Statues, Images …. Our History

There’s a lot of crazy rhetoric following certain American tragedies. When certain types of violent incidents occur there’s accusations about racial hatred, use of violence. The flurry of criticism from some sources isn’t conducive to unity among us but incites more suspicion and blame.

History has flawed people but we need to keep around reminders of those who’ve helped preserve our country. We don’t need to ‘love’ everyone, or agree with them but we should accept both sides of the story respectfully in public forums, like references of the Civil war.  The reality is that the majority of American’s of all colors can and do, work, live and inter-marry in peace and we want that to continue.

The recent chatter in some U.S. media outlets about taking down statues is a curious thing. Statues are a pieces of art commissioned by a community to commemorate some event, person or place. We’ve got millions of them scattered over the world!! Sometimes people display a relic saved from a battle, or ‘911’ or a famous persons life. Streets, parks and airports are named after famous or significant individuals. And…. we need a sense of public and personal belonging in an age where families are so fractured & people don’t have a good sense of where they came from or what they stand for. People will walk thru a park or airport with their kids and share a quick word on some leader, and that can lead to a sense of identity.

Statue outside Portland Museum, Downtown PDX

People everywhere are so double-minded. They love to visit abroad for some cultural history. They visit statues of past leaders, artists, scientists. Famous war memorials especially in Europe are scattered there as many U.S. soldiers died in wars there. In the U.S. we have statues of great leaders, ships in Boston Harbor, murals. Statues of famous Black, Brown and Indian influences included. Europe contains many people groups, languages. histories & conflicts but I’ve never heard of anyone wanting to bulldoze the Coliseum due to it’s very bloody past. Why would a nation destroy it’s past?

Some Southern statues are being talked about for the negative image they seem to convey to certain people.  Our TV’s, movies, billboards have images that give us many destructive, violent messages, but we don’t hear much about giving up their input in our lives. The disrespect for women, for health or our environment runs rampant on those.

Our most important images perhaps are our family scrapbooks or phone galleries! The memories, history they evoke in us! The way they bring us together to laugh, cry and memorialize our lives.  What would life be like if we didn’t have our photos.? Bland, meaningless …. probably unlivable!

What has God said about images, icons, statues? He commanded that the Golden Calf be destroyed. He doesn’t like it when we fall down and worship anything outside of Him. He asked Jewish Kings to destroy the altars in the high places. He likes images …. and gave strict guidelines for the decoration of the Arc of the Covenant, Noah’s Arc and the entire Jewish Temple!

God told the Jewish nation to build ‘memorials’ after they got victory at certain stages in their journeys. He wanted them to remember where they came from. He told them to celebrate Passover to commemorate their passage out of Egypt. He didn’t want to give them pain again but to remind them of His love and intercession for them when they were slaves.

Memories, memories …. images, images! God doesn’t want us to forget our pasts because if we understand what happened before we will not only come to appreciate our heritage, our values but see that evil doesn’t win. A personal or a community memory helps us in this day and time so we remember to be grateful for where we are now!

God does accept images but He likes to choose or inspire them.  He’s a jealous god. Do you want your wife’s former boyfriend’s photos on your mantle, or on her cell phone wallpaper? I’m sure you don’t!

Flags are different tho …. they connote allegiance or where you hail from. I see flags from Mexico, El Salvador, Lakers Nation waving from cars, stuck on windows here but I don’t think most would like to see a Confederate flag on government soil,  …. just in Museum’s, certain historical places or in private residences.

We are a diverse country. I live on the same street as soccer moms, homeless, churches and gangs out in L.A.  There’s people in my part of town from Sri Lanka, Mexico and Korea. From the Middle East, Mid West and middle America. It’s the reality in all our larger cities and somehow I traverse this huge city with all these people groups and I don’t feel threatened or criticize those different from me, or those not seeking God like I do.

God’s given us so much in this country and we need to protect our diverse legacy! We need to appreciate the differences in others, where they came from, look like. We shouldn’t broadcast false descriptions of people, events or incite people to hate a group of people in our news coverage. We shouldn’t promote wrong impressions so people get scared or lose hope in our nation, in God.  We need our minds woken up these days to value or learn from the good & evil done before.  What if we never heard of the Holocaust? I shudder to think.


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