Ignorance Isn’t Bliss When It Comes to High School Mascot
(John 8:31-32; 14:6)
“If you’re wrong, you can’t afford to argue.
If you’re right, you don’t need to argue.”
Nuns in Catonsville, Maryland
Judge Robert W. Penn went home to Jesus on April 30, 2015 at the age of 93.
A graduate of Tuskegee Institute and Case Western Reserve University Law School, he served on the Toledo, Ohio Municipal Court from 1984 to 1995.
We met when I was the pastor and he was an elder at Toledo’s Grace Presbyterian Church in the 90s.
The church was positively and prophetically biracial with about a 60% African-American and 40% Euro-American membership.
Though I often referred to him as my “blind justice” because of severely impaired vision for much of his life, he could see farther and deeper than most folks if you know what I mean in a Colossians 3:1-2 kinda way.
The son of a well-respected and successful sharecropper, he rose above America’s racial sins because of a deep faith nurtured by mom and dad who kept their baptismal promises.
Clearly, consistently, and often courageously, Jesus was the foundation, focus, and filter of his life.
I’ll never forget complaining to him, “Judge, ___ hates me because I’m white.”
Looking back, I realize how absurd it was for a white guy like me to complain about a black woman with prejudice against me because of the color of my skin; and if I have to explain that to you, you may not have dealt with your own racial sins and the understandable if not always just suspicions of black America toward white America.
Anyway, Judge Penn said matter-of-factly, “She’s just ignorant.”
It was a Lily Tomlin moment: “And that’s the truth!”
Some people are “just” ignorant; and they cause a lot of pain and misery for so many others.
Racists who forget God likes rainbows because He made them always quickly come to mind.
Denominational jingoists who forget God came in Jesus so that we can overcome humanly to darkly inspired separations through, in, and for Him always quickly come to mind.
People who distract, discourage, divide, detour, divorce, or destroy the peace, unity, and purity of churches always quickly come to mind.
They are more than “just” ignorant because ignorance is never blissful.
Ignorance is too often beastly; as in being inspired by satanos.
Always remember satanos and its accomplices tear down, pick apart, burn bridges, fracture families, separate, segregate, distance, degrade, denigrate, devastate, destroy, and always say, “You’re no good. You’re bad. You’re useless. You don’t belong.”
Always remember God and His accomplices build bridges, relationships, and families; forgiving, reconciling, healing, helping, inviting, welcoming, including, elevating, encouraging, and always say, “Come to Me, all and everyone who are weary and burdened, and I will take care of you.”
One of the greatest lessons of the Reformation was the need for an informed faith so we can escape the hellish perils of ignorance.
Jesus liberates us from ignorance: “I am the way and truth and the life…and the truth will set you free.”
I’ll get back to Him after addressing a little ignorance about a high school mascot in Belvidere, Illinois.
Belvidere High School’s mascot is a swashbuckling skull for Buccaneers.
How the Bucs got from the Caribbean to the breadbasket of America is beyond me.
It’s like trying to figure out why they’re called Freeport Pretzels when trying to find a decent pretzel in Freeport is like trying to find fans at a White Sox game or Republicans in Chicago or Democrats in Utah.
Anyway, when a big Buc was pasted to one of the school’s main entrances, I got a call from somebody who complained loudly along with insisting that I fire the bullet that she was making, “You need to go to the school board and demand they take down that awful skull. You more than anybody should know skulls are for the devil.”
“Well,” I said, “uh, actually, the skull has often been used as a symbol for bad things; but it’s also been used as a symbol for faith by many Christians for centuries.”
I didn’t say anything about her being “just” ignorant; because she goes to a hair parlor in town with a lot of our members and…
Truth is skulls have been used as symbols for bad things; but Christians have also used skulls – some Christian scholars even used them as paperweights – to symbolize fearlessness about death because of the eternal life guaranteed by grace through faith in Jesus.
Yes, skulls were a big part of pirate culture to send shivers through soon-to-be conquests; and there are people from the dark side who like them.
But skulls like Chris Kyle’s Punisher have also been used to tell Islamofascistnutball savages that we’re not afraid of them. Harley-Davidson uses them because bikers aren’t afraid of death; which is really true because it’s always in the back of our minds when we mount up. Surely, a person wearing a skull is saying, “Don’t mess with me!” And all of those reasons seem consistent with Matthew 10:16 as well as the resurrection certainties of Christian fidelity.
Now that the anti-Christian movement in America and in our neck of the woods know the skull is also a Christian symbol, BHS may have to find a new mascot.
If you think I’m joking, you haven’t been paying much attention to the
PC thought police in America who seem to have strangled common sense along with our roots in Biblical revelation.
Moretheless, just like part of the symbol warns predators about treading in the wrong places and on the wrong people, Jesus has a promise that’s also a caution: “I am the way and the truth and the life…and the truth will set you free.”
To be existentially and eternally secure, we trust Jesus to be the way to it, truth about it, and life resulting from it.
His truth keeps us from being enslaved to less than His best by worldly bigots.
Judge Penn knew that/Him.
He knew being “just” ignorant keeps us from the only One who can bring us together…blissfully.
Truth saves relationships, souls, and even mascots.
I like BHS’ mascot.
It symbolizes lots of important truths that help me not to be so ignorant.
Blessings and Love!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!
Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!