Sunday, November 13, 2016

Outward and Visible Signs

(Gospel Side image)
Signaling religious devotion has never been my thing:

1) During our young-adult years the members of my generation by and large weren't followers of organized religion. To be accepted by the cool kids meant keeping one's light under a bushel.

2) Deeds count more than outward and visible signs, anyway. As the song goes, they will know we are Christians by our love.

3) Besides, who wants to be called out as a hypocrite when one inevitably messes up?

4) Then there's Matthew 6: (italics added)
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Now science says that it may be to one's social benefit to be pious in public.
People perceive signs of religious observance in others as a measure of dependability, . Whether one fasts on Yom Kippur, wears a cross of ash for Lent or places a red dot in the middle of one’s forehead, such religious “badges” do more than just signal that you belong to a particular group. Other people see these displays as a shorthand for reliability.
Perhaps a fish tattoo, tastefully done will open doors previously closed.
The main thing is honesty. If you can fake that you've got it made.
--Ed Nelson

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