Car bears (no, not Care Bears!)

Last Saturday I bought a teddy bear. Those who read my blog entry for last weekend will remember where I went on Saturday and may realise what was special about this teddy bear. He has moving arms and legs and wears a lovely warm blue jumper with a badge on it. Still not sure? He looks like this:

I bought him to sit in my car and accompany me on journeys. As well as providing company he also proclaims my footballing allegiance to Ipswich Town FC to anyone who sees him.

This may be a problem. For the geographically challenged, Ipswich is about 16 miles away from Colchester. This means that there is a strong rivalry between Ipswich Town FC and Colchester United FC. I am wondering how sensible it will be for me to drive around the town with my new teddy bear riding shotgun, and whether I am asking for trouble if I leave him guarding the car while it is parked in the town centre. Only time will tell!

My new awareness of what is in my car and how my car bear may be received by others has made me wonder about the people who drive around with fish symbols on the back of their cars to show that they are Christians. The fish is one of the earliest Christian symbols, the Greek Word for ‘fish’ being ‘ichthus’ which represented the first letters of Greek words that we translate as ‘Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour’. It was a simple yet profound statement of faith, a mini-creed.

But it has created a car boot* (*trunk for North American readers) battle. There are now Darwinian fish appearing on cars. The fish has legs to represent the evolution of animals from fish as they crawled onto land and is designed as a direct attack on the ‘ichthus’ fish for Christians. 

I find it rather funny and applaud the creative thinking and imagination that led someone to consider putting legs on the fish symbol to represent their world-view, even though a belief in evolution does not negate or deny a faith in Christ. Perhaps we should respond in kind. Will we find aggressive new symbols for fundamentalists with an ‘ichthus’ fish eating a Darwin one? Will we get fish with stick men inside representing Jonah for those who like Old Testament narratives? How about five loaves and two fish? Or best of all I would love to see a car with nothing on one side of the car and 153 fish on the other! (Have a look at John 21 if you are not sure why).

Sad to say I have seen many ‘ichthus’ fish-decorated cars driven badly, over the speed limit, inconsiderately or even dangerously. It made me wonder whether the fish was intended as a warning: “I am going to heaven and I drive like I want to get there soon!” Because of that I do not have an ‘ichthus’ fish on my car. Not so I can drive badly without bringing Jesus into disrepute, but because I do not want to perpetuate a perception that Christians are bad drivers or rude. Being a Christian doesn’t automatically make me a good driver, but it surely ought to make me more considerate and courteous. I’ll try to remember that next time I get behind the wheel.

In the meantime I will stick to my Ipswich car bear and see if anyone notices him.