I saw someone wearing a T-shirt at the Y on Monday, and I’ve been puzzling over it ever since.
On the front was the word, “Missing,” and there was a picture that I assume was supposed to represent Jesus. On the back it said, “Last seen on Calvary.”
Um. I have a problem with that. On several levels, I have a problem with that. When I first saw the front of the shirt, my immediate thought was, “No, He’s not missing. I know where He is.” And when I saw the back of the shirt I thought, “Well, that was certainly not the last place He was seen.” Hello? Resurrection! At least 500 people saw Him after the Resurrection and He was seen by His disciples ascending into Heaven. So, to say that He was last seen on Calvary is just wrong. Then you get to the whole graven image thing and start the discussion about how I have a problem with pictures of Jesus and artistic license and representations of Him and all that, and, well, interesting T-shirt, to say the least.
I began puzzling out what the intended point of the shirt was. Benefit of the doubt solution: I think probably it was some kind of statement about how we are taking Jesus out of the culture (think taking prayer out of the schools, Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, that kind of thing), and I get the point, but it is carelessly made. I guess it could also be trying to say He isn’t in the tomb any longer - He is risen, but, if so, it is an extremely clumsy and inaccurate way to do so. I’m just not sure what the point was supposed to be so it is confusing and irritating.
I know it’s just a t-shirt. I’m sure someone is probably reading this and thinking, “Lighten up!” But it seems to me that in an effort to be pithy or whatever, that we get too cute sometimes. Bad theology leads to wrong belief and wrong behavior. Our theology informs our actions. (Which reminds me, I have more on a related subject later as time permits.) If we want to be a light, we need to be clear, not confusing. I have no idea what that t-shirt was supposed to mean. I’m wishing I were better at thinking on my feet and had asked that woman what her shirt meant. You wear a provocative shirt like that, seems to me you’re begging to be asked. I have thought since that I’d really like to say, “Could you explain the meaning of your shirt, because I know how to find Jesus if you’re really looking.” But I didn’t think that quickly. More’s the pity.
Bad theology is irritating. Not only that, it’s dangerous. Even on a t-shirt.
***Totally Unsolicited and Shameless Plug: Carla has some better t-shirts to offer if you're interested. :-)