believe God will not fail us.

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.  – 1 John 4:19-21

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1 Comment

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One response to “bumper stickers

  1. Kristin

    I have two things: First – a doctor recently pointed out to me that people surrounding themselves with people just like them evolutionarily makes sense…it’s safe and we feel protected from the ‘other’ that might attack us. However, we don’t have that happen to often these days and it’s time to evolve past that.

    Secondly, I was JUST talking to a minister friend about this very subject but we were talking about in terms of Christians being friends with people who do not believe in god. One big issue is that if I know someone who is a Christian is coming at me to A) convert me B) have a pity friendship or C) is always thinking about whether I’m going to heaven or hell I then have absolutely no desire to engage in that friendship. I find it astounding that so many Christians expect the Jews and Muslims in Gaza to work out their issues and coexist but yet can’t even be friends with agnostics/atheists.

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