Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Solved Mystery

Saw a bumper sticker last week that contained the following cryptic message:


My fiancee and I puzzled over it for some time, but couldn't figure it out. Did the person think Jesus was doing something wrong, and needed to be stopped? That would explain the first half, but not the second. Maybe the person was also trying to say that Jesus needed to learn something--no, Jesus don't do that, and furthermore let knowledge replace the ignorance that is leading you in these paths? The other bumper stickers on the car suggested the person was some kind of Christian, however, suggesting that blasphemy probably wasn't the true intent of the bumper sticker.

Maybe the bumper sticker was trying to record a journey of faith instead, turning from refusal to follow Jesus' teaching (NO JESUS NO) to a subsequent humility and emulation (KNOW JESUS KNOW). This seemed more probable, but didn't make the phrasing any less bizarre.

For days after seeing the car, I was still mildly curious. "NO JESUS NO" is sufficiently intense and unexpected to make an impression, you see. Then, this morning, while searching in vain for images of bumper stickers I wanted to discuss on another blog post, I found the answer.

The right end of the bumper sticker, it turned out, had worn out so evenly that we hadn't noticed it was missing. The full sticker reads:


Which made me wonder: how many corners of Biblical text or essential pieces of context have gotten quietly lost in translation over the past two thousand years? How many passages are there which are as accidentally cryptic as that car's secretly incomplete bumper sticker?

All of which also suggests that there's more to religion and peace than will fit on any car's bumper. (Maybe a truck, though. I'll bet GM could fit all the wisdom we need on a big enough truck, and that's probably why the government decided it was worth it to bail them out.)


  1. Afterthought: is it telling in some way that the first thing to get lost from this religious bumper sticker was the peace?

  2. also, did the end wear off, or was it taken off? How many things wear off so evenly that you don't notice that they are missing? Maybe I'm just paranoid.


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