Who is my neighbor? Everybody. Rob Bell talks about how we must “know the other.” I’ve been thinking about that lately, what with my “stranger of the week” feature on my other blog: (http://holyvernacular.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/inaugurating-stranger-of-the-week-feature/).
So is that why I laughed so hard today when I saw this on a car in a parking lot?
Let me say that whereas I am a big fan of Jesus, I’m not so much of a fan of those Christian fish symbols. I can’t figure out any other way to interpret them other than “us and them.” We’re in; you’re out. We smile at each other and let each other cut in in traffic, and you — ultimate non-Christian otherness — will have to wait. I just don’t get it. Especially since they’re often on huge gas-guzzling behemoths and often driven by people (like me, I’ll admit) who sometimes inadvertently yell at people who don’t claim the intersection or who drive too slowly in the left lane.
Somehow advertising “I’m a Christian” without any nuance, conversation, relationship feels to me like answering a question nobody is asking, and it feels like a set-up (an invitation to have my behavior held to a particularly high standard, or low one, depending on who’s assessing).
And the advertisements on the radio for the “Shepherd’s Guide,” a compendium of all-Christian businesses, really bothers me. Yes, I might go to the shepherd’s guide to get a recommendation for a priest, if I didn’t happen to know where else to find one. In that line of work, I want my peeps to be professing Jesus. But painters? Carpenters? Nail technicians (how technical is it, really?)? I want to meet all sorts of people. With all sorts of beliefs. Who might teach me something. Who might be — GASP! — “other.” And I want to hire the best people for a job, not just the best Christian people.
I think it matters that we try to encourage and love those brothers and sisters of our own faith. I also think it matters that we consider everyone brothers and sisters. Why isolate when we can connect? Why say “I’m separate” when we can say “You’re interesting.”
Just a thought. I’ll take some fish n’ chips with that.