A lot of attention has been given to the high school cheerleaders in Kountze, Texas. The cheerleaders were/are putting Bible verses on the large banners that the football team runs through. After consulting with a legal adviser, the school superintendent ordered that the cheerleaders cease to put Bible verses on these banners. The parents of some of the cheerleaders then filed suit against the school district and a temporary restraining order was granted by a local judge against the school district until the case can go to hearing. So currently, the cheerleaders are still able to hold up their banners emblazoned with verses from the Bible. That brings us up to speed, but you probably already knew this because the story made national press.
First, let me say that I am proud of the cheerleaders. It is an admirable quality to believe in something and fight for what you believe in. I do, however, feel that this whole ordeal is a good time to step back and think about a few things. Somehow, this feels slightly reminiscent of the Chic-Fil-A debacle that graced the nightly news not too long ago. Again, as believers, I think we need to ask ourselves what do we hope to accomplish, what are our motivations, and what other effects do our actions result in?
It is much easier to rally around a cause, such as putting Bible verses on banners, and defend that cause, than it is to live that cause. It is a whole lot easier to put a verse on a banner, shirt, or bumper sticker than it is to apply those verses on a daily basis. I just wonder if things would be different if people saw our lives reflect what we believe, instead of constructing banners that say what we believe. I think the message would be much clearer, and incredibly vivid, if they saw us loving our neighbors, giving of ourselves, and living lives of humility. Also, maybe less people would be offended by our banners if they saw Christ at the center of our lives? I am not saying that the Kountze Highschool Cheerleaders do not have Christ at the center of their lives. They very well may. I am directing these thoughts at all of us as Christians, myself included.
As believers, our goal is to build bridges between Christ and those that do not know Him, not erect walls between them. I think we have to consider every action that we do and ask, “Is this building a bridge or erecting a wall?” Do those outside the faith look at our actions and say “Look at those Christians, stirring up trouble” or do they say, “Wow, look how much they serve others. Look at how they live selflessly. Check out how much they love unconditionally.”? I understand that truth can be offensive. There are times where I, along with most of us, don’t want to hear the truth, but I need too. The truth can definitely be offensive, because it is truth. Yet, truth being offensive in and of itself is not the same as using truth to offend people. We are to stand for truth in love, but where we can, we should strive to build bridges instead of raising walls.
Last, I think we need to consider the consequences of our actions. In this case, are we as Christians going to be comfortable if other schools allow any religious or secular group to paste their ideologies on banners at football games? If the Kountze High School cheerleaders can inscribe their banners with Bible verses then this means other schools can use passages from the Koran, the Hindu Vedas, or the Book of Mormon. Atheist groups would be able to use banners that said, “There is no God. We win games because we are better than you. Case closed.” Is the trade off worth it?
I get there is a lot to consider on issues like this. Again, I am proud of the Kountze cheer leaders for being vocal about their faith. We need more Christians to shake off their apathy. As believers, we must be sensitive to contexts. We must ask whether our lives are reflecting our faith. We should strive to build bridges instead of constructing walls. Let’s make sure that others know us by our love!
The Greek word translated “example” is tupos, which means model, image, or pattern…When you set an example, you are giving people a pattern to follow. Someone once said, “Your life speaks so loud I can’t hear what you say.” Your lifestyle is your most powerful message. One thing I have observed in all my years of ministry is that the most effective and important aspects of evangelism usually take place on an individual, personal level. Most people do not come to Christ as an immediate response to a sermon they hear in a crowded setting. They come to Christ because of the influence of an individual. – John MacArthur
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
So what are your thoughts? Be heard!
Here is something else interesting. Check out the letter from Greg Abbot, Attorney General of Texas, to Kevin Weldon, the Superintendent of Kountze Independent School District.