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Tablets in the Public Square

15 May 2008

Some born-again Christians in the bustling agribusiness hub of Hereford, TX, are selling t-shirts with the Ten Commandments on them, hoping to raise enough money to commission a Ten Commandments monument to be displayed, they hope, on the Deaf Smith County Courthouse grounds.

Please, stop it.

I guess if our lives and our holiness are not enough of a testimony to the power of Jesus and the kingdom he made available to us, we feel as though we need to slap our fellow citizens across the face with a symbol or two and jerk them back into line.

(Good luck with that, too.)

Lest we forget, Jehovah did not issue the Ten Commandments to all of the nations.  He issued them to the Israelites, who according to the Abrahamic covenant were then to be “a blessing to the nations.”  Presumably, “a city set on a hill cannot be hidden, and neither do men light a lamp and set it under a basket.”  And the pagans “will know that [we] are [Jesus’] disciples, if [we] have love for one another.”  All of that is to say this:  why do we think we need to bludgeon our fellow citizens into accepting our deserved role at the center of culture?  What makes us think that the cultural mainstream flows through the church, anyway?

If we were living out the cruciform lives to which Jesus called us, it would be at least evident to our pagan friends, if not persuasive, and we wouldn’t need to set the tablets in the courtyard.  But as it is, the stone tablets ring pretty hollow, and putting them in a public place of honor just calls attention to how impotent our discipleship to Jesus really is.

So no, I won’t be buying one of those T-shirts, and I won’t be contributing to the Deaf Smith Decalogue Fund.  I wish the Christians in Hereford would join me.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. 15 May 2008 10:54 pm

    Doesn’t putting up a Ten Commandments Stone Marker on the courthouse lawn (does Deaf Smith have a lawn?) violate the second of those commandments? Coop

  2. queueball permalink*
    16 May 2008 9:35 am

    *chuckle* There is grass in Deaf Smith, but it’s usually dormant, or on fire, or smouldering in a hand-rolled doobie at the high school. qb

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