Taylor: The joys of being invisible

Questioning is the hallmark of the open-minded Christian.

In the hours after Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, last October, and then got shot himself when he ran into the Centre Block of the Houses of Parliament, the BC Dragoons, based 4,000 km away here in Kelowna, were instructed not to go out in public wearing their uniforms.

Apparently there was a fear that angry young men across the country might have planned co-ordinated attacks on members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

So our soldiers, instead of wearing their uniforms proudly, were told to be anonymous. Invisible.

Like most Christians.

Christians sometimes wear a cross. Or a fish. But usually not ostentatiously. Few of us go around brandishing our faith like a sword. We prefer to blend seamlessly into our culture.

There are exceptions, of course. One instance sticks in my mind.

I was driving a rather battered British sports car I owned at the time—a Triumph, an unfortunate name for an exceptionally fallible make—through downtown Toronto. Because red sports cars tend to attract tickets the way bare skin attracts mosquitos, I stuck strictly to the speed limits. A black Mustang roared past. A young woman leaned way out the passenger window, gave me the finger, and screamed at me to “Get that heap off the road!”

At least, I think that’s what she said. It was hard to concentrate on her words, when a large and very visible cross hanging from her neck bounced from side to side in her ample cleavage.

On the whole, I would have preferred not to know she was flagrantly Christian. I didn’t want to be associated with her.

Or with some of the more vocal proponents of American Christianity.

Marcus Borg, a guru of the “emerging church” movement, was quoted in Publishers’ Weekly on divisions in the church: “The most visible division is between the Christian political right and the Christian left. For the right, morality tends to be about what I call ‘loin issues’—sexual morality—and polls have also shown that the more frequently people attend church, the more likely they are to be pro-war, pro-life, or to support gun rights. For me it’s embarrassing that the most visible face of American Christianity is reprehensible. I’ve often said that the greatest obstacle to Christian evangelism is Christian evangelism itself.”

Other religions tend to make themselves more visible than Christians. Sikh men wear turbans. Muslim women cover their heads with scarves or hijabs. Hindu women may have a bindi mark in the centre of their foreheads. Some Jews wear a yarmulke.

When they meet each other, they have some idea of what to expect.

I don’t even know if there’s a suitable symbol for people like me, somewhere out on the exploratory edge of Christianity. A question mark, perhaps?

I find my kind of God in the relationships that link all living things, both human and other-than-human. But I don’t know how to express the concept of an invisible network, an infinity of possibilities, in any visual symbol. Perhaps Celtic knots, where the lines weave together without a beginning or an ending, might work.

Any other suggestions?

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES photo)
UBCO program increases drug checking availability in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon

January 2021 data shows of 95 opioid samples tested across Interior Health, 93 contained fentanyl

Vernon Morning Star Boomer Talk columnist says while we must use caution while dealing with COVID-19, we must also take care of the mental health of those who must live either permanently or temporarily in our care. (Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal/AP file photo)
BOOMER TALK: Long term care is around the corner

Columnist recounts mother’s stay in local medical facility amid pandemic

Okanagan patients will benefit from the recent inclusion of the Medical Arts Health Research Group in a worldwide study with the National Institute of Health (NIH). The study will be a global collaboration for finding better treatments for COVID-19. (File photo)
Okanagan research group involved with finding better COVID treatments

Okanagan Medical Arts Health Research Group invited to collaborate in global study

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia’s (CFSEU-BC) Uniform Gang Enforcement Team (UGET) has arrested a man who was on the run for nearly a decade. (File photo)
9-year search for international drug trafficking suspect ends with arrest at YVR

Khamla Wong, charged in 2012, taken into custody Feb. 24 by BC-CFSEU

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Larch Place is the first building to be built in the BC Housing, Canadian Mental Health Association housing project at the corner of Third Street SW and Fifth Avenue SW. This view is from the Shuswap Street side where it sits behind the Graystone East building. (File photo)
Opening of doors at new housing development in Salmon Arm welcomed

BC Housing announces opening of 32 rental units, with 35 more expected in summer 2021

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Most Read