I had a shirt in my early high school days that said "Satan is a punk." True story.
(I also had a guitar-pick choker my best friend and I made to match the one Lindsay Lohan wears in Freaky Friday, but that's neither here nor there.)
I always felt slightly self-conscious wearing the shirt because it was so blunt, but I thought it was witty and liked that it identified me as a Christian. I didn't wear it very often, though, due to the aforementioned self-conciousness, and because it was black with white letters. I didn't want people to think I was trying to be a Christian scene kid.
But I had a handful of other t-shirts that identified me as a Christian. I can say with confidence, though, I never wore one that featured a popular brand logo changed into a scripture reference. So, dodged a bullet on that one.
The ones I wore came from retreats and concerts, but the sentiment was the same. This was a witness to my classmates. If I wear these t-shirts to school sometimes, people will know I'm a Christian and it will spark their interest in becoming a Christian too, right?
Let me tell you how many times my t-shirt acted as a conversation starter: zero.
Not one person ever walked up to me while wearing a Christian t-shirt wanting to know more about Jesus.
I was too shy and scared of what other people think to ever verbalize my faith to someone who I wasn't certain already believed. I wanted my t-shirt to do it for me. Because wearing a t-shirt is safe. Putting a fish on your car or a sticker on your computer is safe. It declares (or whispers, rather) who you are but shields you from having to face a potentially negative reaction to it.
Let's face it, the likelihood that someone is going to see that sticker on your laptop, approach you and say "hey, I see that you are a Christian...what's that about?" is probably pretty slim.
We fool ourselves into thinking that wearing Christian shirts or putting Bible verses on our Facebook statuses is being bold, but really, it's being safe. Even if someone responds to your status, you don't have to face them in person, and you don't really get to know their heart on the issue.
Though I rarely wear a Christian t-shirt anymore, I'm as guilty of this as anyone--I'd venture to say maybe even more than most-- so I'm going to start praying for true courage.
I think what that looks like, for me at least, is vocalizing my faith regardless of who is on the receiving end--whether they are a believer or not.
There's no need to hyper-spiritualize everything we say, but let's choose to make our faith known in ways other than what we wear or what we put as our religious views on Facebook. Let's be honest and genuine. Let's choose not to be ashamed. Let's build relationships and show God's faithfulness and grace to others.
Have you ever worn a cheesy Christian t-shirt? What are some of the best ones you've seen?