Friday, February 21, 2014

Don't be Stupid, Don't be Dangerous

Tonight I went to get a tattoo…

It’s kind of a story, but the short of it is that the artist was ill and so he left early and so I ended up sitting around for 3-4 hours and NOT getting one. But! There is a bright side to this story and so I thought I’d share it with you…

I have several ideas for tattoos all of which I may eventually get. As of now, I have approx. 10 depending on what you count as “1”…

But tonight as I went in to get one, I was undecided walking through the door. Thanks to my long wait, I had plenty of time to think about what I wanted. Now, if you know me personally, you know that 4 hours sitting in a chair is not really boring to me. It’s more like “me time”. I am very much an introvert and so just being alone for a while was nice. In fact, I didn’t even really get on my phone. 

The design I decided on will complete the inner portion of my left arm half-sleeve. What’s currently there is a piece for my second son and a sugar skull; both of which are kind of in the traditional tattoo style. So, in keeping with that theme, I decided on doing a serpent and a dove (neither pictured) in the same color scheme and style. The serpent and dove are a  play off of Matthew 10 when Jesus tells those he sends to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” or, as the message version puts it “be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove”. And this got me thinking…

Are we, who are called to ministry in whatever form, wise as serpents and harmless as doves?
I fear the reputation that we get is often the opposite.

Too often Christian leaders are guilty of being as cunning as doves and as harmless as serpents…

Have you ever seen a dove in real life? When I was a kid, we bird-sat for some friends and they had a dove.  The one thing I remember about that bird was that it was stupid. I mean bad. It would let you hold it but would make the most irrational decisions. Like flying into the window or fan…it survived :)

Have you ever come across a serpent in the wild? Growing up in western Kansas, it was no joke when you heard a rattle while walking through tall grass. I spent a portion of my childhood in a farm house (though we didn’t work the farm) and my siblings and I spent much of our time outside. I distinctly remember watching out for snakes as I knew the potentially deadly repercussions of carelessness.

I guess my point with this blog post is simply that I, as a Christian with influence, want to be sure to keep the combination correct: wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. 

It’s interesting that without the animal symbolism, that doesn’t sound weird: be wise and harmless. I feel like most people would say “yeah, wise and harmless, those seem to go together”. Somehow, though, it doesn’t seem to be the common worldview where I’m from. Most people who are deemed “wise” are often proponents of violence in some way or another. There’s food for thought. 

So, the bottom line is this: let us self-examine regularly. Are you being the correct combination of serpent/dove? Or are you being stupid and dangerous with your words and ideas. Not trying to attack people, but let’s be careful with the roles we’ve accepted in life.

Post your thoughts to the comments!

The Dread

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